My Horse Kicks...What do I do? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-07-2012, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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My tendency is to say "Kick back", but I think Palomine is correct. You need to learn how to deal with him while he is fidgeting, well before the kick. Also, if my horses THINK about turning their hindquarters to me - at least while they are unhappy - I cut inside to their ribs, and unload holy hell.

But that is me. That matches my personality. From the sounds of it, you need someone who really knows their stuff to help out. A horse that feels free to kick you is a horse that can literally kill you. Learn to deal with it ASAP, or get rid of the horse.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #12 of 17 Old 07-07-2012, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
Posts: 1,199
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Just putting this out there, no one in my family has a lick of horse knowledge except me. And, as you have read above, my horse knowledge is a little low in the groundwork department.

Today is the first day Rusty has ever kicked out at me while he's been tied - the kicking/lunging incidents have not happened for a very long time. It's mostly in the pasture where he displays this behavior, where I cannot back him up with a lead rope and halter because I don't have one on him. I have a horse that is on the bottom of the totem pole that gets grain too, and sometimes Rusty comes over to steal, and I have no way to separate them and tie them up. If I go and act "alpha-y" with Rusty then, ie waving my arms or shooing him with them, he will turn his butt to me and try to kick. And of course, I have no whip or anything to beat him with (not abuse beat, lol, you know what I mean).

I have to admit, I'm really slow on the warning signs leading up to the really bad behavior, but I'm starting to learn - really fast. I get that with anything that I consider a threat, I have to make him think I'm going to kill him. But what about when he's just fidgety? How do I get him to stand still? Because I'm sure he knows how to.

I will talk to my instructor at my next lesson. I just wanted some HF people's advice too. I must be a much better rider than handler, because he's pretty behaved under saddle.

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-07-2012, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Yep, get an experienced horseperson in. In the meantime carry a good long whip (I used a driving whip with Brock, provides a greater perimeter than a dressage whip and is less unwieldy than a lunge whip) with you whenever you go to see him. But I'd try to avoid a confrontation if possible, unless you can send him off it could get very dangerous if he decides to fight back. Don't let other family members handle him for the moment, they may get hurt irritatingly make matters worse.

Best nip this disrespectful behaviour in the bud, or it'll soon spill over into other aspects of handling and riding. Good luck, stay safe and keep us updated as to progress!
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Oregon, USA
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You can work on fidgiting with approach and retreat. Get him on a lead in a round pen and "sack him out". Using a stick about the length of a yardstick, stand at a 45degree angle at his shoulder, touch him all over. If he moves, move with him and keep touching him the same way until he stops and stands still. He may move a lot, but stay with it Then stop! Your stopping is his reward! Do it all again. You want to keep doing this as much as you can with objects that will bother him and work until he stands calmly. Only stop whe he stops moving and is showing signs of relaxation like licking, chewing, cocking a hind leg, head down.

If he is like my gelding, who was acting very similarly to yours, you will have to work hard to find something that bugs him. He was well trained and unflappable, but disrespectful. I think sacking out will help, but his fidgiting and kicking is not where this started. It started when he gives you guff in the pasture and walks over you on the ground. You need to address those too.

In the pasture, never go without a stick and string. In fact, Never work with him without a stick in your hand and/or a crop in your pocket from now on. He is a dangerous but thread right now. He is moving on you to become the alpha and he is looking for opportunities (like when you say he does it in the pasture when he knows you can't get him). If he does anything that is disrespectful, you must correct him. My gelding kicked out after i released him, both feet, not long ago. I yelled"NO!" and threw my only weapon at the moment, a bucket, grabbed my stick (always nearby!) and chased him down. I haltered him again and worked him hard on the ground for another 15 minutes, then released him again and he was much better. I dont hit him unless it is immediately after his dangerous behavior and I make him work extra hard moving his feet after I yell and spank. I have found you have to be careful to only hit this way or he can feel "challenged" and become more dangerous.

When leading or around the barn, be totaling unforgiving if he bumps you or pushes or rubs. Yell no, hit once or twice with stick and make him back up. If its when you are leading, make him back up until he is quick and light on his feet, or lunge him for 5 minutes at a brisk trot and change directions often, or make him yield front and hind, again till he is quick and responsive.

You can see there is a lot to it so a trainer could really help you, especially if you are unfamiliar with approach/retreat and groundwork.

I get the feeling he knows what to do, but thinks he has a shot at the bosses job. If you can be firm and fair, and make sure that every move he makes around you is respectful and what you tell him to do, then you will be fine. If that sounds too hard or you don't want to be a hard ass with him all the time, you may need a different horse, IMHO.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 12:07 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
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It sounds like you've got an instructor you trust, which is fantastic. Any chance you could take some 'groundwork' lessons from them, so they can teach you the early/small signs and challenges so you can get better at recognizing them? I like a lunge whip- and if you have a horse that will kick you when at liberty, I would not go into a field with that horse without one for your own safety.

Challenges can be simple things that you might not even notice if you're not looking for them. For example- my horse normally stands back while I pour grain in his bucket and then eats once I turn away. One day he tried to stick his nose in the bucket while I was still dumping his feed in. My horse got bopped over the head with the tupperware his feed came out of until he backed off out of my space. Then I stood there for a couple extra moments, just to be sure he wasn't going to try to get pushy again... then I walked off and he ate.
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle of nowhere, Missouri
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This is something I've told both of my kids and was drilled into me from the time I could understand it.


This means never let yourself be stuck in the corner of the stall behind him, always have quick access to the door or up on a tail board to go over the top of the stall. Never get between him and a wall. He's liable to take that advantage and kick the daylights out of you.

Palomine is right, you need help on this one, it's a battle you must win at all costs the first time. If he wins round one, you've lost the war.

Put a chain over his nose to lead him. He will respect it. If that doesn't work, have your trainer show you how to use a lip chain. What someone said earlier, kicking like that is a killing offense. I worked in the same barn with a man that was kicked in the chest and had a bone puncture his heart.
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-09-2012, 02:17 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
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I'm with Sharpie on this one. You've been given a lot of great advice, but have your 'instructor' stop everything, put the breaks on, and go back to the ground manners with you. You cannot be safe around horses unless you can do the following things...

A. Control the Horse's Feet At All Times
B. Control the Horse's Attitude.

That means, in essence, your horse puts his feet where you want him too when you want him too and you have always have, if not a happy, at least a cooperative horse. Cause lets face it, there's certain things we do to them they don't like - shots for one, etc.

Possum is right. Always have a way out. And you can carry a lunge whip into the pasture to give yourself some space and reach to separate horses if you need too.

I also noticed you said your horse walks in front of you etc.

One thing I have shown other people, which might be crude but works really well to keep a horse from walking either on top of you or ahead of you is to hold your horse safely with the lead (get your instructor to show you how if you don't know already) and then take the free end thats long and loose and supposed to be gathered up in the hand that's not holding the horse and swing it in an arc like your lassoing something in front of you so it makes a solid swinging rope wall in front of you and your horse. Its hard to explain, but swing it like a jump rope so that if your horse walks nicely beside you he's not smacked but if he tries to walk in front of you, rush you, etc you end up smacking him upside the head with the lead. It works wonders to get them to back off and walk nicely beside and slightly behind you.

I wish I could explain it better because a demo is worth a thousand words, but your lead rope sheild will definitely get him backing off and not walking on top of you.

And again.. make sure he can't kick you. It sounds like he has a temper and is just acting out trying to get higher on the pecking order by putting himself first and you lower on the list. You need to get that corrected immediately and his attitude adjusted before he gets out of hand and dangerous.
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