Bucking begins when my horse thinks it is time to stop riding...
I have a 5 year old thoroughbred that is an extremely alpha/dominant horse at my barn. Always after about 25 minutes of riding, and not riding that hard he will begin to buck violently. I have checked all my tack and his back. I think it is a matter of he thinks that our session should be over. Because the bucking is so severe I have been switching back and forth from my english saddle to a western. I have to admit while I have not come off YET, it is very intimidating. He seems to do it most often when we are cantering, direction doesn't matter. I have been trying to push him on further to let him know that I decide when we are done, but I usually end up going back to trotting. Should I push on cantering. I know he has a respect issue with me that we have been working on i.e. at first he didn't respect me, but it has come a long way and it is much better now. I remain stern with him and don't let him get away with anything. Any advice or am I on the right track. BTW when he bucks I have recently began stopping him immediately and making him back up until I tell him to halt.
I'm trying to picture the issue. To me bucking violently looks like a rodeo bronc. Must not be that bad right? Not if he hasn't gotten you off. Have you had him all tacked up and lunged him? All gaits? I'm kind of at a loss for words right now til I can get a clearer picture. Have you had his teeth checked? And your sure he isn't sore any where on his body? Hmmm. For now, til you get more info, don't push him. You don't want him to get ahead of you and have to fix more.
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I don't want to offend, but if he'd be bucking violently for while you'd end up on ground. Horses are EXTREMELY good when it comes to dismounting an unwanted rider. :wink: Doesn't matter how good the rider is (well, unless you sharply turn him and do all those tricks to actually stop bucking right away).
I'd suggest more walk/trot/transitions work for while (till he'll have nice, balanced, no-buck trot) before going to the canter again. Very well may be he feels unbalanced and/or restricted and panics.
Have you tried hitting him with a crop on the butt when he bucks? The horse I ride, is a princess and throws a fit when she's had enough of me riding for the day. She doesn't buck, but she rears and kicks out. If I wack her with the crop either on the butt or the neck when she acts up, she stops being a brat and listens to me.
Fortunately, most TB's are not talented buckers. That doesn't mean it isn't a bit intimidating when they do it. I personally would not pick a fight with a TB, especially in winter. I have a similar thread about my own TB going on the training forum. That's a tough one. For a horse that opinionated, maybe the 8 strides game would work. Every 8 strides, do something different. Change gait, direction, do something lateral, etc. It really keeps horses on their toes and makes them wonder what's coming next and puts most of control back on the rider. I'd love to say, just ride it out and keep cantering her until she's ready to drop, but I know I wouldn't have the guts to do it. When my guy pitches a fit, I bring him back to walk and try again. After getting the same result a few times, I switch to something different, usually the above mentioned 8 strides game. Good luck. I need it too!!
Thanks for the quick replys. Mbender- no he is not bucking "Bronco style" but deffinitly nasty thats why I have been putting the western saddle on. He has absolutly no health issues, and has had his teeth floated about 8 months ago. I do lunge him fully tacked up. ErikaKLynn- I have tried the crop and he explodes when I pop him, rearing and bucking.... I came off last time I popped him and ended with a hoof skid mark down my belly. I guess I will just keep doing transitions, and taking it slow. Kitten_Val- I am still working on getting him balanced at all times. Often at the trot he will track short, and he is heavy on his front end because the riding arena is sand and deep at parts in which I try to avoid... but there is nothing I can do about the riding arena, it is a constant frustration, the sand that is.
*IF* you are absolutely sure it isn't pain related or a saddle fit issue, I would ride the absolute snot out of him. If it takes two hours then so be it. I would do this each time he pulls that stunt and then when he is well behaved, give him an easy ride.
Also, if you come off, I wouldn't advise popping him from the ground, he won't associate his bucking with your punishment, horses minds don't work that way. If you are going to use the crop for this issue it has to come from the saddle, preferably behind the saddle also, not the shoulder.
I realised that my first post was somewhat vague so I thought I would add to it.
First of all, being an alpha horse in the barn doesn't translate to being a dominant horse under saddle. The only reason I am mentioning this to you is because if you have in your mind that he is an alpha horse and that is why his behaviour is so bad, you have JUST made the first 'excuse' for his behaviour. So firstly, get that thought safely out of your mind.
Now, if you are going to ask for a canter and he bucks, he still ABSOLUTELY must canter. If you stop him and go back to a trot straight away - he has won that round. If you don't feel he is ready to canter, don't ask for it. Trot him until you feel he is responsive enough and/or worn out enough.
What I would do (and believe me I have done this with many a TB off the track) is get out of the arena for a bit and find somewhere with a bit of space - trails or a large pasture/field. To do this with a bucking horse will require you to be able to sit quite a few bucks and not be bothered by it so totally up to you as to wheter you want to try it or not. I would take a crop and use the saddle that best fits your horse so that you can eliminate another 'excuse' for him.
Now for the hard part- Once he is warmed up, ask for that canter transition. If he bucks he gets a good smack on the bum but he MUST canter. Once he is cantering smoothly - keep going! This can take some time/space hence why I like to do it out of the arena. Sometimes for a young horse, particularly if they are off the track, it is hard to get a nice smooth canter in only 60m but if you give them adequate space they will sort themselves out.
Once he is cantering nicely for more than 20 strides, tell him he is a good boy, move down to the trot and give him a break of a couple minutes to catch his breath. Then do it again. Same principal - buck = smack, smooth canter = have a rest for a bit. Do this until he does at least 10 trot - canter transitions without even hinting at a buck!
The next time you get on him, same thing. Some horses I have had have worked it out pretty quickly and quit that type of behaviour after the first ride or two. Others take a few rides. The very first ride that you ask for a walk-trot-canter and he does all three both directions without bucking - tell him he is a good boy, jump off and put him away.
Stay safe and I hope you can sort him out!
I know that everyone asks this but I want an honest answer, not a 'yes' just because you ride in it all the time and couldn't be bothered getting it checked out and just think it fits, but, are you ABSOLUTELY 100% dead set certain that your saddle fits him like a glove? Because if your saddle is pinching him anywhere, he is totally within his right to buck to remove the discomfort. If the saddle is pinching behind his shoulders this would be a good reason for the bucking in canter, as in canter he has to open the shoulders and if he is being trapped by the saddle, being a sensitive tb he may very well freak out about it.
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