Posted 08-24-2002 at 22:24:51
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Things to look at: Have you checked your saddle to see if it fits him properly? Is the tree broken? These are the most likely culprits.
Also, what is your cue to tell him to canter or lope? What is his level of training--is he green broke or a well-schooled horse? Are you asking for a slow lope or an all-out gallop? Have you checked your riding position--are you leaning back on his loin area or riding off-center? Do you use a back cinch that is too loose or doesn't have a keeper to connect it to the front cinch? Are you alone or riding with others when this happens? Is this a new horse or is this a new behavior with a previously well-behaved horse? Are you warming him up before asking him to gallop? Why are you galloping? (for what purpose?) Is this in an arena or in some other setting? Is this an older horse who might have arthritis or joint pain? What are his back and withers shaped like? Is he sore along the spine, withers or loin area after you ride? Does he travel straight when you are riding him? Are his feet trimmed and/or shod correctly? Is your bridle correctly fitted and is the bit comfortable for him?
Horses don't buck just for the heck of it. He's trying to tell you something, that he's hurting or frightened. Most likely it is a saddle fit issue, but it could be related to a number of other factors. You could also have an equine chiropractor adjust him and see if that helps.
Good luck and be careful--you are right to be concerned.