Inherited a Horse and need some help with his behaviors
   

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Inherited a Horse and need some help with his behaviors

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  • Inherited behaviors in horses

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    09-07-2013, 11:46 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Inherited a Horse and need some help with his behaviors

My daughter inherited a 6 year old Percheron. It has been a weird year for him. His owner died in February and he was shipped from him home and his best friend in July. He has basically been left in the field for 4 years and hasn't had any good work done with him. We have a fantastic barn and a fantastic trainer. He has kicked a couple of times - once barely missed the trainer with both back legs during a light workout and the second time he kicked me squarely in the knee (waiting on the results of the MRI). When I asked the previous owners mom about his kicking, she said that he has kicked the owner twice when he was two and sent her to the hospital so he was put away and not worked - like he was when he kicked me. When he kicked me, we were working on ground manners and he didn't give any warning, just "cow kicked" me as I was getting him out of my space.
This week, we had an awful workout - his trainer and two other seasoned handlers worked him for 1.45 hours and at the end of the session, he kicked back twice. The second workout the next day he didn't kick out at all.
So here is my quandary. The trainer says to sell him because he is dangerous and unpredictable, or put him down. The mother of the previous owner said that the owner used to ride him all the time (saddle was a bad fit) or they put pallets behind him and he pulled them and it was fun. She stated that this behavior is unusual and usually he is sweet and gentle.
Could this behavior be because he has had so many changes in his life in such a short period of time and we are working him and he is not used to it? The previous owner had so many health issues that she couldn't work him properly at all during his 4 years with her so he is so green.
Do I give up on him and sell him or hope that with proper training he will come around? He isn't dumb and is very smart.
Any advice would be great!
     
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    09-07-2013, 11:51 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Subbing... I'm interested to hear what other people think about this...

Personally, I wouldn't put him down... I'm sure his issues can be worked through...
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    09-07-2013, 11:53 PM
  #3
Foal
Before you put him down, I would see how he does with consistency. It's hard to tell what he would be like with the same person working with him on a normal basis. Part of it might be from being tossed about so much. Horses need repetition. It's hard on a horse to go from rider to rider especially when they're still learning themselves. Some of it might just be bad behavior that has built up since every time he has kicked out he's pretty much gotten away with it. Be careful, don't get yourself hurt! I would try and find him a home or a trainer who is willing to put the time and consistency into him that he needs and go from there.
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    09-08-2013, 12:15 AM
  #4
Yearling
Subbing.
     
    09-08-2013, 09:18 AM
  #5
Weanling
Im with pbeebs, consistency brings out the best in horses so give him time to settle and see how he goes before making big decisions.

With his training make sure anyone handling him is confident and doesn't let him get away with anything that could be him pushing the boundaries as to whos boss. The cow kick was him saying 'the the heck away from me, I don't want to do as you say'. He probably thinks that's neat little way to get people to stop putting pressure on him so he's testing the boundaries as to where he lies with his new 'heard'. Keep his mind busy by asking new questions of him- like inhand work over tarps, poles, bridges, under washing lines etc. and he'll learn to follow and trust you instead of trying to come up with ways to toe the line. Firm but fair leadership is the way forwards

Hope your knee is ok :)
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    09-08-2013, 09:22 AM
  #6
Yearling
Put him down? Really??
He has a behavioral issue. Put a kick chain on him anytime he is not being turned out or ridden. In the stall, cross tied etc.

The other move is to check him for pain. When is he kicking? Are you brushing him somewhere that hurts?

If he's just being a turd, which I suspect he is - use the kick chain and avoid walking directly behind him until the problem is solved.

You probably need a trainer that specializes in abuse cases and has more patience if you really love this horse.
If you don't, sell him and get something more suited to you.
     
    09-08-2013, 09:50 AM
  #7
Weanling
Put him down? That is ridiculous, he isn't unpredictable at all. He is disrespectful and knows he can get away with it.


Tons of green, unhandled horses kick when being taught how to respond to pressure. Horses will try all sorts of things so see what makes it go away and kicking is one of them.

Stand more up front and don't get in the line of fire. Why are ya'll working him so long? He is a big coldblooded unworked horse for four years. He doesn't have the fitness to be worked almost 2 hours. Again, lots of horses will get onry if you are asking for too much too soon. Bring him back into work more slowly, both for his mental and physical health. Stop riding him for now and get him used to pressure on the ground first. What is a kick on the ground at pressure can easily escalate to a buck under saddle.

Get him moving around in a round pen where you are out of the line of fire and can put some pressure on him in relative safety. You want him moving alone with no attitude and responding energetically to your resquests. From there I would get him moving his hindquarters in hand, stand up by his shoulders and put increasing pressure on him. If he kicks keep it up until he stops. Don't immediately then ask for more, just wait for him to do something less bad. Build in baby steps, first is do not kick, second may be, do not run off etc until he has run out of 'bad' answers. Then keep after him until you get him stepping over behind, making sure he crosses over in front and not behind.

You want to thoroughly get this out of him on the ground before you expect more out of him or these problems WILL pop up somewhere else. Get him safe on the ground first.
     
    09-08-2013, 09:53 AM
  #8
Foal
Please don't put him down. I always compare putting a horse down due to behavioural issues to putting a human down because of the way they act - you wouldn't.

If you have the time, funds, and the want, there is a strong possibility either you or a trainer could work him through this; trust is a big part of it. And like other people said, consistency is key, and there's a possibility he might be in pain somewhere. I don't have much advice for the actual kicking, since I've been lucky enough to never have that problem, but someone with experience with that could give you some tips!

If you don't have the funds, the time, or the want to put your horse into training, the best thing you can possibly do is find him a trustworthy home that you know will work with him and try to get him out of his bad habits. Sometimes a horse just isn't a good fit for someone, like some people don't get along with others.

I'm sorry I don't have advice for the actual kicking problem, but that's the best advice I can give you.
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    09-08-2013, 10:19 AM
  #9
Trained
If your trainer is suggesting putting him down for kicking, I'd say either your trainer is not fantastic or there is more to the storey.

The horse is not used to being dominated and doesn't like it because it's new and scary to him. Normal.

He's been ignored for years with insufficient training before that and now he's being expected to work for 2 hours. He doesn't have the mind-training for that yet. I would treat him like an unhandled 2 year old, because that's likely as developed as his attention span is for training, though he should develop must faster. Keep the sessions to 1/2 hour at a time, two or three times a day if you like and can. Make each session calm and for now you are only developing rules for him to respect you and your space and to learn ground manners. As he progresses, encourage him to think by creating obstacles for him to walk around and over in hand. Progress to doing all these things with full tack, then weight in the saddle. Get him used to feeling human hands all over his body.

I'm also curious, how did anyone look after his feet? He may be in pain especially if he was not properly cared for.
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    09-08-2013, 10:33 AM
  #10
Showing
Your "trainers" don't know what they are doing. The right person knows how to deal with horses like your's. You do need help but from some else. How are his hooves? If he's sore he may be lashing out when asked to move.
     

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