Do you think that physically disciplining horses with your body is ok ? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 18 Old 01-13-2013, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 726
• Horses: 1
Do you think that physically disciplining horses with your body is ok ?

1. Ok so guyz when do you think it is appropriate to physically discipline a horse with your body ?

2. When do you think it is not appropriate to physically discipline a horse with your body ?

My story that i wrote on an ipad.. See if you can make sense of it lol

I have to be honest here about physical discipline so ill tell my story, i had not been kicked for the over 5 years around horses. A week ago i was picking out a horses feet, one that i hardly ride and the horse is not mine. He kept moving his foot aroundandout but i refused to let go, so he kicked me and it hardly hurt compared to the kicks i see on youtube ect (only had a bruise) did not die lol. I got really angry and punched him on the meaty side of his leg and he danced around a bit so, i just untied him and made him move his behind away from me in a circle and than put him to relax where i tie him up (didnt want him to not like tying up). I didn't punch him as hard as horses kick each other in the paddock. And he wasn't terrified of me touching the exact area i hit him. So this girl told me of and said it was not fair on the horse Blah blah and than said ill show you and took the horse (i just let her even know im in charge of the horse at that time) She just made him stand and than, tied him up and went to pickup his foot and yea he was fine didn't move his foot around. (i thinkshe was expecting him to do his usual move foot around). Any ways i picked up his foot after that because i was putting hoof oil on,and he didnt move his foot at all ! I really think that physical punishement works ! I discussed this with this horses owner and she said yea, he needs punishment for that and what i did was good.
And she also said to not let that girl tell me of and that its her horse, and she shouldnt be doing that ! Any ways i knew that the owner would b fine about, how i hit her horse.

My opinion:
So yea my opinion is that its ok to hit a horse, if they have done something worth being hit (horse showing aggression, dominance) and aslong as you dont hit them with a whip or some sort of object to make them afraid of it.And off course the horse has to understnd why they have been hit, and most definately depends on the horse and if they need that sort of punishment. And i thinkit is good to give them a warning before you hit them, like pretending to kick them, showing whites of eyes and posture because they might get the message you want to give them, so you dont have to hit them.

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
-Huang Po
OliviaMyee is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 18 Old 01-13-2013, 06:05 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: australia
Posts: 2,510
• Horses: 3
It depends on the situation but I will hit a horse with whatever I have, whether it be my body or an object I'm holding. As long as it doesn't cause the horse serious harm I will use whatever I have felt is necessary at the time.

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
apachewhitesox is offline  
post #3 of 18 Old 01-13-2013, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Eastern Montana
Posts: 194
• Horses: 0
There is a big difference between hitting to be hiting and hitting to get a point across in a discipline situation. There is nothing you can do with a stick or an open hand that is going to permanently hurt a horse (for the most part). The secret to discipline is to make it swift and instantaneous. They need to know that they got disciplined for what they just did. If you try to discipline them a minute later they have no way to associate that with their past action. It needs to be done within a few seconds to have a positive effect.

Horses, bite, kick and stomp on each other out in the pasture in play as well as in dominance displays. Their bodies are built to take impact from each other. If a horse kicked me he would probably get smacked HARD and then his butt ran off and worked hard to know that that is NOT acceptable. We are fragile tiny humans and our horses need to accept that.


Les Voorhis
Cowboy, Nature and Wildlife Photographer
LesandLily is offline  
post #4 of 18 Old 01-13-2013, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 9,535
• Horses: 4
I've punched my horses in the side several times. My wrist was in more danger than they were. It was quick, immediate, for a significant wrong behavior, and my horses accepted it totally. And it was done.

I did once kick a horse with my foot, but I limped for a week so that isn't a good idea. But no, the horse didn't become terrified of my feet!

But normally discipline via my body means either I'm blocking a mouthy horse with my elbow (blocking, letting the horse run into my elbow) or a quick punch in the base of the neck or shoulder. I'm not Jack Dempsey (look him up, he was before my time but quite a character!). No horse I punch will ever suffer from it. And a punch is vastly better than looking for a lead rope, taking them to a round pen, and running them ragged - something I've seen too often. THAT is totally worthless as discipline. A quick, immediate smack on the shoulder works better. Horses understand it and accept it. At least the ones I've met all did...

Historical notes, just for fun:

"When I was a young fellow I was knocked down plenty. I wanted to stay down, but I couldn’t. I had to collect the two dollars for winning or go hungry. I had to get up. I was one of those hungry fighters. You could have hit me on the chin with a sledgehammer for five dollars. When you haven’t eaten for two days you’ll understand." - Jack Dempsey

"A champion is someone who gets up when he can't." - Jack Dempsey

"Though Dempsey rose to prominence with several brutal early-round knockouts, it was not until he lost his heavyweight crown in 1926 did he win over all fans. Back at the hotel, after being sliced and battered for 10 rounds by Gene Tunney, he was asked by actress Estelle Taylor, the second of his four wives, "What happened?"

