Several of you are missing the whole point. Pain or a health problem should NEVER be an excuse for aggressive behavior, NEVER!!! There is a HUGE difference between a REASON and an EXCUSE. When you let a horse be aggressive while you try to figure out why he is being aggressive, you just gave him a pass and taught him that you are submissive to him. You just put him above you on the pecking order. In effect, this 'teaches' a horse to be aggressive.
Not only should a horse have to treat you with total respect when he is hurt or in pain, he must let you or a total stranger (like your Vet) 'hurt' him when he desperately needs the help of a person in case of a severe injury. We have had it happen many times over the years where a horse has been badly injured and we had to wade right in and do what was necessary. I can recall several severe hock or lower hind leg injuries and I never even gave a thought to a horse kicking at me or being ill toward me in any way while I attended to his injuries.
I cannot think of a single reason that it would be OK for a trained horse to kick at me. A barely handled yearling ? -- maybe. A broke to ride horse -- never. Horses have many ways to show pain. Again, a person needs to be able to 'read' a horse. A horse's posture, a head hanging lower than usual, a switch of a tail, a horse that does not 'shake' after getting up, an unusual 'switch' of a tail -- all tell me to further explore a horse's well-being. Kicking at me? Never gonna happen here!
And 'yes'. Changing stabling and and riding situation can negatively affect a horse's behavior. This should never include aggressive behavior, but it sure can change how a horse rides and handles. When a horse experiences an event that alters their performance, one has to figure out the best way to counter it. Just like teaching a horse that is buddy sour to stand quietly while tied, this works very well to get horses over stressful situations. One can tie one up for a good while in a safe place until they settle down and it helps them a whole lot. Fighting them is pretty futile. Again, a frantic or upset horse is reactive and is not going to respond well to a rider.
Last edited by Cherie; 11-08-2013 at 08:17 AM.