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Some problems with bucking

I have a 4 year old quarter horse mare who has always been really well behaved. She has never really had any troubles since being trained. Just last fall she developed a habit of bucking once every time she begins to run. She does this even when you let her begin to gallop without prompting her. She never bucks hard enough to unseat anyone but I am hoping to get her to stop doing this so my younger sister will not be tentative to run on her. My younger sister is a good rider but is afraid that the mare will buck hard enough to make her come off. Do you have any suggestions about how to correct this behavior? I have tried just ignoring the behavior but she seems to do it every time you get her running.

Thanks for your advice....
Chad (Provo, UT)

Hi Chad,

Any four year old horse is still green. Before I ride young horses I do a good 20 minutes of ground play and usually more. Once I am on the horse's back I don't go straight forward at first, I bend the horse in both directions a good bit, then back, then bend again, I get the horse to yield his hind quarters and his front to leg pressure. I do tight circles in both directions on my 'inside' leg. I like do this whole routine, which might take 30 minutes (narrowed down to 20 sometimes) which softens, supples and loosens a horse up before I actually go off to ride somewhere. I'll flex the horse's neck a few times in both directions as well. I ride a lot of horses that buck with other folks and they don't buck with me. I don't push them. I let them find their own way to warming up a bit by offering activity that is not too taxing right off the bat but rather gets them to focus and does warm them up along the way. Serpentines and tight circling (bending) do this.

This horse may not be suitable for a young, green child to ride for a while yet (maybe two years). Be prudent and safe. Cut the horse a lot of slack. Make certain the tack is fitting well and no physical discomfort is causing the horse to buck. I only 'run' (gallop) horses for a reason (training, conditioning, working cattle, some sort of purpose). Indiscriminate activity of that sort is not my cup of tea. In the wild, horses only run for a purpose (except young horses with a lot of energy to burn). You have a young horse and its activity with a human, especially galloping, should have purpose. Riding green horses should only be done by experienced and competent riders. If a novice rides a young, green horse that will quickly mess with the horse's head and take away his confidence.

Keep me posted and let me know how it all goes.

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