What to do with a kicker...
 
 

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What to do with a kicker...

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  • horse pins ears at canter
  • How to keep a dominant kicker with other horses

 
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    10-06-2010, 12:46 AM
  #1
Yearling
What to do with a kicker...

My 3 yr old Clydesdale/TB filly has kicked out at 2 seperate horses on different rides last month and I'm kinda stumped. Mentally, she's still very much a baby, not ready to advance more than she is at this point, so I'm going to bring her back to my mom's 10 acre farm for the winter and back to the ranch come spring. With her coming home for the winter, I can't really work on the strange horse nearby scenario, but what is the "proper" or "correct" reprimand for your horse kicking at another while under saddle?

Depends on circumstances...she's socially clostrophobic. Both times she kicked out, we were in the middle of the pack down a trail and there were horses behind her. When she's at the back, she's nervous but ok...but neither kick was warranted or instigated, the second one the other horses was still 12 feet away and minding his own business!

My problem is there is NO warning. No ear pinning, no squeeling, no other body movement threats...just WHAM! I think I might have to stick to the back and just work our way up the line, focussing on keeping her calm and relaxed. She just gets so worked up that at some point she thinks all the horses are out to get her and just lashes out.

So, what's a reasonable discipline/correction if your horse kicks another under saddle? Here's a pic from Oct 2, our ranch's big year end ride!
[IMG]http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/Picture*****z/Eve/33734_480443165621_527110621_7430178_6070599_n.jpg[/IMG]

Love this one too!
[IMG]http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/Picture*****z/Eve/33734_480443195621_527110621_7430184_3592260_n.jpg[/IMG]
     
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    10-06-2010, 07:08 AM
  #2
Showing
I'm pretty positive there is a warning. It's just so light you can't catch it (and on trail you are usually busy with surroundings rather than horse's ears). My advice - stay on back for the time being and put a red ribbon on tail. It's not a claustrophobia, it's misbehaving/dominance thing. My horse kicks out too out of dominance, so I always warn other people and keep my attention on her to drive her forward or turn before she kicks.

Your horse is very cute, BTW!
     
    10-06-2010, 07:23 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Cute horse :)
If my horse threatens to do some thing I go Don't and he stops but he is a woss and doesn't try things often
     
    10-06-2010, 08:16 AM
  #4
Green Broke
There should be a warning. One if you know your horse is a kicker, you should tie a ribbon on the tail when trail riding. Just a nice jester to others that you are responsible. The other thing is are you sure the kicks are all at other horses? I would just make sure nothing is bothering her. Yes she is young but hopefully you can figure this out before it becomes a habit. Honestly, I wouldnt know what I would do as I have not been in that situation before. Keep my horse away from the others, I guess. Sucks when you are trying to trail ride with friends but I guess for saftey sakes, you should.
     
    10-06-2010, 10:39 AM
  #5
Yearling
The one picture from behind was from a distance, cropped and zoomed so you can't especially see it, but I DO have a ribbon braided into her tail. Only problem is that the HICKS around here just go "awww, pretty ribbon!" and don't know why it's there!

Any time someone was behind me I warned them in advance that she'd kicked before, the second and latest kick, the horse was still quite a ways away so I hadn't warned yet...but I DO let people know that she's kicked before and tie a ribbon in her tail. With a tail as thick as hers I think I'm going to upgrade her to a bow instead of just a ribbon though!

The first ride we were single file, ears forward, walking along fine - she'd never kicked before so I wasn't expecting it but I still warned people around me that she was only 3. She stopped and instantly kicked. On both rides, because she's so young, my main focus was her and not socializing or admiring the fall trees - my attention was on her and there was NO warning.

This last one, the guy was still at LEAST 12 feet away...same thing though. Walking fine, moving forward...this time she didn't stop to kick she just kicked mid-stride. This ride I was watching her like a HAWK for anything that looked like a sign of not liking who was around her. There were points in the ride where she'd pin her ears and I'd move her over or spin her butt away from whoever was passing or closeby...but when she kicked out, there was nothing.

The reason I think it's related to the amount of horses on the ride and being "socially clostrophobic" is because this second ride ALL we did was walk, the entire ride other than about 20 stride of canter to watch up at one point, and she was sweaty for the whole thing. She's got so much nervous energy in groups, I've never dealt with something like this in anyone other than my older mare, but she doesn't kick. We went on a ride of 5 riders a week before this last ride and worked on her being relaxed and she did very well, no threats, no kicks. It's only in large groups that this has ever happened.

For future training though, is it suggestable to carry a crop and give her a whack if she kicks? Obviously I'm going to amp up how I'm watching for signs and warnings, but neither myself or my best friend saw any inkling of a threat before she made good on her kicks.

My mom's mare has kicked before, but those were warranted either by the other horse biting her butt first or running up into her from behind. I do know what warning signs to look for, Eve just didn't show any! I did get off her and check over my tack 3 times throughout the ride to make sure everything was how it should be, nothing was out of place. If anything I could've had her chest plate a little higher but it wasn't rubbing or anything.

And thanks :) I think she's cute too!
     
