Kicked - Whose at fault? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Kicked - Whose at fault?

ok, so the other day I pushed my horses to the limit. We had to try out the new trailer. So we get in the trailer, loaded up, to the indoor arena, short ride/lunge session (they were a little spooky so I kept is short), loaded up and home with no incidents.
My father in law had agreed to haul for me since my truck was in the shop. After unloading the horses I started putting feed out and finishing chores. I have NO IDEA what possessed my father in law (who is more used to cattle than horses) to walk up BEHIND my two year old mare, but he did and she kicked him. Full force. We got him to the hospital, he had one heck of a bump, but he'll be ok.
I phoned my trainer and said that we have to put more training on this mare because my other horses would no more have kicked at a person than fly in the air. I think it shows a terrible attitude. After hearing the story my trainer asked if I had considered training my father in law. He thinks the horse is fine, but I'm a worrier.
My question is this; whose fault is it? My father in law shouldn't have walked up behind the horse, but the horses' first reaction shouldn't have been to kick. Do I chalk it up to my father in law doing something thoughtless or to my mare having a terrible attitude problem? this is the only kicking incident but I really don't know how to handle a kicker and wonder if I may have gotten myself in to something I can't handle?
Thoughts, suggestions or general reassurance would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 07:41 AM
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Your mare most likely didn't see him because he was in a blind spot, she spooked and the defensive reaction (especially from a mare) is to kick. I'm sorry he was injured but explain to him how to walk behind a horse. I always speak to them, put a hand on their butt and walk *close* to them. Should they kick for some reason, you'll feel a push and not that wham. The horse reacted the same way you would if someone jumped out and frightened you. Be glad no one was seriously injured and tell him he's now an official member of the horse world.
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post #3 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 08:09 AM
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You can never train a horse to get ride of it's fright or flight. Its the same thing with the kicking. If the horse did not know he was there and he scared her. You can have all the training in the world and it will never go away. I have seen the most push button ponys kick a few times in defense.
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post #4 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 08:12 AM
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Did he speak to her or let her know he was there?

If he did not let her know he was there, it is his fault. Especially a two year old, that is always near the bottom of the pecking order, is very defensive toward the other horses in the herd. It is a very 'horse like' reaction if the horse has not been informed you are there.

We teach people the very first time they are around horses that they MUST speak to a horse and let the horse know they are there any time they approach any horse -- I don't care how old or gentle the horse is, but especially with young defensive ones.

IF he spoke to the horse, then shame on the horse. and a lot of serious schooling is in order. This horse is young and probably needs some serious schooling anyway, especially after getting a 'pass' after kicking someone. Look for some problems arising from this incident.

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post #5 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, lots of quick replies and good info.
I have previously spoken with my FIL about how to approach horses. If he spoke to her it was to call out her name after he had already mostly snuck up behind her. Her head was down grazing and it was windy, so even if he had said anything she may not have heard him. He definatly didn't touch her or approach her from the shoulder as I have asked him to.
I have been watching for fall out from this incident and had to have a 'chat' with this mare yesterday when she got out of hand and pinned her ears at me. She backed right off and backed up three or four steps. I still think I might send her for more training in the spring, and in the mean time just work on refreshing some of the basics.
And yes, my FIL is still speaking to me, lol.
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post #6 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 09:00 AM
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He is at fault. Horse was just following instinct. Is she an alpha in the herd as well? If she is then it would be her first instinct to protect her space from an interloper. I once had a horse literally run over me because the alpha mare lunged at her. I went after the alpha and she was alot more careful when I was in the field with them.

FIL needs to learn manners when around horses. Actually maybe this will enforce what you have been telling him . Nothing like a swift kick to make you take note.
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post #7 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 09:16 AM
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Some people, particularly of the male gender, seem to have to learn the hard way. God forbid a woman should try to teach them something.
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post #8 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 09:31 AM
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Agreed it isn't the horse's fault.

As far as training her out of it, you can't train her not to kick out without getting her to kick out first. If I go out to catch a horse I know is a kicker, I bring a dressage or lunge whip with me, keep it at neutral, and then I'll let the horses rear end have it if it tries to kick out. My little one has also been taught to never direct her haunches at me. She faces me head on at all times. That means while free-lunging or just at liberty in pasture, if she points her butt at me with ANY kind of displeased expression, she gets it. Hard. She can turn and walk away, but she cannot get irritated and turn her butt to me and glare.

If you want to send the mare to more training, we can't stop you. But unless she makes a habit of offering to kick, the trainer will just be putting more miles on her. Horse went horse for a minute, she didn't learn to kick that moment, and I think, unless she routinely makes offers to kick, it would be a waste of money and wouldn't be fruitful in the "must not kick" category.
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post #9 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 11:42 AM
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Horses don't kick, bite, or any other damaging thing to humans. That's what training is all about.

If your going to handle horses and have them around humans, they must be taught they don't hurt humans. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The owner of the horse is responsible for it's actions, not the horse. The horse will respond as it is taught.
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post #10 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 11:49 AM
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Glad he is okay!
Bet he doesn't do that again....

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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