Friday, June 09, 2006

How To use Smart Horse Training To Stop Your Horse From Bucking

How To Use Smart Horse Training To Stop Your Horse From Bucking
By: Andy Curry

It can be enormously frightening to be on a bucking horse. If you're a novice rider, a bucking horse can almost force you to give up the "owning a horse" dream. But it doesn't have to be that way.

I've read where people who can ride a bucking horse feel they're a good rider. That may be. But it doesn't mean they're good at training. And training is what we want to do.

Preventing bucking begins when the horse is a colt. One must go to every extent in his training so he won't be inclined to buck - and that includes preventing bucking if he tries.

Naturally, that doesn't help you if your horse bucks already. Thus, if your horse bucks then the question is whether or not it is solvable. The answer is: Usually.

The first thing to do is try and figure out why he bucks. This may be done by trying to eliminate the causes.

As a for instance, one of the most common causes of bucking is that the rider punishes the horse's mouth without knowing it. Also, he may be giving the horse conflicting aids. For instance, the rider may boot his horse forward and jerk on the reins to slow him down. Then the rider jerks his head around to turn him. As the horse fights this the rider gets mad and boots him hard again.

Finally, the horse bucks. Why? Because he's absolutely frustrated.

Thus, fixing your riding habits to ones that make sense and are thoughtful for your horse will solve that problem. If you're a novice rider then riding lessons will help you immensely.

As you ride, ride relaxed. Focus on the feel of your horse. Give him the aid or signal to do what you want. Don't over exaggerate it. Give just enough signal to get him doing what you want then let it be.

If you plan to put him into a lope from a walk or trot, or vice versa, then think ahead and do it in a relaxed fluid manner. Don't surprise or startle your horse. Keep him relaxed. A relaxed horse is not going to buck.

Another solution may be changing bits. If you are using a curb bit perhaps you should try going to a snaffle. A snaffle is easier on a horse's mouth. It will still maintain contact with your horse and help him relax.

Another common time a horse bucks is when the rider asks the horse to canter or lope. A horse will sometimes buck in the canter because it's natural for him to. It could also happen if the rider signals his horse too suddenly and severely in asking for the canter.

You see, a lot of people think they have to boot their horse hard to get the canter- - and when they do, they jerk on the horse's mouth when they boot him. Or, the rider may ride with loose reins so the horse will canter and then jerk his mouth to try and slow the horse down right when he begins cantering.

I don't know if you spotted it yet but what's happening here is that the horse is getting confused. Not only that, it's also hurting the horse.

After all, put yourself in your horse's place. If you were asked to canter and the second you did you felt a painful jerk on your mouth...wouldn't you be a little upset? And if it happened every time, wouldn't you think to yourself, "I gotta get this jerk off my back - he's killin' me!"

Now let's say you don't know why your horse is bucking. Let's assume your riding habits are good and your horse bucks anyway.

Here are some helpful suggestions.

First, if your horse bucks you then it is crucial you don't stop him. If you do, he learns that if he wants to stop all he has to do is buck. Very quickly, you'll have a smart horse who knows that to stop he only has to buck.

So, instead of stopping, do this.

First, brace your arms against your body yet keep them relaxed and keep contact with your horse. While doing this, lean back and drive your horse to go forward. (Making a horse go forward is a big horse training secret to help you get your horse's cooperation and obedience.)

Because you brace your arms, it makes your horse's head go up and driving him forward makes his attempts at bucking hard enough he'll quit trying to buck. The point is the horse cannot buck when he is moving forward with energy.

The next step is you must continue moving your horse forward with energy using your seat and legs until he quits trying to buck - be sure to control his speed.

Sometimes it's necessary to hold your horse's head up to stop the bucking while moving him forward. If you need to do that then be sure not to pull his head back. Instead pull it up. You do that by extending your arms and pull up.

If you have a horse that bucks whenever he feels like it then he should be doubled. The trick is to do it on the first buck if you can. Double him then boot him out of it with energy. Then double him the other way and boot him out of it and put him in a trot and make him keep moving.

Remember the horse must slow down to buck. If you can tell your horse is slowing down and getting ready to buck then boot him forward and pick up the pace.

About the Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at


Monday, June 05, 2006

Developing The Bond Between Man And Horse

horseback riding

The relationship between man and horse is an enduring one. But dealing with animals is always easier and more enjoyable when you have empathy and understanding. To be able to relate to horses,you need to understand their pychology, in order to anticipate horses'reactions you have to understand how they think and why they behave in certain ways. A good understanding also builds confidence on both sides-human and equine.

When faced with a threatening situation, the horse's nature is one of flight, and therefore its perspective on life is one of vulnerability rather than attack. As humans, how we react and feel in certain situations depends on our upbrining and experience. It is the same with horses, which is why careful early handling and training are so important.

We can never expect a horse to go against its natural instincts, that is, never to be frightened or wary - but with good training we can control these instincts and show the horse, in a positive way, that a particular situation or object need not be feared.

Horses are gregarious herd animals, welcoming the company of other horses, as well as other creature companions and humans. Even domesticated stable horses establish their own 'pecking order'.

Either the stallion at the end of the row calls loudest when feed time is due or, as many top riders report, their retired star kicks the stable door demanding attention first when what it considers as 'it' rider walks into the stableyard in the morning.

It is widely known the horse responds best to praise and encouragement from its trainer or rider to overcome its natural flight instincts and not be dominated. 'Breakin-in', the term formerly associated with a youg horse's first conditioning to carry a rider, has now commonly been replaced with terms such as 'starting', which infer much less the idea of domination.

From the disabled child fearlessly enjoying the company of ponies as part of therapy to the most successful of international competitive combinations, a common bond - that of trust and empathy between rider and horse - is being developed.

The horse looks at its human contacts as part of its 'herd' in the herd hierarchy,the human rider and trainer's intellectual capacities give him or her the upper hand. This is why the man/horse relationship has worked so well for several thousand years, and humans can control an animal with many times their own strengths and power.

Riders in their early lessons will often be told 'Don't be nervous'. Although at this stage the rider should be learning from an experienced horse and therefore should be able to relax, the fact that horses need reassurance and security is something to bear in mind and cultivate from the start of a riding career.

horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley