Bucking has to Stop

Hi, My name is Jackie, am 13 years old and I have an 11-year-old mare that has a bucking problems. I use her in Gymkana and every time I turn her in the stakes and poles she bucks for no reason. I don't pull hard on her mouth nor do anything that would cause this.

Story originally posted by: Maggie Training Director

We don’t figure the condition of her mouth is the problem. The mare is really my aunt’s; I just lease her for my use. When my aunt rides her in Gymkana she hasn’t the problem I have with her. She has bucked with her only once. I’ve been riding this mare for 9 years now and she only stated doing this 3 months ago. I do use her a lot for Gymkana and 4-H I think she’s just testing me. My aunt and I don’t like this habit and would like it to stop. Could you help me please?

Hello Jackie,

My first step would be to have the veterinarian take a really good look at her mouth to rule out any dental or general mouth problems. The second is to have him check her back and her legs, lets rule out any possibilities of any medical problems. If the veterinarian’s results are negative, then we may need to concentrate on you and your riding form and approach to the stakes and poles. I am almost convinced that it could be a mouth or medical or soreness problem because her reaction is when she is being reined quickly to either side. Let me know what happens.

If you think the problem is not what I mentioned above and the veterinarian has agreed with you, then the problem maybe in the way you ride her. Your aunt and you have two different styles or hands in riding and you most likely don’t even sit the same, your cues are probably inflicting opposing signals on the horse. You’re probably also kicking and pulling at the same time, which destroys your horse’s balanced energy configuration – this is known as “collection.” By doing this you are also throwing off the lateral balance, the relationship between the movements of the left and right sides of the body creating a crooked and stiff manner, and throwing off your structural asymmetry. If you display all these things, the horse may try to escape by pushing through your reins or leg aids or may feel threatened by the restriction of the aids, and rear or buck.

You see, as we grow older and continue to ride, in your case you have been riding this horse for nine years ever since you were 4 years old, your strength has grown and your ability improve with gained confidence. It is this confidence that sometime works against us. We tend to forget that as we get older the horse gets older. As our strength increases the horse tends slow down. As we become more limber and older horse becomes a little stiffer and as our confidence in our ability increases, the horse, though willing, finds it difficult to deliver our requests as fast as we ask for them. Our ability and confidence gets in the way of us remembering the basics of riding; to create an asymmetric, relaxed, balance and harmonious relationship between the rider and the horse to smoothly and effortlessly reach a mutual goal-to be the best at what we do.

Maggie Flowers