Mare kicks my feet when riding
Came across a bit of a problem that I've never had before. I've been working with Joy and she has been doing really great. We been doing lots of ground work, been taking her trail riding and I took her to team penning practice. She loves team penning practice :-). Anyways here lately sometimes when I give her legs pressure she has been kicking at my heels with her back legs. Occasionally she manages to actually hit them. Mostly this happens when she doesn't want to go forward or if I want to put her into a trot. She doesn't like the leg pressure but I don't really want to desensitize her to leg pressure I want her to be responsive. What do I do to correct this? I would feel horrible if she accidently cow kicked another person or horse who happened to be close to me. I don't feel like I'm being heavy with my cues I have a pretty light touch and she requires light cues to get a proper response from her. I make her go regardless of the kicking. Maybe I should apply my leg pressure differently? Let me know what you guys think feel free to get technical if needed. Thanks!
Wow that's weird - can you get a video? I can't even picture that!! I've seen horses bite feet, but not kick at them :P
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Hmm. Interesting indeed.
What's the rest of her body language doing when she does that? Is she pinning ears? Is she turning her head around, as if to bite?
When is she not wanting to go forward? Why?
Mostly I'm getting at here first is if she's uncomfortable or in pain from something. Horses are odd animals and will lash out in varying ways from pain (if that's the culprit). Any recent dentist, chiro, or farrier checks?
If she's fine there, then it's a matter of she's throwing a tantrum and needs to be made to work. What if you carrying a crop to smack her leg with when she tries to kick? (May need a crop in each hand and a lot of coordination!!!) THen you are not punishing her with a leg cue of any sort, since she's fairly light that way, but still getting your point across that its not acceptable.
Beau makes 2 good points that got me thinking:
1) pain, my mare cowkicks her belly ALL the time in the summer when bugs are bothering her (she has an allergy to bugs and her belly is horribly itchy) she'll paw at her belly too. I wonder if your horse has some issue with her belly (maybe ulcers) that you're exacerbating by applying leg pressure? I would look into that fully
2) beau also mentions about whacking her with a crop - I find this to work really well - when you hit the offending limb they connect the dots much faster. I've only dealt with this with unmounted kicking and striking, but I found hitting the offending limb to work best, if you can make them go into the hit even better (they did it to themselves). It hurts them more to kick you than to just go.
Now my only other thought, pain and grouchiness ruled out - how old is this horse and how green? Do you mix up her riding or does she get bored? I think making riding and leg pressure a more positive thing might make her less bothered by it. So make riding enjoyable for her even sneaking her treats when she does something well.
She has had a recent chiropractor visit. Saddle fit is fine as well. She doesn't want to go occasionally after I've worked her for awhile when she starts to get tired she will try to stay stationary. It is definitely weird I've never had a horse kick at me while trotting lol. She's a coordinated girl I guess lol. I don't have a video but next time I ride ill film it maybe we can catch her. It can't be a tooth issue she has been floated some wha recently but lately I've been riding her in a hackemore anyways. I kinda think she's being overly sensitive. I will carry my riding crop and see if I can smack her but she get kinda hateful when hit with a whip mostly I use a whip as a motivator by swishing it or letting her see I have it that tends to work the best. Man I tell you training Joy is never boring lol.
She is ten years old she has been in training for the past few months. Been trying to bring her back up to speed again. She has always been sensitive about her sides and belly. When she was younger she used to cow kick at my hands when I touched her belly. I broke her of that did lots of densensitizing. She only kicks at my feet when the leg pressure is applied. I'd call her green broke since she been a pasture pet for awhile. Now something that's interesting is I can change her leads and speed know problem when we sort cattle. She is all about moving those steers. But I think it's because she is so focused on the steer she doesn't worry about being fussy.
Is she sensitive on her sides and belly on the ground too? If you push into her side where your foot goes with your hand about as strong as you would with your foot will she react the same? I'm going to say that's pain not oversensitive. It really could be ulcers or other stomach issues. Most horses aren't that sensitive on their sides unless somethings really bothering them.
Perhaps you might try listening to her. If she's tired, continuing accomplishes nothing. She's telling you she's had enough. Don't turn it into an ego trip whereby your will has to win.
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