Hints for handling bucking

  • hey

    My 12 year old morgan mare has recently started bucking when she gets excited, normally when she sees jumps or when we arrive at the show. We ride 6 days a week and she is an active, healthy and otherwise easy mare. She has had her teeth checked and her back was not long looked at, there appears to be no health changes and this only happens when she is excited. Can anyone offer any ideas on firstly, how to sit through it so I do not come off, and secondly, how I can manage her to maybe get her to stop? I am starting to anticipate it and It is making me nervous in case I fall. I have taken to wearing my vest when I ride, and I am managing to ride through it , she probably bucks 4 times at most, I keep my leg on and move her on until she stops. The only thing i note is that she never speeds up, she will buck in walk just as in canter or over jumps.

    Any ideas would be helpful!

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  • Many different things could be affecting your horse’s behavior. The big question, of course, is why the recent change in behavior? What else has changed?

    How one rides through a buck can vary depending on what caused the horse to buck and how violent the buck is. Since you mention jumping, I assume you are in an English style saddle and have no horn to hold on to. Do you have one of the straps on your English saddle that you can hold to add stability?

    While a horse cannot rear if moving, they can buck when moving, so simply moving her on is not a help. Releasing leg pressure may actually help. You may also try a leading rein on one side to interrupt her line of movement – get her a bit off balance. Be sure to release tension on the other rein so you are not pulling on both. Don’t do this to such an extent that you get her too much off balance, however. Just remind her that you are in control.

    If this bucking is the result of excitement as you suspect, I suggest approaching this issue by helping her calm down. This can be difficult if you are nervously anticipating the behavior. But think of yourself as a parent trying to calm a child. You must learn to control your emotions so you can help your “child” control her’s.

    Breath deeply. Try to release any unnecessary tension in the muscles throughout your body. Allow gravity to make your seat deep and secure. Move with you horse. As you are able to relax, you should find your horse beginning to relax.

    Learn to feel what happens before the buck. Deal with the situation then, rather than waiting until after the bucking begins.

  • One of my old horses used to buck when she got excited, I found that circling her when I felt she was getting "fresh" and longeing for 20 minutes before we rode was always useful. I bought a pair of jods with sticky material on the seat which helped me feel more secure in my saddle when she started to  lift up. The circling in opposite directions seemed to switch her attention and help stop her. Hope this helps

    Oh yes, and I totally agree with Don, breathe! I always held my breath and it made her more tense!