Horse Bucking Controlled

Allen-English Saddle Rider

“Greetings, soon after you replied to my email i did purchase a BuckBuster. I have a thoroughbred who has two gears – lazy and crazy. He pokes along for a while and then once he is warmed up past a certain point it is like a switch goes off and he becomes a nut. Before he is warmed up a canon could go off and he could care less. When he is in his other personality a leaf falling off a tree can inspire a massive explosion. Blue is extremely athletic, and his reactions are so fast that usually it is impossible to tell when it is coming – but suddenly he can start to buck and when he bucks, he bucks huge. Luckily, he bucks straight, so i have always managed to keep a leg on each side. I didn’t try the BuckBuster until a few weeks ago. I had some vague fear that maybe this gadget would hurt the horse, etc. Besides, the time i really need it is on trail rides which is when he goes the most insane, and i hadn’t been out on the trail till recently. I rigged up a “chicken strap” between the stirrup bars of my dressage saddle and attached the BuckBuster reins to it – just on top of his withers. I adjusted the reins to what seem like a good length and put my snaffle bridle on top and headed out with my friend, Ron. The BuckBuster did nothing. When blue gets tense, he gets extremely “behind the bit,” with his head in quite extreme flexion, and so the BuckBuster reins were then hanging slack and had no effect. It also might have been partly because when the reins are attached to the saddle horn of a western saddle they are at a much different angle compared to where i had them, just on top of the withers. Anyway, it was the usual chaos. But then about half way through the ride Ron said, “why don’t you pick of the BuckBuster reins and use them as reins?” why not? Any port in a storm. From the moment i did as Ron suggested, blue was like a different horse. I held the BuckBuster reins along with my regular reins in what is called the Fillis or French style of holding double reins. In English riding two sets of reins are used with a Pelham bit and with a double bridle. The top rein goes to the straight bar of the Pelham or the snaffle bit of the double bridle and the bottom rein controls the curb bit. Most people use a different method of holding double reins, but i use a less common method, known as the Fillis or French style, in which the top rein goes over top of the index finger of each hand and the bottom rein goes under the bottom of the little finger. This method gives a maximum separation between the two reins and the maximum of separate control of each rein. i used the BuckBuster rein as the top rein and the snaffle rein as the bottom rein. As soon as he would start to get behind the bit, which is the position that leads to his bucking i would gently touch the BuckBuster rein and it would get him to lift his head and put his nose forward. I used the snaffle rein very little and saw that instead of frantically fighting with the bit and getting more and more worked up and behind the bit, he kept his head in a good position and became more relaxed. At one point in the ride i commented about how nice the view was from a certain hill. Ron said that of course i was saying that – i had previously never been able to relax enough to look around and see the view while sitting on that powder keg off a horse. This has now become a running joke around the barn. Today i rode for the first time in the arena doing dressage with the BuckBuster snaffle double bridle arrangement. It worked wonderfully. When he is in his crazy mode, blue has tremendous energy and moves beautifully. Today i was able to use this double bridle arrangement to harness that energy without explosive bucking fits. Besides being able to control the bucking, my method of holding the reins seems to allow for very precise fine tuning of his head position. In dressage the ideal head position is to have the poll being the highest point of the body and the angle of the head to be just slightly in front of the vertical. Touching the BuckBuster rein moves his head up and his nose forward. Touching the snaffle rein moves his head down and his nose back. With gentle and precise selective use of the two reins i have very fine control of his head and neck position. I would be glad to send you a photo and/or a short video of my using the BuckBuster along with the snaffle as a double bridle. Let me know if you would like me to do that.”

Feb 19, 2014 8:18 AM