bucking when asked to go forward? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-08-2013, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: greenville, sc
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bucking when asked to go forward?

hiya! so i just got a five year old TB mare named ellie. she's an absolute baby doll on the ground. however, before i got her, she was owned by a complete beginner and would just stop at the walk and the girl couldn't get her to move forward so she would just get off. so ellie is a bit spoiled. before i got her, we had a chiropractor look her over and adjust her and the vet also sees no problems. she does this in her well fitting saddle as well as bareback - so we've ruled out pain - she's just being a brat.

i rode her for the first time since i got her and she was PERFECT at the walk, but as soon as i asked her to go forward she would pin her ears and throw her head around. i kept asking and eventually kicked to get her to go. she threw a few TINY bucks to which i stayed on. i know to keep them moving forward but i was the only one at the barn and didn't want to get hurt so i hopped off and lunged her for a good 20 minutes and hopped back on. more bucks when even asked to go forward. once she took a few trot steps without pinning her ears i brought her back down to a walk and walked for a bit - wanting to end on a good note.

i don't have a trainer right now because i'm a broke college kid but this is my first horse that has ever bucked with me. my plan is to just push her through it and teach her that it's easier to do what i ask and bucking isn't going to make me stop. is this the right thing to do or should i be going about it a different way? i also need to mention this horse respects me on the ground - we've done a month of ground work before i even got on her!
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-08-2013, 02:53 PM
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Sounds like you have done your homework on checking for pain ahead of time. Although you did not mention dentist. Has she had her teeth checked?

And I assume she has regular farrier work?

Even if the saddle fits well, always make sure you examine it for any nails or things that could be poking out of the saddle into her.

But yes. Sounds like she is spoiled rotten. You've got the right idea. She needs to WORK, WORK, WORK when she bucks and needs to know that is not correct. When she goes along nicely on a loose rein, then she'll get to stop and relax.

There's nothing wrong with working her from the ground if you do not feel confident to ride through her bucks. But if you do that, make sure you dismount very quickly. Remember: You've got to discipline the horse within 3 seconds of their actions, or they will not make the connection. And make sure it's not an easy peezy her galloping circles around you. Do lots of direction changes, backing up, yielding the hindquarters, etc so that she has to pay attention to you and has to WORK.

Be careful. Think smart. Wouldn't hurt to wear a helmet and a vest.

I can understand being a broke college kid, but how about even taking just ONE lesson from a trainer? Even that can help a lot.

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-08-2013, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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she hasn't had her teeth checked since i've had her, but they were floated three months ago - also, she is ridden in a hackamore. don't know if that would make a difference or not. and her farrier work was behind before i got her but my farrier has seen her twice and doesn't see any problems with her feet.

see, that's what i think was wrong, i didn't/don't discipline her soon enough. but yeah, we do a lot of direction changes, yields, ect because she's a TB, running in circle wont even PHASE her haha.

i'm going to have someone up there with me next time so i'm more confident. i don't even like RIDING alone, much less riding an unpredictable horse alone.

my good friend sam who trained my old horse and is great with horses is coming in next month so i'm thinking of having her work with us if i can't get this straightened out. i know ellie has potential but she's just so **** lazy and spoiled!
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-08-2013, 03:03 PM
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In addition to what Beau stated, I would also advise you to stop "kicking" her to go forward, even when she refuses. I've found that kicking a horse who's already being fractious and refusing to go forward is just asking for them to go up in either a rear or a buck.

What I like to do is use long split leather reins and when the horse ignores my gentle squeeze with my legs, they get a bridle rein to the butt. That makes them much more likely to think "forward" instead of "up". Be prepared though so you don't get off balance and bump her mouth because she'll likely scoot forward fast when you pop her one. What I do is make sure that the reins are loose and then grab a handful of mane or the saddle horn or a nightlatch with my rein hand. That way, my whipping hand is free and I'm secure in case they bolt or decide to really buck (which is also a possibility).

