Horse likes to buck, no longer cute.
   

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Horse likes to buck, no longer cute.

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    09-24-2009, 07:05 PM
  #1
Yearling
Horse likes to buck, no longer cute.

I am currently in the process of purchasing a 12 year old (appendix?) quarter horse gelding, and he is the perfect horse accept for a few flaws, such as his anxiousness and he can get quite spooky.

But the worst habit that I have found that this horse has I have discovered recently, is bucking.
I've been training him to eventually be an eventer, practicing stadium, and cantering in the woods and fields, and just recently jumping him over extremely tiny logs. He seemed to be doing great, the first time I ever took him over a cross country log he freaked out very badly and refused the jump, but every other time he has taken every little log I've asked of him perfectly.

So I took him in a hunter pace recently, where many jumps were set up including a bunch of minuscule ones that I've done, I was out there with my mom on a different horse. I took him over my last tiny log before reaching the home stretch towards the finish line. My mom wanted to trot through the finish line before me, so I allowed her to go, and as she started to go my horse wanted to follow behind so I allowed him to pick up a trot. As he did so he let out a rip-roarin buck, dropped his head and started shaking it side to side. I stayed on thankfully, walked him through the finish line and back to the barn.

Today I took him out after a perfect round of ring work including some practice over small stadium jumps. I jumped him over a few of the really small jumps again, and then over that log where he had bucked a few days before. He jumped it beautifully, but as he landed he unleashed into a fury, bucking violently until I hit the ground, with my head (oww) and then ran off.

Now I am trying to figure out why this problem is occuring and I wasnt really worried about it during the first occurance, and I tossed it aside as his excitement during the hunter pace. But this time was very scary, my worst fall yet, I don't even remember anything until he was already unsaddled and being bathed by me, my mom, and my boyfriend.

I had a hunch that it may be his saddle, we are having him fit for a new one soon but this one seems to slide down his already oddly shaped back, but he was perfect for the flat work and jumping in the ring, and the first jump. It was just this jump. My mom thinks it's just excitement, but it feels more like he wants me off of his back.

So does anybody have any clues as to what is causing this problem? What I can do to stop this problem, if it should be cause of true concern and I should give up on buying him? I love this horse but these past two bucks have been terrifying especially this one today. So what am I to do? I'm already a very timid rider who is just regaining her confidence and trust in horses after several terrible eventing related falls on different horses.
Any advice or feedback would be great.
Thanks
     
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    09-24-2009, 08:23 PM
  #2
Trained
My first thought, especially considering he does it when landing from a jump, is that it's his saddle or such causing him grief. Saddles are such a common cause of pain for horses. If you're not 100% sure it's comfortable on him, don't use it.

Depending on what you mean by 'oddly shaped back', he may have had some long term or serious probs in the past. His back may be out too. I would advise you get him into shape *before* fitting him for a saddle. Even a well fitting saddle can cause pressure points & attrophy, so if he already has problems, they'll likely get worse under(any) saddle. Also fitting him as he is now will likely mean that the saddle won't fit if/when you get him fit. After getting a chiro or such to him, you could either ride him bareback or get him fit with groundwork. Then once he's in shape, then try him in a *well fitting* saddle.
     
    09-24-2009, 08:33 PM
  #3
Yearling
The thing is though, I jump him all the time and I'm constantly riding him. He is very well in shape and has jumped many other logs out in fields and only bucks after this one. And the first buck wasn't related to landing, it happened after I had passed the jump and was walking back, but both bucks happened in the same general area.
I believe the saddle fitter is also a chiro, but by oddly shaped I mean my horse is ever so slightly "down hill". It's not a serious back deformity but that with a poorly fit saddle seem to be the reason why the saddle slides lower on his back easy, but the sliding doesnt occur to to much as I ride, as I assure that my girth is perfectly tight.
I'm near positive he is not suffering any back problems, but because of his shape and the saddle combined I could see how that could be uncomfortable.
It is just curious to me as how this never, ever happens accept in that one spot, and I've jumped him plenty of times in the ring.
     
    09-24-2009, 09:53 PM
  #4
Trained
Oh, OK. Regarding saddle slipping, it is a good idea to use a breastplate & crupper to keep the saddle in position. That way you don't need the girth done up so tight either. If it's slipping & roomy enough, may be fine with shims or a special pad rather than having to replace the saddle. Great if your saddle fitter's a chiro too(unless he uses one to get business for the other!), as you would hope this means he actually knows what he's on about, not like so many professional 'saddle fitters' I've dealt with, who wouldn't know a saddle was a bad fit if you strapped it on their own backs & jumped on it!

