4 year old bucks when cantering - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-29-2009, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Southwest USA
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Question 4 year old bucks when cantering

I have a 4 year old arabian gelding who is a great horse, although, he's young and can be ignorant. When i got him, he had been to at least 4 different homes, he didn't have hardly any training. So here I am, training the horse myself. But for a 4 year old he has great manners. Anyways, I'm trying to get him to canter. I warm him up a little, ya'll know the basic trot, walk, trot, walk warmups.When I ask him to canter, he bucks and rears, then refuses to trot and goes in to a bumpy, sluggish trot or stops alltogether. It's not the saddle. It fits well, and it's not lameness. I've had people come and look over him and the tack and they all said that he's great, and the tack is fine for him. When lungeing, he has no problem cantering, he doesn't even pin his ears or buck. While running around being a spaz in the corral he's fine. So what's up? I've thought about asking my neighbor, [who is a horse trainer for help] but then again, i don't wanna make myself sound silly if it's something simple! Could ya'll give me suggestions? *Thanks*
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-29-2009, 11:52 PM
Green Broke
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I'd say look to a saddle issue. Or the way he is being ridden. Sometimes bucking is a way of telling the rider that 'something' is going on rather than just attitude.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-30-2009, 12:02 AM
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Are you sure he isn't sore? And are you sure you are asking him correctly in a way he understands? Your aids need to be precise and clear, and the response should be immediate. If the physical aids are confusing him, work on getting him to respond to a vocal command alone on a lunge line. When he gets that down, try using the vocal command while riding. Then you can introduce physical aids along with the vocal. Be firm while giving him commands, and believe that he's going to do it.

And in my opinion, when he DOES get a decent canter transition, only ride it a stride or two and then call it a day. I'm sure you already know this, but it's so very important to end on a good note. Good luck!

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-30-2009, 05:17 AM
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First off, welcome to the forum :). As for your problem, so long as you have ruled out pain and tack fit issues, then it sounds like a training (or lack thereof) issue. How long have you been riding him? Was he ever ridden before you got him or did he have only ground training? By "hardly any training" do you mean he had been started under saddle and was considered green broke; slightly more or less training than that? Did he ever try to buck at the walk or trot? Did he buck the very first time you asked for a transition or is this a new development?

It is pretty common for green horses to buck when transitioning from trot to canter, especially if they have had very little or improper training. The motion of the canter is more similar to a buck than any other gait and when they canter, it just feels different to them than a walk or trot under saddle. Your legs or saddle could be hitting him in a way that he is unfamiliar with or that he doesn't like. I suggest that you do a lot more work at the walk and trot and make sure that he is completely comfortable and soft with his head. He will be less likely to buck if you kinda pull some air out of him (get him tired) at the trot before asking for the lope. Then, if he does buck, pick up one rein and urge him to trot some VERY small circles until he is soft to your cues and then let him straighten out at a trot. Keep the forward motion going and after you have trotted a couple more circles, ask for the canter again. Keep working at it and it shouldn't take him long to figure out that bucking makes a lot of work and he'll stop.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-30-2009, 07:38 AM
Green Broke
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i agree with smrobs.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-01-2009, 02:08 AM
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Location: Austria
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You say that he's got little to no training, so I'd think that he hasn't built up enough muscels and hasn't got the balance to carry a rider properly. I'd suppose you start right from the beginning and do lots of lunge work, esp. to let him canter at the lunge line - as this is where he's got a problem. Lunge work is good to build up a horse's muscels.

After some time you can start to ride him again at a walk and trot, if he hasn't got any problems with that, to improve his balance with a rider on his back.

Maybe it would also help you to try not to sit the canter but rather unburden his back and stand up slightly (sorry, but I don't know the right word for it in english, hope you understand it anyway).

I don't know how good a rider you are, but it might also be you or your seat disturbing him somehow and bucking is his way of telling you.

Best thing you can always do is getting a good trainer and let him help you and your horse. Because a trainer can see it live, as everyone at the forum can only guess.
LuckyLady is offline  

arabian , bucking , cantering , lope

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