Canter and bucking problem
My horse Dakota has, all of a sudden picked up horrible habits. He always has had an issue cantering, he is quite unbalanced but for the past few months we have been progressing. I have gotten him to canter, we did full jumping courses and he has been fine. For the past week, he refuses to canter. He always has put up quite a fight, but I have gotten it out of it. I have my instructor twice a week and yesterday he would not canter. We spent the whole lesson trying to her him to canter. We transition from walk to canter and all he does is a fast unbalanced trot. I will bring him back to walk and try to canter. We spend about an hour or so doing this. After the third or so time he goes into this fast trot, ill hit him with the crop and he flips out. And then on, he will buck every time I slightly move my leg behind the girth. Yesterday in my lesson, my trainer instructed me to hit him repeatedly. I do not like hitting my horse, but it needed to be done. I hit him 3 times with the crop and he let out a huge buck and we were both too tired to continue. Today I rode him and he did the same thing, except I was hacking and chose not to use a crop. Trotting and walking , he is perfect. Jumping he is perfect. Cantering is an issue. In hacks, we are not aloud to jump, and my instructor refuses to let me jump until I get a perfect canter. Today when ever I asked him for a canter, he went into a fast trot. I tried in each direction, I tried transitions from both a walk and a trot. Nothing has worked. And after a while, he started to throw some pretty big bucks. As it was 91F Today, we were outside and both sweating and it was time to stop. He is getting away with these bad habits and I don't know what else to do. I am doing everything possible. I am sitting in the saddle, giving the correct queues, pushing my heal into him, giving him rein, everything. I have balanced him up, and I have had a vet check him for any injuries, I checked my tack, there is nothing wrong with him physically. I gave him a mental break, he was just full of energy. He just does not want to cooperate. The thing with him is if another person gets on him, he will cause a little fuss, but eventually canter somewhat. I have had one of my less experienced friend get on him and she didn't even have to do anything, he just cantered. I had my instructor ride him, and after a tough fight, he cantered. Me and him have a very good relationship off saddle. He is very affection towards me, and is generally a very rude horse to others. I have spent the last year gaining his trust and he is very attatched to me, as I am to him. I am the only person that has ridden him in the past month and he has been a pain. I don't know what else to do. I only have my trainer twice a week. I want to practice during hacks but he just doesn't move. The only way to get him to canter is if I hit him with the crop alot, which I hate doing. He bucks alot and it does scare me. i have gotten quite a bit of anxiety with riding lately and him bucking dorsnt help. I want to break this habit. I feel like I should reteach him how to canter. I know I can handle this horse, he is very strong and hard to keep together but when we do jumps, we are a perfect team. Does anybody know how to fix this cantering and bucking problem? I can work with him every day. Any methods I can do over time? Please & thank you
I'm not a mean person. But I am a very direct person. You're asking for advice and this is the best advice you'll get. Whether you take it or not is your choice. The worst thing you could do is be defensive and ignore it. Here is the plain and simple TRUTH and why:
IT'S YOUR FAULT.
Your horse figured out you're not going to do anything about him not cantering. We carry crops and whips and wear spurs to reinforce our natural aids. This problem started a long time ago when your horse ignored you a little and you did nothing about it. Now it has progressed to the point where he simply will not canter for you. You don't have to "reteach" him how to canter. He's a horse. He was born knowing how. You taught him now not to. The bucking is just defiance. You taught him he doesn't have to listen. So then you spank him with a whip for NOT listening? I'd kick at you too! Your problem is your inconsistency and lack of ownership of the problem you created. Other people won't have this problem to this extent with your horse because he didn't know if they'll let him get away with it. But he knows you will. Your trainer is right for not letting you jump.
You carry a crop. Actually USE it next time. And loud enough that you only ever have to use it once. Don't like hitting your horse with the crop? think its sad and mean to hit your horse with the crop?? Obviously you've used it enough that he's actually gotten used to getting hit! Thats what's really sad :(
You created this problem by not keeping a clear set of standards for your horse's reactions to your natural aids.
You fix it.
Be CLEAR and CONSISTENT with your horse.
It is the best way to be kind.
