Reasons Why Your Horse Bucks & How to Stop It

bucking horse

There are a few reasons why your horse could suddenly buck. But no matter what the real reason is, you should never, ever stand behind a horse.

 Loud noises, perceived danger, and irritation are just some of the reasons a horse could buck. When a horse starts to buck, it is best to get out of their way. 

Reasons Why a Horse Bucks

We have all seen a horse book, either through movies or through real life. They shoot out their hind legs and kick them directly into the air behind themselves using the full force of their muscles. But what could be the reason behind a horse bucking? We’re going to answer that here. There are several reasons why a horse suddenly bucks their hind legs into the air. 

1. Fear/Defense

One reason a horse could buck is that they are afraid. Horses do not have the best sense of what is around them, especially if they try to see directly behind them. When they sense a predator coming up behind them, either from the noises of nearby horses or a strange noise, they will instinctively buck out their legs behind them to fight off the incoming danger. They have a mighty kick, so one buck could potentially save their life.

2. Irritation/Anger

Another reason why a horse could book is that they’re angry. You see this mostly when they are in contact with disrespectful humans and animals that do not notice or completely ignore the many signs of irritation they give off. Horses are independent creatures, and they like to withdraw and be alone just as much as humans do. Or the human could be hurting them and annoying them with their movements and sounds.

3. Playtime

Horses will often buck when they are playing with other horses. They will get a surge of energy that jolts through them when they play with their friends. It’s the same as jumping into the air if they were human. Many foals will frolic together and kick their hind legs into the air when they are playing with another horse.

The last reason a horse will buck is that they were trained incorrectly by a human trainer. Animals learn all of their training and behaviors from either negative or positive reinforcement. The horse could have learned from their trainer to buck out their legs to complete a command or receive a treat. Whether or not this was the trainer’s intention is no longer important. Bucking is the result of incorrect training.

Some horses are naturally more challenging than others. Defiant horses will do anything they can to free themselves from situations they don’t like. If they learn that kicking off the rider that is on their backs means they won’t have to be forced to work, you can guarantee that you will see this behavior in the future. This type of behavior is the most difficult to retrain.

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Can Horses Hurt Themselves or Others When They Buck?

Yes. A horse’s kick is mighty, and everyone who is ever own a horse or has been near a horse has been warned to never, ever stand behind a horse. As you’ve learned in the section above, they are easy to frighten and will buckle their hind legs out in defense at the first sign of danger. They can also buck out when they are happy, but this does not mean that their kick will be softer or less dangerous.

The Strength of Their Kick Was Almost Measured

A group of scientists in the United States and Switzerland decided to measure the strength of a horse’s kick. They were able to find six horses that were trained on command to but their hind legs when exposed to certain stimuli. Unfortunately, that wasn’t very much data they could gather because the horses only gave out weak kicks or no kicks at all.

The Estimation of a Kick

Other scientists and Ranchers have said that a horse’s full hind kick could result in more than two thousand pounds of pressure per square inch, which is an unbelievable amount of power.

Deadly Kicks

But even without an exact measurement, those that work with horses know that their kick can be deadly. There are numerous stories of people living on farms and taking care of horses called died because a horse kicks them in the head or the spine.

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How to Prevent a Horse From Bucking?

If a horse was incorrectly trained to book, then only extra training can prevent them from bugging. You must find the stimuli or the conditions that cause a horse to trigger they’re bucking instinct and reprogram it.

Reduce scary noises, and don’t walk behind them. When in danger, a horse’s natural instinct is to Buck to fight off any predators that are trying to sneak up behind them.

Make sure your horse is able to get enough exercise every day. If the horse is not getting enough exercise, it could be full of pent-up extra energy, and they are just waiting for a way to express it. Horses need a minimum of two or three hours of outside time every day, but more exercise will always benefit a horse, especially if they are young. 

If a horse is in pain from their back or legs, and you touch them in their injured areas, they will buck out their hind legs as well in defense of their body. They will also get mad if you even try to place the saddle on them. If this is the reason they are bucking, you must call the veterinarian so your horse can receive a full examination to determine where they are injured and how the site should be treated.


  • Horses buck for many reasons
  • It could be that they are scared of a predator they think are coming after them
  • Horses that are more defiant kick more often to keep humans away from them
  • A horse also bucks when they are playing around
  • One kick to a human can be fatal
  • It is estimated that a horse’s kick incurs around 2,000 of pressure per square inch.
  • Horses that kick out because they are injured must receive treatment, or they will get worse.
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