The Horse Forum banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought this mare and her background is unknown, I was told she had a bucking issue in the past and now I believe it. She's done this one other time on the lunge line but this is the first time she's done it under saddle. Essentially she'll be trotting along just fine, trip/stumble, and then immediately explode bucking. She caught me off guard and was able to throw me yesterday and continued to run down the arena like a bronc. When I went to catch her she was trembling with fear and her eye-whites were showing. I assume she's done this with a previous owner and got punished for it but I don't think it was intentional, I think she just panicked and starting bucking. The problem is I'm not sure what set her off or how to fix it? any ideas? she's been looked at by a vet and doesn't have any obvious lameness issues or back soreness, her saddle fits fine and doesn't seem to bother her usually.

Lucky I had my camera set up so I caught the whole thing on video, feel free to laugh, I'm a little sore but no serious injuries
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Wow! She really exploded. I didn't see any warning either. Glad you didn't get hurt. Boy, she really gives you something to look forward to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow! She really exploded. I didn't see any warning either. Glad you didn't get hurt. Boy, she really gives you something to look forward to.
Right?! didn't even give me a chance to try and hold on. I'm hoping it's fear based, and with some good experiences she'll learn she's not going to get punished and it will resolve, otherwise I'm at a total loss lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
681 Posts
Horses don't do anything randomly. They act on history. From your description the trip/stumble seems to be at the root of the reaction. If there was a way to find out what caused the trip/stumble you might be on the road to a solution.

I'm just basing my comment on the information given so far........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
I have experience with this sort of thing. If you can figure out what is spooking her and expose her to it more without being under saddle, that would be helpful. Unfortunately, it could be something like the way the saddle shifts or the bit rattles in her mouth. For the worst fear bucker I had, a ring martingale was very helpful. I can't tell what bit you are using, but I assume a snaffle. You need something without leverage to use with the martingale.
Deluxe 10 Ring Training Martingale | Arabian Work Tack Big Dee's Horse Tack & Vet Supplies

If you really want to do this, you'll have to be ready for it to happen, and also have great timing. When the horse rears, you have to lean forward and give rein, but be ready immediately when she comes back down to use the martingale.

That is something I saw in the video, which was you were not with the horse and unprepared for rearing, so you fell off backward. You'll want to thread the reins through one of the rings that is not too low because you'll use it to keep her from putting her head down to buck, and break the cycle. But you have to release immediately so she doesn't feel trapped and let her go forward so she doesn't try to rear again. It is very tricky and dangerous.

You also have to be ready in case she goes over backward, and frankly the way you were stuck in the tack and hanging, you would have been smashed if she did. It's always better with spooky or problem horses to be leaning too far forward with your feet forward (but not stuck in the stirrups) than to be leaning too far back.
You will want to lunge her while wearing the martingale first, so she gets used to its movement and sound. You'll also want to attach it to the saddle somehow so it doesn't fall down over her neck if she puts it down.

I'd make sure she was really, really used to that arena before you ride in it again, and try to avoid days that are stormy. Perhaps turn her out in there and also do more lunging with the saddle and bridle on so she gets used to all the sights and sounds. Be sure to evaluate her tack thoroughly and make sure the bit fits her really well, and for example it doesn't pinch the corner of her mouth. You might want to try something like a D ring that is very stable in the mouth just to be sure. I can't tell if you have a back cinch on the saddle, but if you do I'd be sure to take that off in case it is touching her and causing the issue. Also make sure her cinch is very comfortable and not rubbing her elbows anywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Horses don't do anything randomly. They act on history. From your description the trip/stumble seems to be at the root of the reaction. If there was a way to find out what caused the trip/stumble you might be on the road to a solution.

I'm just basing my comment on the information given so far........
I agree! I’ve only had her since December, she came off a feedlot and this is probably my 6th ride on her. Hopefully I can figure out exactly what triggered it. It was definitely fear based so I spent a lot of time just petting her and calming her down after
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Do you mean by she came off a feedlot that she was working as a pen rider's horse in a feedlot or was she being fattened?
 

