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New Bucking, New Owner fearful rider

Three months ago we bought 19 year old Arab/TB cross for my 14 year old daughter. She has had a few years of riding and this horse has done everything in the arena and also pleasure riding and has been retired from competition for about 4 years.

Over the past month he has developed some bucking problems and recently bucked off my daughter's trainer when she was attempting to get him to move out down the trail. According to the previous owner he has never had a bucking problem before. My daughter is now afraid to ride him and wants to sell him and get a more "trail" ready horse, though she does enjoy arena and jumping.

Should we put some more time and training into this horse? Should she go back and start again with him and turn him out more often before riding?

Thanks, Barb

HI Barb,

Perhaps some additional 'tuning up' on the ground would be in order. I would have your daughter play much more on the ground with the horse first. Not just lunging to warm the horse up. But lunging with the intention to connect, bond, communicate and bring the horse more to a trusting place with the human, so she and the horse actually begin to dance together. Turing the horse out as much as possible is always a good thing.

I always suggest getting good at having your horse bend in tight circles (both directions) and yielding the hindquarters in both directions. Do this both on the ground and in the saddle. Practice and get good at it. it is a great tool for modifying behavior you do not want. If the horse gets nervous, hunchy, fidgets or whatever, bend the horse in tight circles around an inside leg (from the saddle) or have the horse yield the hindquarters on the ground. DO this 3-4 rotations in both directions and then offer the horse some peace by allowing it to stand a moment and then ask it to walk off. Generally this will settle a horse after several times doing the process. Once the horse is accustomed to it, it works even faster.

Nothing wrong in getting a horse that is more bomb-proof for your daughter. It's good to know when it is not a good match between horse and human. Make certain you find an appropriate home for the horse if you do decide to sell her. Getting passed around is no fun for anyone and produces negative aspects to anyone's personality.

Let me know how it all goes. Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Franklin


About six months ago I wrote you regarding horse that we bought for our 14 year old daughter who had developed some issues with bucking. My daughter took your advice and began spending time doing ground work with him and developing more of a relationship with him prior to riding. Just wanted to give you the update that it is now November and he is an absolute dream! His name is Prince and he has definitely bonded with her, as well as her with him. So glad we took your advice before selling him. He has turned out to be a wonderful horse not only in the arena for jumping and dressage but a wonderful trail horse that rarely spooks at anything and if he does it is to only side step and stand still. He is 19 years old but acts about 10 with the energy he has - he keeps up with all the youngsters around the neighborhood.

Thank you so much for your help - it saved what has turned out to be a great relationship and addition to our family!

Happy Trails!
Barb Brand

fearful rider

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