While someone may think it is 'terrifying advice', I think it is a lot more terrifying to get bucked off on the rocks where I have always lived. It is also far worse to let horses get spoiled and take a chance on them seriously injuring someone.
It is hard telling how many hundred of horses I have ridden with this little overcheck type of thing and have never had it cause a problem. To the contrary, using it has allowed me to ride and retrain literally dozens of horses that were sent to me to because they bucked their owners off at will. It has also prevented all of the colts I started (I used to start more than 50 head a year) from ever bucking with a saddle or bucking on their first few rides. In all of these hundreds of horses, I have run into, maybe 5 or 6, that could buck hard enough with their heads up to buck me or some other good rider off. Two of them ended up in the PRCA on professional bucking strings. They were REALLY GOOD at it.
I have suggested this little gimmick to many people over the years and have gotten a lot of feedback as to how effective it was and how it had allowed the people to actually ride and go on with the training on horses they thought they were going to have to get rid of or put down.
It will work on an English saddle, but it is not as good at keeping a horse's head as high as a saddle-horn will. I just tied a piece of nylon cord between the two breast-plate ring on the front of the saddle and ran the overcheck cord through it. I have used it on horses that would drop their heads after going over a jump. I did get dumped one time when a horse went over a jump and dropped his head so hard he pulled the saddle halfway up his neck. He did not have real high withers, but he sure was not round-backed. It was 35 or 40 years ago and I still remember how I met the ground head-first. But, it evidently impressed him, too, because he did not drop his head and buck after that.
Just like using a nail to let a horse 'teach himself' that biting is not a good idea, this little gimmick is something the horse 'runs into' when he drops his head and he gives himself instant release when he brings his head back up where it belongs. The release is much quicker and better and any rider can give so the horse learns much faster.
The OP can do as she likes, but this is probably her best method to actually get this horse ridden out by her.
Like her original question "How would you handle it?" Well, this is how we handle every incident that we think could even lead to the problem she is having now.
Last edited by Cherie; 09-24-2012 at 08:22 AM.