Monday, March 2, 2009

The buck is back. Damn.

Yes, the bucking bronco is back.

What the @#$@?!

We went on a trail ride and there was the buck. We were loping circles in an open area and Canyon got worked up running just behind Woody. His head went high and I could sense his energy change. It was run with the herd time. I'm not sure if picked up the rein too tightly, or if I was on a lookout because I knew he was no longer listening to me, but down went his head.

He curved up like a cat and gave one buck before I yanked his head backup. Then I ran him around the field a few times for good measure.

But the issue isn't that he's bucking because he doesn't want to run. The issue is he wants to give over leadership to the high horse and if I attempt to take any control during that moment of high headed running, there goes the buck.

So I'm pretty seriously discouraged. We had been very well connected all this time. We'd round penned, he'd responded well to my speed control in the arena and he was fine being in the front, back or middle of the herd during the ride. He even spooked in place at the vicious armadillo.

It's all about another horse running near him and me trying to slow him during that moment - but I don't remember actually trying to slow him. Frankly I'm not sure I did anything than draw up reins when he was starting to round his back.

Did I mention he can buck at a lope?

So what are my choices? Here's my thoughts:
  • Be very choosy about when we run on the trail - no running with a herd buddy or running to "catch up"
  • No running on the trail period. Save it for the arena.
  • Get him to a trainer and see if they can break this habit somehow (not that I have money for that, but it's a thought).
  • Think about another horse.
  • Or, as DH would like me to do, get out of horses for a while.

Trainers talk a lot about picking your poison. I love this horse. But I'd like to run without worrying about a bucking bronc ride. Another horse might jig, another might be stubborn. Mine bucks when he thinks he might be being forced to be left behind.

Bottom line, he hasn't given over to me yet.

Do I need more time with this horse? Do I need to walk away so I don't get hurt? I hate being in this place again.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gosh! As someone who is still recovering from a fall from a horse that jigged and did a teleportation, I err on the side of safety. You gotta think of yourself first. Horse last.

But you love this horse and have a passion for him, right? Does running on the trail mean that much to you? Can you have fun without it?
How about those you ride with?

Just an idea, but could you try standing in a field out on a ride, while a friend runs around you two. If he gets excited, nip it in the bud each time, until he realizes that is just not allowed?

A trainer or even a qualified, secure friend to work with him may be another terrific option, too.

Either way, I just wanted to say I feel for ya. Just ride safe, ok?


Breathe said...

Thanks Lisa. I'm just so conflicted. And its a terrible time to rehome a horse - I don't think he'd find a good home in this market even if I took a loss on him.

I think of you a lot when I contemplate this - and your horse is pretty even tempered, isn't she?


d2cmom said...

I would love to help! However, since I'm too chicken to lope on my crazy mare, I don't think I could give any good advice.

I understand the fear of the buck though.

Melanie said...

Hmmmm....I totally know how you feel, as I rode a broncy horse for 16 years. And yes, he could 1/2 buck, 1/2 twist in the air at a canter or gallop, even with me pulling like crazy to keep his head up.(Some people say that is impossible, but we know it is!!!)

My advice??? Send him to a trainer. You have done so much with him, and if he is still bucking, it is time for professional help. Just be prepared...most trainers anti-bucking methods aren't the greatest (to watch anyway), but it beats being severely injured by your horse.

Your a wife and a mother, and you should be able to go out and ride your horse anywhere, without the threat of injury from bucking. There are plenty of ways to get hurt without bucking, right??? LOL!!!

PS-I love that pic of you by the White House!!! And your daughter and her hair are too cute!!! :)

Breathe said...

Thanks - I'll probably keep working him for a while and look at a trainer in a few months. But I want to be part of the training since if he doesn't think I'm somewhat in charge there's no hope!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yes, she's pretty even tempered and trustworthy. I'd go so far as to say she is bombproof as a prey animal can be anyway.

She's never bucked with me on her, though she has given a few crowhops/cowkicks when she wants me to know she thinks we should end a trail ride. I just give her a small kick or squeeze and she gives in without anymore fight, thankfully.

She rarely ever spooked with me and usually always in place with a few snorts. She bolted on me once when a commotion of dogs and horses went off behind her, but I got her under control quickly. And then the only time she's ever spooked sideways was when I fell off. gah!

Like D2cmom, I don't canter or lope on my mare either. She gets too 'spirited' for me to feel safe. I feel like I'm not in as much control and that she could run off with me when she is cantering. It's mostly in my head I know, but she also rides heavy in the front and drags in the back, so her canter and trot aren't collected and comfortable anyway.

We'll try to work on that in the future probably, but what I really want anyway, is a slow relaxed trail horse...basically for a hike in the forest and fields. So cantering isn't all that important to me.

Listen to your heart and mind and you'll do what is best for you and for Canyon,