Tips for Riding a Horse That Bucks

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During the course of your career in horseback riding, you will probably have to deal with riding a horse that bucks. Bucking horses are not fun to ride, and some can even be dangerous. Know what to do when a horse bucks to help keep yourself safe and correct the situation.

Understand the Cause

Before you go about disciplining a horse for bucking as a training or behavioral issue, you need to be sure that you actually understand the cause. Many horses buck as the result of a physical issue. Back pain, poorly fitting saddles, and ulcers can all cause a horse to buck. Before disciplining a horse for bucking, have a veterinarian thoroughly evaluate the horse for pain. Saddle fit can make a horse particularly uncomfortable; chiropractic treatments and a new saddle may be needed to fix the issue if this is the case.

Evaluate Yourself

If a horse bucks under saddle, first observe the conditions in which he bucked. Is he bucking when he lands after a jump? Or is he bucking when you use your spurs? Make sure that you are sitting balanced in the saddle and are not using aids that are too forceful. Some horses are more sensitive than others, and strong aids like a firm leg or a spur cue will cause them to buck. If you’re riding different horses for sale and notice that one seems to buck in response to a certain aid, ask the horse’s owner about what aids the horse is accustomed to.

Take Charge

If a horse is bucking out of a behavior issue, it is time for you to take charge. Sit up, put as much weight in your heels as possible, and try to stay with the horse through the course of the buck. In some cases it may help to pull the horse’s head up, as it is more difficult for horses to buck with their heads in the air than it is for them to buck with their heads lowered. Kicking the horse out of anger is a poor response to the situation and may only result in the horse bucking further.

It is best to try to drive the horse onward during a bucking fit. Try to get him to travel forward in a circle, putting a bend into his body and re-establishing the direction in which you’re asking him to travel. Sometimes a firm correction with a crop may be necessary. Half-halts can also help to recollect the horse and resume your training.

If your current horse bucks chronically, have your veterinarian perform a thorough work-up to see if pain could be causing the issue. If the bucking is the result of a training issue and poses a threat to your safety, it may be time to consider looking at horses for sale that are more suited to your experience level.

Bucking is a serious behavior. Keep yourself in the ideal riding position and work with a trainer if you are having trouble with a horse that is a bucker. AND ALWAYS WEAR A SAFETY HELMET!

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