uh, cow kicking?

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uh, cow kicking?

This is a discussion on uh, cow kicking? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • What is cow kicking in a horse
  • Teach horse not to cow kick

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    11-10-2011, 07:24 PM
uh, cow kicking?

My 5 y/o mare has started cow kicking recently. This is a very new thing for her, and she ONLY does it in her stall while grooming. I can tack her up, put on her blankets, feed - basically anything else in her stall and she will not kick. She only ever does it in her stall, grooming. I have even brushed her off in the arena and zero kicks. She gets her blanket on/off every night - no kicks. Tacking up? No kicks.
When she does kick it's not even that eccentric (it's actually better than it was when it started 3 weeks ago). When she kicks it's really just a no effort cow kick that's slowly diminishing into lifting her leg so slightly. But it's still a cow kick, and still needs to stop! I can't have her doing this, it's just not acceptable at all. Every time I catch her going to do it I give her a pretty legit smack on the belly and throw in a "HEY!".
Obviously there's a reason she started doing this, I just do not know what it is. She is currently in training (ground training) and doing SO much better all around in every aspect so like I said, the kicking has diminished significantly but still needs to STOP. What else can I do?

(keep in mind I have never had a horse kick at me like this, and so consistently. The most I have ever had a horse do is me standing in the wrong place at the wrong time and she kicked at a mosquito, otherwise I have never ever dealt with a horse who cow kicks ...and one who only does it in her stall for grooming only.)

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    11-10-2011, 09:05 PM
Super Moderator
Obviously there's a reason she started doing this, I just do not know what it is.
The first time you were bothering her and she though she would treat you like another horse that was bothering her. Now, the only reason she needs is that you did not try to kill her the first time it happened. She would have thought it was a very bad idea and that would have been the end of the story.

She took up a position higher than you on her 'pecking order' and you have not made it plain that you will not tolerate the tiniest bit of aggression. Your first response should have been so severe that she never, ever even thought about doing it again let alone did it.
Kayty likes this.
    11-10-2011, 09:16 PM
Doesn't really matter much what the reason is, she needs to be taught, in no uncertain terms, kicking at a human is not acceptable under any circumstances, period. Correction needs to be immediate & consistent, but I think you already know that.
    11-10-2011, 09:17 PM
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Your first response should have been so severe that she never, ever even thought about doing it again let alone did it.
This has proven very effective, take it from the owner of the formerly known cow kicking queen!
    11-10-2011, 09:24 PM
Yup-Totally right again Cherie! OP-you may think you are giving her substantial smacks, but obviously you need to step it up. She needs to think-just for a couple brief moments-that she is going to die. You need to be the biggest bad a$$ you can possibly be. Nothing you can do will be nearly as bad as an alpha mare if she pulled that on them!
    11-10-2011, 09:26 PM
My mare picked up the habit of cowkicking when she got ulcers last December. She would do threaten it whenever I annoyed her for a while after she had been treated. Every time she did it, she got a good hard smack (if not just punched if she tried it repeatedly) on the neck and me shouting at her to knock it off or to put her foot down.

It took a few times for her to figure out she ought not do that. She's only threatened it once or twice since then and all I have to do is say, "Put your foot back down" in a low voice and she's back on all 4 hooves, albeit I receive pretty dirty looks from her.
caseymyhorserocks likes this.
    11-10-2011, 09:38 PM
Bad habit to let go.SHE is ascerting her authority when she does it.If let be,she would continue until she did it when you're tacking up or...?A nasty surprise to say the least and just bad manners in a horse you love,right?
    11-10-2011, 09:48 PM
Green Broke
Ditto what the others said.
Our filly kicked out at me a few weeks ago. She didn't realize it was me behind her. I know this because as soon as she saw me, the kick changed momentum & didn't hit target.
It was kind of funny, because you could tell that she knew she had done something wrong.
Needless to say, I still smacked her and got after her hard. Even though it was an accident, I don't want her to forget that when I'm around she needs to watch me, and that I'm the one in charge.
    11-10-2011, 09:52 PM
Disrespect at its finest.

When she kicks, kick her back. Either a hard toe to the leg she kicked you with or a hard toe to her belly. Either way she needs to know its the end of the world if she attempts to kick. Make a huge deal out of, and ignore all the looks you might get from passerbyers ;D
    11-10-2011, 11:25 PM
Sounds like this mare needs a 'come to jesus' session!!
Just a subtle lift of a back leg may seem harmless enough... but once she realises you're not going to kill her for it, it'll turn into a more threatening and eventually dangerous behaviour. Cow kicking is nasty business, my coach had her femur snapped clean in horse by a young but very big warmblood cowkicking when she did up his girth.

You don't have to be violent, taking a steel rod and beating her to get the message across. Instead, just make yourself bigger, hands in the air waving towards her and run straight her yelling. Make her think you are about to kill her if she doesn't get out of your way. Smacking does nothing unless the horse moves away. I see so many people smacking their horse for pinning its ears or lifting a leg, but the horse doesn't move away, thus the smack was just a waste of energy. If a horse wants to try and dominate you, you must move it out of your space pronto!

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