·
Banned
Snickers- Seal brown and white pinto mare
Joined
·
243 Posts
I recently bought this mare and her background is unknown, I was told she had a bucking issue in the past and now I believe it. She's done this one other time on the lunge line but this is the first time she's done it under saddle. Essentially she'll be trotting along just fine, trip/stumble, and then immediately explode bucking. She caught me off guard and was able to throw me yesterday and continued to run down the arena like a bronc. When I went to catch her she was trembling with fear and her eye-whites were showing. I assume she's done this with a previous owner and got punished for it but I don't think it was intentional, I think she just panicked and starting bucking. The problem is I'm not sure what set her off or how to fix it? any ideas? she's been looked at by a vet and doesn't have any obvious lameness issues or back soreness, her saddle fits fine and doesn't seem to bother her usually.

Lucky I had my camera set up so I caught the whole thing on video, feel free to laugh, I'm a little sore but no serious injuries
Whew! Those are some big bucks -the bucking fit I mean 😁! Maybe you could try restarting her? Maybe try desensitiIng? She might be spooking or- not trying to be rude or anything- maybe the last owner abused her?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Do you mean by she came off a feedlot that she was working as a pen rider's horse in a feedlot or was she being fattened?
She was the feed lol, I don’t think many of his horses actually ship but he had at least 100 head of horses that he buys at auction
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Whew! Those are some big bucks -the bucking fit I mean 😁! Maybe you could try restarting her? Maybe try desensitiIng? She might be spooking or- not trying to be rude or anything- maybe the last owner abused her?
She is a restart project, this was like her 5th or 6th ride after 2 months of groundwork and desensitization
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Oh my! Thank goodness you were unhurt. It’s amazing how you were able to bounce back to your feet so quickly and also that you caught it on camera - probably seemed like a lot longer than the couple of seconds it was. The one time I got bucked off, the head going down was the sign I missed. That gave him enough leverage to get the hind legs up and build momentum resulting in a rocking horse explosive bucking situation. So any tips around keeping the head up probably help make the mechanics unfavourable for bucking. But identifying the triggers and desensitizing are also important. A professional trainer might be helpful. From what I read before once a horse knows they can get you off they can buck more explosively so it’s possible the next one could be faster and more dangerous. Could you line up some support from someone experienced with bucking horses?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh my! Thank goodness you were unhurt. It’s amazing how you were able to bounce back to your feet so quickly and also that you caught it on camera - probably seemed like a lot longer than the couple of seconds it was. The one time I got bucked off, the head going down was the sign I missed. That gave him enough leverage to get the hind legs up and build momentum resulting in a rocking horse explosive bucking situation. So any tips around keeping the head up probably help make the mechanics unfavourable for bucking. But identifying the triggers and desensitizing are also important. A professional trainer might be helpful. From what I read before once a horse knows they can get you off they can buck more explosively so it’s possible the next one could be faster and more dangerous. Could you line up some support from someone experienced with bucking horses?
I train for a living, currently have about 6 client horses I’m regularly riding. Honestly the bucking doesn’t bother me too much, now that I know what to expect I’m not too worried about it. It’s definitely fear based (meaning I don’t think she’s trying to get me off, she just panics because she’s scared and I happened to not be prepared) I’m just not sure what exactly sets her off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,061 Posts
Wow, I wouldn't have the guts to ride a horse that bucks like that. Please be careful! I didn't see any warning there at all. If that is a habit, I'm sure that's how she ended up at the feedlot. :( Work with her if you must, but she's not worth getting killed over either.

