Horse Training Tips – Bucking

Dear Friend and Horseman,

Welcome to another Horse Training Tips Newsletter.

In this issue I’m going to answer questions that were sent in by my members and subscribers. One question in particular was very good so I’m going to really focus on it. I think you’ll get a lot out of this… especially if you start any colts.

Speaking of starting colts, I want to spotlight one of my members who recently had some success with one of the colts that he started. I’ve reprinted his email here so you can read it for yourself. I thought he did absolutely great.

Here’s what he wrote:

Hi Larry,
I just wanted to write and tell you about my recent success through using your training videos.

I manage a large ranch in northern Arizona where we raise reg. Quarter Horses along with commercial cattle.

Although I’ve had years of experience with horses and have broke several colts in the past, last year I ordered your “Colt Starting Magic” videos along with the “Stopping Light and Collected” and “Rollbacks and Spins” videos.

Using your methods I started a 2yr. old stallion last spring. I rode him lightly this past fall during our works and then 90 days ago really started tuning him. Again, using your methods in the videos.

I entered the colt in Arizona’s largest Ranch Horse Competition and sale which is open to all ages of horses. There were 57 entries and at least 7 states represented.

To make a long story short…

We didn’t win first place BUT we made the finals and finished 9th overall. Many people were absolutely amazed at how such a young stallion could be so broke and compete in a class with older, more experienced horses.

Thank you Larry for putting your years and years of learning, through trial and error, into a few hours of excellent videos. I’ve watched them over and over and will continue to in the future.

What a treasure your videos are. Keep up the good work! I will be ordering more in the future and highly recommend them to everyone who is serious about truly getting between a horses ears and perfecting the training process.

Your friend,
Phil Straley

My comments:

Wow Phil, what can I say? Thank you, thank you for the kind words and letting me know that my videos were a help. You obviously did a fantastic job with your colt. Congratulations and I wish you continued success.

Okay, lets get started with the training questions

Here is an excellent question about colts that buck:

Hi Larry,

Thanks for your helpful tips. I really appreciated your solution to the “spooking” problem. I gave it a try and it really worked. I didn’t have to walk home on foot.

I have a question related to training colts. I have no problem getting my youngsters moving from walk to trot and back to walk, but some of them don’t want to canter – either bucking or crow-hopping in response.

How do you control this? The bucking can come from the excitement of speed or from resentment of being asked to move faster.

I don’t overwork my youngsters, seldom riding more than 20-30 minutes and stopping on a good note when they perform some request well, even if it isn’t the request I wanted to practice.

Any tips?


Diane McCluskey

My comments:

Hi Diane,
Your question is one of the best I’ve ever received. It is a problem that many people experience and don’t know what to do about it. I hope I can shed some light here in this newsletter.

Anyway, I’ll try to offer a solution that has worked well for me.

I really don’t have a standard procedure that I use when its time to lope a green colt. I kind of pick and choose the time when I feel I can do it without causing a wreck. If I can get the colt loped a few times without a mishap, I know I’m over the worst part.

Some colts I’ll lope the very first ride. Others, maybe the tenth ride. I’ve had some real athletic (and broncy) colts that I didn’t ask to lope until I’d ridden them for a month. To try to lope them sooner, would have definitely gotten me bucked off.

However, there are times when you really need to get on with the program and get the colt loped “now“.

Here is what I usually do when I need to lope a colt that I “know” will buck with me:

Before I ever ride a colt, I’ve tied his head around and taught him to give laterally to the bit. I’ve also “doubled” him (pulled him) from the ground so he knows what that is too. As long as I can get the colt’s head when I need it, I feel I can control him.

So, let’s say I’m on a colt and the colt is humpy and threatening to bog his head and buck.

The first thing I’ll do is reach down one rein and pull the colt’s head around to get control. Then, I’ll change sides and pull his head around on the other side. I want to remind him that I can “take his head away” whenever I want.

NOTE: If the colt struggles or resists giving his head, it may be necessary to use quick PULLS AND RELEASES instead of a steady pull.

