How to Find out Why a Horse Is Crow Hopping

Riding a horse that has a habit of crow hopping can be very irritating and can be quite uncomfortable.


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    Know what it is. Crow hopping is like a small buck. It is just enough to get you slightly out of your seat, and forward. It can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are not expecting it. Always be aware of your horse, and its habits. It's never a bad idea to be prepared for the worst.
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    When you take your horse riding, be aware of what is most likely to make your horse crow hop. A lot of the time it can result from pushing them to canter, or making them do something they don't wish to do (however, you must continue to push your horse-as long as what you are doing is feasible for your horse to accomplish).
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    Always keep in mind the age, state, and physical ability of your horse. Make it habit to ask yourself these questions before pushing your horse to do something. Is my horse ready to accomplish this task? Is my horse able to accomplish this task? Am I pushing them too hard?
    • A young horse (green) is most likely to give you a ride for your money. They will sometimes crow hop when pushed to do certain things, but can also crow hop spontaneously. You never know so be ready.
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    Pay attention. Normally when a horse gets ready to crow hop, you can feel it. If they are in motion, usually their gate will become choppy, and "bouncy". Other times, they do it quickly, giving you no time to react. In either case, do your best to keep their head up. Although the hop may never develop into a buck, it is always a smart idea to keep their head up just in case.
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    Try your best to stop your horse before it crow hops. If you can prevent it, by all means-do! This is the best way to handle the situation (however, I do realize that some times can't be stopped.)
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    If your horse does crow hop, make sure you discipline them so that they know that what they did was not acceptable (I am a strong believer in discipline-NOT abuse.)
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    And lastly, make sure that all of your horse's equipment fits properly. A bridle that is too tight or a saddle that pinches will only cause your horse irritation, resulting in a very unhappy horse and rider.


  • Make sure that you thoroughly check your horse's equipment before putting it on them. Saddle blankets can collect hay and stickers quickly, causing unneeded irritation for your horse.
  • NEVER allow your horse to get away with crow hopping without some sort of punishment. A smart pop with a crop, or a voice reprimand should do just find. If not, then make your horse do extra work for his behavior. Make him go in circles, or make him canter a few good strides. Never abuse your horse if they do wrong. The only results you will get is a badly behaved horse.
  • Make sure that you reward your horse if they obey your commands.
  • Always make your cues/commands clear. There's nothing worse than telling your horse one thing, then confusing it with a different thing. This is often the reason your horse misbehaves. They are confused and agitated.
  • Make sure you are positioned correctly in the saddle. Although it may be hard to do, sit up straight in the saddle with your legs resting comfortably at your horse's side. Never bounce like a sack of potatoes while riding your horse. And always make sure you are not "tugging" at your horse's bit. Give him the slack that he needs.


  • Young (or green) horses are often the ones who crow hop. Their age has a lot to do with the problem. Young horses are quite inexperienced and "jumpy". They spook at the slightest noise, and can crow hop out of fear/rebellion. ALWAYS take your horse's age into consideration. Don't allow them to get away with it because they are young, but know that they will mature and become more experienced as they age (if dealt with properly and gently.)
    • Always be aware of what your horse is feeling. Never push them to limits that they can't achieve. Give them some time to get adjusted to what you are asking them to do, then gradually have them do it.

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Categories: Horse Care