Horse is becoming aggressive/ now bucking...Suggestions ?

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Horse is becoming aggressive/ now bucking...Suggestions ?

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    10-25-2013, 01:40 PM
Horse is becoming aggressive/ now bucking...Suggestions ?


Have a real problem on my I figured I ask for help.

Situation is as follows:

About 3 months ago I bought a new horse. Gedling, 9 years, ISP, 17'1" fancy mover and great scope (easy 3'6") . Bought him as a jumper prospect. Had been used as dressage horse before. I am 5'11" and 160 lbs...very athletic.

Prior rider, lady mid fifties, was not a very good rider. (words of his old trainer) Harsh hands, trained him pretty much herself. As a result he was very very unbalanced, dead mouth, threw himself into every corner and was a very hard ride. A lot of power, very heavy on the front and just very difficult to handle.

I improved the horse tremendously. Mouth softened up in a major way, powers out of his hinds really nicely, keeps himself much much better balanced (8 out of 10....was perhaps a 3 out of 10 before). He has become very responsive to short much much better horse now. To the point that I believe the old owner would not recognize him.

About 2 months ago he was less excited to get out of his stall. He started to show me his hinds I would approach his stall. (form of aggressive behaviour obviously). Did not really pay to much attention to it...kept on training him.

About 3 weeks ago he started bucking when I asked him to cantor. Tried to ride through it. After some back and forth he engaged in a serious of big bucks and started running and managed to get me off.

Since then he has been bucking pretty much every time I asked him to cantor. (no issues in the walk or trot)

I had the chiro come out and check adjusted but really no smoking gun. Vet has given him a general exam....found nothing wrong. Vet will now draw blood and check testosterone levels..

Asked a saddle master to come out and check on the saddle...does not seem to be the issue.

After the first bucking session I changed the training session a bit. Incorporated lunging before the ride. Does not seem to help much.

Also started to end my ride as soon as he bucked and lunged him in the cantor as a disciplinary tool. (make him understand that bucking will only result in him having to work harder).

He now is visibly aggressive towards me as soon as he sees me approaching his stall. Ears back, shows his teeth, bumps his head against the bars.
Started kicking when I try to get him out of his stall.

I would like to make clear that the horse has had a great disposition and attitude when I first got him. He was great for 5 weeks after which time I bought him. He had also improved within that period and I felt very comfortable with him. He has become a much better moving and behaving horse since...

He gets turned out 2 hours 30 mins each line with what he had before. Huge outdoor paddock..adjoining paddocks are similar size and horses go out together. He is in turn out by himself...but that is what he was used to before. Other horses are they stand together.

Horse is very social with other aggressive behaviour.

The change in aggressiveness is a real problem. I am very reluctant to take the crop and teach him a lesson. That should be the last resort I feel. (mainly because he might hurt and this would obviously be the worst thing to do then)

I do exclude my riding being the cause (one should never say never of course). Based on the improvement the horse has had...I dare to say that it is not me. The rides were much much "happier" than when I first got him. There was nothing in his history which is remotely similar to what he exhibits now.

This is my 7th or 8th horse...also rode quite a few more horses over the years. Never seen that type of change in a horse before. My trainer is also not really coming up with anything (she thought he might be fresh because of weather change...but after all the lunging we pretty safely can exclude that I think)

Any pointers are appreciated. Perhaps someone has seen something like that before ?
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    10-25-2013, 01:45 PM
It sounds like he is doing it for fun more then anything. Try this. Trot him along the fence go one time all the way around. You can also do this in a round pen. When you come around the corner ask for the canter. The sec he starts to think about bucking. Pull his nose into the fence. This makes him disengage the hind end. Then trot him the other way. Repeat that way. Keep doing it till he stops thinking of bucking. He will soon learn its harder to get his nose into the fence and canter the other way then it is to canter nice and easy forward.
EvilHorseOfDoom and CowboyBob like this.
    10-25-2013, 02:19 PM
The agressive part needs to be addressed or he's going to hurt you and bad. Sounds like he doesnt see you as his leader any horse that pins ears and kicks at you has NO RESPECT for you.

If he doesnt respect you on the ground he's not going to respect you under saddle. I will not tolerate any horse kicking at me or pinning ears at me peroid.