But yes, if he only does it in this one place, it's likely to be mental, rather than physical. Perhaps the first time he did it, it was just in exuberance, or something hurt or frightened him, and then subsequently that spot has come to be associated with Bad Feelings & bucking. I'd therefore be inclined to get off before you get there & do some groundwork in the vacinity to change that Bad association to a Good one. I'd get him well & truly comfortable & confident in the area, including jumping the log on line, before riding there again. Use 'approach & retreat' tactics & lots of rewards to do it gradually & not 'overface' & stress him. Try to make sure it's all Good Experiences.
     
    09-24-2009, 09:53 PM
  #5
Trained
Maybe you could send him over the logs on the lunge so you can watch his reactions from the ground? He may show a sign of pain that you can't see while you're up there riding out his bucks.
     
    09-24-2009, 10:12 PM
  #6
Weanling
Have someone video you riding him too. Watch it carefully for clues, watch for tail wringing, etc... and see what you were doing at the time.

I am a huge believer in chiro/accupuncture - ALL of my horses had something out of whack when they were done in March and only one had obvious issues. Their ages were 14 yrs, 3 yrs and 2 yrs. Two are riding horses and the young one wasn't started under saddle yet. Just thought I would mention it.
     
    09-24-2009, 10:54 PM
  #7
Yearling
Ah the breastplate idea sounds great. It has been suggested to me by one other person before, but I forgot about it [whoops] I could see how that would greatly aid in my saddle issues!

And I believe it to be association too, though now me, and my mother (whom shares him with me, and is also far less experienced, and a much more timid rider) Are mildly nervous about our next rides, and if he'll bring the habit to the ringwork in order to remove us from his back, or something. I certainly don't ever want to fall like that, next to the fall that rendered me unable to walk for two weeks, this one was the worst. Never have I hit my head so hard that I not only did not remember getting up, walking through the field in search of my horse, yelling his name, chatting with two passer bys', but I did not remember getting back on, arguing with one of the instructors teaching a lesson, who was trying to get me to jump over a fence in the ring and end on a good note, walking back to the barn on his back, getting off, untacking, and giving him a full blown bath and graze. I had my mom who was watching me explain that whole hour to me, and needless to say I don't remember doing any of those things.

So that leads me and my mom to be a bit nervous about the habit moving out of the fields, as his bucks were very violent, it was not a danty little crow hop.

So needless to say we are both timid
     
    09-25-2009, 12:59 AM
  #8
Weanling
My suggestion is to lunge, lunge, lunge. Take him out there and lunge him over the log. If he bucks, keep lunging him until he has relaxed.

If the spot that he is bucking in is on the way back to the barn, it could be a sort of anticipation behavior, the same way some horses rush back to the barn, only worse.

There is also the slight possibility that there is something in that spot that is unpleasant to him. Perhaps the footing there is funny? Some horses can't stand wet, muddy ground, or there could be rocks poking at his feet. Again, that is just something to consider - I doubt it is really the problem.

Since it seems that you otherwise very much enjoy this horse, I know you're not going to want to hear this, but the last thing you want to do is buy a horse that has a behavioral issue of that sort if you feel you are going to be too timid to correct it. If you become afraid of riding him, and want to sell him, it could be very hard to do so if he is bucking, and chances are, unless the behavior is properly corrected, it's only going to get worse.

Good luck. =)
     
    09-25-2009, 06:16 AM
  #9
Started
Mickey - it might take ages to find out why this horse is behaving in this fashion. There could be a number of reasons - some of them not very positive for the horse or for you.

If you have not bought the animal yet - why are you putting yourself at risk??

This sport of ours is already fraught with danger - you don't need to go looking for it.

If you were my daughter then I would insist that you found yourself another horse. I would want my daughter to stay fit, healthy and happy.


Barry G
     
    09-25-2009, 07:19 AM
  #10
Yearling
Ah, I'm not so timid about getting back on, and sticking to my flat work and jumping strictly in the indoor and outdoor rings for a while, I guess I'll only give up the sale if this habit cannot be broken, gets worse, or moves into the ring work. Then I will truly be worried, but the incidents are isolated to those spots, and he ride perfectly in the rings.
     

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