Crow Hopping

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Last_Hope, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Whats everyone's thoughts on Crow Hopping?

    My 3 year old has started doing it when i ask for a canter, a few strides in he does it and I am concerned this will develop into a buck..He never used to do it.. I'm hoping its that he may need a new saddle as his withers flinch when touched lately, but he doesn't seem to be in any pain so i'm confused as to whether its a result of pain/excitement and being young or a more serious behavioral issue...If you've experienced crow hopping please feel free to share your tips :)

    Who is a good recommended saddle fitter in Perth that can come suss it out for me? as his last saddle was fitted when he was 2, so I would say he has changed alot since then.

  2. saltriverj

    saltriverj New Member

    Would you be open to some help?


    Try and think about where your horse is coming from and what he or she is trying to tell you - before you listen to everyone else's opinions or comments.

    I have a beautiful grey who had bucking issues etc and it took me a while but to understand how I was creating it and how I can ride in a way that prevents it.

    If you would like some help with this you can get a telephone appointment with my boss Kellie Stewart. If you are interested you can check out our website Saltriver Performance Horses - industry leaders in Advanced reproduction and breeders of quality Australian Stock Horses - Welcome to Saltriver Performance Horses
  3. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Thanks for your response, I really would like to know WHY he is doing it rather than straight out tell him off as you are right in that it may even be something I am doing wrong to to make him do it but had another girl on him the other day and he did it for her too when trying to go into a canter. Is there any way of testing to see if its pain or behavioural? If it is behavioural I would be very interested in contacting Kellie for help.

    Thanks luv.
  4. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    With young horses sometimes it can be as simple as the fact that you could be sitting too heavy in the saddle. Try going lighter in the saddle when you ask for the canter and staying in two point position for a bit and let him move under you. Without seeing you and the horse in the flesh and watching it's hard to diagnose.

    The other option is to put your lower leg forward (to prevent you going out the front) pull his head up and ride him forward.

    Of course there's saddle fit, chiro, teeth etc etc to rule out first though.
  5. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Get him out where there is a hill and ask for canter. Very hard to crow hop up a hill. If he starts to hump under you give him a crack and send him forward. I would do this with him until he softens and you don't have resistance. This behaviour will lead to bucking.

    Do you have any anxiety when you ask him to canter? He may be getting the vibes off you that your worried. Better to only canter up a hill for three months where you are both happy and confident than to push things and cause an issue.

    Canter is one of the most difficult things to teach I think. It may be just me but I always find it more difficult than the other paces in a young horse. Also with youngsters they often do flick a pig root or buck in there so you can have that feeling of anxiety.

    I rode a mates 4 year old arab the other day that she broke herself and he had a beautiful canter. I was really surprised when she told me she had completely legged him up for endurance without cantering once for SIX MONTHS. This horse had the most beautiful balanced canter and it was because he had been allowed to build muscle and get fit and then be asked to canter. One day she asked for it and got it and has never looked back. I guess for me it brought home that we tend to rush our horses when they are young. Give him time.
  6. Tallarook

    Tallarook Well-known Member

    What is crow hopping? not heard of that lingo before...........
  7. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Hey guys,

    Gonerama: Thank you for your advice, im usually an extremely if not too sensitive and light rider, hence only ride ultra sensitive horses, but i did notice when i ask him to canter, i almost 'anticipate' he will put his head down and start hopping, so i sit back and deep, which to a sensitive young horse would be a little uncomfortable but sitting forward or 2 point and asking for a canter may end up with my ass on the floor lol, I dont want him to learn he can get me out of the saddle ;) I very rarely canter him, he has been cantered a handful of times and at once I allowed him to gallop out on the trails in the sand when he didn't crow hop, he used to just throw his head down. I have been pulling his head up and pushing him forward as he goes forward I release all pressure, I have to hold his head to prevent him going too fast, which may bug him? he wants to go faster but I keep it collected, dont want to risk going too fast and him bucking me off cos then he wins that round ;)

    GTD: That is a fantastic idea! I'd like to do endurance with him one day actually but have never done it before, wouldn't know where to start! but see other riders in champion lakes who clearly take part in the sport. I think I do have a little anxiety asking him to canter only because im 'anticipating' what hell do, I know all his little tricks though so it would be hard for him to get me out the saddle BUT I dont do bucking HATE it! Can deal with rearing but bucking frightens me hence why I dont want him to learn this :S - he definately picks up when on that vibe!

    He has the most amazing smooth and comfy canter too :p (maybe we got lucky? or its in the breeding??)

