Kicking on crossties - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Kicking on crossties

Hi again... When it comes to grooming my thoroughbred i get really frustrated. I need help breaking this habit. When i’m picking out his back legs he’ll pick his leg up and act like he’s stretching but then he will full speed kick out at me, put his hoof down and then he’ll let me pick it up and clean it out. Not sure why he feels the need to do that but i need help fixing this issue because its very dangerous if you’re not prepared for it.
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 12:36 AM
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I find kicking out during hoof picking completely unacceptable behavior, especially if it is not pain related (abscess, for example). A good, hard smack on the offending leg (most effective and least risky with a crop) tells them no, that is absolutely unacceptable, don't you dare think about it again.

They do this because they know they'll get to set their foot back down if they kick hard enough. If the kick is not forceful enough to dislodge your hand, hold on (but please do not put yourself in danger), and only let them set it back down once they stand calmly.

If you don't feel like you can handle this, you really should have a discussion with your trainer about your horse's behavior.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 01:22 AM
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Hen you pick his foot up and the second he lifts it push his leg under him so when he goes to stretch he touches his other back leg, he not kick out if he realises he is going to kick himself.

Also try picking out his feet right side first.

If he refuses to pick the foot up use the point of the hoofpick in his heel, he will pick it up then.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 06:03 AM
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"I need help breaking this habit."
Yes, it is now habit...but does it stem from something you need a vet to investigate is more the question.

I am under the impression there is a medical condition that causes the horse to do that stretch part...heard this before.
Let the animal stretch...obviously there is a reason he needs to.
The kick-out seems bad manners though.
If you are going to correct since you know it is going to come, then make it swift and instant & harsh in response not seconds later cause that is to late..
You also know it is coming and are not/have not doing anything preemptively to stop it either by your description.

When he starts to stretch...drop him.
Use a rough, gruff voice of quit as the stretch becomes a kick...
As he tightens that stretch in preparation...nail him both with voice and hard swat felt.
Horses are smart, won't take him long to find out he not like what your response is to his bad behavior if you respond accordingly and accurately.
It being a "habit" as you called it...you allowed it to happen, now you must also break the habit created.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 07:05 AM
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I've seen this more often in horses with a physical abnormality. I would have him checked.

The stretch and then a kick is suspicious.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 08:22 AM
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The horse I ride does a version of this, though as long as you're expecting it, it's manageable. I just know that, the first time I pick up a back foot, I have to kind of go with it once or twice and then I can put the foot where I need it to proceed.

In her case, she definitely has some arthritis in her hocks and other areas in her back end. She warms out of it in work, and is sound enough, but asking her to pick up her back feet when she's just standing around is clearly a challenge for her, and she seems to need that stretch and kick. I've actually seen her accidentally nail herself in the other back leg, even, but it doesn't change her behaviour, so I think it's a mechanical reflex for her.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-02-2020, 08:41 AM
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Either this horse has issues, or it is a handler issue, but either way, it sounds like you need some real help beyond what we can give you here. It seems like this is happening more and more. I know it must be frustrating and discouraging, but sometimes you need to reach out to someone who can lend you a hand in person.

I will say that my Rusty tried to do this once or twice. When I'd pick up a back leg, he'd kind of fling it sideways at me. I smacked him hard on the hip, gave a sharp reprimand, and the next time, held onto that leg with all my might, keeping it under him so he couldn't swing out. When he'd relax, I'd pull it out and pick it. He stopped once he realized it was pointless.
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