Bucking is an unpleasant habit that can be embarrassing and uncomfortable if the result is a loose horse and an injured rider. Bucking shouldn't be tolerated because it will almost certainly lead to a dangerous situation.
Why A Horse Bucks
Horses usually buck for one reason: they don't want to be ridden and therefore want to get the rider off their back. Exactly why they don't want to be ridden could have to do with the saddle: A poor-fitting saddle that presses against or pinches your horse's spine or back could make him want to buck. A leather-lined saddle on a cold-backed horse can also result in bucking.
Maybe the horse was never properly saddle broken or has had bad experiences with cruel or inexperienced riders in the past, says Dr. Ross Hugi, an equine veterinarian in Mundelein, Ill. Once a horse has had those types of experiences, he may never be willing to be ridden.
What You Can Do
Whatever the exact reason, bucking is a habit that must be severely discouraged. Here are some steps Hugi and Houpt suggest you take:
In general, there is no reason to employ physical punishment in horses. Use techniques of positive reinforcement to modify behavior. This many take patience to work with the horse outside the regular training schedule. This process of retraining can be highly rewarding. Physical punishment is more often damaging and ultimately creates bad behaviors.
Painless Behavioral Modification
In her address to the AAEP in Nov., 2000, Sue McDonell, Ph.D., an animal behaviorist from the University of Pennsylvania, made several points about behavioral modification in horses that apply here.
To achieve these goals in the context of a bucking horse, you will need patience and an open area to work in.
Know When to Get Professional Help
Bucking may begin in a light-hearted way but it can quickly develop into a serious vice. If you're having no success curbing this problem, get help from a professional horse trainer or equine behavior specialist. Don't allow your horse to turn into a bucking bronco.