    Anyway I have decided if its not because of pain im going to try ask for canter and as he hops/bucks smack his rump and push him forward with a tight uncomfortable one rein stop if he acts like a menace and repeat until he learns.

    With my rearer got fed up one day smacked him once between the ears with a whip as he was vertical and he NEVER did it again - as this made him believe he had hit his head (He is not head shy or anything as a result).

    Different methods work for different horses though, i know he has never been smacked with a crop on his rump so if he bucks he will get a pleasant suprise. If this doesnt work Ill have to call in back up lol cos bucking and I dont agree :S

    Thanks! :)
  8. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    In saying that im very fussy and paranoid about WHO id have to call upon for help as i 'broke' / trained this baby myself and want to keep him sensitive and light.
  9. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Hey Scorpio,

    Its almost like "Bronching?" where they put their head down and all seems like a buck is coming but instead they kind of jump/hop on all four legs XD - not enough to throw u out the saddle but enough to make you loose balance if its unexpected, can develop into a buck though. have a look for 'Crow hopping' on youtube.
  10. kp

    kp Well-known Member

    If you haven't had the saddle fitted for some time. I would get this checked before smacking him on the bum for this. I use Lou Collins. She is fantastic.

    You may find that even if the saddle needed to be re-fitted, this crow hopping may continue after. In which case I would employ some of the other methods mentioned.
  11. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Thanks Kp :)

    Went and gave him a massage today which he loved, one side of his neck seemed to be a little sore though! but his back/withers etc seemed fine to me..Will contact the lady you recommended to come have a look :)

  12. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Last Hope you sound like you have a good plan in place to sort it.

    It isn't just youngsters that do this either my mare did the whole ears back and pig root thing today when I asked for canter (her way of resisting going forward) which earnt her a single slap on the bum with a bit of string. She soon went forward softly;).

    As for endurance when he is older definately come and have a crack at it. It is a great sport.
  13. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Have a good think about how much your position and body language might be contributing to this 'crow hopping'. I had never heard this term before, but can well imagine what he is doing.

    You have mentioned that you are a bit hesitant to canter, and you dislike bucks, so I am wondering if, inadvertantly, you are asking the horse to canter with your legs, but your mind and seat may be saying 'actually, I would rather you slowed down'. This is very confusing for the young horse.

    When you want to ask for canter, you have to be really commited to canter. Not half hearted and non-commited.

    If you feel any shred of doubt on your own behalf, then stay trotting until you know and trust that you want to canter.

    Set your horse up for success. Make sure he is well warmed up first. Choose a terraine that is slightly inclined uphill, if possible. Ride the canter forward, and if you get any high-jinx from the horse, ride forward, out of it. Do not be tempted to change down a gear or stop, because in doing that, you are teaching the horse that if he mucks around on you, you will button off the work load. Work him harder for mucking around!

    I do not mean to offend you, but I do think you are the hesitant one here. There is no shame in this, but it requires a commited mind to get through to the other side.

    Good luck, and ride forward.**)
  14. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Sitting deep on a young horse when asking for canter is just asking for problems. If you sit deep and don't go with the movement then yes I can understand why the horse would start crow hopping this is saying 'get off my back!' Going into two point position or even just lightening your seat, if you have a good lower leg you will not go out the front ;) Take a hunk of mane and if you feel him start to crow hope then jam your lower leg forward a bit more and ride it out. Hey, you haven't tried it so how do you know that he will crow hop and you will go out the front ';' You may find that he won't crow hop and you won't go out the front ;)
  15. Macchiato

    Macchiato Well-known Member

    It may be helpful if you could put a little video on here so we can see what's happening. I find it helpful to get someone to video me every few weeks it is a great training tool and quite suprising at what you can pick up on.
  16. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Good idea with the video**)! I did this a few weeks ago and picked up a lot from it:eek:.
  17. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Thanks for all your advice ladies :)

    Had a trainer come out to have a look today - turns out it was his saddle after all! He has out grown it which i had hoped was the problem! (I hate saddle shopping its like buying jeans!)

    Trainer also said he got bursts of adrenalin changing from a trot to a canter which (on the ground in the round yard) he put in some bucks.

    Happy to give the lighter seat a go and see what happens, I guess it was just automatic response to sit deep and back as I didn't want to get bucked off and he learns to get away with it but in saying that he is so sensitive it would have been uncomfortable, but at the time (hes only done it twice) my instant reaction was to sit deep and back to stay on! :p

    Was very proud of him today he did so well :)
  18. Last_Hope

    Last_Hope New Member

    Also video is a good idea!

    I will do one one and try figure out how to upload it for you guys to have a look :)

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