Next, I’ll start bumping his sides with the calf of my leg. The bumping will be light at first but I’ll soon increase it to a pretty strong “thump”. I thump his sides with one leg at a time and I’ll have the colt’s head pulled around while I thump.

I do this “thumping” to “entice” the colt to buck.

If he is going to buck, I want him to try it now “when I’m ready for it”. Most colts will oblige but as long as I have their head pulled around, they really can’t do it very well.

I’ll do this “pulling his head around and thumping his sides” until the colt has loosened up and there is no longer any hump in his back.

On most colts, this is all that is needed to prepare them to lope with no bucking.

With colts that are more determined to buck, I’ll go a step further and “spank” them on the butt with the ends of the reins. (Of course, I have their head pulled around when I spank them so I can maintain control).

Spanking their butt makes them scurry around in a circle, gets them moving and loosened up. Usually, a swat or two will be enough to get the hump out of their back.

I do have an alternative method that I use on exceptionally big or broncy colts.

I’ll prepare these colts on the “ground” with a specially designed hackamore (bosal). This hackamore is made of metal and is comfortable to the horse until I decide to make it very “uncomfortable“.

I’ll tell you, a couple of firm “bumps” from this hackamore will have “any” colt listening and wanting to be good.

I’ll lunge the colt and teach him to stop from the word “whoa”. Any time I say “whoa” and he doesn’t respond, I’ll bump him with the metal hackamore. This hackamore has such an affect that most colts wouldn’t even think of arguing with it.

Once the colt fully understands the ground work, I’ll “ride” him with this metal hackamore. If there is even the slightest hint of the colt misbehaving, a small bump from the hackamore will instantly change his mind.

I’ll probably jinx myself by saying this but I’ve never had a colt buck or even try to buck using this method.

An even safer alternative would be to lunge the colt in the metal hackamore with a rider on his back. Have the rider ask for the lope and if the colt acts up, bump him to make him quit.

Hope this helps. Be careful, use good judgment and don’t take unnecessary risks.

By the way, there are two videos that I recommend you watch. One is “Colt Starting Magic” and the other is my “Inner Circle video #1″.

Colt Starting Magic will give you a thorough understanding of how to start colts safely with or without the use of a breaking pen. No snubbing horse is needed either. You’ll see exactly how to start colts with nothing left out.

Inner Circle video #1 does a great job of showing you how to establish control on a green colt. I demonstrate three consecutive rides on a snorty, goosey, ready-to-buck, 2 year old gelding.

You’ll see how I teach the colt to slow down and stop, how to lope with control in a big arena and most importantly, how to keep him from bucking me off. This is probably one of the best videos I’ve done. It reveals the solutions to many problems.

Take care,

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha Training Stable

I would like to take a moment to talk “frankly” about starting colts

A lot of folks email me to share how they got bucked off their colt. Some of these people were attending a “colt starting clinic” when it happened. They said the clinic was supposed to show them how to start the colt so he wouldn’t “want” to buck.

They went on to say… They were shown how to prepare the colt to be ridden. And were instructed to mount the colt with nothing on his head but a halter.

These people were surprised to find themselves bucked off and hurt in a matter of seconds.

Well, after starting hundreds and hundreds of colts and trying every conceivable method under the sun, this is what I’ve come to believe:

#1. Some colts will try to buck no matter how carefully you prepare them.

#2. Only a fool gets on an un-broke colt without the proper equipment.

Yes, I have witnessed some of the best colt starting clinicians in the country getting bucked off colts.

And yes, I too am a fool who has on occasion, made that first ride with nothing on the colt but a halter.

But now that I’m older and don’t heal up as fast, I’ve gotten way smarter.

I want to speak to you heart to heart for a moment… Don’t take unnecessary risks with your physical safety. An accident with a colt could cripple you for life.

I know guys who used to be professional trainers who are now permanently confined to a wheelchair. Accidents can happen to anyone. Use caution and don’t get careless.

Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope you liked it.

Until next time, have fun training your horse.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha