What do you do with an aggressive bucker/rearer?
This is an odd question.
I've got a horse that has had a pretty large attitude change. Some background:
1. Nothing spooks this horse. At all. She's fiercely confident.
2. I had this horse working nicely undersaddle, just the basics, lots of walk and bending with a little trotting, about a year ago. She was very willing and easy to start.
3. My job got crazy, I was working 50-60 hours a week. Horse went on the backburner, and went out to pasture from late summer until a few months ago. My job cut my hours, so I've got some free time. Started working with horse again, and she's completely different.
Horse has lost many of her manners, which I kind of expected. She stands just fine in the crossties still, she clips, etc etc etc. She's great until it comes to saddling. I'm using the same saddle and tack as when I started her last time. Now she is very girthy in the crossties when I'm saddling her, she even reared in the ties once after I started gently tightening the girth. Once I get it in place, she walks out to the arena fine. She lunges alright, she still listens to all of my cues and she'll transition when I ask her like always, but now she rears and bucks all the time on the lunge. The rear and spin maneuver and everything. She does it so fast, it is hard to catch it before it is too late. So much for horses not being able to rear while moving forwards.
We have had several "come to jesus" meetings. She is just so.... indifferent to discipline.
Undersaddle it is weird. She has never actually bucked or reared under saddle, but she is just so bizarre. It takes her 10-15 minutes to settle in enough where I'll trust her to walk forwards without trying to kill me. She clearly is considering bucking or rearing, she jigs, ears pinned, she is very ANGRY that I'm on her back. But it's odd, eventually she'll settle down and be the same horse I worked with last year. Not always though. Sometimes she'll never get out of the angry stage. Sometimes she stops being angry, but she'll plant her feet and not even a person on the ground with a lunge whip or dressage whip can get her feet moving, other times she walks off fine.
She's very unpredictable and I'm kind of at a loss. I've never worked with a horse like her before, every other horse I've started is straight up black or white-- willing and easy, or aggressive and unwilling. This horse has so much gray area, it is nuts. She is pretty unpredictable, and I don't know how to proceed.
She's been checked out by a vet, no pain issues. Her feed hasn't changed in 2 years, her saddle fits perfectly, her teeth have been floated recently... I'm just lost.
What would you do with a horse like this? I want to send her to a fabulous trainer in the area, but I don't have the funds. I know I can do it myself, but I'm so out of riding shape, and I know if she did anything stupid I'd probably be in the dirt.
I appreciate any comments.
Owner and head trainer of SE-Wisconsin Horse Care
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