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AskHQ: Bucking bronco

Q: My horse has recently started to buck and buck. We’ve just checked his saddle and the saddle fitter can’t find anything wrong with the fit and says that she doesn’t believe his back is sore. What do you recommend as the next step?

A: We agree absolutely with your decision to get your saddle checked. Any sudden change in behaviour warrants an examination for any signs of discomfort and that includes and changes in the fit of the tack. The fact that your saddle fitter doesn’t see any issue with saddle fit is a good sign, but it doesn’t give you an answer as to what is causing the problem, which we understand is frustrating.

There are several causes of bucking, but one of the most common has to be discomfort in the musculature of the back and hindquarters. While it is good that your saddle fitter can’t spot any obvious discomfort, we would recommend contacting your vet, a physiotherapist or a chiropracter to come and see your horse. Sudden onset bucking does sound pain-related, and a thorough assessment will at least reassure you that there is nothing going on in the back or other associated anatomical structures that is causing this behaviour. If this again draws a blank, it is worth consulting your farrier and dentist to see if they can find anything that could be related.

It’s always important that when a new behaviour develops, we keep trying to find the root cause of the issue. A saddle fitter is an important professional to ask to examine your horse, but if this has pulled up a negative, as in your case, you need to consult someone else in your circle of equine professionals to see what they can suggest.