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 Post subject: My Horse Bucks and Runs Off--What Do I Do?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:57 pm
Posts: 195
Location: Iowa
Some horses buck because their saddle or bit or something the rider is doing causes them pain and they want to be rid of it. If you're certain this is not the case, and your horse is just exhibiting bad behavior, here are a few things to try:

1. Cut back on grain. If your horse is in good health, if the vet doesn't have her on a certain diet or type of grain for a certain reason, then I would not be giving this horse grain. Period. More hay than normal, perhaps, to keep her weight up, or free grazing all day....but not grain.

2. More excercise before riding. Lunge her for at least fifteen minutes at a trot and canter to take the edge off of her energy. Then walk her a few minutes longer, before beginning your ride.

3. Don't switch up to a harsher bit unless you have tried everything else. Work with your horse in a plain ring snaffle bit in an arena. Focus on lateral flexion and turning her head and neck easily to both sides. If you can get your horse to really bend when you ask by a direct pull on one rein, you will have more control in a bad situation. This is best to teach with a ring snaffle, since a direct pull with a shanked bit or curb will confuse the horse and not get the best results. A lot of practice will help your horse become lighter and give more readily when you ask her to bend.

4. When riding, if she attempts anything I have not asked of her, I would bend her into a small circle and ask her to disengage her hindquarters, preventing a buck or run. Circle once or twice, depending on her attitude...then ride on out of the circle and continue. Don't let her stop and stand, keep her feet moving, but if she starts to goof off, make her move in a small circle so you keep control of her.

I have a mare with a strong buck tendency, and I have to stay very alert to avoid being thrown. I can never find a reason for it, it is just her attitude at certain unpredictable moments. I started her in a ring snaffle, but now I ride her in a shanked bit with a snaffle type mouthpiece (like an Argentine snaffle) so that I have the curb strap tightening if I pull back on the reins and it usually stops her right in the middle of whatever buck or rear she was thinking of doing. If you do use this type of bit, ride on a nice loose rein unless she tries bucking...then one good pull on the reins helps remind her that you are the one calling the shots, and she'd better behave.

Good luck, and don't get hurt. If you need to hire a professional trainer to help you and your horse, it is an investment that is worth the money if it keeps you out of the emergency room! Your horse may be telling you that it's time to start looking for one that is safer and more enjoyable to ride. But I'm keeping my mare....we just have to put up with each other!


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