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Bucking Problem

Hello Franklin!

My name is Alissa Laird and I am 20 years old. I have been riding my entire life and like to think of myself as a decent rider. On the other hand, I am no professional when it comes to training. I have a 9 year old QH mare, Anny, whom I've owned since her birth.

Due to the lack of funding, Anny was never professionally trained. I did all the work myself based on a few seminars I attended and articles by people like John Lyons and Monty Roberts. She is a breeze to ride on the trails and is willing to go just about anywhere you take her.

The problem is that whenever she lopes or gallops, she bucks. She even bucks while running when no one is even riding her as well. She is sound so the bucking is not caused by any pain or discomfort. On different occasions, I have been able to stay on and give her a quick "check" on the reins, which usually stops the action quickly; however, other times, the bucking has been hard and I've been bucked off. This makes loping or galloping with her difficult because I don't want to get bucked off again.

Do you have any idea why she might be doing this and how I can get her to stop doing it without getting bucked off and possibly hurt? Thank you very much and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Regards, Alissa

Hi Alissa,

Sounds like your horse's bucking behavior has been reinforced, so it is now very habitual (she has actually been trained to buck). Some of the ways this behavior may have been reinforced is by stopping or dismounting (voluntarily or not) when the mare bucks. Stopping work is a reward for the immediate behavior right before stopping. I would strongly suggest not riding the mare for a while and only do ground work where she has to keep working when she bucks. When she stops bucking and lopes easily, that is when to stop and rest her and even put her away (the biggest reward possible). You need to keep on that progam of training for a month or so to have any hopes of modifying this behavior. When you begin riding, do not do it in the open at first. Riding in a smaller area, arena or round pen will give you more security and less risk of big bucks if she does buck. You will need to ride the behavior thorough until she canters and then you can dismount or just give her a break. Remember, your horse is just doing a natural behavior. It needs leadership and proper training to move through this issue.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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