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snoggle 01-23-2010 09:49 PM

Why the double-barrel kick?
We went on a 6 or 7 hour trail ride today. I haven't been able to ride my 4 year old mare in about 2 months due to the bitterly cold weather we were having. When we first set out she was a little speedier than usual. She just seemed like she had a bit of pent up energy to work out, but we were fine. The ride went fabulously, she seemed happy to be out again. She was in the lead going down some tremendously steep mountains and she was great. She was the youngest, least ridden horse in the group, but she is the least spooky and least nervous. I realized how great she was as I saw two older, "well trained" horses act like nuts while tied, but she is always calm and quiet. I can't take too much credit for this, a lot of it is just her nature.

Anyway, after a long lunch break, she was in the middle of the group. She'd kinda gotten her second wind and was a bit more energetic again, but I had her under control just fine. All the sudden she did a double barrel kick. I was fine, just a bit surprised. She's never done anything like that, never bucked or anything. The horse behind her was way, way behind her so she wasn't kicking at him. She's never kicked at another horse on a ride, even when they're right up on her butt. It almost seemed like a "gosh I'm having a good time" kinda thing. I've seen her do this when she's first let out into a pasture, kinda running around and "kicking up her heels".

After that, the last half of the ride was completely uneventful. She was in the lead for most of it and was downright pokey toward the end.

So my question is, what the heck? Was it really a "happy" thing like it seemed? It honestly would have kinda been fun if I'd expected it. Was she just bored? Was she annoyed with being held back? I'm just not sure what to think?

dressagebelle 01-23-2010 10:10 PM

It could be one of several reasons. Either she was just having a good time, and kicked up her heels, or she could have hit a bit of an uneven spot, and kicked to regain her balance, or she could have gotten bitten by something. My thoroughbred was normally very well behaved on the ground, and I had her in a tiny space between two trailers, as i was getting stuff out of mine, and she all of a sudden jumped forward and bucked, for what seemed like no reason to me. Then as I was looking at her rear end, I noticed a huge horsefly on her butt. I managed to kill it with my crop, but again a few months later, same thing. Out of the blue she bucked, and she had another horsefly on her. I wouldn't be too concerned unless you could tell that she was pinning her ears and really upset at something, or had continued to do it ect., as long as she doesn't do it again next time you take her out.

churumbeque 01-24-2010 09:37 AM

Doesn't sound like she was in condition for that long and difficult of a ride. She was probably mad and frustrated that she wasn't leading.

EveningShadows 01-24-2010 11:07 AM

^^^ Agreed. After months off, I wouldn't expect any of my girls to be saints during a 7 hour ride. You have to CONDITION horses for something like that. I don't, however, think that was the reason for her kicking out - more likely it was a bug if she only did it once and hasn't done it before or since. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you can't trail ride a horse that's had some time off...but if she's YOUNG and had time off, you need to bring her back around. And even then, stick to and hour or two until she's back in working shape both physically and mentally.

And to the first reply - you killed a horsefly on your horse's butt with a CROP?! How many times did you whack at it before sucessfully killing it? I tend to think a hand would be more appropriate...

snoggle 01-24-2010 07:11 PM

Yeah, I see your points about the long trip. I'll work her up to it better next time.

We don't have any horse flies or any other biting things out right now - too cold. Maybe it was the frustration thing. These are the times I wish they could talk.

Thanks for the ideas!

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