View Full Version : Dealing with a kicker

Cherie (Guest)
30-05-01, 02:21 AM
My daughter's new horse was a spoilt family pet, occasionally handled and rarely ridden since being broken in. He is now treated with kindness but firmness (we think anyway)and has turned out to be a good horse, although sometimes hard to catch. He has been to Pony Club and my daughter intends to start showing him.
Yesterday while feeding him I went to tend a cut on his leg and he flattened his ears and swung his bum around to kick. This took me by surprise and, not having anything handy, I growled at him and he took notice and behaved, but I don't trust him anymore. My daughter has told me that he has done the same thing several times and she has smacked him for it. As she is the main one handling him, she is going to have to have a few lessons in being a bit tougher on him.
I've decided that drastic measures are needed and I intend to give him a good walloping when he does it again. We are good to our animals and rarely need to resort to this, but my daughter's safety comes first and I want to nip it in the bud now.But how to go about it without being too hard? I don't want my daughter ending up in hospital.
This horse is aggressive to others and kicks and bites them, except for the dominant one.(mainly around food) I know all horses are aggressive around food - but you should be able to do things without the risk of being kicked. He will just have to learn "WHO" is the one at the top of the pecking order - and it's not him!
Does anyone have advice or been in a similiar position with a horse, and how did you handle it?

Maria NZ (Guest)
30-05-01, 02:50 AM
Hi there, my only suggestion is whatever you do (when he threatens to kick) only do it for 3 seconds then go back to whatever you were doing before. Good luck.

30-05-01, 04:17 AM
"Snake" at him with a growly face, growly noises while giving him some swift strong "kicks" on the bum with your poly pipe. Any colour will do the job !

Shahron (Guest)
30-05-01, 05:34 AM
One of my young horses was a swine of a kicker. Loveliest horse but you couldn't touch his back end. He's great now but it's taken a bit of time and very fast reactions.
The poly pipe is a great idea but the worst problem of course is that you never have that 'waddy' in your hand when you need it!
I would say that for the next two weeks, everytime you handle his back end, have one person at the headstall. If he even goes to flatten his ears or twitch a muscle in the back end, give him a really sharp, single pull on the headstall - so he doesn't get any reward at all for even considering it. This stops it quite quickly.
You can teach them to back away from you too - this helps a lot as it makes you the dominant horse. You can also just jump at him if he goes to do anything similar so that he backs back even on the ground, similar to what you've done already. Sometimes they'll have a go back though too so just be careful - like when two horses play/nip at each other, but one always has the last nip - that has to be you.
It doesn't take much but being really, really quick with your reaction is the key.
He sounds like a pony with lots of "personality" - that's okay, just manage it so it doesn't become dangerous.

You can consider a children's camp at Andrew McLeans if you're in Victoria - they go through all this kind of stuff and the kids have a great time. Or a lesson - 0357 871 374.

30-05-01, 06:20 AM
It's important to be able to control his back end from the ground - so I'd suggest teaching him to move away from pressure. The hips are the first bit that you train with this work. However, if he's a kicker you need someone who knows how to do this already to show you and help you, so that you and your daughter don't end up on the end of a hoof :)

Training him to move out of your body space when asked and face up to you, will help to establish you and daughter as the bosses.

Good luck :D

Lurch's Mum (Guest)
30-05-01, 07:11 AM
cgh, if you don't want to go into great detail re. dealing with the above problem on the forum, would you be kind enough to email me at lurchsmum@hotmail.com please? I have a horse that constatntly tests the limits and tries to be top horse. Even when you think you've won, a few days later it starts all over again. Bad behaviour at feed time is the main problem. We resolve it for a while, then it starts all over again. Grr! Thanks

Gayle (Guest)
30-05-01, 07:15 AM
I have returned to riding after 20 years away and find also that my horse while eating will try and push me against him and the rail with his ears back. When I try and reprimand him for this, he just gets worse, so now I've taken to leaving him alone while he's feeding!

Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated, remembering that if I do tell him off or smack him, he gets worse.

30-05-01, 07:52 AM
Id have to agree with Cgh, shes got it spot on. Ive always found that if you have good control of the back end (you can get them to move it away from you on command) they dont even think of kicking. Getting good control of each part of the horse goes a long way toward earning their respect.

i really should be working now (Guest)
30-05-01, 08:37 AM
ok, my little piglet used to do this, when I bought him from his previous owner. She used to drop his feed in the bin real quick and get out of there.....

hmmmm I thought, not a nice little piglet...

so....piggy arrives on my new agistment place...gets fed...gets chased off by me - no waddy, no rope, no stick - just lots of making myself big - piglet just gives me the 'what the hell was that! look...I made him run...established from word go that I was mega alpha big mare and you mess with me you're dead...well now piglet feeds I do rugs, I pick up feet, he's trustworthy.

