Kicking out at me in crossties - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-03-2020, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Kicking out at me in crossties

I’ve got a 10 y grade QH paint Gelding as a lease in Nov 2019. Wound up keeping him. So, for the last 8 months it’s just been me working with him.

He was an orphaned foal on a feedlot that was rescued and was extremely ill, almost died. Got very spoiled I think. He was adopted by a woman at about 1 year and lived in pasture with friends and happy.

A dressage trainer I worked for helped the woman train him and he was easy to train. I know the woman and she is very kind hearted and I think he was spoiled.

He started bucking her off and hurting her. That happened several times and he would get allot of time off afterwards. TMI I know.

When I got him 8 months ago he hadn’t been ridden in about a year. He would try to push into me with his shoulder when led, reared and carried on in cross ties and would kick at farrier.

I started him out on the ground and he quickly became good in the round pen. Riding he did a few bucks and was very herd bound but also quickly got over it with consistency. He muscles up nicely. He got brave. Still easily distracted and is an emotional horse.

He has seen the Veterinarian and had his teethe done. They were bad. He saw the chiropractor a couple of weeks ago. Feet are done every 6 weeks.

In the crossties a couple of days ago I had to spray ally spray on a superficial hock sore. He got upset and kept lifting his foot. Then he struck back kicking pretty hard, but nowhere near me. I made him think he would die for about 5 seconds. I was very rough with him and I did hit him. Before you judge me please understand that if he kicks me I won’t keep him.

After exploding on him I went back to what I was doing and he was visibly shaken but held still and didn’t move. Ride was fine.

Next day I went to do the hock again and this time he struck out at me. He wasn’t trying to kick me but was throwing out a stronger warning in my direction. I got after him again.

So this is escalating behavior and the way I have dealt with it isn’t working. So I am looking for suggestions.

Just to add, when I say I hit him, I don’t mean I actually hurt him physically. I am not being abusive, I don’t think.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-03-2020, 08:37 PM
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Sorry for the messy post. I am in a hurry.

A couple of comments/questions before writing actual suggestions. I am not excusing his behavior, but I am just wondering about:

I don't know what "ally spray" is, so... excuse this next question, I guess. Even superficial wounds can sting - a lot. Is this a no sting spray? If not, look for one that doesn't hurt.

How did you spray it? If it felt like flies in/around his wound (like, the actual spraying action and the excess drip), that maybe why he kicks out. Some horses kick out at irritating stimulus.

Can he see you? Is he comfortable with having you mess with his hooves/back end? Cross-ties are very limiting. I could go into a long rant about why I do not like them, but for the TL;DR, yeah, horses don't like them because they restrict physical movement. As flight animals, this can cause them to go into panic or fight mode. Does he kick-out when single-point tied?

What was he like before you sprayed? Can you handle his butt area and back hooves/hocks? If he gets you *that* look, tosses his head, pins, bites, etc... and you ignore that, he may feel that kicking is the only way to get you to listen. Pay attention and listen to him *BEFORE*, during, and after you spray. Horses don't always go 0 to 100. They talk, but if we don't listen, they scream.

Where is he cross-tied? BE SURE THAT YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE EXIT. I've seen/heard about people cross-tying a horse in a three wall area. One way in and one way out. That can be fatal, especially with a kicking horse. Don't.

Horses generally have very good aim. Since you were so close with the spray, I am sure he could kick you if he wanted to, but he chose not to. I think it is either a warning that something hurts or that he is testing you.

Can you have someone hold him while you spray? That way you can correct him/move his feet. Hitting a horse in cross ties is not a good ideal, really. Again, as a flight animal, getting sprayed (which he doesn't like) and getting hit (which he doesn't like) can cause him to go into fight mode. Very dangerous. Cross ties restrict movement of the head. Horses can't see behind them. If you are in range, he could kick you without meaning to because he can't see great where he is aiming.

I think you need to get a new trainer. A good trainer would not let the horse to become a pasture puff after betting bucked/kicked/etc...
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 12:34 AM
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I do agree that any work you do in future to get horse good with being handled in his hind area and feet should be done out in the open, with either you holding the line draped over your arm , or someone else holding him, but not cross tyed.

I venture he's got a few holes in him and needs more work. Don't worry about having hit him. It's not going to ruin anything.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hi. Thank you both for the replies. The first time we were getting ready for a ride and he was getting a little anxious. He gets a bit wound up around other horses.

