Bucking can be a tricky problem to solve. Some horses buck when they are asked to go forward, whilst some buck when they get over-excited. Some buck regularly, whilst others only buck intermittently… you get the idea! 

Check for physical discomfort

The first thing I would always check is that your horse does not have any physical symptoms that could be causing the problem, through a veterinary examination. I would also get your saddle, bridle and bit checked by qualified professionals.

Assess your horse

Once these have been ruled out, assess the reasons that cause your horse to buck.  Understanding why your horse is bucking, can form how you go about solving the issue.

Is it because he is evading or challenging your forward cue?  If so, check out this blog about napping, which explains how to get your horse more “forward” from your aids, Napping and Planting Issues Solved.

Is it because he is releasing an excess of energy? If your horse bucks when they are fresh, or a little “cold backed”, try giving them a lunge first. Preferably, let them have a canter on the lunge on both reins before you mount.

Is it because he isn’t fully desensitised to the rider and is bucking through fear?  This is a much trickier issue to solve, and you are best to go right back to the beginning and get your foundations right.  The Your Horsemanship Courses follow my starting program from A-Z, so it is well worth checking out membership options.

How can you tell if your horse is about to buck?

There are a couple of tell tell signs that your horse might be about to buck.  If they are swishing their tail and their ears are fixed up and out, then get into your “Oh My Gosh” riding position!  This is where you put your legs further forward, you sit as deep as possible and lean back a little.  

Management is key

Whatever the cause of bucking, you are more likely to exacerbate the issue if it leads to you falling off.  This can give your horse a fright and lead to more anxiety under saddle.  Therefore, the best way to control, manage and ultimately prevent bucking is to use a one rein stop or one rein turn (these lessons are available in with Introducing Movement Module within Course F3: Introducing Ridden Work). 

A horse finds it very hard to buck when they have a bend in their body.  Therefore, by using a direct rein (one rein only) to turn your horse into a stop, you are preventing your horse from continuing to buck.  Once your horse has stopped and you can feel them relaxing, you give them the rein back and let them rest before asking them off again.

It does take confident, balance and feel to get this right. Especially when your natural reaction is to grab hold of the reins and clamp your legs to stay on!  Therefore, teach your horse the one rein stop when they are going quietly in a safe environment first.

Have a look at this short clip of me working with George, taken from a series of lessons with him that are available within Your Horsemanship.

Bucking – Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my horse bucking?

Once physical and pain related reasons have been discounted, horses either buck due resistance to a forward cue from the rider, or out of excitability and adrenaline. 

What to do if a horse starts bucking?

If your horse starts bucking, get into my “Oh My Gosh” seat, and use one rein to put a bend into his body. This can be as a one-rein stop, or a one-rein bend.

How do you stop a horse bucking in canter?

Horses tend to buck in canter as this is when the rider is either pushing them to input more energy than the horse wants to put in, or the faster pace may cause excitability in your horse. In either case, make sure your horse is responding to light forward cues in walk and trot before you ask for canter.

How do you stop a horse from bucking?

A horse cannot buck if he has a lateral bend throughout his body, through his head, neck and rib cage. By bringing your horse into a tight circle with one rein is very effective at stopping your horse from bucking. 

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