On the horse stud where I live we have another mare that is attitude on four hoofs, she'll lay her ears back and charge the stallions at feed time if she wants to...

again, I was feeding her one day and she got me, bit me...well I just pitched the bucket at her (plastic of course), made her run and wouldn't let her feed. We spent a week, I'd go do the feed and if she even considered laying her ears back I'd drive her off the feed (without touching her, just getting all big and growly) and make her run and let the other horses eat her feed. She had previously been the sort of mare that would put her hindquarter to humans, again, buckets and making myself big soon got her to learn that putting bum to the human was not a wise move....face the human, prick your ears and human will back off.

After a week she got the picture, if she was nice and polite, I'd let her feed. So now, this mare will still charge the stallions, but if I walk up to her feed while she's feeding she'll wait politely for me to adjust her rugs. And she knows not to even think of putting her head in the feedbucket until I walk away.

A friend of mine takes this one step further. Her horses must wait until they prick their ears at her and say 'please' before she'll back away from the feed. Piglet spent 2 months at her place and had trouble learning that concept, if he didn't prick his ears in a couple of minutes she'd take the feed away, he went without a couple of feeds, but piggy is a little thick for a horse. Suffice to say my friend's horses wouldn't even think of laying their ears back at humans.

Respect comes from training, pscyhology and groundwork.

Cass (Guest)
30-05-01, 08:47 AM
I've owned a few horses like that (i get given horses when they hurt the riders or need some where while they recover from an accident) and with one case nothing worked because he was treated badly as a foal and if u went near him with anything long or even went to rub his rump he would freak out and start kicking everything. it got to the stage were he need to me knocked out to have his feet done. well he is over that now because i found the perfect thing for him and it was a rubber glove on a stick. i would stand at his head a rub it all over his legs with talking to him and rubbing his head. now anyone can pick up his feet and he doesnt even resist.

30-05-01, 09:27 AM
Hmmm, happy to try and help with further info Lurch's Mum :) Didn't want to go to agonising lengths I guess because you never know if the person has tried that stuff before.

I've learnt my ground work from Steve Brady, (who includes this stuff in his videos and schools) and have used it successfully on a couple of horses. Both pretty pushy when they want to be. The posts from the others which talk about the agressive mare describe the attitude you need really - you've gotta be the boss.

The trick with training the hindquarters from the ground, is to first teach the horse to flex laterally until their nose will come round and they soften and drop their head a bit. You do this with a halter and lead rope. You teach it by rewarding a soft feel or a try until the horse responds to a light feel on the rope. You stand at the wither and use the near hand to bend the horses head round, pulling towards the wither. I must emphasise that you need to reward any softening from the horse with an immediate release of pressure on the rope and a quick scratch on the wither. It actually has a calming effect on most horses if done correctly. Eventually, they'll bend round softly and hold it with only a light touch on the rope. You must train both sides.

ALL of this is done without the horse moving a foot. If they try to walk in a circle you follow them round until they stop, staying at the wither all the time. Giving them a scratch on the wither also seems to calm them a bit more and indicate that you are not asking them to move right now.

So, when you can flex your horses head to either side without trouble you then start to train the hips. Standing a little behind the wither, flex the horses head round towards you, and when softly round, take the end of your lead rope or your hand and tap them on the hip bone, whilst stepping in towards their hip. You may need to do this several times if they don't move, and increase the force with which you tap. Obviously this is the danger point - if you don't have the horses head flexed around they can kick you easily. With full lateral flexion to the inside where you are, all they can do is a bit of a cow-kick or swing their butt away, which is what you want anyway!

I was taught to use this by Steve Brady and Shane Everingham, (who broke my horse in) and it's a GREAT way of teaching a horse to face up to you, show respect etc. When they've got the hang of it, all you'll need to do is point and they should move.

HOWEVER, i was a bit hesitant about putting this all up on CBH as it worries me that the lady who started this post has a dangerous horse, and I'd feel terrible if she tried this and got kicked :( :( So, I'd advise looking up Andrew McLean or Steve Brady or getting his videos, but having an experienced friend around when you try it.

Lurch's Mum, if your horse doesn't kick you should be fine, just remember the flexion first with no movement, then go on to moving the hips. When you can do that from both sides it's pretty handy and has a good effect on the response of the horse under saddle too!

Hope this helps - but please don't take me as an expert in this -- I'm still learning too :D

30-05-01, 09:29 AM
That sounds like a very creative solution - a win win situation - he can't hurt you, and and he still gets desensitised.... :D