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There can be a lot of reasons why horses buck – poor saddle fit, fear, excitement and excess energy, or plain old bad behavior. Figuring out why your horse is bucking may be the first step to fixing this problem. In this video I will show you the most common area of poor saddle fit that causes bucking and give you a very simple exercise to help with “bad behavior” bucking.

If you want some reading material to go with this video, check out my article on bucking by Clicking Here.

Do you have a horse that bucks? Have you figured out why or what you can do to stop it? Tell us in the comments below!

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11 Responses

  1. My horse is great 90% of the time–but as soon as I lose my balance in the saddle or do anything out of the ordinary ‘up there,’ he panics, bucks and is inconsolable for 10 minutes. His ground training is flawless, but as soon as someone gets on his back, he’s another horse. So in short, the cause of his bucking is when I lose my balance (i.e. when he spooks/shies, he doesn’t give me time to regain my seat–he just hits the eject button). I haven’t found a solution. I tried attaching a sweatshirt stuffed with bedsheets to the saddle and he bucked and bucked and bucked in utter terror until he ran into the wall of the roundpen and nearly knocked the gate off its hinges. No idea what to do to cure this habit.

    1. Hi Jessica,

      The first thing that comes to mind with this situation is that your horse has had traumatic experiences while being ridden and has essentially developed mental triggers that bring back memories of whatever trauma he experienced that he now connects with having something on his back. It isn’t easy re-training a horse like this because when they are triggered they go into a survival response and aren’t truly thinking anymore. I would use a lot of positive reinforcement with your horse to try to “counter condition” his experience of riding. Start with mounting, spending a lot of time wiggling the saddle around, hopping in and out of the saddle, shifting on his back as he stands there, etc – the whole time rewarding standing still and being relaxed. I would use a clicker, so he has a very clear marker for what he is doing right.
      Work up from there walking forward relazed and moving around in the saddle, etc. Try to really break everything down so you gradually work through every stage of the riding process without him being triggered. The more experiences he has such as the scary sweatshirt the more ingrained his fear will become. I hope this helps, let me know! Callie

  2. I have been bucked off horse at least 9 times now in the 9 years that I have had him. I have been fortunate that for the most part never got hurt until the last buck which was 3 years ago. I ended up hurting my pelvis and shoulder and needless to say my confidence took a big hit last time. I have not ridden him in the last 3 years and have been doing a lot of groundwork with him. One time he bucked me I was in a lesson and even the trainer did not see the buck coming and told me she knew I wouldn’t stay on when my butt was 6 inches above the saddle. I know a lot of it has been from my nervousness of getting bucked off again when I ride him so I have even gone under hypnosis to help me get over the fear. I’ve done the whole one rein stop etc with not much luck. Do u ever do clinics for older women who have a fear of riding? I want to get back on my horse again but as time goes on not sure that will happen.

    1. Hi Carol,
      We do have clinics here, I would love to have you attend one! I also have a series of videos out where I interviewed a counselor about fear and anxiety. Here is a link to the training: There is a course for sale here too, but the first interviews are free. I also added your email to our list for events, so I will let you know as soon as we release those dates!

  3. Hi I’ve got a standard bred. Of the track for about 3 yeasrs now, he’s doing well , but we find that before he goes into a canter he gives out a buck or pig root , but not every time, we’ve checked his saddle and his back , nothing wrong, is there some thing we can do. Thanks heide . I watch your videos they are great thanks.

    1. Hi Heide,

      How is your horse cantering on the lunge line? I would probably start working on his transitions here. Good idea checking the saddle and back, but if with more training the problem doesn’t resolve I would also look at his hind end. I have had horses with hind end issues also do the buck before canter move.

  4. I have an OTB off the track who developed ulcers. She no longer has them however, the memory of the discomfort seems to have remained. I had a saddle fitter out and just purchased a new saddle for her as there was a bit of a fit issue. I have watched a friend ride and seen what appeared to be a smile when she does it. I am not completely sure if its behavioral or just bad memories.

  5. Hi, my cob x started bucking just out of the blue, which gave my confidence a big knock. One time he broke my wrist and because I couldn’t get back onto him immediately the fear built up. I thought it was due to the circumstances I was going through at the time so hoped when he got moved he would go back to his normal mischievous (but not nasty) self.
    However, the first time, approximately 2 years after the wrist incident, I cantered him, he threw me again. I did get back onto him (once I caught him cos he went to meet his new friends). It was 9 months later that I eventually plucked up the courage to get back on him. He cantered perfectly and I finally jumped him for the first time in 8 years ownership. I was ecstatic!
    I firmly believe it was due to a rotten tooth and his bucking was his way of trying to tell me that there was something wrong as he was always perfect with anybody else who rode him. He’s had his tooth removed and it seems like he has completely changed and is even better behaved than he used to be before the bucking started.
    I actually blamed myself for his acting up and thought that he just didn’t like me but then I thought back to when I first got him and discarded that thought. I am SO glad that I’ve got my loving, mischievous horse back.

    1. Helen, I am so glad to hear you were able to find the ‘root’ of the issue! So often when a horse ‘misbehaves’ it is due to a physical discomfort.

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  6. I’m frustrated. Have had my 4 yr old TWH for 6 months. Green but coming along nicely. He is great on trails (which is all I do) with just one buddy. 3 horses or more and he becomes agitated in the middle and end. I know….the old I’ve got to lead problem! What is the best way to address this issue. I’m trying to catch him before he bucks. Sometimes my timing is good, sometimes not. I try to pull up his head and push him forward but that is difficult an scary sometimes. I take him in a circle etc and yell at him. He comes around quickly but pulls it again when he start again. This is only when “moving out in gait”. Not at a walk. I’m sure this is a common problem with youngsters and I probably just have to keep exposing him to this. I realize respect on the ground has to be where it starts and he’s good at that. Although he hates to bend to the right. Teeth are done and going to treeless saddle so hopefully that helps.

    1. Hi Sue, just so I can make sure I’m understanding your question correctly he bucks when he is hacking out with multiple horses?

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

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