Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/bucking horse


Hi Melanie,
Thank you for your response about my horse that was running and blowing hard. I have another question for you. I forgot to mention this horse has been pastured alone for the past month. I believe she has always been around other horses. That being said, since she has been alone she has been starting to buck with me on her when she gets into the arena or in sand at the river. This is new, and she only does it when I get her into a gallop. I believe she is getting excited and starts to feel spunky. She is 7 yrs old. She doesn't show signs of being irritated and doesn't pin her ears. What is your advice to make her stop this bucking. The first time she bucked me off, however since then I have been ready for it and able to ride it out and turn her neck to my leg. Like I said it's only when she gets into a gallop in a sandy area, I also have not been working her daily anymore due to the weather and shorter days. I ride alone and need to break her of this new habit. Thank you!

Could be she needs her teats cleaned, the area between them can get dirty and be causing some of it.  Could be at this gait the saddle becomes uncomfortable too and she is bucking to relieve that.

But more than likely she is acting up either because she feels you unbalanced or thinks you are, or she is overexcited.

Could also be the sand is aggravating her as a footing?  

That said, why are you galloping her anyway?  Riding full out is not beneficial to a horse for the most part, and is a good way for one to catch a foot on something and fall, which can result in broken leg for horse, or broken neck...which means dead horse.  Or the same for you.  Which while it might not be death sentence, would mean at best a cast...and at worse a wheelchair for life.

And if you are having to bring her head around, then you are not in control of the horse either.

This is also a good way to end up with a horse that bolts on you.

I would work more on slower gaits, where you have control and make sure that she is listening to you, and do less hard running of this horse.

You sent me this comment on my above answer...I just now saw it and am responding to that.

Your comment is as follows.

Thanks for your so called advice! Think you missed the point on this one though. I always run her when I ride her. Not full out dead run, but yes in my normal running stretches & she loves it. I have barrel raced her and have ground work and control. This is a new behavior very new since her pasture buddy left. There also is no problems with the saddle or my tack & I also regularly cleanse her teats. I'm no moron but perhaps you think anyone asking questions is. I have been riding her with the same tack & balance for a few years. Also, the sand which I get her into a slow gallop is soft so I highly doubt it could hurt her hoofs, plus she does wear shoes. I've never heard anyone to say not to gallop a horse. I'm not an expert rider or trainer, but have been riding mostly all my life. So to ask why I run a horse??? That's just common sense. And horses love it when they don't have injuries and are healthy! Anyone who never gets a horse into a gallop is missing out. There's not a better feeling in the world, to be one with your horse blazing in an arena or open stretches.

Running a horse can cause exactly the problems you have.  Which is why so many will advise against it. If she is taking off on you, resulting in you having to pull her head around, as you said, AND bucking and unseating you, and this is new behavior? Then something has changed, and it is not related as you seemed to think by the loss of a pasture buddy.

I've also not answered in any way that would give the impression I think anyone asking questions is a moron.  You asked, I gave you some things to consider.  You dismissed them without considering them at all.  

There is also the possibility that this mare has done something to soft tissue that is not an issue at lower gaits, which you would not know unless you have had her thoroughly vetted by an equine vet that has the diagnostic capabilities to see, such as MRI, Ultrasound, or what have you.  Chiro might well find there is something going on that might make her uncomfortable at a gallop too in skeleton.

The fact that you are unwilling to consider any of my thoughts on this says far more about you than it does me.

Horses change over the years, bones decrease, muscle mass can increase or decrease as can fat deposits.  Saddles break inside, screws, nail, wood can all cause problems, that are mostly not noticed because the human is not the one wearing the saddle.  Even a rider's weight gain or loss, or back problems of the rider can have a lot to do with this.

And since this is mare? It could be changes internally are causing some of this.  Have you never had a stomach ache or cramps from your period, (guessing you are female?) that cause you pain, but anyone looking at you would not notice, nor know how badly you felt?  Horses are much more stoic than we are, for that matter.

And going along at the lower gaits may have saddle moving differently than when you go into a gallop too.  A saddle that isn't bothering her, or a rider, at slower gaits, may be aggravating at a gallop.  Same with bones, joints and muscles.

Try carrying a 30 box at a walk, move up to fast trot, and then run full out, and see how much your body is pulling in different areas which might give you an idea of how pace or gait affects the horse.

As for the footing?  Sand is sand.  If you walk barefoot on it, you should have noticed that your footsteps leave raised areas where your foot pressure is not the same, underneath toes, and in the arch of the foot for instance.

Sand will shift to fill the void of pressure.  A horse coming down on it will press sand up into the frog area and sole, whether horse has shoes on or not, it still will do this.  It is a different footing than soil is. If it is deep it is affecting the stride, and the propulsion of horse.  Thus the reason I said it could be causing the bucking.  Different footing makes her do different things.

As for you never hearing anyone advise against galloping a horse frequently as you seem to like to do?  I've never heard anyone advocate it.  In fact they all advise against it, for the exact same reasons I laid out for you.  Possibility of injury, getting horse overexcited and causing problems such as you are having, or ruining a good horse.  

The advice I gave you was sound advice.  

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Melanie Rowley


Questions relating to first time, or inexperienced horse owners. Other questions as needed. Questions on American Saddlebreds. Old fashioned training advice, riding advice for beginners, and general care questions. Behavior problems, with emphasis on thinking through aspects of problems that might not seem an issue at first.


About to turn 55. My father was a Saddlebred trainer, and I grew up around horses. I have also worked as a Master Saddlebred Show Horse Groom, working with Dale Pugh, Art Simmons, Sonny Sutton, and others. I also have worked with Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds on a mare and foal operation in Alabama. I have owned for years, and currently have two teenaged geldings. I also for many years have taught riding lessons, to adults and children, working with beginners just learning, and older adults who have lost their confidence, or wanted to get "back in the saddle." I was lucky to be around many of the best horsemen in MO, and AL and learn from them, and strive always to think through a situation and work to keep riders and horses safe. Those also include the many talented grooms, and farriers I met along the way.

Some college. General studies towards a nursing degree, which derailed due to divorce. Horse skills learned through over 50 years of watching, learning, doing and absorbing as I grew.

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