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Horse has learned to dump people to get out of work.

I am admittedly a bit angry while writing this post. Today, for the third time in a week, I was bucked off a horse I have been riding for a long time.

He is a 6 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Johnson, out of a Jet Set mare. He had 30 days put on him by a Western trainer as a 4 year old, and has been in consistent training with me since then. The gelding has never been easy, in fact he is one of the most difficult horses I’ve ridden. It has taken him a long time to mature, since he stands 18hh, and I find Johnson babies to be slow to grow up. He is characteristically a bit lazy, you must work to keep him in front of your leg. The trot is now quite lovely and forward.

The problem is, he has learned to buck people off in the canter. It mostly happens when he tries to fall out of the canter, and you don’t let him. Today, I asked him to continue cantering when he tried to break, and before I knew it I was on the ground. Earlier in the week, he bucked me off when I asked for a canter transition.

I really don’t think it is a physical problem. He is UTD on teeth, is sound, and does not appear to be sore anywhere. The saddle fits well.

I live in a small area, with very few trainers, let alone good ones. His owner believes that there is no one around here that could stay on any better than I can. His full sister has been deemed unsafe to ride, is it possible that maybe he is just too dangerous to bother with? Has anyone been through a similar situation?

Bucking at the canter is almost always a sign of discomfort. If he wanted you off he’d be bucking at other gaits any other time.

Involve a saddle fitter and chiro, I’ll bet it’s physical. Hope you are able to dust off your wounds!

18.00 hands!! Eeek - long way down.

He’s only six, so that is a lot of growing, probably still unbalanced and unmuscled.

There were a number of Jet Sets up here - very nice looking horses.

Will try to find a chiropractor, not an easy task where I’m from so may be a while.

I’ve been waiting a long time for this horse to grow up, was hoping by now he would grow out of it. He’s been dirty at the trot as well, but I’m usually able to catch it in time and shut it down.

Sorry that happened. IF someone else owns him, I would encourage them to get him checked for kissing spines or any other issue , which is not visible without x ray for it. Just to eliminate it as if pain is the cause, training won’t help it.

That out of the way, wish I could help. I have personally not been in that situation re a horse too dangerous but I wonder if some Dutch WB lines are a bit “crazy”, or can’t handle dressage training perhaps despite their talent. Only because I witnessed first hand( and accompanies to hospital when she got injured) similar antics by a very talented imported Dutch WB (Chestnut if that matters), who deliberately rodeo bucked his rider till she fell. On two separate occasions, the second one I was riding with her and watched the whole thing.

My horse did a mild spook, which set the WB off into a spook. Okay, that’s normal (both were young horses at the time). Then, the dutch WB did a buck. Okay, also normal exuberance perhaps in a young horse after a spook. But then, after teh rider calmed him, he set off into a series of twisting leaping rodeo bucks and did not stop till she was on the ground (broke her shoulder). I watched it and it was deliberate. He had done it once before with her at the mounting block. She was a fabulous rider, lovely seat, bronze medalist. The horse did seem to be pushed in his training for his age (6), she imported him a few months prior to the incident, but still.

Many Dutch WB of course are not like that but this one was, I don’t know his bloodlines if it is a related line to yours. He was pushed in his training in Europe I heard but still…

anyway good luck, if he’s not yours and you feel unsafe you don’t have to ride him, 18 hands and bucking at canter omg! say safe best wishes with project.

I agree with some Dutch lines being more difficult than others. I ride multiple DWBs for this guy, we have a lot of Jazz blood, and though they are talented, they can be very opinionated and difficult to start. I have found, on average, Dutch horses are generally not as amateur friendly as other Warmblood types.

No experience on the lines but bucking etc at canter when asked to go straight etc is usually a sign of sacro issues in particular. It could be strengthening only is needed but it could also be more serious. Given his size i’d say possible problem.

Whats he like on the lunge/long lines at canter. Does he canter straight? on the forehand etc? That he gets cranky when you straighten him screams pain/weakness to me.

