Bucking scored second in replies for my question on your #1 challenge with your horse. So, plop down in a chair and peruse this relatively short read.
I’ve chosen a few out of the many replies people wrote about their horse bucking to start with.
1. While perfect 95% of the time, on any given day my horse will bolt up a narrow switchback trail and I can’t stop him as he has the meanest face, shakes his head and threatens to buck me off. So, it’s Mrs. Toad’s wild ride until we get to the top and he’s perfect again.
2. When I cue for a lope, she crow-hops and gallops off. It’s happened so often I’m afraid of becoming unbalanced. So, now I tense and stop her. I’m having trouble trusting her and relaxing.
3. I had a horse buck me off twice, got knocked out with a concussion and he always bucked when I got on or off. Now, I’m uncomfortable getting on or off my other horses.
4. My dream horse humps his back when I mount and has bucked and then reared. I’m frightened and bale off and then hurt myself.
5. My horse kicks and bucks if I ask him to do anything but walk on the trail.
6. My biggest challenge is getting my horse to canter or gallop without bucking. I’ve had him since he was 10 months old and he’s 16 now.
Getting bucked off or knowing that your horse is planning on bucking you off or anything close are terribly scary situations. If you’ve been reading my blog or newsletter for any length of time, you know I HATE bucking. Mandatory capitol letters. My goal is to do the proper work with the horse so that he never wants to buck me off. But, that’s not where many people are with their horsemanship, so I offer a change of mindset (go to my Success Store tab) to cure this very common, but joy-killing issue.
Now, please be assured that I’m not making fun of any of the people here, but I am going to have fun with my responses. I believe that humor makes learning more fun.
While on very rare occasions a horse may buck with no prior notice, generally speaking the horse has indicated by attitude, ears, eyes, teeth, muscles, position, etc. that he doesn’t like what’s going on, then ups it to “hey, knock that off or else”, then “now, you’ve really pissed me off” and finally “since you’re NOT LISTENING, I’m going to have to get your attention by removing your ass from my back.”
Let’s start with my response to the first response.
I’m going to say right off the bat that the writer’s idea of perfect is seriously flawed. A horse with that type of story already knows that the rider can’t stop him. The absence of bucking, running off, mean face and all that goes with that is not the definition of perfect. By the very act of calling the horse’s other behavior perfect, the rider eliminates the need to fix it. If, also, the person isn’t skilled enough to take effective action before and/or during the problem, there is no way to teach the horse that that behavior isn’t going to cut it because the horse IS getting away with it. This doesn’t make the horse wrong – it makes him right.
In order to remedy this, the rider would need to learn what exercises to do to set the horse and rider up for working thru this type of instance and how to get good enough to implement them under trying times. However, the best learning would be what to do before this happens and how to be aware of when a change needs to be made to avoid this in the first place. And that learning must be in the mind first. As I say a lot and will continue to say: You can’t ask your horse to do something that you never thought of.
2, 5 & 6 are the same story so I will deal with them together.
Now what do you think the actual problem is here? It’s not that the horse can’t canter/lope/gallop without bucking, is it? No. In moments of playfulness at liberty with their buddies, they may buck and kick and play and then off they run without bucking or they stop and stand with a quiet mind as everyone settles and goes on to something else. But, in general, these horses are all very capable of cantering nicely – when they want to or are not terribly affected by their rider.
What many people don’t stop to think about is the very position they take with their bodies and their hands actually causes the very bucking that they don’t want. By their lack of skills and understanding they are stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time. If the horse is kicked to go while the person is holding or snatching the reins because they’re scared there is nowhere else for the energy created to go but UP! Then, to make matters worse the person clinches on with their legs (a go signal) and holds even tighter on the reins (stop!!!) and intensifies and elongates the time frame of, yet again, the very thing they claim to NOT want – bucking. Yet, how is the horse supposed to get anything else out of the signals being inflicted upon him?
Again, there are specific exercises to teach and learn how to eliminate this from your horse experiences.
#3 & 4 are completely covered in my book, Curbside Service. So, I hope any of you dealing with this type of problem will invest the ridiculously cheap $12 and 15 minutes to an hour of your time to fix your problem by zipping over to Amazon and getting your copy. To make it even easier – the link is right there on the book to your right on this page.
Hope is never a good horsemanship strategy. I’ll be sharing the tried and tested strategies I use to get folks just like you un-stuck before the end of January. Then rinse and repeat throughout the year!
*** “I’ve been a member of Lauren’s Essential Keys for Exceptional Horsemanship program for a couple of months now and I’m amazed at how much my horses and I are learning! I have gone from frustration to enjoyment with both of my horses. Not only a I proud of how well-mannered my horses are, I am riding more, in more challenging situations with confidence that I have the tools I need to ride/handle Re and Playboy safely and effectively. Even better, I like my horses a lot more now! Thanks, Lauren!! ***
If you’d like some help solving your horse issues please join me in a revolutionary new approach that is yielding exceptional results no matter where you live. So, click over to my Success Store tab right now and let’s get you un-stuck.