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There are numerous causes for bucking. The first one to rule out is that the horse is being irritated by his tack. This could be poor saddle fit, a bunched pad, or an uncomfortable or pinching girth. Try different types of tack and take a close look at how your saddle fits your horse.

The next cause for bucking is that your horse is scared; perhaps he was not started correctly if he is a youngster, or he has had bad experiences while being ridden such as riders falling, that has given him a new fear of being ridden. If this is the case, go back to desensitizing your horse on the ground by slapping the saddle, moving it around, etc. Then practice mounting slowly, and laying over the horse, making sure that he stands still as you do this. Get on and off a few times, and ride forward being aware of your horse tensing under you.

Bucking can also be a bad habit that a horse has learned gets him out of work. Either he has learned to throw his rider, or learns that if he starts crowhopping and acting silly, the rider will get off or at least stop asking him to work. To determine if this is your horse, ask yourself if there is a pattern to his bad behavior? For example, does he buck when you pass a certain area of the arena, or does he buck when you ask for the canter? If this is the case, then the horse needs to be pushed past his bucking by an experienced rider who is capable of keeping the horses head lifted and pushing him through a few jumps or bucks.

Excess exuberance can also cause horses to buck. If it is a windy day, your horse has been kept inside, or the weather just got cooler, he may simply be feeling good and needs to release some energy. If you feel that this is the cause of your horse’s bucking, then work him from the ground or turn him out before you ride. When you work him from the ground or on the lunge line, allow him to move forward, but do not allow him to buck in hand or on the lunge line. He needs to learn that bucking is not acceptable. You can either push him forward or make him slow down if he starts to buck on the lunge line.

What to do if you are riding a horse that bucks? First, ride defensively, sit on your butt and do not lean forward. Push your horse forward, if your horse is moving forward briskly, he has to first stop or at least slow down to buck. If he feels tight and behind your leg, it is easier for him to act up.

Bucking can be a very dangerous and intimidating behavior, if you are still unsure of why your horse is doing this, or nervous about your ability to correct it, then consider consulting a professional.


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6 Responses

  1. Hey my horse only bucks when shes in the arena but when she’s on the road not in a enclosed space she doesn’t buck. Do you think you know why she does this? Can u please answer me?

    1. Hi Kaley,
      I would probably look at either something pysical such as a poor fitting saddle or soreness in her back. Riding turns and smaller figures in the arena may be causing her more discomfort than when she is out on the road. The other possibility is that she doesn’t want to move forward in an enclosed space and is bucking because in response to your cues to go forward.

  2. My pony was bucking when I first got him , as I think he had a few issues with working on his own ( he was a ex riding school pony ) and also had been out of work for four months and was not in good shape and was also stiff and had arthritis
    Checked his back teeth and saddle and basically has someone more experienced to ride him through it and he now hasn’t bucked for about two months .
    Videos great as always thankyou

  3. My horse is outdoors most of the time. We have had her for almost a year now, but we do not ride her yet. I have found that when the weather is cold and windy, she tends to buck when we approach her to feed her. How can I correct the behavior? I am not sure if she is bucking because of the wind or if it’s because she is anxious to get fed. Either way, it is not an acceptable behavior when we are approaching her…

    1. Hi Julia, I honestly hesitate to answer this because I don’t know enough about the context to answer well. What I can recommend is to keep her away from you when she is jumping around and feeling fresh. Easiest way is to take a whip or rope out with you and use it to send her away, but remember to do it early as she approaches meaning give her plenty of warning that she needs to stay back when you are feeding.

  4. Hi Kaley,

    I got my first horse for Christmas this year. Her name is Molly and she has a bucking issue to.

    When I was riding her for lessons before I bought her, she was perfectly fine, but, now that I bought her, she has gotten the bad habit all of a sudden. Sometimes when I ride her, she bucks like a bronco, other times, she’s perfect, and not one single buck. I have been riding her more often lately, and she now has her own stall, since she is boarded indoor. My trainers keep telling me she is testing me, but it’s been a month.

    It’s killing me that I can’t figure out why my mare is doing this. I hope I don’t have to sell her, that would be devestating.

    Please help us,

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