Does your horse like to buck?


The Buck

This bucking horse is from a vintage postcard in my collection. I believe it's pre-1910. I think most of us have been in this position at some time in their riding careers!

Very rarely does Freedom buck. He bounces, but he doesn’t buck. I never have to worry if he starts to drop his head which is probably a good thing. I know that if he put some effort into it, he could launch me into Connecticut.

Some people enjoy a buck or two. They see it as a sign of high spirits. An indication that their horse is feeling good. Sometimes it is; and sometimes it’s a sign of pain or other discomfort. On rare occasions, I’ve come across horses that use bucking to get out of work because they know they can get their rider off.

My friend Alison had such a horse. One day he got spooked while she was riding and he bucked. She’d been hacking on a loose rein and came off. While most horses will look at you lying on the ground with bewilderment (“how did you get there?”) a light bulb went off in his head and he thought “I put you there.” After that, he tried to get her off whenever she asked him to work. The problem was, it was one of his most accomplished skills. He was pretty athletic and had a wicked buck in him.

What about your horse? Does he or she like to buck? And do you consider it to be amusing? Or a real problem?

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4 responses

  1. A friend of mine has a 4-5 year old who started to do small bucks when cantering through the forest and also when he didn’t like the horse beside him. She put it down to high spirits. Another time she went xc and was the last one of a small group going over a hedge jump – which left the others out of his sight. The horse jumped the fence ok but then did a big buck in the air. She was obviously lifted out of the saddle but when coming down he bucked again and launched her into the air. She was taken to hospital and luckily nothing was broken, although badly bruised. Thing is – how do you deal with that behaviour?

  2. yes, I ride a fun, high spirited Quarter horse named Monty who can launch me over the moon :) It keeps me on my toes and makes me a better rider for having hung on a few, and hit the dirt a few more!

  3. My horse bucks as protest over work. I usually find it humorous, though, as it’s usually both very minor AND his last protest – after which he gets down to work hard, in a mode where he works harder than I ask for.
    I’ve seen him buck hard on landing over ~3′ jumps with my trainer if she asked him to jump at a bad spot, and that intimidates me, because the way he bucks then is nothing I would expect to stay on!

    My first horse was a serious rodeo bronc bucker. Somehow I was a little kid with a velcro butt and could stay on her massive bucks. There were actually pros at the barn where we had her who wouldn’t get on her for fear they would be thrown, and the old cowboy trainer there said he’d been thrown from less. There’s no way I could stay on her now! She gave me a lot of knowledge about balance and not backing down, though. She only bucked me off twice in the 5 years I had her (and I came off once jumping) despite many tries.

    This picture is after we’d already had her for two years – you can imagine how small I was when we got her!

  4. Good question. I remember when I was a kid and was told “you aren’t an experienced rider until you’ve been bucked off a horse.” I was so proud when I got bucked off the first time. But I bounced back then. The ground is harder now and I don’t bounce anymore. My first bucking incident since returning to riding in my 50s, tossed me into the ground head first and gave me a slight concussion (fortunately I was wearing a helmet). I want to ride for pleasure and relaxation; not looking for excitement, so I want a horse with no buck in them. Fortunately, my Percheron mare has never offered to buck. Knock on wood…I hope she remains that way.

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