Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bucking videos

Seems like there are an endless supply of these videos!

Hey I'd have something to say about you banging my sides like that too! It's not about Arabs having attitude, it's about your horse bucking you off. The problem is not the horse, the problem is the rider and their approach. I think the horse is being pretty clear here about not wanting you up there. If the horse is bucking, he's telling you - clearly - to get off. Guess what, I'm going to listen to what he says, that's what partnership is about - whether that means getting off and addressing the root issue on the ground, or backing off the pressure and adjusting your approach under-saddle. It will not, I repeat, not, put you back a step in your training to get off a horse when he puts up a fuss, provided you correct the issue of why he is bucking (whether then - after you dismount, or during later sessions). If he's bucking out of discomfort or pain, I need to get off and fix the problem so that my horse does not feel the need to buck. If he's bucking out of disrespect or out of fear, well obviously I have more work to do - work that can be done on the ground and work that is often better suited to be done on the ground. There are certainly times when bucking can be addressed under-saddle of course, but in this instance, continuing to push a horse who has said "no" several times is not the correct answer. "If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or you asked the question wrong". What irks me the most is that (once again) the horse is blamed. Hey, who gave YOU the right to swing your leg over that animal's back, without its approval, and to force your will upon it? Rather than blaming the horse for "having attitude", the rider should be re-evaluating the response they are invoking in the request they are making, and adjusting as appropriate (which might mean seeking out knowledge or seeking the help of a professional).

I hate the word breaking when used in regards to horses. Just rubs me the wrong way. The horse looks skinny because she is skinny. I can count every single one of her ribs and her hip bones are sticking out. That's a good 150 to 200lbs underweight. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck...guess what, it's probably a duck. The horse is skinny. Day 1 and you hop on the horse suddenly, no ground work, no mount-up prep? Horse looks pissed the entire time, particularly after being kicked so liberally (even in later videos of the horse). On the other hand, like she pointed out, this is her first horse, so it's not going to be perfect, and at least it is not abusive. The girl herself could be a great person - I have nothing against her personally. However if it were to be my first time, I'd be delving into some vids and books on starting horses! As for the comments stating that "of course the horse is going to buck, it's her first ride" does not have to be that way and in my personal opinion, shouldn't be that way.

That horse wanted nooo part of that girl. Shocking, considering the constant kicking! Oh and the fact that she looks like she's about to tear him to shreds after being bucked off...I wonder what happens at home after he tells her she's no longer welcome up there? More yanking on his mouth? Well now we know why the tie-down is on... On your horse is NO place to be venting your frustration. If your horse bucks you off, take a good hard look at why he bucked you off, most often the reason is us as riders, a lack of partnership between us and our horse, ill-fitting tack, etc.

"They said it was a kid-safe horse". Well yea...but not when you're yanking around on that curb bit and kicking the shit out of him. We won't get into the bad riding that likely also exacerbated the reason the horse took to bucking. He's not nuts or "poorly trained", just sane enough to want the rider causing him so much confusion and discomfort off his back!

I'm not trying to be hard on the individual people themselves in these videos - as long as actual abuse is not occurring I'm not going to comment much and I really do not feel all that upset towards them personally. We all make mistakes. I know nothing of that specific individual and for all I know they could be a great person. My point is that, just as in the last video, the horse is almost always to blame. That is not right in my books. In the last video, the posters of the video comment that the horse is "nuts" and comment posters say that the horse is "poorly trained" - what, because he will only put up with so much? Come on! Bucking is a form of communication for a horse - how else is he supposed to tell the rider he doesn't want them up there anymore, that they're causing him too much pain, that they're not acting like partners and are not treating him fairly?? Take responsibility, admit that you had a part to play in the horse bucking (a large part) - it's not the horse!! In the barrel racer video, the rider deliberately causes the horse pain and discomfort upon re-mounting. What does she think that horse is going to think of the prospect of her getting on again next time! If you are frustrated, walk away. It is never appropriate to take your frustration out on your horse. I have to admit that I have walked away before, and I have to admit that I've made mistakes before too, remaining with a horse despite frustration. I am working with a 3yo Canadian Sporthorse mare that got me pretty riled up the other day (I went to vaccinate her for her owners, who say she is fine with needles, only to be surprised with huge dinner-plate sized feet hanging in my face after the first poke). But just simply the negative energy I portrayed to her by being so frustrated set my work with such a sensitive and mistrusting horse back several steps after I've worked so hard at earning her trust. It is okay to walk away, which I did. Where frustration begins, savvy ends. We become frustrated because we have run out of knowledge, we've run out of ideas of how to handle the situation. Load up that arsenal of knowledge, keep our minds constantly open, and we're set. It's okay to walk away from a situation to come back to it another day with fresh ideas to try. It might be a little more difficult to earn a horse's respect after giving him his way by walking away when he bucks as an evasion, but it places you in a safer situation and it allows you to come at it differently - better, more prepared, next time. If you don't know what to do, staying up there is not going to change that and it will only further frustrate you and your horse (and possibly further jeopardize your safety). "Giving a horse his way" is sometimes the best thing you can do, if you come back to it (next time) properly and armed with the right knowledge to help you, you'll come out ten steps ahead. Way further ahead than if you'd stayed behind and "not given him his way". Promise. If you find yourself over your head or not obtaining the desired response from your horse, take a good hard look at yourself. Take the time to educate yourself and to seek help if necessary, then retry. Don't blame it on the horse.

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