Question: “It’s day seven with this horse and he still bucks with a saddle. EVERY TIME!  After he bucks about 10 good licks he acts good but I’m just now able to stand up in the stirrup and lay my weight over the saddle without him jumping out of his skin. I have used a head rope around his flank and when he bucked I apply pressure to make him buck as a punishment. He got to where he’d go around there and I’d pull on it good and he ignored the flank rope and he was sacked out good. I got in him that day and my husband worked him around with me on him. The next day back to bucking. I put two tires on him one one each side when he bucks this time he’ll whoop himself and he did pretty good.  I’m scared to get on him. Lol. I’m 38 yr old lady and this is probably the last colt I’m breaking before they break me.   What do you suggest? I don’t wanna quit on him.

I’d also like to add that he’s thrown three people off that tried to cowboy break him.  They didn’t take anytime to get him hooked on or do any ground work. I’ve spent a lot of time with him giving to pressure backing and he was super stiff in his face and I have him bending a lot better.  He accepts me brushing him down and and is getting better about his feet being handled. He used to shake all over when I was even near him.  He trusts no one.  He stands to be saddled and once I saddled him in the barn and he stood there fine but at the drop of a hat he blew up and jumped so high he busted his head open on my floor joists of the loft.  He’s very testy.  I certainly have not beaten him. He is however finding ways to beat himself. I don’t get overly excited just trying to let him figure it out that bucking is the wrong choice for him. I plan to stay consistent with him as I’ve done every single colt over the years but MY confidence is wearing thin.  I’ve never been this scared to throw a leg over. I just don’t want to get hurt seeing how strong he can buck. Horses are self preserving but so am I. “

“I’m sure you realize it is hard to assess a situation where I am only hearing one side, but it’s not the first time I have heard or seen the type of situation you are describing. It’s hard to recommend a quick fix or with any accuracy a long-term fix, so all I can do is give you some philosophical wisdom based on my experiences.

In order to understand why he does what he does, we need to try to see things from his perspective. From what you said, apparently he has had some bad experiences and has gone to great efforts to try to protect himself which included busting his head open and repeated experiences of bucking. We have to realize they are prey animals and their defense is number one flight, and if that is not possible number two is fight. Bucking and crashing in to things is a means of fight.

Apparently he is a more sensitive horse which means they are more alert and they observe and remember more, and they are quicker to respond. For every bad experience a horse as I figure it takes at least 10 good experiences to offset the one bad, but if 10 isn’t enough it could take 100. It is what it is and I haven’t found a way to shorten that process. But if we don’t have the time or put that value on it we are better to cut our losses and start over with a different horse.

People can have trouble separating whether their horses are a hobby or business. If they are a hobby we can be sentimental or emotional and time and money is irrelevant to whatever extent, in which case you can put them in the backyard and feed him and possibly pet him for the rest of his or your life.

If they are a business we have to look at the bottom line, sentiment and emotion have to take a backseat. In which case something to consider is what the cost of a competent rider, (which in your case may be a ranch cowboy and not a horse trainer necessarily), to put a season of riding on this horse and compare that to the cost of a trip to the emergency room and some downtime while you nurture an injury.

My number one priority is the person’s safety, especially when it comes to me. My number two priority is the horses safety. And number three is for the horse to have a good learning experience so he can be a productive animal for us, however we may define that.

I hope this can help you and I’m sorry I can’t be of more help to you but I don’t have a crystal ball to see what the horse is seeing.”