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Do not blame yourself, and do not loose faith in your relationship. A calm mind and confident body will help you a lot. Have you considered riding a different horse for a lesson or two? This will bring up your confidence, and you will be able to work on your own riding and aids without worrying. With Dakota, try lunging him. Work on transitions. Trot, canter, trot, canter, trot, canter. If he bucks, he doesn't get to stop work. Work with him until the transitions become smooth - several sessions if necessary. If this is successful, get someone else to lunge him while you're on him. Good luck!
1. I have just bought Dakota, I have schooled him the past year and now he's only mine as of a few days ago. He was a school horse. Ridden by many riders, he has picked up many bad habits. He has never been a school horse and has been for a year and has done everything he can to rebel.
2. I CHOOSE not to use the crop. I use leg before anything else. He is NOT used to the crop and I did NOT create the problem, about 5 riders at my barn rode him in the schooling program, all advanced as I am. I have no idea how they rode him but with the bad habits he's picked up, I'm sure they didn't treat him as kind as I did. One woman was actually banned from riding him, as she used spurs on him without permission
You cannot use spurs on my horse, he doesn't need them
3. I didn't teach him anything yet, this is my third day ALL alone with him. Before, I rode him only 2/3 times a week
He is not a school horse, he was put in the schooling program to calm him down & wear him out a bit because when he first came, he was western, green and thought to be abused to an extent
I am the only one he allows to mount him, as I found out this morning when my trainer said she wanted to ride him today
She lunged him and got him to canter then, but be broke alot and it was difficult to canter him then
I was the only person at my barn able to handle him at one time, don't say it's my fault when I saved that horse
I have worked with him on the trot, and jumps, as this time last year he wouldn't dare touch a jump
I came on here for advice, not to be bashed by ignorant people who know nothing about my horse
I do get what you are saying by my inconsistency, in this heat, you can only go so far without overheating your horse
I am a pushover and sometimes I do need to take control over him. I need methods to work on transitions and how to discipline bucks. The crop is not a good method, he just fights back and bucks more and more
I do not know anything about past owners. My barn got him a year and a half ago and taught him to jump. I schooled him under the English saddle and he was probably a personal horse or and cowboys horse, as my friend who rides western rode him when he first came and this is what she told me
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If this is a sudden issue, have you ruled out pain? If he is also refusing on the lounge line, I would suggest to get a vet/chiro/farrier to check him out. Does he pick up the canter out in pasture? If he is not cantering AT ALL, even when loose, I would point to pain, not disobedience.
first, as was mentioned, check for pain thoroughly. He could be really sore, which is what is making him so resistant. By the sounds of things, especially his behavior on the lunge line, I would say it is soreness.
if you rule out pain , I would look very closely at your riding. some of his issues may be caused from previous experiences, people not riding him correctly, etc. I really question why a green horse with a questionable past was used as a lesson horse, but anyways. If he was taught bad habits before, you will need to work on those first. Not saying it is the case here, but in my experience, once pain is rulled out, 'issues' with a horse are typically 99% rider error. not picking on you, or claiming that is the case here, but I have seen many, many people have issues with their horses, and worked with many problem horses, and if its not pain, its the rider/handler.
How long has it been since sheath has been cleaned?
Have his teeth been done/checked?
Will he canter in field without rider?
Is he interfering with himself?
Are you a sloppy rider with bad hands?
Videos of this would help greatly.
When issues crop up ALL OF A SUDDEN, the majority of the time it's pain related. He is sore somewhere, therefore very reluctant to canter...it's a tell tale sign of a pain/body issue.
Today I hacked him for an hour. He was a pain. He did the same things but this time, I wouldn't take it. I kept kicking him, was clear and every time he bucked I made him work even harder. And WE GOT IT. He was testing me, he bucked me and I fell off and if this was yesterday, I would try cantering, I would just trot him. But I got back on him, smacked him with the crop, kept him still and queued for canter and he picked it up from a walk, he bucked a lot and I wouldn't let him stop and trot, the bucks became less frequent, and I kept him cantering, I wouldn't let him stop. We eventually got into a balanced, collected canter. I even changed direction and we got a nice flying change. He was good, I rewarded him and I am proud. Tomorrow he will do the same thing, but I will just keep being persistent.
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