Motivated by applications in computational anatomy, we consider a second-order problem in the calculus of variations on object manifolds that are acted upon by Lie groups of smooth invertible transformations. This problem leads to solution curves known as Riemannian cubics on object manifolds that are endowed with normal metrics. The prime examples of such object manifolds are the symmetric spaces. We characterize the class of cubics on object manifolds that can be lifted horizontally to cubics on the group of transformations. Conversely, we show that certain types of non-horizontal geodesic on the group of transformations project to cubics. Finally, we apply second-order Lagrange-Poincar, reduction to the problem of Riemannian cubics on the group of transformations. This leads to a reduced form of the equations that reveals the obstruction for the projection of a cubic on a transformation group to again be a cubic on its object manifold.