Hey Stacy, I have a horse behavior question for you. Since the beginning of training my 5 year old mare she has bucked at the beginning of each ride, maybe 10 bucks or so. it never lasts very long and she always did it when you first get on her. Any insight as to why she did this? i solved the problem by getting on her and keeping her head toward my leg until she didn’t want to buck anymore, and i tried all types of saddles on her. she no longer bucks, but I’ve been curious as to why she did it in that pattern. Thanks! -Lauren

Lauren-As you eluded to it could have something to do with comfort…or a number of other things. I am going to focus on one here.

The most common reason I have seen over the years is a combo of not adding enough steps and/or allowing them to buck. To me those two are tied together; the number of steps and allowing them to buck.

The more steps you add the less likely your are to get a big, crazy reaction. The less steps you add the more likely you are to get a big, crazy reaction. Picture the old ‘breaking’ method that might have involved tying the horse up, blindfolding it, saddling, climbing on…and have someone turn ’em loose’n watch the show!

….speaking of watching the show….how about this video?

Have you been watching the Jac series? The difference between the old ‘breaking’ method and the Jac series….night and day. But there are probably at least one hundred people out there wondering if I am EVER GOING TO RIDE! Lol…

I do in this week’s Jac episode. Sorry, no bucking.

Here is a great example:

I had a very nice lady attend one of my clinics. Upon meeting her my first question was, “What happened?” She had a very black eye, scratches all over her face and one side of her body was pretty beat up. I was surprised she was even there.

When I asked what happened she said her horse bucked her off. I asked questions about the horses training and the BIG red flag was;

A bronc buster broke him to ride. Seriously. The guy rode broncs.

I doubt he ‘discouraged’ bucking…

At the end of the training he could ride the horse but the training wasn’t so good for the 50+ owner.

Your case obviously wasn’t that extreme and it sounds like you handled the situation well (it sounds like she no longer bucks). It could have been a case of playing around that started to become a habit that you discouraged and now doesn’t happen.

Many horses ‘play’ with the bucking like Jac did in Episode 15, which I discouraged. He didn’t even play the next time but if he had I would have really discouraged it with lots of inside turns and changes of speed and direction, etc.

You discouraged the bucking when mounted by pulling her head around, which is what I would have also done if the first place I had the issue was on her back.

If bucking isn’t discouraged it can become a habit so plant those seeds early, or pull those weeds, to prevent issues in the future.