He also should have way more turnout 2 hours 30min isnt enough. Horses are herd animals and need to be with other horses. Don't care if pervious owner kept him that way doesnt mean its right.
Northernstar and CowboyBob like this.
    10-25-2013, 02:39 PM
Thanks for the responses thus far.

I kind of agree that I might have lost his respect...but before I go down this route I would like to exclude all other options. (i.e. Health related issues)...I did try the cantor and upon bucking lead him into the wall....not perhaps as extended as suggested. So will try that.

Will increase his turnout hours... Since turnout schedule was not changed I do not believe though that his abrupt change of behaviour can be attributed to that.
    10-25-2013, 05:18 PM
Is it possible that he just sees you as work, work, work and no fun? Have you only schooled him in the same arena for the last three months? He might be getting arena sour. Try taking him out for a trail ride, or just brushing him and putting him away.

I would be very concerned. A huge change in personality and behavior means something is wrong. I hope you get it worked out.
smrobs, Northern, natisha and 5 others like this.
    10-25-2013, 07:42 PM
Another thought is he could have ulcers that will cause a big attitude change. What is he being fed grain wise and hay wise?
smrobs, Palomine and Cherie like this.
    10-25-2013, 08:38 PM
You've been involved with horses long enough to hear that it IS you: you've done something to elicit all of this threatening behavior (especially when the prior owner had no such issues with horse, regardless of what anyone says about her riding. Horse stayed non-threatening with her, so how bad was she?)

As soon as you're out of denial/doubt about that, you'll listen to the horse & learn from the HORSE what you've done wrong.

Yet, clearly, the good feel between you two is nonexistent. Be friendly first of all, feel of the horse first of all, get that horse to WANT to be with you, before you demand another thing.
    10-25-2013, 08:45 PM
Originally Posted by Northern    
Be friendly first of all, feel of the horse first of all, get that horse to WANT to be with you, before you demand another thing.
Difficult situation but I am very worried about suggesting being friendly first to a horse that is showing aggressive tendencies.

Firm fair assertive behaviour would be my suggestion rather than friendly.

I do agree that all work could be part of it, but with others would like to rule out other issues, so vet check, teeth check, more turn out.

You don't mention diet at all, what is he being fed, any changes recently?
franknbeans likes this.
    10-25-2013, 09:02 PM
Once again thanks for all the responses.

Couple of comments to speed the discussion along.

Since I really have no ego in it...I wish it would be me. This would actually be the easiest fix. I just don't think it is for the following reasons.

1. The horse is now , that is until 3 weeks ago, a much much better ride. Behaves much better, requires much less rein (hardly any) , stays collected...and I would argue that 3 weeks ago he was a much happier himself being ridden than he was 3 month ago. The positive change are still there...just not in the cantor.

This is now my 7th or 8th horse. I never had a horse turning on me while actually becoming a better ride.

Horse also went after the vet today. So the behavioral change is not just exclusive towards me.

I will dial back on the "work related rides" and will give him some serious time off. I started doing that actually this week. He has been on a few trail rides, some hay rides...and just being leisurely ridden. (no workout)

Any further comments or suggestions are appreciated.
    10-25-2013, 09:05 PM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
Is it possible that he just sees you as work, work, work and no fun? Have you only schooled him in the same arena for the last three months? He might be getting arena sour. Try taking him out for a trail ride, or just brushing him and putting him away.

I would be very concerned. A huge change in personality and behavior means something is wrong. I hope you get it worked out.
This was the first thing I was thinking as I ready your post. How much time do you get to spend with him other then riding?

As for the big problem the aggression. This is the first and most important issue to fix.
Dose he act aggressive towards others or just you? Just wanting to know if its people in general or just you.

If this was my horse we would be spending some quality time in the round pin. Lots of turns and direction changes. You can do the same with the lunging. Again, if this was my horse I would rock his world. I would up my expectations when working on the ground to perfection and nothing less. I wouldn't let him even turn his head to look at me, he would spend LOTS of time moving away from me hips, shoulders, feet. He needs to learn that you are not someone he can be aggressive with.

I am not suggesting that you try this but if this was my horse, is might be a horse I would "THINK" about laying down.

Once you have his attitude issues worked out, then you can work on the bucking issue. There is a chance that fixing the attitude issue could fix the bucking issue.
mvinotime, bsms, gssw5 and 1 others like this.

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