Bucking Gets You Nothing
I've been working a lot lately with Eva, my 7 yr old mustang mare. She has been under saddle for about 6 months now, and we're still working out some of the greenie kinks. One of which involves bucking.
She has bucked me off a total of three times, all a month or more apart. The first time I think she did it mostly because she was spooked and genuinely afraid, but the second time and the most recent occasion (earlier today) seemed more like a temper tantrum because I was asking her to slow down when she wanted to fly around out of control. Unfortunately I'm not very good at sticking when she bucks. I can ride our warmblood mare's bucks all day, and I've done fine with the occasional buck from other horses... but something about Eva's bucks are just bad news for me.
My biggest concern is trying to make sure that Eva doesn't start to think of bucking as a convenient way to dump her rider and get out of doing what she is being asked to do. Every single time that she has bucked me off, I have calmly caught her, longed her and then gotten back on for another 15-20 minutes to finish the ride. I longe her until she is paying attention to my cues and not flying around out of control, then get back on. I don't work her into the ground, but I do make her work.
Am I doing an adequate job of impressing upon her that "bucking gets you nothing"? I know it would be best if I could just ride out her bucks and continue with business as usual, but that has proved rather challenging. >_< We do have a trainer helping us work with her, but Eva has only tried to buck with the trainer once (fortunately the trainer rode it out). It's not a super common thing. I'm trying to make sure that she doesn't have any reason to do it more often. Ideally she'll figure out that it's not really even worth doing it at all.
don't have any advice about that. but, I think it's a lot harder to stick the bucks , or even the movement, of a small horse. less room for error in that critical center of balance. you'll work it out!
You probably need to think about defusing that bomb before it explodes if you can't ride it out. I have a fear of falling off, so if my horse even starts to hint at being stubborn or bucky, I will get off and do some ground control then, or do some hip disengagements while I am on. Slow everything way down and go back to the step before. I have one horse in my barn who gives up real easy. The other one, you really don't want to start a fight with, so I have to find a way to work with/around her to not butt heads.
If your horse is flying around out of control, that tells me she probably needed a little more ground control before you got on. If you would have put the "I longe her until she is paying attention to my cues and not flying around out of control" before the ride, you might not have had this problem at all.
This all said, it is very challenging to know when she should be longed before being ridden. I don't want to longe before every ride just in case, because I absolutely do not want to become reliant on longeing, nor do I want to be reliant on groundwork. Maybe I'll just longe whenever I'm riding after she's had a day or two off and see how it goes from there...
Also, really pay attention to your self. Are you getting tense as soon as she acts up? she may just be feeding off you. To put it in perspective, I think of it as a fire. Young horses often "spark". they are testing their rider, or scared, or opinionated, so they try to pull something, not knowing what will happen. If you stay calm and/or react decisively in a way that stops the action, they cool off, and move on. If you tense up, get worried, afraid, panic or get angry, you effectively 'fan the flame', the longer this continues, the worse it gets, it often escalates quickly, and the worse it is, the harder it is to 'put out'. Pay very close attention to how you are reacting.
Here's my thoughts, for what they're worth:
I don't like to lunge as such, however, I think groundwork is very important. I much prefer to see lots of changes in direction, giving of both front and hind quarters, backing and flexing to the bit using one rein at a time. I also think it would be a very good idea for you and your horse to learn and practise the one rein stop - it comes in handy for stopping a buck and for asking them to come back from unplanned speed. With green horses, I think it's safest if you do ground work first (every time) then move onto the ridden work; at some point (you'll know when) you reach a point when you diminish the amount of time spent on groundwork to where you eventually only need to do a couple of minutes worth of work to make sure she is in tune with you.
Since she is doing this so sporadically, is it possible that she has some minor pain issues triggered by working a certain length of time? Or is it also possible that she is just getting tired of arena work and acting up?
The one rein stop is amazing! I came off badly on my green SB when he spooked then rodeo bucked me off. A few people on here advised me to teach it to him to give me confidence for if he bucked again.
It workedI had to use it once. He tried to bolt out of an open gate and when when I tried to pull him up he went to buck. Luckily I had practiced it so much myself on reflex as soon as I felt him tense for the buck I put him into the one rein stop.
He learnt two things, he can't just run off cause he wants to and he never tried to buck like that again.
There are plenty of videos on YouTube on it :)
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I agree with Chevaux, it's not particularly about longing, but a "pre-flight check" as I like to call it. And especially with recently backed horses, sometimes they just need a minute to adjust the saddle to their backs before you get on. And if they have days off, they could get a little cold to it.
I just have a filly who appears very, very tame (and she usually is). But she "bottles" up her stress until she can't hold it anymore. At shows I know she has to buck just once on the longeline and she'll be 100% fine for the rest of the day. If I don't get that buck out, she acts out in all kinds of ways. I can't punish her for that buck, she has to just do it and get it out of her system because she's young and has to express that anxiety before she can concentrate on her job.
Just food for thought :)
When I rode a horse that bucked on more than one occasion, believe me it felt the sting of a riding crop behind my leg every time it's butt started leaving the ground. I'd grab the horn because oftentimes the horse will scoot forward and I didn't want to accidently yank it's mouth. There are times we just have to use negative reinforcement.
All this sounds all to familiar :lol: welcome to working with a green horse! I've gone through that a few times myself.
What you want to do when she starts to buck is essentially disengage her hindquarters. What you will want to do is immeditately bend her to the left or right, all the way to touching your leg if needed so it prevents her from throwing another buck. Bending her that way will prevent her from being able to buck. I want to assume that you know there are no teeth or tack problems right? I have a feeling that this might just be a matter of her realizing that you can ride it out and get to stop before she realizes she needs to stop her behavior.
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