Mare that kicks out behind at other horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Mare that kicks out behind at other horses

I almost never ask a training question here. So, here goes . . .

A friend of mine , with little experience in training and riding , owns a really beautiful QH mare that she 'inherited'. (long story).
This mare is so pretty she could be the poster horse in the 'QH' page of a book on breeds. She is of the Hancock line, and is a bay roan with gorgeous coloration. She is athletically built and gives off that, "I can corner faster than a cat" look. Very desireable package. The lady has even offered, "sometime' , to let me ride her.

But, she has a very bad habit; she will aggressively kick out at any horse that moves behind her, and I mean back INTO that horse so that her double barrel kick will connect. She snarls and squeels, pins her ears and becomes a total ------ you know what.

She is trained well, in rodeo and cow working, so I am told. But, how do you work with this bad habit? She is on regumate now to reduce her very hard cycles. How do you TRAIN this reaction out of her? or can you?

Horse is about 8, kept on dry paddock, fed grass hay. Horse recently colcked , was scoped and treated and no evidence of physical issues. even had colonoscopy . . all clear. these behaviors PRE-Date the colic episode and have been her modus operendi for her adult life, it seems.
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post #2 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 04:52 PM
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I'd ride this mare with an over-under on the saddle and wearing spurs, and when she lays her ears back or tries this little trick, she's going to get spanked hard across the hindquarters and spurred until she moves forward and realizes that kicking is not something she wants to be doing. This is a dangerous habit, and it needs to stop, and you will not stop it without getting after her, and hard. She needs to realize that what she's doing is NEVER ok before she seriously injures someone or another horse. Her behavior is not that rare, and a good rider/trainer should be easily able to get her out of it. That person needs to be a good rider with good timing, though. She needs to be disciplined immediately when she even thinks of trying it, and it needs to be followed through on, even if she rears or bucks trying to get her way. This is generally a fast fix, but horses like this tend to revert to the same behavior when they can get away with it--- a novice or timid rider, or someone not paying attention. She's gotten away with this for most of her life, it seems, so it's going to be harder to fix than if her rider had fixed it when she was started under saddle. The key is also to recognize when she is going to do it, and correcting her before she actually does. You can usually feel the horse tense up, the head lift, and the ear come back when she's mad a horse is behind her before she bares her teeth, squeals, or kicks. That's when you get after her. If she's already into her kicking by the time you correct, you're too late and then you have to keep on correcting until she stops and be prepared for a rodeo. This may get worse before it gets better. Have an experienced rider or trainer work with her on this-- you need someone who knows what they're doing on the mare, and also on the horse that you're using to 'set her up' so nobody is hurt in the melee.

This is one of those rare instances when a hard correction is justified. A big Hancock mare will challenge her rider on this since she's gotten away with it, and the rider needs to be able to win, and keep emotion out of it. Correct her, and hard, until she stops, then relax and continue on as if nothing happened. Don't make a big deal of it but do not allow this to continue, and it will soon be a thing of the past.

Last edited by SilverMaple; 08-07-2019 at 04:57 PM.
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post #3 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 05:40 PM
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Ditto on Silver's post.

When Hooey was a yearling I found out quickly his go-to move was kicking. Horses, dogs, people, cows. Even though I got after him for it on the ground I still had to reinforce it with a split rein when I started him under saddle. He was that colt that would try to kick at your feet in the saddle if over cued. Again kick at horses, dogs, people, even kicking at his own tail if it touched his back legs in a way he hadn't expected or if he was already aggravated. He would especially cattle when working in a rodear or alleyway. I was terrified at the fact of having to buy someone's calf that he had killed by kicking. It took being consistent and he could throw a fit for being disciplined for it so be prepared.
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post #4 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 07:10 PM
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I presume we're talking about when she's being ridden/in hand, not when loose in the paddock?

Ditto Silver's post. This is a time I think strong punishment is warranted. Tho (likely stating the obvious to you but...) if the horse is not used to spurs, I wouldn't use those - or your friend could find herself going UP very quickly instead of back!
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 07:43 PM
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There is almost always some indication before a horse actually kicks another horse. This is when the rider should react rather than afterwards. When caught at the right time, a simple reminder that the horse is working and not allowed the freedom of such behavior should be all that is needed.

What form does this take? Often, just a quick tension of one rein. Maybe add a quick squeeze of the legs to remind the horse to move forward.

I seldom find the need for anything more.
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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thank you for the replies.

the owner can not ride this mare . . . yet. Physical reasons, but she is not an experienced rider and has a long time not being in the saddle. I am a decent rider, but am the first to admit I won't win in a rodeo situation.

Mostly, I was thinking about dealing with her on the ground, since this is what she is mostly doing at this point. I do not know how she acts out in a group of horses, since she is kept in a corral type paddock. She will be non-stop defensive of ANY horse approaching the adjoining fence when she is in her paddock. Only a few 'neighbors' can be tolerated by her.

Is there something about Hancock line horses? She is very pretty, and fairly big.

So, do you think we should set it up so that someone brings a 'bait' horse behind this mare, who will be held on line by the owner, and when the mare gives even a HINT of getting ready to let go on this other horse, the owner/handler should . . . . ? shank the leadrope? smack her shoulder with a whip? make her run in circles? I mean, we want her to know that her ugly thoughts are not ok, so we need to get her attention and make things uncomfortable, no?

tell me how you'd approach this on the ground.
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-07-2019, 08:47 PM
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When on the ground, I would do whatever is necessary to get this horse's attention off the other horse and on me. Again, this would be before, rather than after, a kick. As with most "cues", use the least amount of energy necessary. This may take the form of a quick verbal word, a tug on a lead, or whatever works best with this particular horse.

My intent would be to defuse the situation and get on with work rather than reacting in a way that intensifies the horse's emotions.

I would not begin working with such a horse by intentionally setting up a confrontational situation. I would begin by developing a relationship with this horse that establishes me a the one whose desire takes precedence in any situation. This does not mean that I do not take a horse's concern into consideration. It simply means that I make the final decision.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-08-2019, 01:50 AM
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I'm not sure on the ground would be the safest way to go about this. The person handling the bait horse could get caught in the middle and be severely injured. How does she do with running a lunge whip (or other long object) up and down and between her back legs? If that hasn't been tested that might be the best way to start and save the testing with another horse for under saddle with very good riders on both horses. I've heard from multiple sources that Hancock horses can be hard to train but when you finally get through to them they make good horses that can work all day.
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post #9 of 24 Old 08-08-2019, 02:59 AM
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With a horse that is a confirmed kicker I have never found that giving a cue to move forward works. It usually does take hard punishment.

One of the biggest no no's in the Hunting Field, is a kicker. A friend of mine had a horse that messed around and would kick. It did wear a red ribbon on its tail.
We were cantering up a hill when she went past me, Raffles bucked and kicked out at my horse catching me in the lower leg causing serious injury, AND ruining my hunting boots.

A rider can feel when a horse is going to kick if they are aware - that is the time to get after them.

As for correcting on the ground I would have a long whip,and the moment she went to lash out she would get it across her hind legs.
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post #10 of 24 Old 08-08-2019, 07:57 AM
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Some mares will do this when theyíre in heat and never do it at all the rest of the time. It doesnít excuse it but it can disappear altogether when they are put on regumate.
The colic like attack might not have been colic but could have been a large follicle.
Has the mare ever been checked for ovarian tumor?

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