Understanding the Reasons Why Your Horse Bucks.

Posted by Russell Gibbons on 21st Jun 2022

Understanding the Reasons Why Your Horse Bucks.

There are a number of reasons why our Horses Buck.

Here is a little insight as to why!

Australian made Horse Training Treats

Essentially, Bucking is a natural response to numerous situations.  

Understanding the main reasons why your horse is bucking can help you decide if more attention is needed; if there is a problem to be fixed; or simply watch in admiration because your ponies are literally jumping for joy!!!

So why do our ponies buck?  Here are 6 of the main reasons!

1.  Fear:

Horses tend to have a very strong flight response when they get a fright.

Sometimes, something unexpected has happened which triggers a response.  In the Horses world, most likely this response is a buck or a very quick movement away from that point of fear.  This movement can even feel like a buck.

They buck in order to get away from that "thing" and not necessarily to get rid of you as a rider.....  Unless, of course, it's something that you did to create that unexpected event!

This type of buck is quite common but is not normally something to worry about.

If anything, it's simply desensitizing your pony with regards to the events which are scaring it.....  With observation, you can work out what it is and then start the desensitising process by using Horse Treats and exposure to that event.

2.  Protection:

A buck is a natural response in horses and is done in order to protect itself from a perceived predator or a threat.

If a horse feels threatened, it will buck to get away from that threat.  The buck not only gives the horse a head start, it's also done with a view to damage the predator in order to prevent a chase.

The horses hind legs are it's greatest weapon.

Horses will even protect their young from predators by bucking and kicking, as well as a rival stallion if they are brumbies in the wild.

If you happen to be on the horse when a predator, perceived or otherwise, approaches (such as a snake), you need to simply hold on tightly and hope for the best.

Your riding skills and horsemanship skills will kick in, and you will need to manage the situation......  however there is very little you can do to control it as it is a response which has been developed, and used, for thousands of years.

Healthy Horse Treats

3. Pain:

Most bucking in recreational horses is actually caused by pain of some kind.  This is the type of buck which you need to do something about.

It's unclear why horses react to pain by bucking.  Perhaps it's with the hope of getting pain relief, or it's simply an unconscious reaction?  Whatever the case, it's automatic and it's natural. 

Being a large animal, horses have many causes of pain.  This can be an injury sustained whilst riding or in the paddock; or diet induced pain such as Gastric Ulcers;  Possibly simple wear and tear in their joints and vertebrae as they age; Teeth pain; Disease; a reaction to a bite from something like an insect; and the list goes on.

In some of these cases they will only buck when you try to ride them.

Normally, this would mean that when you hop on your pony, your weight will cause some sort of pain somewhere....

This is the type of pain you really need to take notice of, and get a professional to take a look and organise a diagnosis so you can treat it.

In fact, when it comes to a bucking horse, if it's bucking because of pain, it's a good idea to seek professional advice sooner rather than later.

Thus, the importance of understanding your horses types of buck!

4.  Feeling Awesome:

Horses will buck when they are feeling positive or exuberant.  It's an expression piece of their behaviour.  Your pony wants to show the world how good they are feeling.

Normally, these types of bucks are short and won't continue.  It's just a way of expressing themselves.

Good riders should be able to ride through these types of bucks with no problems.

If you felt that your skills are not up to it, it is possible to train your horse not to buck with the help of Food rewards like Horse Training Treats and other specific training techniques.

However, this type of buck is generally not something to be worried about.....  More something to smile at as you know your pony is super happy for what ever reason. 

Horse Training Treats

5.  Poorly fitting Gear:

Sometimes a Horse will buck because something which is placed on it is uncomfortable.

It could be the girth is too tight, there is a prickle in the saddle or the horse rug is awkward to name but a few!

Once again, this is something to take notice of and not to be alarmed over.  It's simply your horse telling you it's uncomfortable.  So fix it!

Australian Horse Treats

6. Buck Training:

Of course, you can train a horse to buck both intentionally and unintentionally.

There are some sports which desire a horse to either buck, or do a buck like move, such as the Rodeo sport, or even in the entertainment industry with regards to live shows and movies etc.....

Unintentionally training a horse to buck is actually easier than it sounds.

If the horse has had a bad experience whilst being ridden in the past, for example, and to solve that problem it has bucked that rider off a few times, and that rider gives up for a passage of time, in essence, that is reinforcing the action of bucking.

The pony learns that bucking like this will solve it's problem, and when someone tries to ride it again, even if it is not that person from the past, it triggers your horse to simply do what it knows work.....  which is to buck.

This type of bucking is learned and is more of a mental, or behavioural, reaction.  Thus, to stop this type of buck one needs behavioral techniques to unwind, or train, your pony not to behave in this way.

Because it's behavioural, this can be very difficult to treat, so it's important to learn your horsemanship skills and riding skills properly from the start.


It's important to be observant and to learn the types of bucks your horses exhibit. 

This will allow you to identify problems quickly.  

If you are inexperienced and not sure, and your horse repeatedly bucks under saddle, assume you have a problem.....  Then seek the advice of a professional or someone more experienced.

That way you will avoid causing an injury, or a behavior, to become worse.

It's also a great way to get to know your pony......  and who doesn't want to do that???

All the best from the team at Huds and Toke.  

Enjoy creating awesome memories with your horses and share those moments with us on our socials.  We love seeing the adventures your are having with your animals.



Healthy Horse Treats