Your first buck. Maybe it was on an ornery pony or lanky thoroughbred. Regardless, we remember the best and worst buckers in our riding lifetime.

Bucks can be broken down into four categories:

The “Meh” Bucker

It’s difficult to determine if it was actually a buck or swatting at a fly, but the “Meh” Bucker puts minimal effort into their show of irritation. Most of my “Meh” Buckers have been octogenarian ponies or horses that only gave half a care about their buck.

The Heel Clicker

It’s another way of saying “Yippeeeeee” after you’ve jumped the coop or cantered through the wildflower meadow. Heel Clickers are the horse version of Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire – they can’t help but show their enthusiasm for life with a good heel click from behind. They don’t care if it’s in front of the judge or next to the chestnut mare, they must share their glee.

The Butt Smacker

It is a common sight for athletes to give a good ol’ butt smack to a passing teammate. I’ve been told that it means, “Atta boy”! We have those in the horse world too. You end a course or jump a huge oxer and your mount is jazzed that you accomplished that feat. They show their team spirit by flying your saddle high in the sky with a butt-smacking buck. Gotta love their attitude.

The Widowmaker

By far these buckers take their job the most seriously. In that moment, their sole goal in life is to unseat you. “You. Will. Get. Off.” is the only thought going through their equine minds. Widowmakers throw bucks with a purpose and the majority of the time, it works. So here’s to hitting the dust and watching your trusty steed fly tail-high out of the ring. Good thing pride doesn’t bruise.