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lilkitty90 01-31-2010 10:22 PM

kicking and food aggression
alright. i am getting fed up with this little guy and kicking! we rescued him from a bad place where he was rarely fed and handled. and i knew that and took it into consideration. and he is rehabilitating wonderfully! but his food aggression is terrible! he constantly thinks you are gonna take his food so he will kick at you. and has managed to kick me and my mom and other people on several occasions. and we do give him a quick knee in the gut. but it's not working for him.

and nothing phases him either. i rarely see him get scared of anything. he wasn't scared of bags, gunshots, tarps, big ole horse eating combines or anything. so what is it? and how do i fix the food aggression when you go to give him his bowl he will practically knock you over and tackle you for it. i just don't know what to do with him anymore. he has come a long way. but if i could get the food aggression and kicking fixed he would be wonderful.

any suggestions?

themacpack 01-31-2010 10:24 PM

Can you drive him from the ground?

lilkitty90 01-31-2010 10:34 PM

i have but i don't have the proper equipment to do it properly. however i have tied 2 lead ropes together on both sides and put them through the stirrups on a saddle and drove him that way. i believe i have some videos of it. but again i had no idea really what i was doing just trying to get forward motion out of him. which in my opinion worked some and at other times didn't as he would just kick in reverse.

he doesn't really kick unless he is eating. and i believe thats only because he is food aggressive because of his terrible back ground

rocky pony 01-31-2010 10:35 PM

What sort of situation is he in? Stall? Pasture? Is he close to other horses?
Ideally he should be close to other horses (or even another companion animal such as goats, donkeys, etc..) and he doesn't necessarily have to be in a pasture with them, but they should be clear in his sight so that he doesn't feel like he's alone in the world. Horses that are kept secluded have a higher chance of adopting aggressive behavior.

But whatever the situation..I really like Chris Cox's advice for this. This is sort of what he says (for the example I will refer to a stall but it's the same either way):

A horse will start to see his stall as his little domain, where he is the ruler and he decides what goes. What we need to do is show him that even when he is in his stall, he still needs to be respectful and behave himself. You can do this by moving his feet, getting him working. Groundwork, basically. Try sending him around you in a circle on a leadrope (being sure to stay out of kicking range of course!) and having a sort of really mini lunging session or something, being sure to change his direction and have him stop with his attention focused on you, preferably facing up to you. But that's only an example of course, if you have other methods of getting his respect follow whatever you would follow elsewhere, just in his stall. You may even try riding him there!

If that doesn't work, you could work on teaching him to just stay out of your space, but you may have to pop him pretty firmly with a leadrope or stick to get that point across. By no means should you abuse your horse, but if he is doing something as dangerous as what you're describing, you have every right to give him a bite back to tell him that you aren't going to have it.

It's some things to try, but of course different horses have different minds and learn from different things. Just thought I'd put my two cents in.

Good luck =)

Jillsmarine 01-31-2010 10:39 PM

That is very dangerous. What i would do is get a lunge whip. Crack it. If he doesn't move away and move with some intensity, put more pressure on him. You can swing it so it smacks him. I'm not saying crack him with it, kind of slap him with it if you have to. Be the leader of your herd.
Move him way from the food or what ever he is being aggresive over. Remember if your the leader everything is yours, you just allow him to partake in things. i would do this everytime you feed until he gets to the point where he walks away from his feeding spot until you put the hay down and walk away. I had a mare that was kind of pushy about her food, i did this for a day and she was fixed. Goodluck. Remember a disrespectful horse is very dangerous. In my opinon i'd rather him hurt before i do.

themacpack 01-31-2010 10:44 PM


Originally Posted by lilkitty90 (Post 538978)
i have but i don't have the proper equipment to do it properly. however i have tied 2 lead ropes together on both sides and put them through the stirrups on a saddle and drove him that way. i believe i have some videos of it. but again i had no idea really what i was doing just trying to get forward motion out of him. which in my opinion worked some and at other times didn't as he would just kick in reverse.

he doesn't really kick unless he is eating. and i believe thats only because he is food aggressive because of his terrible back ground

Sorry, should have worded that better - by "drive" I simply meant are you able to send him. Can you move his feet with basic groundwork exercises. This would translate into you being able to "drive" him away from the food he is aggressing over. As Jills said, drive him away from the feed, put it down, and require that he stay away until he approaches with respect. NO rushing or trying to drive YOU -- if that happens, you push him right back out of the space and require him to settle and wait again. It may make feeding time take a LONG time at first, but the end result is well worth investing the time now.