Even if she sort of bolts forward, don't try to stop her, just let her go and keep yourself balanced and fluid. If she starts to slow down or stop again, repeat it; light leg followed by over/under if necessary. It shouldn't take her long to figure out it's much easier and more comfortable to just move from the light leg.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-08-2013, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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i know that's a bad habit of mine. i took lessons for around ten years and i was always taught to kick. since owning horses, i've learned to squeeze but sometimes those bad habits like to resurface.

but thank you! i'll def keep that in mind!
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-08-2013, 03:24 PM
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LOL, don't worry about it, we all have our little bad habits we work on trying to break...but can never seem to get completely rid of them .
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-09-2013, 02:33 AM
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What type of hackamore is she in?

With this mare being owned by a beginner it's very possible she has never had to ever do more than walk with a rider aboard. I would address this as a horse that is very green more than one just being a brat.

How is she moving off pressure on the ground? If you're nervous about her bucking that is the first place to start. Put her in the round pen and cluck and point the direction you want her to go ( or whatever you want your verbal trot cue to be) followed by swinging the whip, getting progressively closer to her with it ( whacking her on the bum if needed until she trots off. As soon as she trots off away from you, quit putting any pressure on her. Do not cluck, move your ship etc. Just follow her hip on a small circle in the roundpen. If she breaks to a walk fine, all the more opportunity to teach her. Again point, cluck then use the whip. If she gets pissy about moving forward really push her forward until she's with the program. You want her to be happy to move off on the ground first.

If she only trots one step at a time that is A OK. At this point you're only teaching her the cue TO trot. Once she is good about picking up a trot when you ask THEN you can go about keeping her in a trot. Every time she breaks to a walk immediately push her back up into a trot.

Repeat with the lope. In doing this you've got her understanding go without you being in danger and also got her sensitized to a whip. The next step would be to desensitize to it, so she doesn't think any time a whip moves it means go.

I'd also teach her to flex before you ride her next.

When you do get to riding the course of action is pretty darn simple and much safer for you now. Flex her head then slide your leg back to ask her hindquarters to move off, don't kick, just a light squeeze.

Many times kicking a horse is going to just cause them to sull up even more, raising up from the pressure instead of going forward, once they're already no longer thinking forward at all then it goes from a hump to a buck, or a rear. Either way it ain't good.

So squeeze with your leg then take your rein or whip ( for less typing i'll be saying rein) and just very casually tap her bum, getting progressivly harder until her hind end untracks. In this position you're much better off if she does decide to spook from the rein. If she does no big deal, just keep repeating this until she's moving off but not in a panic. Repeat on both sides.

Once that is down then you can get a bit more firm. Tap her a bit harder on the butt as she's disengaging and keep her moving, when you feel her front end start to move let her head out and let her walk on. You want that hind end to have some energy to it when you let her walk out. If she stops from a walk, bend her around and get that hind end moving like you did before.

You also want to make sure you can bend her to a stop so if things to go astray you have a stop.

From here, use your trot verbal cue from the ground, squeeze lightly with your legs then enforce it with your rein. If you are say going clockwise have your right rein slightly shorter so you can bend her down easily and keep a hold of that saddle horn if you want. Your left hand is then free to use your rein.

If she bucks you don't need to worry about cowboying up and riding through it if you're nervous, the important thing is that action is taken quickly. Bend her down and get after her, making that hind end move around pretty snappy. Then calmly ask her to move out again. As long as you are doing something to make that buck a difficult thing for her you are fine.

However, once she is happy to move forward on the ground you'll find she'll be much much easier and willing to go under saddle too.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-26-2013, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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so i think we've gotten past this problem! she goes forward on the lunge very soft and easy so i decided to tack up and have someone free lunge her with me on top of her. after a few times, she seemed to calm down and not protest as much when i asked her to go forward. she still pitches a fit every now and again but we're light years away from what she was
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-26-2013, 11:53 PM
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So, I know everyone else has already addressed tack issues, but I'm going to suggest confusion as a possibility. I have an OTSB, who is six, and often when asked to do something she doesn't understand, will lash out with a buck or a kick.

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post #10 of 11 Old 10-27-2013, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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the thing is - she's not THAT green. she's been ridden quite a bit and was even a lesson horse for a bit, but she was sold to a beginner who would let her get away with not moving and just get off of her so now she's being nasty about having to move forward.
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