    10-06-2010, 10:54 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Carry a crop, I guess. I really don't know what else to say but I think your doing everything you can to stop it. Or at least keep others from getting hurt. She may just not like to be around a lot of horses. She may feel threatened and feel she needs to let the other horses know not to get near her. ??
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    10-06-2010, 11:13 AM
  #7
Yearling
If the horse was 12 feet away or so, I don't think she was kicking out at it. Maybe in frustration to something else. Were there a lot of bugs? Was she kicking at the flies under her belly?

Was she sweaty? Young horses tend to be more irritable as they aren't used to itchy tack from sweat or other things and don't like how it feels.

Is she kept in a pasture with other horses? Does she get to socialize with horses on her own terms? If you see no warning, like ear pinning, then what makes you think it is aggression? I think she is just irritated at something. Maybe how the saddle fits or how the blanket feels?
     
    10-06-2010, 11:29 AM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
I'm pretty positive there is a warning. It's just so light you can't catch it (and on trail you are usually busy with surroundings rather than horse's ears). My advice - stay on back for the time being and put a red ribbon on tail. It's not a claustrophobia, it's misbehaving/dominance thing. My horse kicks out too out of dominance, so I always warn other people and keep my attention on her to drive her forward or turn before she kicks.

Your horse is very cute, BTW!

I think this is good advice and I also feel that you have done an excellent job of going through this in your mind.
The comment about the anxiety your horse feels in a group is very plausible and something that passes in time with many horses.

It is not uncommon for a young horse to feel threatened in a strange or unfamiliar group.
     
    10-07-2010, 12:28 AM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyPrincess    
If the horse was 12 feet away or so, I don't think she was kicking out at it. Maybe in frustration to something else. Were there a lot of bugs? Was she kicking at the flies under her belly?

Was she sweaty? Young horses tend to be more irritable as they aren't used to itchy tack from sweat or other things and don't like how it feels.

Is she kept in a pasture with other horses? Does she get to socialize with horses on her own terms? If you see no warning, like ear pinning, then what makes you think it is aggression? I think she is just irritated at something. Maybe how the saddle fits or how the blanket feels?
I would completely agree to kicking out in frustration if the ONLY 2 times it had happened hadn't been aimed at a horse. She's never done any sort of misbehaving like bucking/crow hopping other than once last winter when we changed her tack from english to western - just wasn't used to it and needed to "buck it out"! Ever since, her way of misbehaving is tossing her head or scooting forward.

There were pretty much NO bugs on the ride, being early Manitoban October, pretty much everything is dead or hibernating! It was beautiful! But no, I know the difference between swatting at a belly fly with a back leg and a fully extended hind leg kick. My best friend SAW the second incident, she was kicking at the horse behind her. Lucky he was too far away, but it was aimed.

She was tossing her head once she got sweated up, I account that to her ears having sweat on them and the bridal being there, not being able to rub/scratch on anything...big 'ol lesson in too bad, wait til we're stopped! I promise neither of these 2 situations were a harmless shooing of bugs or baby irritations. If it were a tack issue or baby tantrum, it would've happened more than twice and not under identical circumstances to each other.

She is kept with a dozen other horses, both mares and geldings - is far from top dog, but not at the bottom where you'd picture a 3 year old to be. I know she's a socially dominant filly in the pasture for the most part, but how to teach her it's unacceptable under saddle is where I'm stumped. I do think it's limited to big groups, she was in close quarters with 5 other riders a week before this last one and handled herself nicely - got dancy out front, but settled if I kept some distance (15-20 feet). I'm just trying to figure out where this fear of something behind her came from. Maybe she was ambushed by other horses when we moved them to the ranch in May?

I'd also be more inclined to agree with the tack fit if I'd changed something...I do have her going in a different bit than before, but it was changed after the first kick. Makes it inconsistant to the theory. I think taking the winter to "grow up" and maintain the training that's there and then tackling this next spring is my best course of action. I *could* tackle it now, but if it's fear based then her baby brain is just going to see working on it now as forced instead of teaching and accepting. In no way am I trying to put off or avoid this lesson I know she needs, but timing is everything and her more than most is VERY immature for a 3 year old. I'm used to stock horse grades and welsh ponies...they think they know everything by age 2 and Eve barely knows her name at 3! LOL She reminds me of Eeyor some days! Learning to canter was like watching a baby moose find it's legs...she's just a little slower and delayed than every other horse I've worked with. In knowing that, the last thing I want to do is RUSH this and make it into a bad experience for her.

Thank you for all the replies :) very much appreciated!
     
    10-07-2010, 09:56 AM
  #10
Trained
Ok-I have had a clyde cross for 17 yrs. I am hearing MANY familiar things from you, altho certainly they are not all the same. Mine has been known to kick, but purely out of frustration. Always on a trail ride or hunter pace if I am holding him back, or he thinks I am. I have to keep him moving, even if it is in small cirlces, if someone is going to pass. He also gave me no real warning, other than I knew he was frustrated. He also tosses/shakes his head-he HATES flies, and is always sweaty on a ride, even when standing still, if it is warm out. I am lucky in that I am not even trying to correct anything with him anymore. He is retired, and any rides with him are pretty much what he wants. He is so slow, compared to all my friends horses, that we are always at the end of the line on trails, so his kicking is no longer an issue.

Good luck-BTDT!
     

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