lilkitty90 01-31-2010 10:50 PM

rockyxpony~he is in a pasture with 4 other horses (one is stall bound as she is pregnant atm) a big TWH gelding is the leader then my mustang then a qh then kitty (the paitn gelding i am talking about) when he was abused i believe he was also kept with another horse for a bit before. but when we got him he was alone. i've tried popping him out of my space but of course he puts his butt to me. he has NO manners what so ever. he is extremely sweet and loving but when it comes to feed he's a beast lol hmm lunging might be a good idea. but i don't think any of my horses no how to lunge as i have never had the need to teach them. they are all very level headed and never needed it. but maybe i'll give it a go with him.

jillsmarine~it's not really the hay he is aggressive over. it's his grain. and i think it's because it was given to him sparsly before. i have thought about just not giving him any when he gets aggressive like he does. but i figured that would make the situation far more worse than it is so i decided against it. i'll give sending him away from the food a go as well. might as well do everything i can! i don't have anything to loose right now!

thanks guys!

lilkitty90 01-31-2010 10:52 PM

themacpack~ahhh ok i get what you mean. no i can't so that. he is way to pushy and he will put his butt to you. or he will ignroe whatever you are doing and rush in attacking the bowl of food like he hasn't eaten in months. as i said though right now i am willing to give anything and everything a try

AQHA13 01-31-2010 11:31 PM

hmmm... I don't really think that kneeing him is the solution since it would be causing more fear or dominance from him, but maybe I'm wrong.
I would suggest getting his ground work down really well. Make sure that he knows how to back and yield his hind quarters with simple movements from a crop or whip. Also make sure that he doesn't become afraid of the whip. Then I would carry his food while at the same time making him keep his distance using the whip, asking him to back up if you have to. Once you put his food down, invite him in, but only if he is respectful about it. This may not work, as I haven't any experience with abused horses...
But, if it doesn't work maybe you could brush him while he is eating. Or do something else that he enjoys so that he connects the two..
Good Luck! :)

NittanyEquestrian 01-31-2010 11:32 PM

I would suggest learning to lunge, or at the very least learning how to move a horse's feet. Can you halter him? if so, halter him with a longer lead rope. Maybe 10 feet or so? And have in hand some kind of crop or dressage whip. Something that you can touch him with but still be out of kicking range. Don't do this at feed time to start, just teach him basic ground manners. Teach him that when you come towards him he needs to back up, no matter what. Start by doing short tugs on his head and gently tapping his chest with the whip to get him to back up. Once he gets the picture, start just walking into him. If he doesn't move then you add the tugs and the whip. It will take time. Some people also use vigorously shaking the lead rope instead of tugging. Whatever works for you and gets the job done is fine. You want to get him to the point that whenever you point at him and start walking towards him he starts backing away from you. It won't happen overnight, don't get discouraged.

The next thing you need to teach him is to respect your space and move with you. Keep him haltered and start walking towards his butt with your hand or your whip pointed at his hip andwhile pulling his head around with your other hand. If you need to you can tap him on the hip to get him to move his butt. The idea is that you point at his butt or walk towards it and he swings it away and gives you his head. You want him to be moving those haunches away from you, not at you. Same with his head, you walk into his head and he moves it away from you. You can push on his shoulder with your free hand or tap it with the whip if he doesn't move it away from you.

I realize he was abused and might not like whips too much. You need to figure something out that will keep you out of kicking range. If it takes extra time for him to learn that whips are training extensions of your arm and not evil beating machines then it's a lesson definitely worth his learning for his general education.

After you've got him moving away from you then you can bring his feed out. Let him see if but not go for it, if he goes for it back him up. If he tries to turn his butt to you, pull his head back around. If he tries to bite, back him up then make him turn his front end away from you. Keep him moving and turning and backing up until he forgets about the food and concentrates on you. Then you can lead him over to it. If he gets pushy back him up and repeat. Make sure that he realizes that the food is there because you gave it to him, not because he took it from you. Once you establish that you're in charge of the food his whole personality will change and he will go ok, fine you're in charge...can I have some? Instead of going MINE!

I would suggest looking on youtube for some parelli/lyons/clinton anderson/etc short videos about how to move your horses feet and I'm sure they have something on there about food aggression too. It's easier to visualize what I'm saying when you can actually see someone doing it. Good luck and keep us posted!

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