I’ve been through this with 2 horses now (both showed like yours though didn’t manage to get me off thankfully). One didn’t get much better and was retired the other had injections and a strengthening program and improved dramatically. Lots of pole work and lateral work at walk while warming up. On the second horse first canters had to be in a lighter seat - not something id recommend on a buck inclined horse :slight_smile:

Good Luck!! Not sure i’d want to ride a horse that size like that.

I don’t think that bucking always means soundness issues. He could be grumpy about something and doesn’t want to work. He could be a little uncomfy at the canter but more “ohhh I don’t like to canter with my head down because I don’t have all those muscles yet and I’m not even going to try”

Can you send him back to the cowboy trainer? They seem to sit a buck better.

What does this mean: “His full sister has been deemed unsafe to ride”?

I don’t believe any horse is capable of planning/doing a buck to get out of work. We (humans) anthrmorphize their behavior way too much.

Some thing prompts him to buck. Figure out what that is and see if it is fixable.

Check his back, check his saddle, check his teeth, just check everything about him.

If everything is good to go, time for boot camp. If it means taking him back to square one and tying things to him(within reason) on a surcingle, so that he learns he CAN’T get rid of things/people when he decides he is done, and that that is a VERY bad idea, then do it. I restarted a horse last year that was on it’s last chance-he had passed everything physically. He was athletic. If it didn’t work out with me, I had a friend who has a lot of ins with bucking horse people who wanted him. Otherwise he would have been euthanized. Fortunately all of that hard work paid off and he is still with us.

Oh, and an overcheck is your friend.

I love the Jazz horses but golly they can be tough.

I don’t believe any horse is capable of planning/doing a buck to get out of work. We (humans) anthrmorphize their behavior way too much.

Some thing prompts him to buck. Figure out what that is and see if it is fixable.[/QUOTE]

I’ve seen a lot do anthropomorphizing on this board but this is not a case of that. Horses abolsolutely develop habits to get out of work. They may not be capable of planning ahead like say, while you’re tacking up… But they can most certainly learn how to get out of work, most just do it less extreme ways.

A Jet Set Johnson?

No wonder he likes to launch you.

Sounds like a total pr!ck.

(Sorry, I can’t help myself, really.)

First… horse do not “dump people to get out of work” They come up with behaviours to protect themselves from riders who do not read signals well.

At 6, and 18 hands he is not developed in his spine yet. His backbone, and the spine processes will not close until he is 8 years old. Yes… everything you say he is doing… is likely from pain. Likely a bad saddle that is not suited to HIS needs. Not some saddle fitter. I know quite a few horses who can not tolerate saddle panels against the base of the wither. No pressure where the wither joins the back. Pressure on the wither itself… sure… but not in the middle where the rider sits and where many saddle get extra stuffing.

Try him in something rather than a dressage saddle. A nice jumping saddle for instance.

He does it when he tries to come out of his canter and you try to push him on and change his decision? And now when you ask for the upwards transition.

Do you have a round pen so he can balance himself without a lunge line?

The one good thing you said was he was not yours when you referenced his owner - also, you are going to get hurt at this rate, 3 times!! Don’t be crazy,

Bucking at the canter is almost always a sign of discomfort. If he wanted you off he’d be bucking at other gaits any other time.

Involve a saddle fitter and chiro, I’ll bet it’s physical. Hope you are able to dust off your wounds![/QUOTE]

I disagree that bucking at the canter always means pain… in the sense that there’s a lot of it and you should chase it. Sure, try to rule out a physical cause. But remember, too, that bucking while canter is pretty easy for the big horse bred to have a powerful hind end. And if he discovers it earns him a rest, it’s natural that he’d use his spectacular physical equipment in order to get what he wants. Nothin’ wrong with that!

I think you have a basic training problem-- he’s behind the leg, and now it’s limited to the canter. He’s smart enough to know that. There are so many solutions, if you stop worrying about the buck and think, instead, about the behind-the-leg problem.

