Kicking with back feet
So, here is an odd question… Anyone have thoughts on dealing with a filly who is light in the back end?
That said, here is the background. This is an Arab filly, Egyptian and Polish lines, currently two and a half years old. She went untouched until she was two and a half, living out with the broodmare band. Last August the breeder trapped her in a stall and took two weeks to halter break her and teach her to stack for the show ring. Then she went back out to the broodmare band for two more weeks before coming home with me. We were not expecting a new horse at the time, and did not have time to do ANYTHING with her – I actually had to be bullied into taking her because I knew we didn’t have any time or money for another horse. She spent the next four months in a paddock with my gelding. She would get loved on, ponyed out on trails with me, and the farrier has managed to do her feet evey eight weeks.
Come the new year, my finances got better and the horses came in from 24/7 turn out, and went into stalls. She is turned out for eight to ten hours a day into a paddock - sometimes with my gelding, sometimes without – lately she is getting herd bound to him so more without then with. My gelding and her can touch noses over the side of the stalls at night – but the stable owner is thinking that needs to change.
In the last month, we have actually started having time to work specifically with her. The stable owner is very good with horses and does not allow them to misbehave leading, but for ease of dealing with the filly, tends to lead her with my gelding to and from her stall. She gets fed LOTS of good quality orchard grass hay and some rice bran.
Now, I am quite used to young unhandled horses being light in the front end with a tendency to rear. I have trained over 30 horses to saddle and retrained another 40 or so rescues – rearing is not a problem that I need help with, but this girl doesn’t rear, she kicks.
It started with the occasional stomp of a back hoof – which never went uncorrected with a harsh word or slap. But as she gets tame, it is getting worse. Today, my daughter (20) led her past my gelding and I on the way to the arena, and as soon as she was past me, the horse let fly with both barrels aimed at my head! Now my daughter spun her as she kicked so she kicked the wall and not me and then proceeded to do leading lessons up and down the driveway in the pouring down rain for the next 30 minutes – most of which was done backing and giving on the forehead and haunches – all requiring submission.
When the filly flashed teeth, my daughter used the three second rule to make her think she had to DIE. Apparently there is a dominance issue. When the filly showed proper submission, the two of them joined us in the arena. I was in the round pen working the herd boundness out of my gelding… (but that is something I can handle) Once I was done with the round pen, in went the daughter and the filly. Twice, in the next 45 minutes, back feet flew at my daughter – who was not amused.
The filly was pushed until she finally gave in and gave a join up, but it was not a complete submission. The filly was walked calmly afterwards and even laid down in the soft dirt for a good roll while still on her leadline. My daughter took the opportunity to scratch her while she was lying down – which we both took as a good sign.
But I don’t think this is over. However, in all my years of working horses, I have never had a horse who tended to kick out with the back feet. I am at a loss for how to specifically address this situation, other than addressing the general dominance challenge. Thoughts?