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How to train a horse not to kick?


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#1 Goldiebabe

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 10:48 PM

I know there are many methods of teaching horses some respect with kicking, but I would love to hear what has worked for y'all.

I just bought a 12 year old AQHA mare last Sunday and she has threatened to kick me on a daily basis (usually more than once, too) and one time she made some contact with one of my hands (but I'm ok).

She is normally really sweet, but I think she is wanting to kick at me because she is heavily pregnant and her foal is really active. Plus the flies are coming out of their winter slumber.

I don't want to be too harsh with her right now since she is so heavily pregnant, but if this is still an issue after she foals, it definitely needs to be resolved immediately. I really don't think she will try kicking after she foals, but you never know.

In the meantime, is there anything I can do to get after this bad habit while she is pregnant?

Thanks for your help!

#2 audrey-mae

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 12:38 AM

Girl you need to get a handle on this NOW, she will only get more aggressive after she foals. Light her hiney up when she kicked at you. You need to deal with this immediately, or she will only get worse. Yes shes heavily pregnant, but that doesnt give her a pass from a booty whooping. Dont kick her in the belly or work her real hard (obviously) but do what it takes to make her realize that is not acceptable. She KNOWS better, she is just bullying you. Dont let her!

ETA just in case, do not baby the foal either. If it takes to kicking at you, or whatever, dont be afraid to give it a hard spanking on the butt, you are not going to break it, or make it hate you. The last thing you want is a bratty baby!

[ 05-04-2008, 12:40 AM: Message edited by: audrey-mae ]

#3 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 08:28 AM

A-M is absolutely right.

She is not kicking you because she is pregnant.

She is kicking you because she is disrespectful.

And yes! It will get much worse when she foals. Not only that, when you try to correct her with a new foal, you will have a difficult time not getting the foal hurt or run over.

She has to have respect for you. You have to be on top of her in the pecking order -- not way below her like you are now.

If she is kicking in close quarters like a stall, take a buggy whip to her butt and spank her with it until she faces you and brings her ears up.

If she lays her ears back or even threatens you when she is haltered with a lead on, jerk that lead-rope hard and back her up. If she 'dummies up' and refuses to back, take a dressage whip or a piecs of doubled up baling wire to her chest and spank her with it until she backs up.

Backing up is an act of submission to a horse (like rolling over on its side is to a canine.)

You should back this mare up EVERY time you put a halter on her.

If you don't get a handle on this NOW, she will not allow you to handle her foal and you will not be able to gentle it.

Plus, she will teach (by example) and your foal will be just as disrespectful.

Always remember, ANY horse you are handling that does not back willingly when you ask it, is above you on the pecking order!!!

Be careful. Don't let her dive and you or bite you when her start to discipline her. Depending on how long she has been this disrespectful, she could get pretty mad before she gives up the bad behavior. You will be 'de-throning' the 'Queen' of the herd when you take over the position of 'boss mare' in it.

[ 05-04-2008, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: Cheri Wolfe ]

#4 BuddyRoo

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:48 AM

I agree with previous posters.

A few more thoughts just in case you think they're being too harsh with their suggestions.

-In a "herd" such behavior is NOT TOLERATED. If one horse threatens to kick out at a more dominant horse, they're going to get their butt kicked--and it's a lot more power than you holding a crop and whacking her on the bum.

-While you have thus far stayed out of danger, presumably because you are seeing the "warning" signs and are experienced, what would happen should someone with less experience need to go in there? Liability

-While she's fine right now and you're working around it, what would happen if she were in distress and you needed to get in there? Or the vet? Or anyone else?

She needs to get over this ASAP. It's just plain unacceptable and dangerous.

Don't wait til she kicks. Get after her when she gives you the indication that she's going to--disrupt that thought process. Act quickly and without emotion--just crop her in the bum and MEAN it and then go back to what you were doing. She isn't stupid--she'll figure it out.

#5 Goldiebabe

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 12:28 PM

Thanks for your responses. [Not Worthy]

I will work with her on her kicking issue today and will keep working on it until it is resolved.

And you can be reassured that I will not let the foal pick up any bad behaviors like biting, kicking, rearing, bucking, etc. around me. I know not to baby a foal and act like another foal around it. Don't want it to grow up and still think I am its playtoy, lol.

I have never had a "kicker" before. My other horses always respected me and would let me do anything to them with no kicking. I did have a horse who got touchy when he was wounded or just had sensitive skin in the winter, but I would get after him and he was fine. I definitely don't want Serenity to get worse after she foals. I'm hoping my boyfriend can help me work with her today, just for safety-sake.

My mare does back when asked (really well) and she is well-behaved when she is "caught." She is only doing this when she is loose.

I really appreciate your help!

#6 historyrider

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 04:26 PM

So I take it you were not handling her feet or actually rubbing her for "oh no!" spots? You are just near her or attempting to "catch" this horse when she kicks at you? Is she striking with her front legs or trying to cow kick with the hind? Or is she just turning around and giving you two heels? I'm just curious about when this is happening. If she's doing this at liberty you have got to respond by moving her feet. She's saying, "Who are you and get away from me now!" You body language needs to say, "This is my pasture and I am the boss! Now move!"

How are you approaching this new horse in order to get her haltered? How large is the pasture and how many horses? Do you have a mix of geldings and mares?

Sorry about all the questions but I just would like a little more information about how things get to kicking and how you have responded so far.

William (historyrider)

#7 Goldiebabe

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:26 PM

quote:
Originally posted by historyrider:
So I take it you were not handling her feet or actually rubbing her for "oh no!" spots? You are just near her or attempting to "catch" this horse when she kicks at you? Is she striking with her front legs or trying to cow kick with the hind? Or is she just turning around and giving you two heels? I'm just curious about when this is happening. If she's doing this at liberty you have got to respond by moving her feet. She's saying, "Who are you and get away from me now!" You body language needs to say, "This is my pasture and I am the boss! Now move!"

How are you approaching this new horse in order to get her haltered? How large is the pasture and how many horses? Do you have a mix of geldings and mares?

Sorry about all the questions but I just would like a little more information about how things get to kicking and how you have responded so far.

William (historyrider)

She has not done this behavior in the pasture (about 1-2 acres with one other AQHA mare who she gets along with really well). She only gets this attitude when I let the mares graze on the nice green grass in the yard (which is enclosed). She lets me catch her without problems. She just doesn't like me standing or moving near her back legs, tail, etc. I approach her at her shoulder (where you are supposed to approach a horse), pet her, talk to her, and try to make my way to her hindquarters, but she doesn't like that. She either would try moving her butt toward me, lifting a leg up as if to kick, and so on. She doesn't try getting me with her front hooves. Just her hind ones (so cow-kicking).

My boyfriend and I worked with her on respect issues this afternoon. We worked with her on picking her front hooves up (she has been fussy about having any of her feet picked up) and we have given her a good smack on her shoulder or hindquarters (depending on where we were standing) when she threatened to kick. It seemed to work well on her. She acted submissive after we went through that with her. My boyfriend also had her trot some circles like he was lunging her, and that seemed to help her attitude as well. She was focusing on him completely.

Any more questions?

Thanks!

#8 historyrider

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:38 PM

Okay,

As you noticed, moving her feet seemed to affect her attitude. This horse is in desperate need of some regular and consistent ground work. When you approach your horse you are the leader. If you need to handle or touch any part of them, you can and will. This is life. She needs to learn this lesson and as you can imagine it's very important. Careful with the "smacking" response. You are asserting yourself to a 1000lb animal with a mind of her own. You don't want to trade blows I promise you. You want to beat her in the mind and the most effective means to respond to her being uncomfortable with you being behind her is to move her feet.

Put her in a thin rope halter and a long lead line (at least 12 feet). Walk toward her hind quarters around an arc and focus on the hip. Focus your stare and put your head forward to create pressure. If those hips don't move away and honestly until she knows what to do she won't, swing the other end of that lead rope and create more energy just in the air. After a few seconds of that, whap her butt. Don't stop the pressure until that butt moves or you will teach her to ignore you. When she steps, crossing her near leg in front of her off leg, release the pressure and change your body language. Now you are passive and she can stand still. Do this on both sides and do it often. She moves when you ask her to move. Get control of that hind quarters before you do anything else but this is just the door. You need to go through this simple exercise into a much larger world of good ground manners and proper ground handling of this horse. I don't think she's being mean, but she is completely disrespecting you. At the very least make this point so that you can be near her and be safe. There are many sources of good information about ground work. Clinton Anderson, Craig Camerson, Chris Cox, Stacey Westfall.... too many to name. Get something be it an instructor or some DVD training aids to give you some knowledge about how to get control and respect from your horse.

There is nothing mean about this. Your horse simply must have the chance to relax in your presence because you are the leader. It should comfort your horse that you are near, not make her fearful.

Do this now because you are in a dangerous relationship as things stand.

William (historyrider)

[ 05-06-2008, 09:24 AM: Message edited by: historyrider ]

#9 Goldiebabe

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 10:48 PM

I know there are many methods of teaching horses some respect with kicking, but I would love to hear what has worked for y'all.

I just bought a 12 year old AQHA mare last Sunday and she has threatened to kick me on a daily basis (usually more than once, too) and one time she made some contact with one of my hands (but I'm ok).

She is normally really sweet, but I think she is wanting to kick at me because she is heavily pregnant and her foal is really active. Plus the flies are coming out of their winter slumber.

I don't want to be too harsh with her right now since she is so heavily pregnant, but if this is still an issue after she foals, it definitely needs to be resolved immediately. I really don't think she will try kicking after she foals, but you never know.

In the meantime, is there anything I can do to get after this bad habit while she is pregnant?

Thanks for your help!

#10 audrey-mae

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 12:38 AM

Girl you need to get a handle on this NOW, she will only get more aggressive after she foals. Light her hiney up when she kicked at you. You need to deal with this immediately, or she will only get worse. Yes shes heavily pregnant, but that doesnt give her a pass from a booty whooping. Dont kick her in the belly or work her real hard (obviously) but do what it takes to make her realize that is not acceptable. She KNOWS better, she is just bullying you. Dont let her!

ETA just in case, do not baby the foal either. If it takes to kicking at you, or whatever, dont be afraid to give it a hard spanking on the butt, you are not going to break it, or make it hate you. The last thing you want is a bratty baby!

[ 05-04-2008, 12:40 AM: Message edited by: audrey-mae ]

#11 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 08:28 AM

A-M is absolutely right.

She is not kicking you because she is pregnant.

She is kicking you because she is disrespectful.

And yes! It will get much worse when she foals. Not only that, when you try to correct her with a new foal, you will have a difficult time not getting the foal hurt or run over.

She has to have respect for you. You have to be on top of her in the pecking order -- not way below her like you are now.

If she is kicking in close quarters like a stall, take a buggy whip to her butt and spank her with it until she faces you and brings her ears up.

If she lays her ears back or even threatens you when she is haltered with a lead on, jerk that lead-rope hard and back her up. If she 'dummies up' and refuses to back, take a dressage whip or a piecs of doubled up baling wire to her chest and spank her with it until she backs up.

Backing up is an act of submission to a horse (like rolling over on its side is to a canine.)

You should back this mare up EVERY time you put a halter on her.

If you don't get a handle on this NOW, she will not allow you to handle her foal and you will not be able to gentle it.

Plus, she will teach (by example) and your foal will be just as disrespectful.

Always remember, ANY horse you are handling that does not back willingly when you ask it, is above you on the pecking order!!!

Be careful. Don't let her dive and you or bite you when her start to discipline her. Depending on how long she has been this disrespectful, she could get pretty mad before she gives up the bad behavior. You will be 'de-throning' the 'Queen' of the herd when you take over the position of 'boss mare' in it.

[ 05-04-2008, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: Cheri Wolfe ]

#12 BuddyRoo

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:48 AM

I agree with previous posters.

A few more thoughts just in case you think they're being too harsh with their suggestions.

-In a "herd" such behavior is NOT TOLERATED. If one horse threatens to kick out at a more dominant horse, they're going to get their butt kicked--and it's a lot more power than you holding a crop and whacking her on the bum.

-While you have thus far stayed out of danger, presumably because you are seeing the "warning" signs and are experienced, what would happen should someone with less experience need to go in there? Liability

-While she's fine right now and you're working around it, what would happen if she were in distress and you needed to get in there? Or the vet? Or anyone else?

She needs to get over this ASAP. It's just plain unacceptable and dangerous.

Don't wait til she kicks. Get after her when she gives you the indication that she's going to--disrupt that thought process. Act quickly and without emotion--just crop her in the bum and MEAN it and then go back to what you were doing. She isn't stupid--she'll figure it out.

#13 Goldiebabe

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 12:28 PM

Thanks for your responses. [Not Worthy]

I will work with her on her kicking issue today and will keep working on it until it is resolved.

And you can be reassured that I will not let the foal pick up any bad behaviors like biting, kicking, rearing, bucking, etc. around me. I know not to baby a foal and act like another foal around it. Don't want it to grow up and still think I am its playtoy, lol.

I have never had a "kicker" before. My other horses always respected me and would let me do anything to them with no kicking. I did have a horse who got touchy when he was wounded or just had sensitive skin in the winter, but I would get after him and he was fine. I definitely don't want Serenity to get worse after she foals. I'm hoping my boyfriend can help me work with her today, just for safety-sake.

My mare does back when asked (really well) and she is well-behaved when she is "caught." She is only doing this when she is loose.

I really appreciate your help!

#14 historyrider

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 04:26 PM

So I take it you were not handling her feet or actually rubbing her for "oh no!" spots? You are just near her or attempting to "catch" this horse when she kicks at you? Is she striking with her front legs or trying to cow kick with the hind? Or is she just turning around and giving you two heels? I'm just curious about when this is happening. If she's doing this at liberty you have got to respond by moving her feet. She's saying, "Who are you and get away from me now!" You body language needs to say, "This is my pasture and I am the boss! Now move!"

How are you approaching this new horse in order to get her haltered? How large is the pasture and how many horses? Do you have a mix of geldings and mares?

Sorry about all the questions but I just would like a little more information about how things get to kicking and how you have responded so far.

William (historyrider)

#15 Goldiebabe

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:26 PM

quote:
Originally posted by historyrider:
So I take it you were not handling her feet or actually rubbing her for "oh no!" spots? You are just near her or attempting to "catch" this horse when she kicks at you? Is she striking with her front legs or trying to cow kick with the hind? Or is she just turning around and giving you two heels? I'm just curious about when this is happening. If she's doing this at liberty you have got to respond by moving her feet. She's saying, "Who are you and get away from me now!" You body language needs to say, "This is my pasture and I am the boss! Now move!"

How are you approaching this new horse in order to get her haltered? How large is the pasture and how many horses? Do you have a mix of geldings and mares?

Sorry about all the questions but I just would like a little more information about how things get to kicking and how you have responded so far.

William (historyrider)

She has not done this behavior in the pasture (about 1-2 acres with one other AQHA mare who she gets along with really well). She only gets this attitude when I let the mares graze on the nice green grass in the yard (which is enclosed). She lets me catch her without problems. She just doesn't like me standing or moving near her back legs, tail, etc. I approach her at her shoulder (where you are supposed to approach a horse), pet her, talk to her, and try to make my way to her hindquarters, but she doesn't like that. She either would try moving her butt toward me, lifting a leg up as if to kick, and so on. She doesn't try getting me with her front hooves. Just her hind ones (so cow-kicking).

My boyfriend and I worked with her on respect issues this afternoon. We worked with her on picking her front hooves up (she has been fussy about having any of her feet picked up) and we have given her a good smack on her shoulder or hindquarters (depending on where we were standing) when she threatened to kick. It seemed to work well on her. She acted submissive after we went through that with her. My boyfriend also had her trot some circles like he was lunging her, and that seemed to help her attitude as well. She was focusing on him completely.

Any more questions?

Thanks!

#16 historyrider

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:38 PM

Okay,

As you noticed, moving her feet seemed to affect her attitude. This horse is in desperate need of some regular and consistent ground work. When you approach your horse you are the leader. If you need to handle or touch any part of them, you can and will. This is life. She needs to learn this lesson and as you can imagine it's very important. Careful with the "smacking" response. You are asserting yourself to a 1000lb animal with a mind of her own. You don't want to trade blows I promise you. You want to beat her in the mind and the most effective means to respond to her being uncomfortable with you being behind her is to move her feet.

Put her in a thin rope halter and a long lead line (at least 12 feet). Walk toward her hind quarters around an arc and focus on the hip. Focus your stare and put your head forward to create pressure. If those hips don't move away and honestly until she knows what to do she won't, swing the other end of that lead rope and create more energy just in the air. After a few seconds of that, whap her butt. Don't stop the pressure until that butt moves or you will teach her to ignore you. When she steps, crossing her near leg in front of her off leg, release the pressure and change your body language. Now you are passive and she can stand still. Do this on both sides and do it often. She moves when you ask her to move. Get control of that hind quarters before you do anything else but this is just the door. You need to go through this simple exercise into a much larger world of good ground manners and proper ground handling of this horse. I don't think she's being mean, but she is completely disrespecting you. At the very least make this point so that you can be near her and be safe. There are many sources of good information about ground work. Clinton Anderson, Craig Camerson, Chris Cox, Stacey Westfall.... too many to name. Get something be it an instructor or some DVD training aids to give you some knowledge about how to get control and respect from your horse.

There is nothing mean about this. Your horse simply must have the chance to relax in your presence because you are the leader. It should comfort your horse that you are near, not make her fearful.

Do this now because you are in a dangerous relationship as things stand.

William (historyrider)

[ 05-06-2008, 09:24 AM: Message edited by: historyrider ]