If the horse is slashing its tail forcefully from side to side, or even more dramatically up and down too, there is a good chance he will kick or lash out. You may be able to lessen the vice by desensitizing the horse. If it cow-kicks while being saddled, you need to consistently be gentle and slow about the process. Horses have very thick skin and their rear is one of the most muscular parts of their body so it wont hurt the horse. When you have a 1000lb animal kicking at you smacking them on the butt may sometimes be the only correction you can give at the time. Mount another, more calm horse that yours likes, riding them as you lead him alongside it. The other blind stop s right behind there tails. The fact that a horse kicks does not mean they are inherently aggressive, but if it is aimed towards someone or something, it does mean that they feel threatened. Any time your horse is in public, it should be wearing a red ribbon. Certainly the first time they're worn, the horse may react violently. There are several different training methods when teaching a horse to respect a human. Horses also kick to defend themselves, and these kicks are often powerful and well aimed. In the wild, horses use powerful kicks, often with both back legs at the same time, to ward off predators. A horse that kicks can be dangerous to deal with. Rearing occurs as a result of fear, confusion, pain, or disobedience. If your horse seems to be a habitual kicker, there are a few things you can do. A horse strikes out like that to defend himself. The cow kick is more of a forward swipe with the hind leg. Some horses will kick out in defiance. Some kicks are intentional. It then becomes a habit that the rider, handler or drive must always keep in mind. Horse behavior and communication is ridiculously complicated, and there's no single reason why a horse bucks. You can inadvertently cause a rear. A mare may kick at a stallion if it is not receptive to being bred. It's important that the horse always does what you say, but how you tell her to do what you what is equally important. Also, they are prey. A horse that is moving forward is less likely to kick. What YOU do as a horseman and HOW you respond to your horse is the key point, and if you’re not comfortable with the timing and effectiveness of this exercise, please hire a trainer. If the horse habitually kicks at others in the pasture, it may need to be separated if it's causing the other's injury. A mare may kick at a stallion if it is not receptive to being bred. If you're out, tie a red ribbon in its tail to warn other people that the horse is known to kick. The theory is if the horse kicks, it will hit its own legs with the chain, and scare itself out of kicking—a form of self-punishment. A horse being trained to pull may kick at the equipage, unless it is introduced to it slowly, and allowed to get used to the sight and noise of a horse-drawn vehicle. Horses get particularity excited at the sight of a fresh bale of hale or a scoopful of oats, and that excitement often translates into aggression. Horses can kick powerfully Life On White / Getty Images Horses can strike out with their front or rear hooves, and they can strike out backward and forwards with both. Even horses that would otherwise have no interest in intentionally kicking a person get overwhelmed by the thought of dinner. One thing to try is to tie your horse up and stand next to him and pet his rear end, if he kicks out at you them smack him on the butt. In a situation where another horse comes too close behind, you will be able to swing your horse's hindquarters to one side or another so your horse, even if it does kick out, can't hit its target. What NOT to do: Don’t give your horse time to look around and take things in, or react to anything spooky. Consider lunging for a few minutes before riding and also think about getting out of the arena and going on a nice long trail ride to get rid of some of that extra energy. Mount the riding horse-we'll call her "Belle." If it seems to be scared and kick out at a specific thing, you'll need to work gradually to get the horse accustomed to it. Or if a piece of equipment comes loose and drags behind or alongside the horse, it may react by kicking at it. My two horses get along with the other 3 horses in the bunch, but not the other mare. Horses kick when they have a reason to. Turned-out horses may form a single large herd or break down into small, distinct groups. If you're in a public place like a horse show or fair, you need to position your horse away from foot traffic and other horses. If you're riding in a group, ride at the back of the pack, and make sure others know of its habit. Don't use kicking chains while riding. Snug your gelding to her, leaving no more than about 4 to 6 feet of lead line between your hand and the halter. If you are really unlucky they'll get you with both hind feet at once. Experts interviewed by The Horse give a whole list of reasons for bucking, from just getting rid of extra energy to being a play behavior, a display of aggression, or expressing the opinion that there's something really annoying nearby. This requires an approach similar to the one you use when you're leading a horse and she stops. A horse can become agitated when asked to leave his group rather than any particular individual in it. Or the horse won't kick when the chains are on but remain a problem when they're off. This defensive instinct is why some horses kick when they become alarmed—such as when a person, dog or another animal 'pops into view' behind the horse. 5. Horses that have been hurt while being saddled up or having the girth/cinch done up quickly will often 'cow-kick' in anticipation of being pinched. If you are longer, it will … Sometimes, kicks are accidental, such as when a horse kicks at a fly and the handler gets in the way. The reason a horse would kick at someone behind them is because the horse can't see anything directly behind them without turning their head. Anyone who must work around the horse should be aware of the horse's habit. And if the horse … Horses can see nearly 360 degrees panoramic vision on each side of their bodies with their large eyes that are placed on the side of their heads. Horses are often seen kicking at each other in the pasture. The chains could get tangled in a horse's shoe or a wire fence (unlikely but possible). Horses typically use their legs to kick as a line of defense to keep potential threats away and to warn something that is getting to close. - namely, try a different tactic. When playing, these won't be powerful kicks, and they'll rarely connect with another horse. You should always try to approach horses from the side or front and stay away from there rear end to prevent kicking. A short length of the chain is strapped to each hind pastern. As you know, horses have very powerful hind legs, and extra caution should be taken to avoid approaching a horse from behind. Horses may defend themselves by kicking when they feel another horse is getting too close to its food, its foal, a special herd mate or if another horse is acting aggressively towards it. The reason being is that horses have a blind spot directly behind them and when facing forward cannot see what is behind them. Why do horses kick when approached from behind. Some horses dislike dogs, cats or ponies and will offer to kick them anytime they get too close. Most horses will warn you with their body language before lashing out. I had them boarded in 1 place with 3 other horses, but was pretty much forced to move them out after about 2 1/2 weeks (long story). A few things can go wrong with kicking chains. If you decide to try kicking chains, proceed with extreme caution. Think Like A Horse 257,421 views This is often a display of high spirits, seen as the horse Gallops and bucks to burn off energy. A horse that communicates their displeasure through kicking can be destructive not just to the horse but to your facilities as well. Katherine is an avid horseback rider and trainer who contributed to The Spruce Pets for over 12 years, publishing 400+ articles. 3. A horse who is truly scared will not kick immediately. Lateral work, if the horse knows it, can be great as it's harder for the horse to buck out of a lateral movement and it really engages their brain and gets them focused. Kicking while being handled, ridden or driven can become a dangerous habit or vice. 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