Thursday, November 18, 2010

DutchWwarmblood X mare - Bucking Problem

We have an almost 6year old DtchXcanadian sport mare -We got her in Nov 09 and she walk-trot-canter - just started over small X's. She started bucking in a canter on the right lead about two weeks after we got her, not getting better - we have had her ovaries scoped - she been treated for possible ulcers, we had a chiropractor out to adjust her - massage therapist saw nothing as well - a communicator told us its her back - our saddle hurt her - which is true and we have a custom saddle coming , until then we ride with Gel pads and even bare back she bucks - We just found out that she was put in 30 day training every year for her first five years starting at 2 not what we where originally told - could she just be really confused ? Its frustrating its like she goes great for a ride and the next day its buck fest, we lunge her now with my daughter on her and when she is about to buck we crack the whip and it seems to help, just want to see some progress with her , Not able to even show a beginner class. Our coach is starting to ride her. HELP!

You are certainly doing the right thing for this problem, i.e. consulting a Veterinarian, a Chiropractor, a massage therapist, etc. It is indeed unfortunate that this horse was ridden at the age of 2. This well may have started this behavior.

Even though you ride her bareback she occasionally bucks. I do not know if this is at a particular gait or not. Often the canter or going in a tight circle will cause the horse more discomfort through the back or a loss of balance and they will buck.

It may well be that she is responding to fear and pain MEMORY. Dr. Temple Grandin has an excellent chapter in her book on this. If so, even though she is ridden bareback, she is expecting to encounter discomfort, anxiety or pain. You may need to do just easy walking until the new saddle comes. Even then it sounds as if you have to go through a period of behavior modification.

When I lunge my horses and need to send them forward...( and sending her FORWARD through a buck is probably correct), I do not snap the whip. My horses accept the end of the whip like my leg...not afraid of it, but the touch means increase your impulsion. Try not to SNAP the whip if possible.

Also, what do you have in her mouth? If you read the research of Dr. Robert Cook and his Bitless Bridle, many vices such as bucking can occur because the horse is in pain from a bit. (even a simple snaffle). Has she been checked for mouth ulcers, etc?

My email is, and my web site is I would really like to know what progress you make with your mare.

Mitzi Summers

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stop Horses from Nipping/Biting

Hi there!

I was wondering if you could help me out. I have a year old orphan Kiger Mustang colt who, for the most part, has come a long way in his training, and has decent manners, but he is SO ridiculously mouthy. I realize that a lot of colts, especially orphans, can be very nippy, but I can't figure out a way to get him to stop this behavior... I have tried many training tips including pulling whiskers, and popping him with the butt-end of a crop, but to no avail. He has never been allowed to get away with nipping, but he continues to do it like he cannot help himself. Sometimes when he is disciplined for biting me, he will get frustrated and start biting himself... Any tips on how to curb his oral fixation?? Thanks!

First of all, is your colt gelded? If not , that should be immediately arranged. The problem is a bit more involved as you mentioned that he sometimes bites himself when you correct him. This may lead to self-mutilation which is sometimes seen, especially in stallions.

There are several approaches. First I hope that he is outside as much as possible. The ideal would be out all of the time with access to a run-in shed. I think you should do "mouth-work" with him. Linda Tellington Jones mentions this in her T.E.A.M. books. If you feel all right to do this, massage the outside of your horse's mouth, and also the inside. Going INTO his mouth and his space instead of his going into your space often changes their attitude. I suggest that you find someone to show you how to do this, however. You need to hold onto the halter with one hand and use your body correctly so that you horse cannot bite you.

If you prefer, just stroke the outside of his mouth with the bottom of your fingers. The purpose is to be assertive without being cruel. I do not know how long you had him or how he was orphaned, but I am guessing that he has been greatly traumatized in the past. Maybe he was not socialized with other horses if he was orphaned.

Also start teaching him a lot of ground work. You can start long lining him and lunging him slowly. Again, I will be glad to help you with any of this. The Team leading exercises will also be of help. ...keep him busy and occupied.

I will be glad to give you detailed instruction if you email me at or my web