I was promoted to write this as a horse kicked one of our staff this week. She was on one horse, but another one kicked her in the leg. Such behavior by a horse, whilst under the control of a rider or even in hand, is simply un-acceptable and it just means that the ground rules have not been set and the horse does not respect the rider enough.
Horses should behave themselves whilst under saddle. They should not even pull a face at another horse, let alone try to bite one or kick. For whenever this occurs, the rider of both horses are in danger of serious injury or even death. The horse being attacked could also kick to protect itself, thereby getting the rider of the original offending horse. The number of serious injuries that I have seen and heard about are many
The offending horse is always trying to kick the other horse, but they invariably make contact with the leg of the rider instead or as well as the other horse. Such was the case this week. So what should we do to ensure it doesn’t happen?
Well, the horse breaker should never accept it and most will not. That should be the end of it but horses soon learn that they can stretch the boundaries and the rules when with weak owners. Put quite simply, the horse should be quite aware of the consequences for such bad behavior and for that reason, never think about doing it.
There are no magical fixes to this problem, no technical procedures or mind blowing training techniques. Simply, enough discipline at the first sign of problems will put an end to it. The horse must know why it is being disciplined of course but that is only a matter of judgment. The moment a horse lays their ears back at an accompanying horse, the rider should react with some form of negative re-enforcement. That can be any of the following:
- A verbal growl
- A sharp kick
- A slap with the whip
- A slap with the end of the reins
- any of the above and at whatever strength that is required for the particular personality of the horse or the severity of the crime.
The discipline must be at the instant of course. The later, the least effect it will have and the more possible confusion there will be.
Such Horses are invariably attempting to Communicate with you.
I want you to understand that Horses are communicating with you 100% of the time. They are reading your Mind and your Vibes and they are TRYING TO PLEASE!!! Not “Listening to Horses” has been handed down through the Ages and still is today.
Horses will kick if they have Stifle Problems or Sacroiliac issues. Before discipline, for any reason, be sure of what you are dealing with.
Please be sure of what you are dealing with.
So, in short, such behavior should not be accepted or tolerated. It is bad manners to the max and it is highly dangerous. It is the responsibility of every rider to protect others from their horse. Remember, one kick to the head is normally death.