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Horse bucking, could it be anxiety?

This is a discussion on Horse bucking, could it be anxiety? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Horse squealing bucking excitement
  • Horse bucking when anxious

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    08-28-2012, 11:29 PM
  #11
Weanling
I know what you mean, my horse can't be 'held' either, without things getting worse, but I find if her back is facing the 'issue' I don't HAVE to hold her, she'll stand on a loose rein. It might be worth trying with your friend who has the horse who slow canters, so they don't really get very far away while you're trying it, and can hear you and come back if you shout to them.
     
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    08-28-2012, 11:30 PM
  #12
Trained
Pheonix, you need to only ride with people that will work with you until you get all this sorted out. Those folks are going to get you hurt.
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    08-28-2012, 11:41 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I only have any bucking when he is behind a cantering horse. Never in arena or on lungeline, though I havne't really lunged him yet, only round penned.
I now only have bucking when the cantering horse is getting away, if he's keeping up he's happy. Horses are odd aren't they. I also taught Phoenix to ground drive and I make him canter in the arena hooked up to the lines, he knows not to buck with lines near his legs or he'd get all tangled up, he does pretty well. I'd love to get him a little buggy and drive him.

If I round pen or free lunge Phoenix I can almost guarantee a few bucks to start with, mostly him being a git about not wanting to put in effort or him getting that spring out of his step. Once he realizes that no he can't stop and yes he has to keep going he settles down. There have been a few occasions when this realization came with big bucks, squeals and running around like a tool for 20 minutes but that happens mostly when its cold.

Hmm, so when you're out on trail and the lead horse canters your horse bucks? Does he stop to buck or buck while moving? Does he do it more than once or does he settle down once he's going?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste    
If he is bucking because he figures it will get him out of work, and if you are pretty good at hanging on, maybe rather than slow him down when he bucks, you should push him forward. Bucking is a lot more trouble than cantering.

Abby (the horse I talked about earlier) just gets too excited. She would prefer to bolt off like a maniac and leave all the others in the dust when they canter. She can keep on like a maniac for a long time.
He used to pull that trick but I think i've got that out of him for the most part now. He knows now that if he bucks while either being lunged or ridden that i'll either urge him on or ride it out. Although I have to say he never offers a buck when I ride him in the arena, not anymore and not for a long while. Now it's just out on trail. I haven't actually asked him to canter with the group yet, i'm working up to that, he trots while everyone canters and he's happy with this. His stride is long and he doesn't get tired out.

I might try a little experiment (and hope I don't fall off) next time I ride with my friend. I'll ask her to canter off with her horse maybe 2 lengths away. If he bucks i'll try to ask him to move forward and see what reaction I get. I'll of course let my friend know what i'm doing so she can stop if I tell her to. If it is anxiety about being left does anyone think doing some exercises at the walk and trot would help, maybe have the lead horse walk faster away, trot away and then build it up to cantering away?

When the trainer came out he did exercises like that with us and used his horse to walk/trot/canter away and phoenix was fine. Maybe because he didn't know the horse. He did however react badly when the trainer and another horse in front cantered off without warning, luckily he dipped his head and gave me enough time to turn him and stop the buck.
     
    08-28-2012, 11:46 PM
  #14
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by calicokatt    
I know what you mean, my horse can't be 'held' either, without things getting worse, but I find if her back is facing the 'issue' I don't HAVE to hold her, she'll stand on a loose rein. It might be worth trying with your friend who has the horse who slow canters, so they don't really get very far away while you're trying it, and can hear you and come back if you shout to them.
Good idea. I'll try it out when i'm next out with her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste    
Pheonix, you need to only ride with people that will work with you until you get all this sorted out. Those folks are going to get you hurt.
Oh I know, I tend to skip the bigger barn rides and if I know someone is going who isn't going to listen to me I skip. I've also been known to give people i'm riding with a little Phoenix 101 before we head out, mainly I tell everyone if I yell STOP everyone needs to do it. I also make sure I ask people if they plan on cantering and either ask then to give me fair warning so I can get behind the slower horse or I just don't go. There's no sense in me risking my safety or that of the other riders.

I do get laughed at by some of the barn members (the BO and her bf if i'm honest), I really don't think they believe me that he can be like this; he's so nice in the barn and in the pasture and n walk/trot trails he's an angel but occasionally hell loose his nut and he could really hurt me or someone else.
     
    08-28-2012, 11:50 PM
  #15
Yearling
Phoenix, I'm not any help dealing with the bucking under saddle, but I have a caution for you if you decide to break Phoenix to a cart. A bucking horse between two cart shafts is a serious wreck that could kill both of you. He could break the shafts, impale himself, flip the cart with you in it, and/or fall backwards onto you...My imagination runs wild. This is a really bad scene and you shouldn't break him to drive until he is done with his bucking phase. If, for example, it turns out that weight on his back is causing the bucking, then driving might be okay!
     
