Mule kicking out at horses and people - playful or malicious?
I have a young (4 month) mule and he often gets very stroppy with his mother and our three-y-o filly. He bites and kicks out at them, but they are both incredibly patient with him. What worries me more is his behaviour when we take the two out on the trails, with the mule running along loose with them. He comes cantering past and shoots a carefully-aimed kick at his mother or the filly. Yesterday he got me on my shin-bone (I was riding the fillyat the time). And sometimes he tries it out when I'm on the ground in their paddock. This behaviour is most uncongenial, and I've no idea why he does it.
Otherwise he is generally friendly, always comes to greet me when I enter their paddock, likes being groomed etc. Why does he kick out at his friends and humans? He knows exactly what he's doing, he always looks over his shoulder just before he kicks to check his aim.If I have something suitable in my hand I give him a sharp tap on the butt, though it usually happens far too fast to be able to correct this behaviour.