Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Bucking

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If you want to rule out any physical issue being a factor in the behavior.
  • If this has happened more than once and you do not know why.

Bucking with a rider in the saddle is a dangerous habit that needs to be resolved.

Many young, unhandled horses buck as a natural initial response to a saddle and rider on their back. If ground training is appropriate though, there should be minimal bucking with a rider up. If the right cues are given by the rider, most of the horses that do buck quickly abandon the behavior. By nature, some horses naturally do tend to buck more than others.

Horses are also taught to buck or continue to buck in the same way they are taught to engage in many other unwanted behaviors. They perceive the behavior to be easier and more rewarding than alternative (desirable) behaviors.

Like many evasive habits, bucking can also be a response to pain. A variety of physical problems may cause a horse to buck including mouth problems (loose wolf tooth, mouth wound, a snaffle that pinches the corner of the mouth), ill-fitting saddles, back pain, irritation under the saddle pad, or lameness due to an undiagnosed injury. A stimulus like a bee sting can cause a horse to uncharacteristically buck. Your vet can help you determine whether bucking is a result of physical pain.

WHAT TO DO

If a physical cause is ruled out, look to yourself, your own riding technique and others who have handled your horse as both the cause of the problem and the solution. Engage a trainer who knows how to stop this behavior. Do not ride the horse yourself unless you have the confidence and ability to solve the problem.

It is important that the rider stay in the saddle when the horse bucks. Bucking the rider off is a release for a bucking horse. Once a horse becomes accustomed to bucking the rider off, they will work harder and harder to achieve this. Of course, this is easier said than done in some cases.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet evaluates the horses general health, their back, and tack fit. They will want to rule out lameness. They may need to evaluate the horse with a rider up to better understand the causes of the behavior.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending