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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We were walking out to ride when My horse backed up and Tried to kick another horse while the owner was along side her horse. She put her hand up and got kicked in the elbow. She thinks my horse is dangerous and mean to have kicked out with a human standing there. I think he was just trying to establish dominance with her horse. He is such a good boy and not mean at all. I have had him for 12 years and I think he was just being a horse. She shouldn’t have had her horse so close to his rear end. Am I wrong? I punished him immediately.
 

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From how you have it written, it sounds like you walked past them. In that case, 100% your fault.

Even so, a horse should not be allowed to kick another horse, human or not, while under your command. I dont care if that horse was crawling up your horses butt, it is never ok. You should have headed off the action before it even got to backing up. So still largely your fault.
They can establish dominance all they want when loose in a field, not when working.
 

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She shouldn’t have had her horse so close to his rear end.
From the sound of that bit, I was assuming the opposite to Apuetsot & thought she came up behind your horse too close. In which case, I'd see it as more her fault. And if she thinks it's 'mean to have kicked out with a human standing there' That sounds a bit... unrealistic. Regardless of what behaviour we ask for & expect, horses WILL be horses, so it always pays to have safety in mind. And if your horse is known for being 'testy' about other horses coming too close, you should put a red ribbon on his tail, to warn people.

That said, I do also agree fully that it's important to do all you can to prevent, and teach your horse not to kick or otherwise get stroppy when he's in hand/ridden - Just because it's natural 'horse', doesn't mean it's safe or appropriate for him to do when 'working'.
 

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When working in a 'public space', there are general rules of conduct. One is 'whether you do or do not know a horse well, do not walk yourself or your horse too close behind another horse." On the other hand, you discovered a hole in your horse's behavior skills. It is very unfortunate that this occurred in a negative way and ended with another person getting kicked. But now you know that you need to work on your horse's respect skills.

If you have a mustang training flag, you can use that in conjunction with these tactics and see if your boy reacts in the same way. Then you know you've got something to work on. (Also be aware that I don't really approve of this video where it shows the farrier pulling the horse's hind leg up into his lap. That can be really uncomfortable and is often a source of farriers fighting horses.)

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for your replies. My horse never kicked before. It was very out of character for him. It seemed like a dominance move. I punished him immediately by smacking him with my mecate. Is there more I could do to make sure it never happens again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When working in a 'public space', there are general rules of conduct. One is 'whether you do or do not know a horse well, do not walk yourself or your horse too close behind another horse." On the other hand, you discovered a hole in your horse's behavior skills. It is very unfortunate that this occurred in a negative way and ended with another person getting kicked. But now you know that you need to work on your horse's respect skills.

If you have a mustang training flag, you can use that in conjunction with these tactics and see if your boy reacts in the same way. Then you know you've got something to work on. (Also be aware that I don't really approve of this video where it shows the farrier pulling the horse's hind leg up into his lap. That can be really uncomfortable and is often a source of farriers fighting horses.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMdP8DAjoc8
That was a great video! I love Clinton! I am going to work on this tomorrow. Don’t know if it will work for this problem because he is desensitized to my training stick and flag but I will turn up the heat in backing him and disengaging his hind quarters. I’ll let you know how it goes.
 

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Ugh! That vid makes me go 'ugh!'. As do most egs of CA that I've seen. I think this is the first thing we've disagreed upon Feathers7 since you've joined - that's a pretty good innings!

What I hate about it.... from the start, showing the farrier trying to work with the horse, ugh! to the unsafe way he was standing & asking for the back foot. Ugh! Ugh! to the way the horse's leg is hoisted out to the side. Esp as the guy says the horse used to be great not so long ago & now he's acting like this - wouldn't surprise me in the least if it's because what the guy is doing is very uncomfortable for the horse.

Then there's CA's 'knee jerk' response to just about anything - push & wave ropes at & frighten & back up & run the horse in circles. Ugh! Push & frighten the horse to desensitise it. Push & frighten the horse & make it back up &/or run in circles whenever it does something 'wrong'. Ugh! Never reward the horse for 'right' answers, just quit pushing it for a sec. Ugh! Never demonstrate any consideration or respect FOR the animal or try to understand & address the underlying problem that may have led to the behaviour. Ugh! Ugh! And the 'messy' way he throws the rope at the horse & stops & starts - sometimes I'm not even sure what he's wanting, so no wonder the horse gets confused. Ugh! I just seriously dislike his whole 'break their spirit' type approach.

And he says you have to do it lots, because it would have taken years for this habit to have come about, so... Altho notice the farrier said the horse was fine not so long ago....

I would also not think this vid/advice is relevant to OP's particular situation really either, even if you agree with the tactics. Only as a way to punish the behaviour if/when it happens.

I am going to work on this tomorrow. Don’t know if it will work for this problem because he is desensitized to my training stick and flag but I will turn up the heat in backing him and disengaging his hind quarters. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What exactly of 'this' are you planning to work on tomorrow & why exactly? Not meaning to be sarcastic or such, but asking you genuinely, to analyse the why's & wherefores of what you're planning deeply, rather than just following some procedure because some 'guru' gave you a 'recipe'.

If your horse is 'desensitised' to your stick & flag, does this mean to you that you've(or someone's) done lots of this sort of stuff & he doesn't react to anything? Or that you try to get him to *respond* to the stick/flag & he won't? Or that he's desensitised to you just fluffing about with it, but is *responsive* to the tools when you ask for something? I think the first 2 instances can be problematic, but the 3rd is where you want a horse to be - not afraid or reactive, but also yielding, responsive.

What is it you are hoping to achieve by 'turning up the heat in backing him and disengaging his hind quarters'? Why do you feel the need to 'turn up the heat'(I take that to mean get aggressive about it)? Is he good or bad at this sort of thing ATM? How do you anticipate this will help him learn not to kick out at horses who get into his space?

As horses learn from *instant* consequences to their actions and don't learn well from abstracted type exercises which aren't directly related to anything, doing a bunch of abstracted, aggressive(or otherwise) backing up & circling is not going to relate to anything regarding kicking at other horses. It will associate you & your groundwork with unpleasant 'work' & punishment & confusion. If you are just going to use CA's style - or any other - of punishment to 'treat' your horse kicking out at other horses, you need to set up situations with other horses, so you can punish him *at the time of* him preparing to kick them.
 

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I are with Loosie on this matter.

The early clues is 'until,a few years ago the horse was fine and then got progressively worse'. Why?

Answer is simple, the poor horse finds it hard to stand with his leg pulled out to the side and so high.

Odds are that if the farrier gut under the horse and held its foot in line with its pelvis and perhaps not so high, the reaction would not happen.

However, this wasn't the problem with OPs horse.

The moment he started to back up he should have been made to go forward. Or spun in a circle so his rear wasn't directed to the other horse.

No horse should kick at another when there are humans around. I would not have smacked him with the mecate but beaten him half a dozen time really hard.
 

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I think this was a handling error on both of your parts, especially hers. These are very large, very dangerous animals. Relying on them to never behave like animals can get people killed. I don’t care how well I know the horses, I never put them in a position to get tempted and I especially don’t put my life at risk by standing in the kicking zone.

This happened precisely because your horse never kicked before - you all got complacent.

I see this with riding school kids. Because the riding school horses are so calm and well trained and never kick at other horses, the kids never developed self preservation instincts. I have heard instructors shout at the kids a million times when they let the horses get too close to each other but it just doesn’t stick. Anxiety galore for me - I avoid the yard when kids are around. Like yourself and the other lady, it seems that the only way they’ll learn is by seeing it first hand.

Even if you undertake training to prevent your horse from doing it - don’t set him up to fail in future.
 

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Your horse is dangerous. What happens if a little kid ran up behind it? when my horse is under my control it kicks at nothing, period. I don't care what comes too close to him, no kicking.
 

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@loosie don't jump too soon! I didn't say 'follow the video religiously.' That would be silly. The OP's horse doesn't have the same problem for the same reason, or even in the same circumstances, as the horse in the video. Yes - it's mostly an ugly video.

So why did I post it? @ealti 's horse kicked at another horse and person walking behind him. Although it was certainly their fault for walking directly behind another horse, it would be wise to ensure that the OP's horse didn't make a habit out of kicking. By kicking, this horse got what he wanted. So the OP can run a 'safety check' - pose a question that asks the horse whether he thinks he needs to kick. In my brain, a good 'safety check' would have been this: (in a roundpen) have a rope around a rear fetlock, with some gentle pressure, possibly getting him to lift the leg a little bit. This draws his attention to his rear leg and that end of himself. At that point, the person also rubs his rump and leg with the flag. This poses the question "What will you do if this happens?" (The rope helps the person to stay out of the line of fire.) If he reacts by kicking, then there's a situation to work on. You can keep asking the question until he gets it correct. If he either stands quietly (but attentively), or simply looks behind him at whatever's going on, those are good answers - you give him praise and call it a day.

Obviously the OP's horse is typically very calm. But when presented with another horse or rider behind him, he believed that kicking out was the answer. Repeating the 'actual circumstances' behind this horse kicking could be dangerous if not done with experienced handlers. So we go to the next best thing: groundwork desensitization and testing for vices in a safe environment. If the horse answers those questions correctly, then moving on to testing the horse around other horses might not be such a bad idea.

I hope that clarifies what I meant. I appreciate you letting me know what a poor job I did of explaining the reason that I included that video. CA is extreme and often overly hard on the horses in his videos. Rarely do I ever agree with him. I did make note that I do not appreciate the fact the horse on the cover has his back leg wrenched up uncomfortably. Even Pete Ramey has words about that in his DVD series, where he talks about letting the horse rest a hind leg at a comfortable level, and how this helps him avoid 'horse fighting.' I understand that the horse in the video had a very different issue than the OP's horse. And as you implied Loosie, that poor horse probably had a cruddy farrier who thought more of himself than the horse, or hurt the horse somehow. But the horse's perspective was "Every time I lift my leg up, something hurts. Stop hurting me." I hope nobody takes all of their tips from that video, at least not without questioning everything. =)
 
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When I got my first two, Pony would kick and bite other horses when I was with him, and Moonshine would make very bad faces and occasionally kick out. They don't do it any more. I am a person who probably errs on the side of not being strict enough, but this sort of behavior is absolutely not OK, when the horse is under human control (in the pasture by themselves it's fine) so I had to bring it to a stop.

I did two things:
(1) being super aware of where they were and where other horses were, not letting them creep up on other horses, and warning people away if their horses got too close and
(2) learning the body language that proceeded an event. They don't even get to pin their ears at another horse when they are with me now. I feel a little bad, like I'm not letting them express themselves, but this is just so potentially dangerous that I was willing to do whatever it took to stop it.

ETA: I don't full-out punish them for something like pinning their ears, e.g. But if I see it, I poke them gently and say "stop it' in a quiet but firm voice. I only ever used more force and energy if their actions required it.
 

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I think this was a handling error on both of your parts, especially hers. These are very large, very dangerous animals. Relying on them to never behave like animals can get people killed. I don’t care how well I know the horses, I never put them in a position to get tempted and I especially don’t put my life at risk by standing in the kicking zone.

This happened precisely because your horse never kicked before - you all got complacent.

I see this with riding school kids. Because the riding school horses are so calm and well trained and never kick at other horses, the kids never developed self preservation instincts. I have heard instructors shout at the kids a million times when they let the horses get too close to each other but it just doesn’t stick. Anxiety galore for me - I avoid the yard when kids are around. Like yourself and the other lady, it seems that the only way they’ll learn is by seeing it first hand.

Even if you undertake training to prevent your horse from doing it - don’t set him up to fail in future.
Agreed. I wouldn't have smacked him at all for it.

Gotta stay out of the kick zone. I think that smacking him won't solve the issue. I say it's human error.

Same when people hit their horses for pinning their ears. That's not going to help...it'd make it worse! :lol: If I think I'm in a bad place at the wrong time...I move, immediately. Can never be too careful. They're quick with their feet!

