I own a 9 year old quarter horse gelding. I purchased him 3 years ago and I have always had a problem in bucking at the start of every ride. He has a problem about going across creeks. He will rear up and try to buck what shall I do to fix the bucking and the creek problem? Any advise will be useful on this matter!
May I suggest that you return to the basics and do a lot of ground work when dealing with his bucking behavior. You must emphatically make him understand that you are the boss and his behavior will not be tolerated. The second thing is make sure that all tack is in good condition and is thoroughly clean, free from caked on sweat, dirt and debris. Third, have his teeth check by your veterinarian to make sure there isn't any mouth problem. Check his bit, make sure that it's free of burrs and that it is the proper fit.
If a horse is properly ground broke and mostly mannerly, his bucking is usually a result of something causing discomfort or unease or something you don't realize you're doing. Eliminate all possibilities, then go back to the ground work. (Just because a horse is older does not mean he can not be taken back to basics from time to time to reinforce what he should all ready know).
As for refusing to cross water, well this has a lot to do with the established trust between the both of you. We are going to start with ground work and progress to mounted work which will help your horse overcome the fear of stepping on unfamiliar footing and build confidence in your ability to negotiate water together.
Use an artificial method of creating "pretend water" by using a blue tarp, sheet or clear heavy duty plastic. Place it along side of a fence or wall creating a barrier that will prevent him from swinging out on one side. You stand on the opposite side, with your horse between you and the fence. Have a long whip with you, holding it in the outside hand away from him, lead him up to the pretend water, you both cross the barrier together, if you avoid it...he will also. If he hesitates, tap his hind quarters with the whip to encourage forward movement, but do it by reaching around behind, keep your eyes forward with his. Work in both directions as many times as is necessary to get him in a calm working routine. Repeat this same process. Then repeat it with a snaffle bridle and reins in order to have riding gear control when you get to that point.
Spread the same type of obstacle out in an open level area, in preparation for riding across it. Keep your horse in the snaffle for two-handed direct-rein control by keeping his neck straight and use you legs to keep his body straight in the channel. Keep your eyes on the center of the obstacle. As you begin to cross it and your horse begins to go left, with his nose still pointed to the right, take back on the left rein to straighten his neck, apply firm left leg pressure behind the girth causing his body to go right. On the initial approach, lean forward with your upper body allowing a couple of inches of slack to the reins and encourage his head to lower to see what he's going to step onto. Do not kick at his side, but instead gradually apply even leg pressure with both legs increasing that pressure little by little, urging him to continue his forward movement. Repeat this as many time as needed until he regards it as "no big deal."
Now we're ready for the real thing. You stay on the ground, wearing waterproof foot ware, approach a stream that is at least 10 feet across but shallow. Walk, lead your horse quietly and confidently to the water. Allow him to time to inspect the water and time to relax. He won't cross if he feels tense. Standing close by his head, step into the water, coax him to follow, take your time, give him time to get use to each step taken, the different depth of the water and the changing ground under his feet. Repeat this until he crosses without hesitation.
Now mount up and ride across, remembering to use the same rein and leg techniques you used during the simulation practice. He's had time to inspect the water...so keep him moving forward by keeping constant leg pressure. It is important that you maintain forward motion on the first few crossing so he never has the opportunity to refuse. Keep your upper body forward and give him reins so as not to confuse him thinking you changed your mind and want him to avoid the water. Once he has taken that first step into the water, continue the light leg pressure, move your upper body back to an upright position to lift his head as you continue across. Take care not to pull back on the reins, just straighten up to maintain that forward motion. Finish crossing slowly and relaxed, turn around and cross from the other side. Repeat this until he has successfully crossed it smoothly.
After you've managed to cross several times, prepare yourself for the final step in confirming your control. Begin to cross him once again, but this time you are not going all the way across. Instead softly stop (whoa) him in the middle and ask him to stand for a couple of minutes. Then continue crossing.
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