If you’ve ever had to ride a horse that bucks, you know what a challenge it can be. A horse that bucks can present many dangers, and to prevent yourself from quickly becoming injured, there are a few things to keep in mind. Horses will buck for a few reasons, but whatever the reason, it's an action which needs to be halted immediately to keep all parties involved safe. Keep reading to learn our seven tips that can help you when you riding a horse that bucks.
1. Check for Physical Pain
Before you make a habit of riding out bucking fits on a particular horse, please stop and check the horse for pain. Bucking is often a symptom of pain somewhere in your horse’s body. Evaluate the fit of your saddle, and check to see if the girth is pinching your horse. You might also look for back pain, pain in your horse’s legs, and even an issue where the bit doesn’t fit or is irritating your horse’s mouth.
2. Keep Your Heels Down
Sinking your weight down into your heels helps to give you a base of support, which becomes really important when your horse starts to buck. Focus on keeping your heels down during your ride, and envision your weight sinking down into your legs and your heels.
You can also improve your heel position by standing on the edge of a stair. Let your heels drop down off the edge of the stair. This exercise helps to stretch out the back of your calf muscle. Work on this for a few minutes every day to improve your position.
3. Pull the Horse’s Head Up
Many horses cannot buck with their heads down. If your horse starts bucking, use a strong, steady pull on both reins to try to bring the horse’s head up and to stop the bucking spree.
4. Get Back On
If a horse bucks you off, it’s very important to get back on. If you end the ride after you fall off, then the horse has learned that he can get out of work by bucking and will be even more likely to try this tactic the next time he doesn’t want to work. If you are too shaken or injured to get back on the horse, then find someone who can.
5. Don’t Wait for the Buck
If you’re constantly worrying about when your horse will buck, you can actually contribute to the chance that he will try bucking. Instead of worrying about the buck, focus on your ride and tell yourself that the horse will not buck. You might be surprised at how well this technique can work.
6. Be Confident
Above all else, confidence can help you to ride out a bucking horse. If the horse senses that you are afraid, then he holds the power and will probably continue to buck in the future. Remind yourself that you are a strong, skilled rider who is capable of riding out the bucks.
7. Stay Safe
Bucking is a dangerous behavior. If your horse makes a regular habit of bucking, then have a trainer help you. We want you to stay safe, so don’t be too proud to get help with the issue.
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Do you have any of your own tips to share that have proven effective for you? Don't forget to share them in the comments section. And if you know another horseback rider who could benefit from reading this article, don't forget to share it with them.
I restarted a thick Morgan ranch gelding, who after a rider induced accident, was put out to pasture in some mountains for 7 years.
I knew how good a horse he was, so after a few week of searching, we caught & trailered him to my horse area. I began slowly, with lots of groundwork. He was fine when I rode him in the corrals or a large turn out pasture, but when I’d take him outside the immediate corral surround area, he’d get balky, trying to swerve backwards, (always on a tiny ledge), of course!
I knew that he’s vert strong & powerful, & when I’d push him just a bit more, he'd want to lower one shoulder a bit, while trying to drop his head down on one side, which in many horses, is a precursor to bucking. Instead of allowing him to follow through, instead I “go deep”, all of my weight down into my feet, deeply seated in my saddle, then I’d raise on rein up to about my waist height, reining him in on the higher rein side, while lowering the other rein to my thigh, & when he’d settled, I’d continue to urge him forward. It doesn’t always put him completely inline, but I never give him the opportunity to buck! The same techinique can be used to make a horse circle, burning off some energy & often helping to “change the dialog”.
One thing I can say after having my gorgeous powerhouse of a gelded late warm blood for a few years that bucks constantly is really engage your core and stay aware of your surroundings like a fence you can turn them into to get them to stop, you can’t let it scare you every time because they can feel your fear and some will likely take advantage of it and take you for another ride!