Bucking while he canters. Is this normal? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-26-2007, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Bucking while he canters. Is this normal?

I just bought a horse, and as I recall I was working him in the round pen, having him walk trot and canter. I first walked him before he trotted quite beautifully, calm and collected he was. I figured it was time to canter, so I asked him to canter, and kissed to him quite loudly for him to hear me but he ignored me. I used a verbal command as well. I did this repeatedly until he finally responded, what I got was him rearing up spinning in place and galloping crazily in the opposite direction. He was in a state of panic and I didn't know why! I told him whoa and stopped freaking out and he came up to me. He looked very frightened. I calmed him by walking him around the pen and let him collect himself before I asked him to work again. I asked for him to canter, and this time he just simply bucked and threw a fit before jerking in the opposing direction at a trot, I asked again and he sort of cantered it was more like a bunny-hop as he bucked and stomped at the same time. His neck was deeply arched but his ears weren't pinned. There was no tack on him other than a halter. He seemed confused. I know he's trained so whats up?

Does he need some work on his canter? Am I perhaps confusing him with mix signals? Would I be in danger if I lunged him since the barn I'm moving him to has no round pen?

He also has a problem with his ears being touched. His original owners severely injured one of his ears, I guess they pinched it some how quite bad from what I've heard because he won't let your ands anywhere near them. Putting a halter on him and taking the halter off can be a challenge sometimes but if I am slow and careful, I can get it off quite easily. I like to ride western, and I prefer headstalls with an ear-loop, something he will not tolerate. Is there any way I could possibly eliminate that fear of his ears, and show him I'm her to love him and make him feel safe, instead of pinch his ears?
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-26-2007, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
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It sounds like it's a physical issue with the cantering. I would get a chiropractor out to look at him as soon as you can.

As for his ear of you touching his ears, just play approach and retreat. Rub him on his neck and make your way up near his ears. When you come to a spot where he tenses up or throws his head, retreat back to a place where he is comfortable. Just play that game, and you can even leave your hand at the first spot where he tenses up until he relaxes, then take your hand away. Just don't be direct lined in your thinking and don't go straight for the ear. It's going to take patience.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-26-2007, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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I may try and investigate it further, I've seen pictures of him cantering so it might be a recent problem, or a lameness in one of his legs since he hasn't been to a farrier for a while.

I'll have his feet and legs checked out. As for the chiropractor, if you mean a horse specific one, I'm not exactly sure if I have one around here. I live in a real small town. Perhaps my vet can take a look at him but I'll check with my boarder first and see about the chiropractor.

Also I'll see if I can get some pictures of him while he's "cantering" and maybe it would be a bit more obvious. I can tell he's trying to canter, and he will get in a few but they are short and choppy, and he doesn't work his forelegs properly when he does, they are sort of over the place.

I think thats good advice on the ears, I never thought of that. Thats a great approach. It makes me feel so bad because my hand nears his poll and he tosses his head back, and looks so frightened it breaks my heart.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-26-2007, 09:54 PM
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My horse had an issue with his ears as well. He was never injured, so it's probably not as severe as your horse's, but still, he would raise his head so high whenever I got near them!

The approach and retreat method that Spirithorse described is good advice. You can also use this method going from his nose or forehead and up to his ears if he's comfortable with you touching his forehead already.

With my horse, I also used the "I'll give you a cookie if you let me touch your ears" method. Whenever I gave him a treat, I would gently touch his poll or ears right as he was grabbing the treat with is lips. At first, he would leave the treat and raise his head. But then he'd come right back to try to get the treat again. Now, after many many treats, whenever I touch his ears, he immediately drops his head (great for putting on bridle/halter) and nuzzles my hand looking for a treat. Of course, now I don't always give him a treat! But he still connects ear-touch with tasty treats.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-27-2007, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
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It could be that he was never taught to canter on the lunge line, or in a round pen. I dont teach my horses to do this, I just teach them walk and trot. So it could be he is just confused. If he is trained to do this, then I would definitly check him all over, and have a chiropractor out to check him.
As for the ears, in time he will learn to trust you; and lear that you are not going to hurt his ears. (one gelding I worked with had an eye infection and wouldnt let anyone near his eye for about a month because he was afraid we were going to put cream in it).
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