Horse kicks out - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-26-2012, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Horse kicks out

Hey everyone! Needing some advice. I have a three year old gelding who I've been working the fundamental on and he is a dream on the grounded in the round pen . When riding him as soon as I ask him to trot or canter he stop and kicks out. Any idea how I can't get him out of this?
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-26-2012, 09:41 PM
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Firstly I would be doing very little riding, esp trot & canter of a 3yo & I would want to get him well checked out to ensure this behaviour isn't a symptom of something physical.

Now assuming behaviour only... I am imagining you're riding at a walk & when you put your legs on, he stops & kicks out at the pressure? Sounds like he just doesn't understand what you're asking for & is a bit worried & reactive about it. I would first ensure he understands how to yield to pressure in all sorts of ways on the ground & reliably trots & canters on cue on the ground first. Ensuring he understands how to yield to pressure on his sides where your legs will be when riding is part of it.

Once you're up to asking for it onboard, if he's learned the basics well, hopefully shouldn't be an issue any more, but if he does this, just keep the pressure on with your legs & perservere until he *begins* to move forward again. So you teach him that his behaviour doesn't work & what does is moving forward. Once he's quit 'answering' with the wrong behaviour, then you can start asking again for faster. Again I'd just put the pressure on, keep it there, but release for the smallest 'try'. Even if that only means the horse speeds up his walk, that's what I'd accept & reinforce to begin with. Once he's reliably doing this on cue, then ask for a little more.
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-27-2012, 06:12 AM
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I don't know your experience but are you bumping him with your heel? If so try turning your toe out a bit and squeezing him with the calf muscle, releasing the moment you get any indication of forward response.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-27-2012, 08:34 AM
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If this horse has no soundness problems (and I doubt that he has), he is just telling you to kiss his royal arse. The stopping is an even worse bad habit to get started than the kicking out. These are completely unacceptable forms of resistance. A quick spanking should have been applied the very first time and there would not have been a second time.

Now, I think you will have to get after him a lot more if he has gotten by with this for a while. The longer a bad habit like this has to get established, the harder it is to break, but more importantly, the horse may get 'ill' about doing anything.

You can use a crop on his butt -- preferably the side that he usually kicks out with. BUT, do not just tap him. Spank him hard the very first lick. You do not want to toughen his resolve but you want him to give it up quickly and get the heck outa there. A big round pen would be the best place to do this the very first time in case he decides to bolt. If he does, just ride it out for two or three laps and stay out of his mouth. Then, gradually pull him up and a couple of laps later, ask him to canter again. Then go out and ask in the open or a big ring and quit on a good note -- only when you have asked him to transition down.

I, personally, do not use a crop for things like this. I use a bridle with long split reins made of heavy harness leather. I use an 'over and under' action where I can spank the horse on the 'left - right - left - right' sides very quickly. This keeps a horse from 'ducking around' from spanking it on one side with a crop. You want the horse to go forward, quickly. You can steady and refine the transition later, Right now you need obedience before the horse ups the ante and just starts 'sulling' and refusing to go forward at all.

I have ridden 2 and 3 year olds for 50 years and have seen no ill effects from training them at that age. I usually waited on Arabians until they were 30 months or older, but all others I preferred to start at two. Trotting and cantering a three year old should not be over-working him at all as long as you ride within reason. Obviously, you don't drill on one for two hours.

I think you have to fix this right away before it grows like a cancer. You want to establish a good work ethic and a willing compliant attitude on your first rides. When you put up with this kind of resistance, you create a horse that hates to work and barely does anything you want.

When I trained for the public, I got in several horses each year that had tried crap like this when their owner tried to start them. Even though I got all of them over it, some I know would have been much better horses had they not gotten a more positive start.
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