To clarify, it wasn’t the trainer I used to work for that was tossed off, it was one of her students that adopted him from the rescue.

The second time was after a ride and he was dignity and anxious wanting to get back to his friends near his pasture. He gets stressed out if he has been away from his friends.

I don’t think he was trying to kick me, just a warning. But I do think it was a threat.

I think I have handled it poorly and not been very sympathetic towards his feelings because he was so spoiled when I got him and for some reason I just shut down my empathy with him. This really helps allot.

The trainer I worked for is more of a my way or the highway with horses.

I don’t work for her anymore and he is my horse so I will not be that way with him. He has made so much progress this far I don’t want to ruin things.

When I got him he was bad for foot handling. It took about a week and he has been fine since.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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The spray is alluspray. The silver spray that goes on cold.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 02:43 AM
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I agree that a horse should not kick out whilst around a human.

Without making excuses for your horse I would say it is more the spray or sting from the spray he is objecting to.

I would not attempt to do treatment outside but would work in a roomy stall with him tied on one rope.

What is his reaction if you spray an aerosol near him without touching his wound?

You can easily spray onto a pad and use that on the area, far easier than getting into a fight.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 03:59 AM
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It sounds like you are making good progress with him and I would not say he has escalating behavior.

What it sounds like to me is that he is warning you that you are doing something he will not tolerate. While ideally we could do anything we wanted to with horses, no matter how uncomfortable or painful, horses often have limits they set for us. This is what sedation was invented for.

What I hear from the situation is that he does not tolerate medicine in his wound, and he is warning you of this. What you can do is work with him to find out how he will tolerate it. As someone else said, he might not mind having medication squeezed from a cloth above the wound and dripped down into it, or he might allow something pressed against it. Or he might allow cold hosing. You don't necessarily need medication on every horse wound.

To me this is normal horse behavior. For example, I might have a very nice horse but if I went in and started picking a big scab off something that hurt, the horse might begin with body language that says he won't tolerate this, and if I ignore it he might kick out, and if I ignore that and persist, he might kick me.

I have a mare that is sweeter than anything and she wouldn't ever try to hurt a person. However, once she had a big abscess on her neck, and I thought I didn't need a vet so decided to lance it myself. I put a little pressure on the abscess and held a scalpel above it, and then I looked at my mare and she was looking at her back hoof, and then my head, measuring the distance, and if I had lanced that she would have kicked me right in the head. No doubt. So I put my scalpel down and called the vet, who came and sedated her before lancing the abscess.

If a horse kicked you for messing around with an injured area, that would be similar to a dog biting someone for picking them up when they had a broken leg. Even the nicest dog can do it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 06:08 AM
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Horses hate Alluspray. Try spraying some on your hand and you will know why. I haven't known a horse yet that calmly tolerates the spray. It is wonderful amazing stuff and works great. Since none of my horses tolerate it, my vet told me to spray it on my hand and then gently press it on the wound. That works 100% better. I believe most horses will kick out if you spray them with Alluspray. It is an extremely weird feeling when it hits the skin. If you can, put on rubber gloves before spraying it on your hand. It stays on the skin for a very long time--that's why it is so good--and it continues to tingle.

My horses start to jump around and worry when they hear that little marble in the spray can shaking. They know that sound and they dread it. I shake it and spray my hand back in the feed room to muffle the sound . . . then go VERY QUICKLY to the wound as it dries almost instantly.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-04-2020, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
If a horse kicked you for messing around with an injured area, that would be similar to a dog biting someone for picking them up when they had a broken leg. Even the nicest dog can do it.

My (human, adult) mum once bit a dentist who decided to work without sedation. She’s a nice lady and usually doesn’t bite.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-05-2020, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Hi. I want to thank everyone for the help. I am not going to worry about his hocks right now. The sores I speak of are really nothing.

Your replies have made me reset my attitude about him. Have made me consider what he is experiencing now.

So, today looking at him differently I see he is very insecure and nervous. He is also very immature and sensitive, but I had to be open to seeing it.

He also tries really hard to do what is asked but is easily distracted.

There are tons of holes in his training I think and I am going to just go back to basics with him, getting him more comfortable with me and his surroundings.

I am going to set him up to win every time I do anything with him.

Thank you for the advice!!
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