126.96.36.199 | Message modified by user rosalita208 7/2/2012, 10:36 pm
Awhile ago I wrote about a horse that bucked in the arena, or at least was kicking out pretty hard. It's been almost two months. So we've had two chiropractic treatments and two massages on our little friend, and he has been blessed by both practitioners as feeling good. Vet has seen him also. We've given him pretty much a semi-layoff to relax while he's been having these beauty treatments.
Our little friend still puts up a fit after about 20 minutes of riding in the arena. (Never fusses on the trail.) I just wanted to give this update for people who felt a horse only bucked or kicked out due to physical issues. This horse has been certified by vet, masseuse and chiro as not having physical issues. Still bucking when he decides his time is up in the arena. He's not being ridden hard in the arena, either. Just trotting nicely in varied patterns, usually with other horses, alternating with walking. He's not confused. He knows what you are asking, because he will do it nicely for about 20 minutes, then quits by throwing a fit. He's far from tired out. He gets walking rest breaks between the trotting. We're not even cantering on him.
Anyway, the plan is to keep working the horse on trail as much as possible, and continue having good experiences in the arena, and trying to extend those arena experiences timewise, little by little.
But at some point, I have to say, instead of having the horse decide when to quit the lesson by bucking, we will need to address the decision this horse is making to end the arena work on its timetable by deciding to kick out, run sideways and do all out it can to quit the rider after about 20 minutes. Otherwise this horse is just not safe. The rider will go along fine and then screw you, horse throws a little fit, which becomes a bigger fit, if rider continues to cue him forward when he has decided he's done. This is a pretty deeply embedded issue in this guy. And I think quitting when he says quit is only going to make it worse.
Escalating into a fight isn't the answer either. But we have to end on him doing the right thing, not we leave the arena after you threw a fit and you got your way. Winter is coming. We won't always be able to exercise him by riding on the trail like we can now. When it's raining he's going to have to get worked in the arena.
I've been watching the Chris Cox videos on dealing with a bucking horse. He says some horses just get in the habit of bucking for whatever reason. Either it's in their nature or it's worked for them as a strategy to end the work session. I believe Chris Cox has a good approach. You need to teach a horse to make good decisions ie not bucking, even when the horse is feeling a little bored, a little bothered, or gets tired of complying with your reasonable requests. You've got to find the place where he's a little uncomfortable, resorts to the bucking, but then teach the horse that it's an ineffective strategy. Only when he complies and acts nicely does the work stop. Not to shut the horse down, but to get him to make a better choice. Be with the person and end on a good note together.
This is expert level retraining and relaying of the foundation.
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