Issues From The Saddle: Parrot-Mouthed Bucker

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Question Category: Issues from the Saddle

Question: Hello Julie, I have a horse with a few problems. He is a six yr old that was professionally trained at 3 (ya right) then put out to pasture for 3 yrs when I got him they said he was so sweet he’s not very aggressive just trying to worm him he rears and tries to strike. They said when you want to ride him just lung him for a while (ya like 2 hours till he’s on his knees) and that will get the buck out of him, well he does okay in a walk or trot but any time I canter he bucks a lot. I have been riding him with a quick stop because that’s what he was trained in and because he is very parrot mouthed I feel if I could work him in a bit I would have more control I’ve asked a few people what they thought but no one knows that much about a parrot mouthed horse the equine dentist I use said he doesn’t recommend a bit. What do you think?

thanks Melissa Panzera

Answer: Melissa, I am sorry to say that I do not have a lot of experience with parrot mouthed horses. The ones I have trained have not been so severe that you couldn’t use a bit. If I could not use a bit on a horse for whatever reason, I would use a bosal or a side-pull, nothing harsher. From the sounds of your horse’s history, I would proceed as if he were totally untrained. Longeing a horse to the point of exhaustion teaches a horse nothing but does condition him so that he has plenty of reserves stored up when you get on him. Instead, I would look at the horse’s groundwork. Is he respectful and obedient with good ground manners? If not, you need to spend some time training him to be in that frame of mind. In my experience, when a horse is respectful and obedient on the ground, the saddle training is easy. If he wants to buck at the lope, I would keep working at the walk and trot for sometime before even trying the lope. When you feel totally confident that he is 100% at the walk and trot, then try the lope again. If he bucks, you’ll need to gently ride him through it, pushing him forward until he relaxes in the back. Only stop him when he is relaxed. Let him move as forward as he wants to at the lope, don’t try to keep him slow. When horses buck at the lope, it is usually either because he is refusing to move forward or because he is cold-backed and the lope feels funny to him on his back (his back comes way higher up in suspension at the lope that at trot and for some horses the additional pressure on their back is disconcerting). Either way, the solution is to ride him forward through the bucks until he relaxes his back, then let him stop. It sounds to me like your horse needs total retraining from the beginning and lots of ground work to get him in a submissive and obedient frame of mind.

Good luck! Julie Goodnight

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