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Posts from the ‘New Rider’ Category


How to Stop Bucking

My friend’s 10-year old Mustang has been bucking on the trail. Is there a way to get this to stop?

Whenever dealing with a bucking horse, the first thing I would do is try to eliminate a physiological problem. Are you causing the horse pain while riding? A few quick and easy checks:

• Abrasions on the gums or face. Is your gear causing unnecessary pain or discomfort?
• Saddle fit: When you remove the saddle, are there dry patches of skin. Does the saddle abraid the skin?
• Lunge the horse and check his limbs for heat.
• Have a farrier check his feet for abscess or other signs of soreness.
If you do not find anything with these simple checks, you may want to consult a veterinarian. It is quite possible that your veterinarian may not find an issue.

If you are a very confident with a rider, you may want to evaluate your riding technique. Riders often inadvertently cause problems. Start by asking yourself, are you being snatchy with the reins; this means do you leave the reins slack and then suddenly catch the horse in the mouth? Do you have quiet legs? Unquiet legs send conflicting signals. Are you overly submissive when working your horse? Are you the leader? Learn how to do the emergency stop, where you pull your horse in a circle as it is very difficult for him to buck or rear in this position. Be sure to stretch him beforehand. If he does buck, put your weight in your heals, and put your heals down to anchor your position. Then drive the horse forward.

If you find yourself fearing your horse after being bucked off a few times too many, then you may want to consult a professional. At this point, the horse can be “restarted” for a week or two with lunging, positive reinforcement and teaching a lot of forward momentum. There is really no cue for “don’t buck,” so rather than telling your horse what not to do, give your horse something else to think about. Ask him to step over a log, sidepass or speed up into a circle.

A goofy thing that was taught to me by a Texas riding instructor is that when a horse rears, crack an egg over its head. He will think he is bleeding and it may prevent him from doing it in the future. I tried it once and it did work on the young horse I was riding; but I am certain it depends on the reason behind the behavior.

Do you have horse training questions? Email with your question. We will do our best to get it answered for you soon.


Types of Horseback Riding – A Beginners Guide to Choosing a Horse Riding Style


Before you buy or lease a horse, or even take lessons, you need to determine which discipline you are interested in. Each of these disciplines includes different types of tack (riding equipment like saddles and bridles) and the rider also assumes different riding positions in the saddle. For example, in saddle seat, the rider sits further back on the horse’s back.

Your choice of riding style is a personal one. You should choose a discipline that appeals to you. Some of the most common disciplines include Hunt Seat, Dressage, Western and Saddle Seat.

Hunt Seat

The English discipline of hunt seat originated from the British sport of fox hunting. Hunt Seat is probably one of the most popular disciplines in the world. If you are interested in jumping, then this could be the discipline for you. It is not uncommon for those who do hunt seat to go on to do show jumping, which is a timed sport involving higher jumps. Many people who participate in hunt seat also participate in horse shows where horse and rider are judged over fences (jumping) and on the flat (at the walk, trot and canter). Although many people who ride hunt seat ride Thoroughbred horses, this is changing and we are seeing more Warmbloods.

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New Rider Advise

Are you interested in learning to ride? Great! You’re about to embark on a wonderful new adventure. However, I want to issue one word of wisdom. Do not even think about buying a horse right away. All too often, people think they need to own a horse to learn to ride, but you’re much better off putting your money into the learning process and spending it on the horse when you are good and ready. Also note that the cost of horse ownership is considerably more then one will ever expect. You need to factor the cost of a farrier, vet bills, board, feed, emergency expenses and potentially a trailer if you want to be mobile.


All too often, people buy a horse without knowing anything about horses. They buy a saddle (which may or may not fit), hop on and think that they will be able to ride off into the sunset. When they fall off, they begin to believe that they got a lemon of a horse, and take little responsibility for their own actions.


My advice is to take at least 1 year of lessons. Before buying a horse, your minimum skill set should include Walk, trot, canter, back, riding alone, and catching a horse alone. You need to be comfortable picking up the feet of a resistant horse, as well as bridling. I would try out several disciplines because different personality types and body types excel at different disciplines. Lease several different horses for a few months at a time. Ride alone. Learn what you like and dislike about each horse. You may even be able to lease/purchase a horse, but if not make sure you take a more experienced person with you when you look at the horse. If you find something you like, be sure to have a vet look him over. Sick horses can be very expensive. The vet will not “pass” or “fail” a horse. That decision is still up to you, but he will tell you if the horse has any type of debilitating disease or problem that you as an inexperienced person would not know to look for.


I suggest boarding at a public boarding facility as you transition into horse ownership. This means that you will have help along the way and people to ask if you have any kind of trouble. If you plan on taking your horse home, only do so once you are comfortable with the horses’ basic needs and make sue you keep a knowledgable horse person’s number on speed dial.


When it comes to calling the vet, always err on the side of caution. If my horse stops eating, I will always call the vet right away. Horses can’t throw up and when they experience intense abdominal pain will begin to kick at themselves. They can kick hard enough to break open their GI track and spill out the contents, leading rapidly to sepsis and death. They call this colic… and it’s nothing to mess with. The other thing I always watch are eye problems. Be sure you treat any problem asap, because prey animals can become very skittish if eyesight is lost.


Good luck on your new equestrian endeavor. Be smart about your decisions, learn everything you can, and have fun!