    08-28-2012, 11:56 PM
  #16
Weanling
I honestly wouldn't know the first thing about breaking him for a cart so it'll probably never happen. I haven't even tried him pulling anything. A trainer I worked for a few years back said the weight on his back was causing the bucking so that's why I taught him to ground drive too, he was a retired pasture puff for about 2 years because his bucking issues had gotten so bad. Looking at him now he's like a different horse.

It's always in the back of my mind that if I can't get the issue resolved and he becomes a danger to me or other people he'll go back into retirement without a second thought. For now at least he's doing well on slow trails with not much excitement. If I have to ask my friends to take one or two trails a week where they don't canter I doubt they'll be too bothered. So for now at least I have other options than a cart.
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    08-29-2012, 12:22 AM
  #17
Weanling
Out of curiosity, is he low man on the totem pole, or the big bad boss? My mare is the boss mare, and is at her worst if I let any of her 'herd' in front of her, but not nearly so bad if its horses she doesn't know in front of her (still bad, but not the same, and getting better all the time).
     
    08-29-2012, 03:04 AM
  #18
Foal
You said that you ride on trails that are connected to your barn. Have you done any riding where you have to trailer away? My horse is an awesome trail horse but he will get obnoxious (not a bucker though) if I take him on my barn trails, really only when it's just him and I. The thought of riding away from his home and back to it sticks in his head. He'll try a stupid fast walk on the way home and attempt to jig if I hold him back and try to slow it down. And he's more hyper and not as aware of me or his surroundings.

What ways have you attempted to canter on the trail? Have you tried being first? Cantering beside another horse so that he isn't "winning" or "getting left behind"? Cantering up a nice hill where he has to work a little (though I can see some bucking potential in that)? Have you considered ponying him off of another horse on some rides? With/without a rider. Are you holding him back when he is bucking? Have you tried to move him forward towards the other horses when he starts? Is it just when a horse gets a little further away in front of him? I also personally would stick with smaller groups of people that I trust and have calm, responsive horses that will stop when needed and won't aggravate his behavior. One other horse is great. Though I was going with about 4 to 6 people with my horse when I first starting trail riding him. But my trainer was with us. He would jig, back, pull on the reins, that sort of thing (he sat in a field for a few years before I got him and had an extended riding/working vacation).

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    08-29-2012, 07:10 AM
  #19
Green Broke
I just skimmed thru the posts. A lot comes to mind. It could very well be your horse is bucking because he's anxious or nervous. It sounds like he is herd bound and lacking respect for you. He doesn't look to you for guidance.

A lot of this problem is yours to fix but part of it is with your friends. Do they let the horse break into a canter when the horse wants or are they asking for it? Either way, it's not respectful to the other riders if they don't say that they are going to take off.

I've worked with several horses that get jiggy and/or buck on the trail. I'll suggest some things for you to do. Note that not all things will work for every horse. Also I don't know how comfortable you would be doing these.

First, take him out on some solo rides. This will help him understand it's ok to be away from other horses.

When he does buck, what do you do to correct him? Get him to stop bucking and let him catch up to the other horses? Or do you make him work a little and then go the pace you want? I'm going to guess the first.

What I've done is put their butt to work doing circles and backing until they forget that the other horses are even there and pay attention to me. Now since you need the other riders stop for you, that seems like it might be out of your comfort zone to do. Only if I am having great difficulties keeping the horse in control, then I would want the other riders to stop, but that's just me. You could try having him face the other direction, away from your friends, until he stands calmly. Then turn and WALK to your friends. I try to never let a horse run to catch up to other riders. If I do, I make them go past before slowing down or slow down to a walk before I get close to them. Otherwise you are creating the habit of letting the horse run back to the "herd". Another thing you could try is turning away and instead of just standing and facing away, make him move away. If and when he stops being jiggy, then turn back towards your friends. If they get to be quite a distance from you, let your horse go thru different transitions on the way back. Walk, trot, walk, canter, walk and so on. Only let him go at the selected pace for about 5 strides then change. He will get what he wants, back to the other horses but will start listening to you better.

Another thing I have done is ride away from the group on a side trail that rejoins the main trail. Or if possible, go of the trail just a little bit. Then get back on with the group.

One thing I teach our horses is that I, or whomever is riding, is the one that chooses the speed. If they try to speed up on their own, they get shut down real quick. It shouldn't matter if a bunch of horses ran full speed past, unless I say for them to go faster, they should keep going the pace I chose.

One last thing, I think you taking him out and doing a lot of transitions will help you and him.
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    08-29-2012, 09:42 AM
  #20
Showing
The squeal denotes exhuberance. Had a mare that would squeal and buck after a swim. She wasn't trying to get me off, she just felt so good. I never got after her for it. On the other hand she'd let out a dirty buck if pushed too hard. I didn't get after her then either because it was my fault and it was her way of telling me. When on a ride with others it goes much better if the horses are allowed to find their own place in the line.
     

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