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Discussion Starter #1
Been debating whether I should ask because I'm 90% sure I'm just being too worried, but I figure it's better to be sure.

Anyway, I took my 6-yo cross country a week or so ago. He's been on a cross country course before but only walking and he sort of threatened to buck back then too (tossing his head, trying to spin around).

He did it this time too. The first time was going downhill, and he tried to run out away from home, and when I didn't let him he sort of hopped a bit. I just pushed him on and he stopped. He tried it again in the same place after I'd cantered him, except actual bucking. Another time after we went up a hill & I was unbalanced...and I think he did it once when I was about to go down one of those ditches.

He wasn't trying to get me off or anything, I'm just a bit confused as to why he kept bucking all throughout the session. I'd expect that he's stop after he's realized that it won't work...we had poles & grid before and flat after and he was ok in them.

Should I be doing anything to get him to stop? Is it pain? Could it be because I was really unbalanced?
 

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Short answer, no it's not 'normal' and I'd be thinking there might be a physical prob - whether he's got a body issue, saddle's hurting him or simply something like you're imbalanced.

Long answer... not enough info to say. Are you jumping him or only practicing the rest of the course? How fast are you going when he does it? How much have you ridden him otherwise & how(eg trails, hills, speed, or just arena) & does he only do this at a x-country course? If you're doing the same kind of riding elsewhere & he only does it on a x-country course, then that cuts down the likelihood it's a physical/pain issue...
 

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Short answer, no it's not 'normal' and I'd be thinking there might be a physical prob - whether he's got a body issue, saddle's hurting him or simply something like you're imbalanced.

Long answer... not enough info to say. Are you jumping him or only practicing the rest of the course? How fast are you going when he does it? How much have you ridden him otherwise & how(eg trails, hills, speed, or just arena) & does he only do this at a x-country course? If you're doing the same kind of riding elsewhere & he only does it on a x-country course, then that cuts down the likelihood it's a physical/pain issue...
I am jumping him, yes. Mostly trotting, I cantered him a couple steps before the jump once or twice. I ride him 3 or 4 times a week, in the arena and on trail rides. On trail rides I do walk and trot, alone and with groups up to 4. He has only bucked recently on the cross country course. However, earlier this year he bucked at a show and when I brought him back during spring, he did some tiny bucks in the canter.
 

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So esp if you're jumping him, I'd want to absolutely rule out physical probs first, but if you're jumping etc elsewhere & he only does it on a course/show then I'd imagine it's more likely 'behavioural'. Be it that he's nervous or stressed or excited in that environment, or whatever.
 

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Ruling out physical issues is definitely a good place to start, like loosie has said. Whether it is normal, really depends. Your horse is young and inexperienced (it seems?) with cross country. It wouldn't be abnormal for a young, inexperienced horse to get excited and buck the first time they get to 'run' on the cross country field. Does your horse appear agitated when he bucks, pinning his ears or any other telling behaviors? Or does he do so when you are holding him back and does he seem excited?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like behavior/rider issues to me, not pain. Quite common for horses to get silly when out in the open. Sounds like he's getting excited and you aren't riding him through it correctly.
How would you suggest riding through it?
 

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I'm not going to say you shouldn't rule out pain related problems but its most probably down to excitement and feeling a bit over whelmed because its all new.

That sort of behavior usually goes away when the novelty wears off provided you don't let it become a big deal.
The best way to avoid that is to continue to ride him through the bucks and keep on riding him so he has to learn to accept that its just another days work.

Some horses just do it as tension release or high spirits and poor self control and they never get out of it, I've had plenty like that. To be honest I never really let it bother me.
 

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I've galloped through the woods and over fallen trees and natural obstacles in my past...
Otherwise, no official training in cross-country...
So take this with a not much experience or know-how... :|

It though occurs to me that the horse doesn't know how to balance and go down hill with a rider astride, nor up hill with a rider astride and use their body correctly...regardless of the speed or gait.

Whether this is from pain, injury or what have you...
No, it is not normal, against the anything I've seen a horse willingly doing with no just cause...
Young and excitable...sure, let some bucks fly.
Put in up grade or down...
Yea, no something isn't right.
Even at a walk and you hit resistance, felt the coil of a buck and indeed think you had a buck going uphill...
Evasion and run out and tried to run home...

Something is wrong...
Whether it is a training issue or pain issue is what you need to discover.
Just my take in what you shared.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ruling out physical issues is definitely a good place to start, like loosie has said. Whether it is normal, really depends. Your horse is young and inexperienced (it seems?) with cross country. It wouldn't be abnormal for a young, inexperienced horse to get excited and buck the first time they get to 'run' on the cross country field. Does your horse appear agitated when he bucks, pinning his ears or any other telling behaviors? Or does he do so when you are holding him back and does he seem excited?
Honestly I can't really remember what he was like, it was quite quick and afterward he was perfectly normal. Next time we go I'll pay more attention. If it helps my trainer said that it was the most half-hearted bucks she'd ever seen haha.

More work, take advantage of the hills and work him up them at a canter until he is puffed - then work him back down them.

I agree with ApuetsoT, more excitement and you holding him back leading to him being frustrated.
We did a bit of canters up the hill and he was really good doing it and just after, so I think that will be good to do more of :D

I'm not going to say you shouldn't rule out pain related problems but its most probably down to excitement and feeling a bit over whelmed because its all new.

That sort of behavior usually goes away when the novelty wears off provided you don't let it become a big deal.
The best way to avoid that is to continue to ride him through the bucks and keep on riding him so he has to learn to accept that its just another days work.

Some horses just do it as tension release or high spirits and poor self control and they never get out of it, I've had plenty like that. To be honest I never really let it bother me.
I hope it is this! Honestly if this is the worst he does, I reckon he'll be a great cross country pony haha!
 

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I hope it is this! Honestly if this is the worst he does, I reckon he'll be a great cross country pony haha!
I hope so too.
The best ones I had were also the most challenging to begin with, though when I decided to reinvent my sons 14.2 as a hunting pony for me when he outgrew him he never got out of the part trick of standing on his hind legs when we weren’t moving and he used to spend the first half hour fly bucking.
He was the still probably the best little hunter I ever rode, he’d be up the front with the best and no jump ever phased him.
 

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No, not normal. Always good to rule out the physical but it sounds like behavior. Behaviors can escalate and it really can have as much to do with the rider. I've watched horses go through XC runs flawlessly and put a different rider and have bucks, refusals, evasions. Look at both you and the pony. Talk to the trainer who is your eyes on the ground about getting you through this. We can all give advice but not being there and only going by what is written could well mean we are off base.
 

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For some horses bucking on xc can be a normal reaction when they haven’t been out in a while and the sense of freedom and open spaces can get to their heads. Usually the first couple times I take my horse out at the beginning of the season he’ll add once a few bucks on xc just to let me know he’s feeling excited and a bit fresh. Usually he’ll settle down after a couple outings but every now and again when we get a bit faster he’ll add in the occasional buck. I’d make sure that your horse hasn’t got any body/back issues to rule out pain as a cause of bucking first but I think it could likely be because he’s just excited.
 
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