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Green 7-year-old-mare who bucks


I am working with a 7-year-old mare, which has been started, but is still very green. She had an incident with her owner, who was thrown so badly she broke her pelvis, and in turn the owners did not ride her since the accident in Dec 2003.

I have been working with 'Summer' since June 04. Not a very long time, but we started establishing a bond through grooming and hand leading her on the grounds. I have ridden her a few times, and though she is delightful to ride, she spooks at just about anything including butterflies! She also bucks going into a canter. She will trot just fine, though it takes her a good hour of exercise to relax.

I have lunged her, and she still bucks going into a canter. We have had her vet-checked and she's fine. What is causing her to do this, and how can we get her to stop?

The owners want to sell this mare, but I have a feeling they will be hard pressed to give her away with the issues that she has.

Thank you very much for your time, I have enjoyed reading on your website.

Hi Collin,

This mare sounds 'sour' from lack of exercise and use. Horses like a job and suffer from inactivity and lack of purpose. Her spookiness is from lack of exposure to new things and lack of a great bond with rider or handler. A bond takes time and has to come from what I like to call 'right action and activity'. Some hand leading and grooming is nice but won't really do too much for a bond where the mare trusts you as her confident, great leader. The bucking is from not enough exercise under saddle and appropriate ground play before being ridden. It is more than lunging to tire the horse out. That is not the purpose of lunging. Ground games (right action and activity) are the source of your bond. It begins on the ground when the horse is 'started'.

If you have the time and inclination, I would do a ton more on the ground. Even restarting the horse. This will definitely produce the bond of respect and trust you are seeking. Go back to the basics of the horses beginning training and do it over again. I can restart a horse fairly quickly and then it is a matter of a lot of miles on the horse. This will give you what you seek with the mare. Do you have the skills for this? Please let me know. I have some DVD's that will help you if you are interested. Good luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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