So I have been talking about my gelding bucking at a canter and many people said its the saddle or his back or other things . I'm wondering if it is because he is young ? I girl at the barn I am at is having the same trouble with her three year old fully bucking . Could it be that he just is high spirited and learning what he can get away with ? Like a child exploring boundaries ?

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Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 9, 2013 at 6:02pm

Decades ago, before my MS got worse, I worked on getting the horses to respond to the following leg aid for the canter.  As I sat down at the posting trot I would just flex my calf muscle quickly, then release.  My horses felt this calf muscle flexion through high hunt boots.

I often lunged my horses in their saddles, making sure that the stirrups were not flying around and hitting them.  I would have the horse on a lunge line though, saddles are expensive to replace!

I would also go over the entire bottom of the saddle, everything that touches the horse with your fingertips.  Probe down to make sure no nails are "popping out".  Go over your pad and girth with your fingertips too!

Comment by Brittney on August 9, 2013 at 5:56pm
Thank you so much !
Comment by Faith Richardson on August 9, 2013 at 5:48pm

I just listened to Julie Goodnight on this subject -- on Horse Radio Network's 'Riding Tips'. She said that bucking at the canter was a common problem and usually caused by over-cueing or surprising the horse with the canter cue. Said that canter/gallop is the one gait that asks a horse to, in a sense, give into his/her flight response, so that getting a horse ready before asking for a quiet cue to canter often stops a bucking response or crow hopping when cantering. Here's the link to the radio spot if you want to listen to it:

Comment by Brittney on August 9, 2013 at 5:47pm
Do you think lunging him with the saddle on at a canter would help him before I get on to ride ? I have been riding him everyday but only walking trotting and extended trot. I don't really dig my heels I use my voice and clicking noises and urge him forward with a slight kick of the heels nothing hard and rough .
Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 9, 2013 at 5:08pm

I was thinking about your problem and thought of something.  Are you digging your heel/heels into your horse's side while asking for/riding the canter?  Many horses (especially Quarter Horses) do NOT like this and will buck in protest.  Try concentrating on keeping your heels down and ask for the canter with the side of your calf (this is where training voice commands on the lunge pays off.)  If you are posting the trot give the canter signal with your outside leg when you sit down, all the horse's legs are in the right position for getting right into the canter. 

If this does not work go back to the lunge line and work on transitions into the canter using your voice commands (I use HUP for the canter, and WALK, TROT, and WHOA, to slow down I use a long shhhhh.)  When you lunge make sure your lunge line is at least 20 feet long, and walk in a 10 foot circle yourself.  I personally think that a LOT more training can be accomplished by using a lunge line than a round pen because you can moderate the horse's gaits.

I think that horses who buck and kick are often trying to give themselves chiropractic adjustments.  This is why it is a good idea to lunge these bucking horses before riding, to give them a chance to do their own spinal adjustments.  Others buck because the saddle or girth hurts them.  As I mentioned before others buck because their rider digs their heels into the horse and never let go.  Biting flies can cause bucks too, especially those huge buzz bombers. 

Another cause can be stomach ulcers.  When the horse rises into a canter it can cause the stomach acid to slosh up onto an ulcer/s, sometimes causing enough pain to get the horse bucking.

If all else fails you will need the help of a professional trainer.

Good luck in finding the cause soon! 

Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 7, 2013 at 5:20pm

I do not know, I will have to ask someone for ya

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