But then again, my horse knows respect, she never kicks out at me/other people, however, if anyone does go near her, I always tell them to just pat her side/butt so she knows they're there. :)

He kicked out for a reason, while he shouldn't have when a human was there...but he did. She shouldn't have really been standing in a position where that could happen (between the two) anyway. That's just my two cents. Maybe now she will stay further away. If it only happened this once, I wouldn't stress it. If it becomes a pattern, yes.
 

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One more thing I forgot to mention is that I also praised them a lot when they were near another horse with no signs of annoyance. Lots and lots of "good boy, what a good boy" (and girl). So they would hopefully know what the right answer was, as well as what the wrong answer was.
 
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My horse backed up and Tried to kick another horse while the owner was along side her horse.


**

She shouldn’t have had her horse so close to his rear end.
This is very confusing...

If your horse backed up *at all* to kick the other horse, you have an issue. That indicates that it was a deliberate action to go out of its way to kick at another horse. I would classify this as a dangerous action.

If your horse was standing still and this lady happened to walk by too close and got kicked, she was partly (but not fully) at fault. While not ideal, I would not label this as a dangerous action and wouldn’t be overly concerned with it other than taking away a valuable lesson to be more cognizant of my surroundings.


Regardless, one should be aware about their surroundings, be conscious of and manage their own horses behaviour at all times around others, and communicate with other people if they aren’t behaving in a safe manner.

I have to ask, how did you punish the horse? What exactly did he do, and how did you respond?
 

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Your horse backed up to kick the other horse. That's your horse's behavior and your fault. I don't care if someone rides up my horse's butt, they know that kicking when they are around people or while being ridden or handled is NEVER ok. I will get after one in the pasture for it, too, if a person is present. Backing up toward another horse to kick while I am leading, holding, or riding is a grave mistake on the horse's part and shows a lack of training and a lack of respect for you as the handler. This is one of the situations where I will get after a horse HARD so he realizes that kicking is unacceptable and won't even consider doing it again. You also need to learn to read your horse--- chances are, he tensed, laid his ears back, or otherwise showed annoyance at the horse behind him which you failed to recognize and reprimand so he followed through with a kick.



As a horse owner, it's your responsibility to make sure your horse is safe in the situations you ask of him. If he can't handle another horse behind him without kicking, he shouldn't be around other horses until he can. Keeping people safe from your horse is your responsibility.
 

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You were both at fault.

She should have stayed out of "the zone."

But it sounds like you also let your horse shoot backwards and close that gap.

I never assume that any horse is well trained enough to not kick under any circumstance. Because even the nicest, mildest horse can have a stupid moment where they lose the plot.

And on the somewhat-related note of that Clinton Anderson video: geez he makes me mad. He has his moments where his approach is appropriate, but mostly he comes across as a bully who has no sense of release, or of the benefits of allowing horses to RELAX. I used to think his work made sense until I started on Warwick Schiller. Now I see things very, very differently.

ETA: in this video, the horse kicks his back feet away because he's learned that it's the answer to having his feet picked up. "Foot comes up, I kick my leg, I get to put my foot back down again." It's not that the horses is being dominant or a jerk; he has figured this out and they have unintentionally trained him to do it. It's a sign that he's a smart horse, not that he needs to be aggressively moved around -- for no reason that means anything to him -- every time he does it.
 

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OP, you claim your horse backed up then kicked the other horse. This would concern me. I agree that the other rider should not have been standing too close behind your horse, but you claim he backed up then kicked. So he moved towards her.

Of course horses will do things like this to each other, but you also sound like you're excusing his behavior (you say he is not a mean horse). My horses frequently pick at each other, but they know they are not allowed to do it when I'm with them. I can be standing in our large run-in stall with all three of them in there, and know I am completely safe. They behave completely differently when I'm with them, and I don't hesitate to reprimand them (with voice and body language) if they act like they want to chase each other. When they're bridled and saddled, they are on their absolute best behavior, and won't even pin their ears at each other. They know they are working.

If your horse kicks out at someone because he feels they are too close, and even worse, if he backs up towards them and then kicks them, you need to be more proactive and warn people that you have a kicker so they don't get behind you. There are always horses like that in lesson barns, and the kids know they need to keep their horses clear of their back ends.
 
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