Tag Archives: bucking

Back Pain and Your Horse

Do you know where the most common sites of damage to a horses’ back are? The answer is:

The withers and the lumbar areas. In other words, right in front of the saddle and right in back of the saddle.

Here is the typical scenario: your horse has acute back pain, so you give him some time off. The horse recovers from the pain. During the time off, if it is more than a week or so, the muscles of the back start to atrophy. You put the saddle back on to put the horse back to work. The fit, which was probably questionable to start with, is now worse. And the cycle of pain is again triggered.

Having regular body work done on your horse can help prevent the sad story above. Stress points and trigger points can often appear (and be taken care of) under my finger tips before obvious pain shows up in riding. Back muscles can be stiff and tight long before the horse starts to complain with refusals, bucking, or choppy movement. Massage and chiropractic treatments are as important to your horses’ well-being as good nutrition, training, and shoeing.


Does Your Horse Buck?

I often hear about horses with a wicked buck that routinely dump excellent riders. A playful buck after a thrilling jump is one thing, but if your horse is consistently trying to unseat the rider, chances are that horse is in pain.

Bucking is a defensive move, a way to protect from predators. If a mountain lion jumps on the horses’ back, bucking is a good way to get rid of it! If something hurts in the hind end, bucking seems like a logical way (to the horse) to get rid of the pain.

Give your horse a back massage. Tight muscles will hurt with the added weight of a rider. The long back muscles, lumbar, top of the haunches, and areas around the croup all should be relaxed, elastic, and pain free.

Saddle fit should be one of the first checks when investigating the cause of bucking.

Make sure the bit fits and is comfortable for your horse.

Be careful about feeding very “hot” feed until the problem is resolved.

Make sure your horse is getting enough time outside the confinement of a stall.


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