Kicking Horse, your methods?

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Kicking Horse, your methods?

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    03-28-2011, 05:46 PM
Green Broke
Kicking Horse, your methods?

Well, since I'm still on my way to becoming a trainer (more than the horses I work with now), I figure I should ask questions about issues I've seen, even if I'm not working with the horse at the moment.
Now, I've ridden Luck a few times, usually trails, but nonetheless. Luck is a big kicker. She has no desire to kick at people (which is good, and I've already fixed horses like that), but she'll kick at other horses and at every gate at shows. This, I'm not sure how to fix. I'm debating on asking to lease her instead of Dude (don't think I will, but it's notthe point) and I have absolutely no tolerance for a kicking horse..
If I do decide to lease her, kicking will be the first thing to go (along with her stubbornness/rudeness). When I think logically, along with how I've fixed others, I think about using the whip/crop/bat on her butt everytime she kicks; but then I think about how it could make her even worse. That's basically how I've broken others from kicking at people, but I'm not on them when it happens. I can't readily "kick back" if I'm on her, now can I?
So, how would you go about breaking her of this, in theory? Even if I'm not going to work with her, I'd like to get a few different methods if I manage to get myself one that decides they want to kick everything while I'm on them. :/
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    03-28-2011, 06:01 PM
I had a mare that was very similar. She never kicked a person, but she kicked dogs, other horses, and if she wasn't fed first she'd try to take the barn down. She wore a kicking chain for a few weeks and it fixed it in short order. They were basically a heavy leather cuff (like on a set of hobbles) with a ring and a short piece of light chain attached. Every time they kick they smack themselves with the chain. She never did kick again at home, but would still kick if she was stalled at a show and others were being fed around her, so she just wore her "bracelets".
    03-29-2011, 09:17 AM
Super Moderator
Kicking is one of the few things I will use an electric shock collar on. I have used one on a number of stall kickers and it stopped every single on in a matter of using it 1 or 2 times.

I have stopped a cribber that had just started cribbing when I got him (doesn't work of old confirmed cribbers) and it stops trailer kickers.

You can also use a chain over her nose.

I would start out with this mare 'in hand' and set her up by bringing horses in behind her and keeping them just barely out of range. Then, when she even lays her ears back, you can either 'work her over' with a chain shank over her nose or can shock her.

We train our mares to be safe trail horses and I teach all of them that I can pony or lead any horse from them. I do this in an arena where I can turn the horse being led loose. Then, I spank the horse I am riding with a long set of harness leather reins using a 'over and under' technique to keep them from spinning around. I yell at them at the same time. Later, if I see them even laying an ear back I can yell at them with an "Ah!" and their ears instantly come up.

Mares should never be allowed to be ill-tempered like this. It is not a 'mare thing' but a bad training thing.

We have a shock collar made for hunting dogs. A second dog collar buckled into the one that comes on the shock collar makes it long enough to go around a horse's neck.

It has different levels of shock and horses usually respond to one in the mid range. It is no different than a horse running into an electric fence except a fence is MUCH stronger. I prefer it to the chain shank, but either is a negative enough reinforcement to correct a horse and have it last.
    03-29-2011, 09:40 AM
Green Broke
One of ours was like that, kicking out when another horse came up from behind. Instead of using pain to correct, we showed her that it was unnecessary to act out. We took her and another horse and had the other horse do circles around her. When she pinned her ears or swished her tail because she was irritated, we flexed her and kept flexing her back and forth. We would let her be and have the other horse keep circling. We had the other horse even bump into her and make big circles so it was more that the horse was coming up on her. If she reacted, she had to flex. If she didn't, she could just stand there. It took a few seperate times, but she hasn't kicked out since.
    03-29-2011, 10:19 AM
I would say it would depend on how severe the kicking is, and how quickly you need it fixed, not want it fixed. If you don't need it fixed fast. Then usandpets' idea works great. I've seen it done with many horses, I like that it does not use pain for correction. It may take a while,but when you're done you wont have to hollar at your horse to get him/her to mind.
    03-29-2011, 10:49 AM
Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters    
I had a mare that was very similar. She never kicked a person, but she kicked dogs, other horses, and if she wasn't fed first she'd try to take the barn down. She wore a kicking chain for a few weeks and it fixed it in short order. They were basically a heavy leather cuff (like on a set of hobbles) with a ring and a short piece of light chain attached. Every time they kick they smack themselves with the chain. She never did kick again at home, but would still kick if she was stalled at a show and others were being fed around her, so she just wore her "bracelets".
Fortunately, I never had to deal with a kicker, but if it ever needed doing dealing with a kicker I'd sure enough have done it. It takes one of the set of hobbles and disconnect the two cuffs then add the chain that's long enough "to kick the kicker back", so to speak. Horses to do not like to hurt themselves, that is why "setting them up" to think they've hurt themselves is such a good training technique.
    03-29-2011, 01:24 PM
Super Moderator
I do prefer punishment for aggressive actions. I have known horses that were crippled and a rider that recently had her leg broken by another horse on a trail ride. It was a very bad fracture and she may never be 100% OK again besides looking at more than a year of recovery -- and that is only if she does not require additional surgeries.

Horses that are not punished but are 'worked through' their problem will often still kick if a strange horse comes up behind them. The horse that kicked the above rider had been to a trainer and they thought she was OK. They had led horses and pulled her around for showing aggression, but she still kicked a strange horse.

I want a horse to be as safe as possible and I want to know that it will not kick, bite or strike at another person or horse while they are under that person's control. I want them to know that the behavior is completely unacceptable.
    03-29-2011, 06:40 PM
Originally Posted by Cherie    
I do prefer punishment for aggressive actions.
I guess some people are like that with their kids too. I don't think that using pain guarantees anything and the horse may still kick. There is a trainer here that agress with your philosophy and he too says that he fixes 'em and they don't ever need to be taught again. It is complete B/S the horses don't get "fixed" that way either they just get really scared. I would not take your approach I would work with the horse as others have suggested and be aware that this horse may kick a strange horse in a given situation. I had a stall kicker too and considered using the kick chains 'cause it was driving me crazy at 2am but I learned, as is pointed out above, that they don't "work" either. What did work was not confining him at night and putting him in with a really big draft mare.
    03-30-2011, 01:10 AM
If this horse has other respect issues (which you have not detailed, just eluded to), you need to work those out...I am guessing when you work through those, her kicking habits will also disappear, since she will see you as her leader, and respect your authority. Most of these behaviors stem from some sort of lack in leadership from the handler. In my experience most cases you don't have to resort to anything more than establishing respect from the ground up...

If she still decides to kick out when a horse passes, you need to anticipate it before it happens and be able to disengage her hip away from the horse she is going to kick...then put her butt to work; and hard work. If she has enough energy and boredom to kick at another horse on a ride, then she has enough energy to put in a few extra figure 8s, circles, and serpentines. Then go back to riding in your line. Watch her body language, and make sure you are paying attention to what she is "up to". The more she winds up having to "work" for being a brat, the less she will want to behave that way. Horses are by nature, quite lazy, so she should catch the drift quite quickly if you are consistent and pay attention to her body language and catch her kicks before she can really get them out.
    03-30-2011, 01:23 AM
Green Broke
Depending on the kick..
Defensive Kick - try to find the problem and what started it. If possible? Help the horse realize that whatever the problem is won't "get" them..

Agressive Kick - WHIP + WHACK ... should help quickly..

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