I had a very good, very smart and articulate cowboy help me with a horse** who had this problem. The horse would buck and I’d punish him (he got a smack with my stick)… and then he’d buck in response to that, not straighten up and fly right. Cowboy said “Meh, it’s easy for him to buck in stride” and “You need to find something he doesn’t like, and that’s safer for you.”

His idea was that this horse, like yours, was behind my leg at the canter. Rather than ride straight ahead, he had me trot down the quarter line or so, turn toward the rail and ask for the canter just about as we started to come out of the turn. The idea was that when I asked, he had better go… really squat down and gallop off. This was the classic western rollback. The point was that the horse couldn’t do much but turn and canter, so I was safe. And being safe, I was free to get sharp with my stick so as to teach him to respect my leg… thus correcting the basic problem.

** The horse in this case was kind, not calculating, and wasn’t catty-athletic. So use this technique as you have the balls to, depending on how committed this horse is to dumping people.

More recently, a dressage trainer who is a fan of double lunging helped me work out a similar problem with a differently-minded horse on the ground. In essence, we still worked on her being behind the leg, but we had the discussion about her need to go forward when I asked. And this meant no bucking, no plunging, nothing but cantering would get any praise or peace. But she got plenty of praise while she was cantering around for a couple of laps. Between a lunge whip and having two reins, I could teach this mare that, yes, she could canter politely and promptly, even with contact. Furthermore, I could limit her or even shut her down if she got wound up and decided to try plunging around instead of bucking.

Really, babies are wont to try all sorts of strategies for getting behind your leg. Bless their hearts! The don’t know that those aren’t civilized… or not worth a try since cantering on the aids is just.so.hard!

If you have jumping in your background and you are comfortable going for a little gallop in a two-point, this can help, too. Perhaps this is something I’d try after I had taught the horse on the lunge that he could, in fact, keep cantering, and maybe even do that with some contact. I think you have to be willing to go forward, even in his big (big, big) baby bounding canter. And if you get off his back, he has less reason to feel that stuck him in the back. Bridge your reins and keep tall with your body, maybe with your hands, though!

I hope some of these ideas are useful to you.

A behaviorist who’s opinion I respect says that 3 times bucking someone off is all it takes to form a habit. The behavior is so rewarding ie freedom , that it forms in just those 3 repetitions.
Ideally, after the first incident you get someone on who won’t come off to correct it.
Now, he will always know he has that option.There may well be a reason for it, definitely lack of obedience to go and stop ,maybe physical ,or a combo . He should stop bucking when you ask him to stop, so working on his stop and go will help. I won’t ride a horse with this bucking people off as an option once it’s become a habit, as it has after doing it three times.
I’m not sure anger is the appropriate response to this.Is this your job? If so, maybe a bit more understanding of horse behavior is a good place to start, if not, then this horse and those like him may not be worth it for you. Hope you’re OK!

i would get a second opinion on the back and also try treating for ulcers and see if it makes a diff.

then…what are you doing when he bucks? my now 4yo had a mean ass rodeo bronc as a 3yo, to the point the western trainer who backed him said we could send him off to be a bronc horse is he kept it up! he was taught the classic one rein tight circle nose to knee and you QUIT NOW and even 6 months down the line if he goes to bronc and i pull him hard left he will drop his nose and quit.

i would also say its hard to say whether a horse is broncing because he gets a fright or does he really want you off…my boys go to is a bronc and because i am (mostly 99%) able to sit it, stop it and ride forward it doesnt escalate but you bet if someone lost balance and wobbled he would panic and then go and go and go until they came off. Many baby horses are not confident with wobbly riders in that sense.

You two must not have much experience with smart, sour, unsuitable lesson horses. Some horses absolutely will deliberately dump a rider to get out of work or avoid doing something they don’t want to do. Fortunately, they aren’t all that common.

Be careful because it can become a habit Like sammy said. I had a horse given to me years ago for this very reason. The only way to break the habit is to have a velcro rider ride the bucking out. Once he learns it doesn’t work he’ll quit.

I sure the owner has had the physical well being of the horse checked out. The bucking will become ingrained unless it’s nipped in the bud.