Skip to content

August 8, 2012

How to Stop Bucking

by Melissa

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 saddletraining@aol.com with your question. We will do our best to get it answered for you soon.

Comments are closed.