Horse bucks on trails - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-08-2014, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Horse bucks on trails

Okay so I'm helping my instructor bring this horse back into work, but he has an issue with trails.

Bailey is close to 20 thoroughbred gelding. He has competed in eventing up to
novice level. Last year he broke his patella (kneecap), was on stall rest for 4 months, almost had to be put down. Vet didn't think he would ever be desirable again. He's back to full flat work! (Yay!) However we've been trying to do some trail work. To do hill work and get him out. On the trails he's fine at the walk, but when we trot he bucks. He bucked me off today in the apple orchards. I got back on and we trotted a 20 meter circle and then walked for the rest of the trail. I tried trotting again in the same spot on the way back, but he bucked again. I didn't fall off, I had him trot a couple steps, so I brought him back to walk before he could do anything. Once we got back to the barn I trotted and cantered Bailey in the ring.

My instructor warned me that he's not good on the trails. Bailey is really obedient
In the ring. He was really bad and bucked all the time when he was younger, now he only bucks in the indoor or on trails.

what do you think I should do? Should I just not do trails? What should I have done differently?
I'm the only one riding him really. I ride him 3-4 days per week in the ring. I just want him to be calm and well mannered on trails.

(I'm sorry for my grammar errors. Mobile is not being nice to me.)


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post #2 of 14 Old 08-08-2014, 11:54 PM
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Did he put his head down and go to serious bucking? or was it more of a kicking up the heels crow hop?

I have a 20 year old gelding who often kicks up his heels and gets just a little froggy when anybody asks him to speed up into a trot or canter. I seriously think he is just happy to get going. I've never suspected him of trying to throw the rider. It's more of when give him that nudge to go, He's Whoopeee! Let's go.

My daughters have come to expect it and are prepared for it when they ask him to speed up. Strangers riding him, seem to get caught off guard and think he's going to buck. He has never gone into serious bucking, just that little crow hop and then off to work he goes.

If he is going into serious bucking when you ask for speed. Get ready before you ask and pull that head around as soon as he starts to act up. Make him dance with the sage brush every time he starts that nonsense and he will quickly learn that doesn't have to work so hard if he behaves.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 12:19 AM
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why don't you just ride him in the arena, do what he can, and when you go on the trails, just walk. it really depends on how much energy you want to put out in trying to work with him. '

personally, I might be inclined to just let him be an arena horse, and cut him a lot of slack otherwise and make trail riding just for relaxation.
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 01:12 AM
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At 20 years old and with a recent significant injury I am wondering if pain is the issue.

I know he is good in the arena but maybe the uneven and harder footing is putting more stress on his knee and making it painful to trot?
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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He does serious bucking. He may do crow hopping too. But most of the time it's serious 'trying to throw the rider' bucking.

I don't think it's the ground either. I ride him in the grassy, uneven field next to the arena and he's fine there.

I just feel like he bucks when he doesn't want to do something, like how he bucks because he doesn't like the indoor.

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post #6 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 04:08 PM
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First thing I'd check is saddle fit and/or sore back or girth.

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post #7 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 04:47 PM
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Being 20 you'll be hard pressed to fix these issues without being incredibly experienced.

Honestly, I would consider an over-check. That way he can't get his head low enough to really buck. It would be easier for you to control him, correct him, and sit his bucks.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 05:23 PM
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"I would consider an over-check"

You have to be kidding. 9 out of 10 times an over-check on a bucking horse will force them to rear and go over backwards. That's really going from the frying pan to the fire.
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bbsmfg3 View Post
"I would consider an over-check"

You have to be kidding. 9 out of 10 times an over-check on a bucking horse will force them to rear and go over backwards. That's really going from the frying pan to the fire.
Absolutely not if you introduce it correctly and let it have just enough slack.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-21-2014, 01:52 AM
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I have an older horse that bucks as well. Previous owner allowed him to do it and thought it was fun. I'm left to "fix it". He also does the kick out - more like a crow hop kick out but you never know how hard it is going to be. A few weeks ago, he threw his head down and bucked me off. Broke my helmet and left me with a mild concussion. If everything is PERFECT for him in the environment, he's great. If not, we have issues and he can be pretty scary to ride.
I have worked with him for just over a year and it's not getting much better. I'm calling it quits with him.
I don't want to get hurt anymore. I think a person who is way more confident and tougher than me can ride him and might think he's a great ride.
I did put one of the straps oh him to keep his head up, that made matters worse. he crow hopped really bad because when we came to a water crossing and he couldn't put his head all the way down to look where he was going, OMG.... totally freaked him out. I rode in the arena with it and he was fine. But then again, he's always fine in the arena. NOTHING phases him in there.
A bucking horse is dangerous. My friend just got bucked off hers and she now has a fractured shoulder - awaiting surgery for it and a messed up knee.
I would say to play it safe and just walk him on the trails and do what you can in the arena.
I HATE just walking on the trails and so does my horse. He gets all antsy. So, for me, it's time to move on.
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