I've had horses over 20 years, and granted, they have all been pretty gentle trail horses, but I have never had a horse explode into bucking like that. Little bucks if they get corrected for something, maybe a little buck if they get excited cantering with another horse, or a little hop sideways if they spook, but never a horse that actually bucked like a bronc. Even my greenie that I rehomed for spooking, never did anything near as dangerous as that. I guess what I'm saying is, be careful. You didn't create this problem and you don't want to killed or crippled trying to fix it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,061 Posts
I train for a living, currently have about 6 client horses I’m regularly riding. Honestly the bucking doesn’t bother me too much, now that I know what to expect I’m not too worried about it. It’s definitely fear based (meaning I don’t think she’s trying to get me off, she just panics because she’s scared and I happened to not be prepared) I’m just not sure what exactly sets her off.
Glad to hear you have a lots of experience (more than me). But still, be careful she doesn't flip over on you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
I train for a living, currently have about 6 client horses I’m regularly riding. Honestly the bucking doesn’t bother me too much, now that I know what to expect I’m not too worried about it. It’s definitely fear based (meaning I don’t think she’s trying to get me off, she just panics because she’s scared and I happened to not be prepared) I’m just not sure what exactly sets her off.
My guess is that she was on the feed lot because of this issue. I would certainly be concerned about it if I were you, because it is likely to happen a few more times and the only way to fix it will be if you can stay on and keep riding until her fear lessens enough for her to stop the behavior. As for what sets her off, it could be dozens of different things. For my fear bucker it was a sound, a sight, a movement.

The problem is that they go to panic in an instant. What they need to learn is how to get over that claustrophobia and understand they won't get hurt. But part of what reinforces the fear is the rider falling off and scaring them. You are right to not punish the behavior, that will make it worse.

The bucking thankfully is not that bad if you are a good rider - she doesn't kick up the back end but only stiff-legged humps around in a pretty straight line. Horses that twist and alternate lowering the head with kicking up the legs behind them are worse. The biggest concern would be that her first reaction is rearing high, so you can't get control of her head there without potentially flipping her and killing yourself. This should worry you quite a bit.

If you can't ride that first rear, then I wonder if you should try riding her for a while with someone lunging her. With an experienced person on her head, you might be able to have them keep her a bit lower for you during that initial rear, so you can deal with the bucking.

Probably the safest thing would be to make a dummy to put on her and lunge her with it. Have you tried that yet? This can help a fear bucker, if they learn the dummy will stay with them and not fall off, and deal with the movement and sound. This horse has probably had very little experience with a rider and will probably feel claustrophobia and the need to get the rider off every time she is gets a sudden fright. For some horses you can ride them until they get so scared the instinct kicks in that tells them there is a mountain lion on their back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
681 Posts
Has the link to the video in the first post been removed? It has never showed up for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
I train for a living, currently have about 6 client horses I’m regularly riding. Honestly the bucking doesn’t bother me too much, now that I know what to expect I’m not too worried about it. It’s definitely fear based (meaning I don’t think she’s trying to get me off, she just panics because she’s scared and I happened to not be prepared) I’m just not sure what exactly sets her off.
That’s great you have the skills to work through it! And wonderful for this horse that you can help her through it over time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
681 Posts
This problem sort of brought up the concept of 'trigger stacking' that I read about. As explained, a person is watching a scary horror movie with their state of fear arousal being elevated higher and higher and then the phone rings and they go through the roof, when otherwise the phone could ring all day without a problem.

So in this case, the explosive reaction of the movie viewer was set off by a non scary event that put them over threshold.

This makes me wonder if the horse is actually building up in fear threshold but suppressing outward signs of the fear until some small thing like a stumble triggers it.

Heart rate is usually elevated with fear so a heart rate monitor might help in pinpointing the fear escalation before it goes over threshold if there are no subtle outward signs which would allow the events to be moderated below threshold until desensitized or counter conditioned.

Just some out of the box thinking that may or may not be of any use...............
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,677 Posts
My worry would be that you bought her I assume with the intent of putting time on her and reselling. This is not a horse I would consider trustworthy to sell without disclosure of her behavior.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top