Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Mysterious Bucking and rearing from my 3 year old paint.

Hello Franklin,

I recently got a 3 year old paint from a boarding stable. Before I got her I took some lessons on her and rode her a lot at the boarding place. When I brought her home and rode her she would do great. She is used to being ridden English but I am in the process of getting an English saddle so I rode her western. The first couple of rides she did really well. I could walk, trot, canter, and stop no problem. It happened not long ago that she bucked me off. I got a bad bloody nose(not broken) and hurt my back. The weird thing is that she never did this before and I have been riding her for a while in western so it wasn't like it was a saddle change. It is also wierd because I wasn't even in the saddle completely. I was just mounting and she started to buck like a bucking bronco and take all four of her legs off the ground really high. I only had one foot in the stirrup. I managed to almost get her under control but she then galloped away while still bucking and then did a couple of really high rears. Thats when I fell off on my back. I don't know why she did that. The next day I tacked her up and just lounged her and she did the exact same thing with the bucking and rearing until she got really tired and gave up. I then checked the saddle pad to see if that was bothering her. I lounged her a couple days later with a diffrent saddle pad and she did the exact same thing. I don't know what to do. I am really scared to get back on her because I don't want the same thing to happen and it may be even worse. The thing is that when I lunge her with no tack she will be fine and won't buck at all. I don't know what to do? Can you help me firgure out how to stop her from bucking and rearing?


Hi Carrie,

First off, know you have bought a green horse, a horse not yet fully mature nor fully trained. Any three year old is just getting ready to have a job and the unexpected should be expected. The horse is still very immature and there are many things that could be contributing to this dangerous bahavior. The horse also knows your strengths and weaknesses as an equestrain (rider). Your weaknesses can make a horse not very confident in your leadership abilities and prompt the horse not to want you on it's back. This is when the advantage of a horse that is mature, finished out in its training and very experienced can make a huge difference. Also, young horses are particularly suseptable to 'cold-back behavior' (exactly what you are experiencing). I would never get on this horse without 20 minutes or so of either line lungeing or free lungeing in a round pen, with the horse saddled. Any bucking, etc. will probably be done with in a few minutes once the horse warms up. So, this behavior is not that uncommon. Please do not get on this horse until it has been warmed up.

Other very important things to check are saddle fit and a potentially sore back (this is a real possibility and can be determined by a vet or an equine chiropractor). Other possibilities are mouth pain (proper bit and light hands coupled with appropriate and regular dentistry), leg and/or hoof pain as well as anxiety and fear within the horse. New surroundings and a change of environment can contribute to the anxiety. Also, this is a mare and if she is in her estrus cycle, this could possibly contribute the the behavior (depending on the personality and 'make-up' of the horse). Because you do not get this behavior when lungeing without tack, the possibility of improper fitting tack and a sore back are very real and should be carfully investigated. Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: