Kicking on the Trail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 334
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Kicking on the Trail

I new problem has come up with Amber that I am very unhappy about. Recently when we go on trail rides she has started trying to kick any horse that comes near her from behind. This all started when I began riding with a couple different horses that liked to bite her on the rump whenever their owners let them get too close . I do not ride with those horses as much anymore, and when I do the owners do not let them get close enough to bite. The other day I was riding with a friend who recently moved to a new barn close by and two of his friends from that barn. When the other two horses that Amber does not know would start to get near her from behind she would attempt to kick them (luckily never made contact), but if it was my friend's horse who Amber knows she never even thought about kicking. Having her kick out is completely unacceptable to me and I want to stop it ASAP, but I am not quite sure what to do. What I would like to do when she kicks or is about to is make her work harder and trot for awhile. Unfortunately we ride on narrow, rocky trails on a mountain, so there is no room to do this. Besides just staying in the back of all the horses, any ideas on how to fix this?
Oh, and on a side note when I took Amber to a show about a month ago she never made any move to kick. This was even with 20 horses in the class and quite a bit of crowding at the gate.
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 04:02 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Missouri
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Making her work harder is not going to do anything at all. She will not associate her "hard work" with trying to defend herself. All she will know is for no reason you are punishing her. And since you made the problem by allowing her to get bit, maybe you should be worked hard.

She is giving cues that she is going to do this, and you are missing them. Either take up on reins and tell her no, or make her speed up slightly.

But this is your fault for riding with people that let their horses do this to your horse, and for not putting a stop to it at that point.

For most of us? One time would have been enough. You have shown her you wouldn't defend her, so she has solved the problem, which has led to another problem.

I would imagine as much as anything your riding mechanics are at fault here, in that you are not keeping track of what others are doing, as well as what your horse is telling you.

Tie a red ribbon in her tail, and find decent people to ride with.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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I think you need to go back and read my post again. I did not let her get bit. The horses lunged forward and bit her from behind. I did not know in advace that this was going to happen. When it happened I stopped it immediately, but it was enough to make her defensive to other horses I ride with now WHO DO NOT BITE HER! If you actually read my first post you would see that I no longer ride with the horses that bite. No need to be a jerk. This forum is meant to be helpful not a place to rip another person apart.
Oh, and yes she gives signs when she is going to kick. If we are walking I am able to catch her and she doesn't kick. It's when we are cantering that the signs are too quick for me to react in time. I forgot to mention this in my original post.
Tying a red ribbon in her tail will warn others of the problem but will not fix it. I want to solve the problem not just stick a band aid on it.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 07:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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Horses have a space around them, like we do, and don't like others to invade it unless invited. Amber isn't in the wrong it's the riders who allow their horses to invade her space, literally tailgaiting. It doesn't matter if she knows the horse or not. When mutual grooming takes place one horse never approaches the other from behind as that is a predatorial action. It approaches from the front and waits until permitted to approach any closer. Put a red ribbon in her tail and enjoy a more peaceful ride.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 07:48 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Personally, I found that it's the horse's respect and trust in it's handler/rider to influence their reaction to another horse too close. Lucky use to kick when her leasee (before me) only rode once every two weeks. I started working with her and we had a mutual respect and she trusted me to keep her safe. She never kicked again with me after we established that. Of course, during the time we were establishing such, I corrected her for kicking. If I caught her in time I'd holler at her, if she was already kicking I'd tan her behind with a crop/whip/quirt/reins/etc.

I'd stick a red ribbon in on all trail rides, but I'd take time to work on it with horses I knew and their owners who were willing to use their horse as "target" to help us out.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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My mare has kicked out once at another horse on the trail (a youngster who was too close) and at my dog a few times when he got too close to her feet. Each time I turned her to face the "kickee" and when I am near new horses I am always very aware of where the other horses, people and dogs are. I ask others to be respectful of her space. I can't recall her ever kicking out again at a horse, but it could happen. I do pay attention to her tail; if she starts to swish I turn her to face the other animal. Maybe if I didn't pay attention she would kick and I can't be perfect, so I do the red ribbon.

I am happy to tie a red ribbon in her tail: everyone stays clear. I like it like that. No so much to protect them because I don't think she'll kick, but to keep them away out of respect and a JIC thing. If it takes self-protection or "fear" to keep them away, that's fine with me :)

I never canter her with other horses close to her, especially if she's in front because she's an ex-race horse, so I can't help you with that.

Your horse was in the right to kick the other horses that were right up her bum; that doesn't mean it's a good thing, but I can't really put the blame entirely (even mostly) on her. I hope no one was hurt, but I hope the owners learned something from it.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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You need to ride side by side with a partner. YOU must carry a dressage length whip. They're not expensive. I found one last year at a farm supply store for $12, just a solid rod with an 8 inch popper.
Your partner rides next to you, and every time your horse hints that she will kick you use your leg on that side and smack her in the flank. She will probably sidepass. Keep the side passing going, then ride straight again. Side passing is more physically demanding that moving forward, so she'll be working harder, which isn't fun.
Get your partner to change sides, and repeat.
MAKE SURE THE OTHER RIDER DOESN'T RIDE CLOSE ENOUGH BEHIND YOUR HORSE TO GET KICKED. Only have your helper scoot up next to you when you are riding in two's.
We had to train our horses to "dress", which is riding with your stirrups touching. Some didn't like it, and this is how I broke them of the bad habit.

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post #8 of 11 Old 04-27-2013, 12:32 AM
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The other horses should not be up your horses butt, I would get someone who could work with you and your horse with them riding behind you. My mare is pretty good with others getting really close behind her but there are signs with her that I can tell she is getting annoyed with them. Then I will smack her on the neck and tell her to mind her own business!

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-27-2013, 01:05 AM
Join Date: May 2012
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anyone you ride with should always keep their distance just for proper edicate on the trails. Remind them if you must. I lead many trails over the summer months, thats one thing I cannot stress enough. Not everyone knows or rides with ribbons.

But tis the season for mares, maybe she is just irritable & upset as like us woman get.
A Few bites in the butt make anyone sour and defensive.
But for a mare, maybe look a little deeper. If this just started I would put that on the list.

But hey since you can nip it in the but at a walk, try working with your friends on their horses just at the walk. Try to build off your already accomplished feat!

If not slap the ol red ribbon on and call it a epic fail :P
Shes just a mare that just said ENOUGH this mamma dont play games no more!!!

"If you have control of the hoof you move the mind."
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-27-2013, 07:42 AM
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Location: Oklahoma
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It is really simple; Just spank her butt. They learn very quickly that kicking gets them in trouble and they quit trying. Some horses will tuck up and 'scoot' forward when a strange horse comes up behind them, but they won't kick.

Before we head to any trail rides with our trail horse or sell any horse as a 'finished trail horse', we have led horses from all of them that they do not know. We have people ride other horse up behind them fast and pass them on the trail. This is to get them 'solid' on being in front, passed and being left behind and to check them out for kicking. They learn what is acceptable and what is not very quickly.

We ride with long, heavily oiled harness leather reins. We just spank a horse with and 'over and under' action and say a loud "Ah!" at the same time. Any time I see a horse lay and ear back or look aggressive at a strange horse behind it, I can say "Ah!" and their ears instantly come back up.

We 'rent' out many of our trail horses for the big '4-H rides' and some of the big 'ranch rides' and I never worry about them kicking. I warn their riders not go go right up behind other horses to keep them from getting kicked by other 'not-so-well-trained' horses. We use mostly geldings, but take out quite a few mares when we need more horses. I have 2 mares going out today with a groups of Dads and 9 year old little girls. They were used last weekend too because we had a big YMCA group then. Neither mare had been on a trail ride since last year. They never laid an ear back the whole time. They know better.

After a person spanks a horse's butt, then you need to take the rein ends and swing them around (like a rope) and flip and flop them around the horse so they do not get paranoid. They quickly some to learn not to fear the reins just like a horse learns not to fear a longe whip or any other tool that is used to establish the rules you want them to live by and respond to.
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