I have no idea how to "quote" and respond to each one of these without making multiple posts, so I used notepad to copy/paste and respond and then pasted here....My responses are all in bold
The other thing that comes to mind is, that even though your saddle is shorter than that of the previous owner, it could have been their saddle (not yours) which has caused some back pain and that your horse is reacting to your saddle which is now hurting her back, if this makes sense? - Doubtful as the saddle she has is a Circle Y and the one I am testing is a noname brand.
* If she is newly broken in, then perhaps she is having trouble accepting the saddle and rider weight. The reaction is to buck to get rid of it. - She is not newly broken in but has been difficult "refreshing"
Just another thought: what are your legs doing when you canter? In the saddle, I suck. Period. I admit it. Bareback, however, I ride fairly well. It's because EVERY bit of riding I've done has been primarily bareback. Or English. I don't *think* my legs are floppin' around.
Can you have someone else ride her and see how she goes for them? - Am trying to do that now, especially by the previous owner (she is becoming a friend!) to see how she acts for her. If not, I know a few other people who might be able to check her out for me.
Maybe you are inadvertently doing something or perhaps she has just learned that she can get you off now. - I dunno which of those bothers me more!!!
I had a horse once who did not like me and would throw me off. My husband (who couldn't ride) took him on a trail ride with no problems but I was never given a good ride. Sometimes a horse just doesn't like you. - An ongoing fear. Chili is my first horse. I have thought several times that I should sell her/trade her and get something with more time under saddle. But I FEEL that we will work it out, and so, I keep at it.
Just throwing some ideas out there but if you aren't confident with her then maybe you shouldn't persist. You don't (as you said) want to get really hurt. - It's not so much that I'm not confident with HER as I'm not confident in MYSELF. I do, however, know my limitations. And I'm VERY persistent!!!
KITTEN VAL: - Once we get this saddle thing figured out, I will probably invest in a good pad anyway - thank you for the info! I do not like the one I have now. It's thick and - clunky?
If you teach this horse to give you her head, you have a chance to stop her from taking up bucking seriously. - I know the circle methods and employ them on Chili. I did not know about the ORS until I read TinyLiny's bucking thread from awhile back. I will employ it from now on. Makes sense that pulling back two handed will simply give them more leverage. Obviously, I did not think about it yesterday!
Now for all of the 'don'ts'.
1) Don't ever add a new piece of equipment or add a new scary lesson WHEN A HORSE IS FRESH. - Define "FRESH". I didn't know she'd never had the back cinch used previously until AFTER I'd already used it the last time with this saddle and she did fine (except at a canter) so didn't think it would be a problem using it again - just loosely. I will obviously, not be using it again. But. To clarify. She had the back cinch on the FIRST time she bucked, not afterwards.
2) If a horse is 'un-settled', upset (like yours was), has a history of being a little 'cold backed' (like yours does), acts a lot differently than it usually does, WARM THE HORSE UP. EITHER TROT AND THEN LOPE SEVERAL CIRCLES in a confining area, (where it is easier to pull a horse around and stop it) before heading out in the open where you are more at the mercy of what the horse decides to do. I will lope very 'fresh' horses or horses that I have not ridden in several weeks - I ride her at least every other day - even if for only short periods of time. I just rode her the day before yesterday - not very long mind you, but I rode her. SHE DOES NOT (normally) HAVE THIS PROBLEM WHEN I RIDE BAREBACK. Yesterday was a clear exception. I had just ridden her the day before, so I didn't consider her "fresh".....
3) If you are not a well balanced 'good' rider, you should warm an 'un-settled' horse on a longe line or in a round pen WITHOUT A SADDLE. Trainers call it 'knocking the air out of one'. It makes a really 'fresh' horse much more settled and not have as much 'feel good energy'. NEVER let a horse buck with a saddle. Some get it out of their system (as it is sometimes called) and other just get practice and learn to like it and do it more and better. So, I think it is very important to NOT let any horse practice bucking. - Is it your opinion that this should be done prior to EVERY ride, no matter how long or short and if so, for how long and until when? Good advice on the bucking with the saddle - make sense.
DEE: - Gracie leaving I'm fairly certain had a lot to do with it. Thinking on the entire situation, I also believe the wind had something to do with it. Perhaps I wasn't as clear about the weather. It was beautiful outside (to housebound humans who hate cold weather!) but it was very windy. Burn ban windy. Today, is worse. So even though it's not raining, I'm not going to work her.
Try lunging with each of your saddles and bareback and see how she does. She may not buck, but watch her ears and her tail - they can tell you a lot about how she's feeling. I have lunged her before and she gets this wild eyed look. I know she's been lunged before - I've seen them lunge her. - She seems to be tender when I brush her back with more effort (getting all those darned winter fuzzies off is difficult!!) but I dunno if it's tender or if she has the same "syndrome" my dogs do.... Yanno when you scratch that one spot that makes them scratch really fast with their leg? Same concept except she doesn't scratch, she kinda bends her back a little - dips it. Doesn't eyeball me like she's going to bite, doesn't swish her tail like she's going to kick. Just dips a little. So, I don't know.
As she never bucked before & she does with you even bareback your riding may be the cause. Maybe have someone video you & study it to see if you see any rider errors. - She only bucked with me bareback this one time. She's never offerd to buck previously to that with me riding bareback. But then, I've also not attempted to canter with her bareback. I am riding in rhythm with her strides when she trots. Barely any bounce at all (unless she is at a faster trot and then slows to a rougher trot, then I mgiht get a li'l bouncy for a second). She has, for the most part, a VERY smooth trot. It's one of the things I love about her!
The bucking: Even though you have been riding her often, you say it's usually been in the arena. When she bucked you off you were outside, it was warming up and it was breezy/windy. It's springtime, and horses get frisky/spunky. They've been couped up during the winter, and kind of get like us with cabin fever. They get a "WooHoo" feeling when they get to canter. When horses buck, they can stretch out. - My theories too.
What I would do with her is take her back in the arena and ask her to to transition through walk, trot and canter. Or you could lunge her with and without the saddle and the same with the cinch. Eliminate different factors. She may buck again at the start of the canter but try to push her through it. - Push her through it on board or on the ground? If I take her into the arena, I risk the same issue of being thrown as I do in the open - if she canters and bucks, I'm (more than likely) going to be thrown. Not looking forward to that!! It's my only "fear" at this point.
If she has used a bit before, which I think you said she had, I would used it until you get this worked out. I don't think the bosal is a problem, but you'd have more control with the bit. You can go back to the bosal when she starts responding better. - She has had a bit. We've tried several on her. I was going to use a Snaffle until I got the bosal. Since the bosal has worked VERY well, I decided to forgo the Snaffle. I've been riding her in the bosal for 2 wks every day/every other day. I have less control over her with the bits we've used than with the bosal. BUT. I can try again.
English saddle pinches your legs: They will do that, so either wear tall boots or use half chaps. - UGH! When the wind dies down - I will work her, rain or not. Unfortunately, we do not have an indoor arena. As I've said before, the "arena" I have is actually just a smaller, almost perfectly rectangular fenced pasture. Anyway. I feel better having posted all my bad things and knowing there is help!!! THANK YOU ALL for responding. If anyone else has further input, feel free to post!