"Honey," Dempsey said, "I forgot to duck."

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
bsms is offline  
post #5 of 18 Old 01-13-2013, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Riga, Latvia
Posts: 5,652
• Horses: 1
I would like to differ between hitting and blocking.

Hitting - a dominant movement with an intention and aim to actually hit the horse in order to "punish". It is often followed by negative emotions and timing can be off. As hitting is dominant, it can provoke dominant horses to express aggressive responses or to see it as a stud game, or milder mannered horses - to become fearful.

Blocking - a neutral movement with no intention to hit the horse, just to emphasize the size of the handlers' personal space. If the horse chooses to be in the way of this movement and is hit, it is, again, a neutral event with no emotions involved, and the horse learns to avoid it by keeping out of the space and by changing the behavior. Also, a block comes precisely in time to block the unwanted behavior, not a second later, and it never "follows" the horse around to punish it, thus it doesn't challenge horses or make them fearful. It can be done both with hands and crops, whips, end of a rope, etc., as long as it keeps neutral and is never harsher than the energy in the unwanted behavior.

It is, of course, a very simplified description, but it contains the main points, why I never hit my horse. Ever. And I never punish him, but learn to use my body language efficiently enough so that the horse starts seeing me as a trustworthy leader. And I say that as an owner of a very dominant, stubborn and spirited gelding who has the history of becoming violent towards his previous owners.

I am also sure, that most of the sensible horse owners and trainers in the Horse Forum already know the difference and use it in their everyday communication with horses. I see it as common horse-sense, no matter what we call the actions that we use. To an onlooker, any of my blocks might seem as plain hitting, though conceptually it is something else.
themacpack and Eagle Child like this.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/

Last edited by Saranda; 01-13-2013 at 11:17 AM.
Saranda is offline  
post #6 of 18 Old 01-13-2013, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
Posts: 11,777
• Horses: 3
Yes, I do feel it's ok, in fact if a horse kicks at me or bites me, I will punch or kick or whatever, I become a miserable boss mare at that point. It's not fair to the horse if you don't discipline them in a manner they take seriously. Horses who kick & bite end up as dogfood.
waresbear is offline  
post #7 of 18 Old 01-14-2013, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 726
• Horses: 1
Is it true that some horses become aggressive if you hit them ? People who never hit/discipline their horse in a physical way go on about how the horse can become aggressive...

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
-Huang Po
OliviaMyee is offline  
post #8 of 18 Old 01-14-2013, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Riga, Latvia
Posts: 5,652
• Horses: 1
Of course, they can, especially, if the horse is dominant and if the person, who does the hitting, does it without any timing, justice and without having established a higher position in the herd as the horse in question. Becoming a leader has nothing to do with hitting, as I explained my opinion before...however, it also doesn't mean that you never discipline your horse physically - just in a different manner.
apachewhitesox and OliviaMyee like this.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
Saranda is offline  
post #9 of 18 Old 01-14-2013, 02:29 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,847
• Horses: 1
I don't believe in hitting as "punishment" because the idea of punishment requires the wrong doer to know what they did was wrong - which a horse doesn't really understand.

But making a horse physically uncomfortable when they are doing something you don't want them to do is different. Like if a horse kicks you and you hit it back then you're showing you're dominant, and you're showing that the horse has to move away from you.

Which is why I don't think its good to physically punish horses which are tied up. Unless you really need to of course, but if you know your horse is like that then don't tie them up. Because when you seriously apply pressure to the horse, like hitting (similar to how another horse kicks or bites) then you need to allow them to move away, as they would in the herd. If the horse can't get away, and you're hurting it, then I think you're asking for problems.
Cane Toad likes this.
Saskia is offline  
post #10 of 18 Old 01-14-2013, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
If a horse turns around and tries to land a bite on me, they will cop a good one before they can blink.

Ever seen a young horse try to bite the grouchy old lead mare in a herd? She doesn't ask him nicely to please stop biting, she lunges at him, usually grabbing him by the neck and hanging on while he tries to run. My youngster would often come up with bleeding teeth marks on his neck and rump from the lead mare - it took him a while to learn!

When this becomes problematic, is when someone tries to physically discipline a horse but does not have a good sense of timing, and ability to release the pressure as soon as the horse backs off.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Kayty is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hurt physically and emotionally..need advice please corgi Horse Riding 79 01-06-2012 08:43 PM
What age are they physically mature? kimber769 Horse Talk 5 12-14-2010 06:16 PM
Disciplining a weanling??? HELP! thoroughbredgirl8949 Horse Training 5 10-30-2010 11:45 PM
disciplining your horse at a show Pro Horse Training 60 06-01-2010 08:24 PM
Disciplining a horse that is acting up mysnafflebit Horse Riding 6 11-10-2008 06:14 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome