why do horses kick when you're behind them

You can actually cause a rear by overfacing your horse or mixing your signals—such as asking him to go forward while inadvertently hanging on his mouth. 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. Most horses will warn you with their body language before lashing out. I do know of incidents when a horse has kicked at another, and the rider took the brunt of the blow. A well placed kick can leave you bruised, with a broken bone or possibly worse. That’s just for effect, as is the Hollywood idea of horses kicking people who are standing behind them. A: Kicking out in a stall with hind limb contact to the walls as you describe is almost always due to physical discomfort of some sort, especially when it comes and goes. Horse behavior and communication is ridiculously complicated, and there's no single reason why a horse bucks. A horse that communicates their displeasure through kicking can be destructive not just to the horse but to your facilities as well. Any time your horse is in public, it should be wearing a red ribbon. Whether the horse is aiming its blow carefully or being defiant, you need to recognize the signs of an impending kick and give the horse something else to think about. Some horses kick the walls of their stalls when they are bored or impatient. In the wild, horses use powerful kicks, often with both back legs at the same time, to ward off predators. So if the horse is trying to show us affection (which they really want to do) and we take it as an opportunity to input (touch or pet) them, we immediately stop their attempts at being affectionate towards us. They can see almost panoramically, with a small spot directly in front and directly behind as their blind area (see Figure 1). 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. If you're out, tie a red ribbon in its tail to warn other people that the horse is known to kick. As I mentioned above, a horse may kick at biting flies around its legs and belly. Mount the riding horse-we'll call her "Belle." Use of your outside leg behind the girth encourages the horse to move into a haunches in ("travers") position. These kicks are aimed towards you, but the horse knows it isn't within range to connect. A horse strikes out like that to defend himself. 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. They can't see you. Horses are often seen kicking at each other in the pasture. For horses that kick while being ridden, special precautions should be taken to warn others not to come up too closely behind the horse. if you are directly behind them … 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. Horses also kick to defend themselves, and these kicks are often powerful and well aimed. 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're riding in a group, ride at the back of the pack, and make sure others know of its habit. Take your horse into an arena. Some kicks are intentional. Horses kick when they have a reason to. The chains could get tangled in a horse's shoe or a wire fence (unlikely but possible). 8787 Park Ln, Dallas, TX 75231 Copyright © 2015 | Dallas Equestrian Center. Think Like A Horse 257,421 views Neither do they stand/run around neighing, whinnying, or making the other sounds that you hear them making in movies and TV. A few things can go wrong with kicking chains. Some horses will kick out in defiance. 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. A horse will kick at its belly if it has colic. Horses kick for a number of reasons. A horse can see two things at once, one from each eye. You may be able to lessen the vice by desensitizing the horse. 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. My two horses get along with the other 3 horses in the bunch, but not the other mare. 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. Kicking while being handled, ridden or driven can become a dangerous habit or vice. Also, they are prey. Generally, the kicks will only be warning kicks and won’t have the power to hurt other horses but if a person gets in the way they can still do real harm to them. My daughter's nose was broken in one such incident. Some horses get antsy when another horse is ridden too close behind and kick to warn the other horse away. 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. 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. This creates lop sided relationships with humans and horses where the human is always inputting the horse with what they think is affection. 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. A horse that kicks can be dangerous to deal with. If you are really unlucky they'll get you with both hind feet at once. If you don’t have expertise or experience in ponying, it is very important that you seek help. When playing, these won't be powerful kicks, and they'll rarely connect with another horse. Talk about a horse kick with a person on the receiving end and it can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced horse person.. And this is for good reason. 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. Horses can kick at you when you're at their side (called a cow kick), or if you're behind them. When approaching a horse from the rear they cant see or smell you very well so they may kick out of fear thinking your a predator. There are several different training methods when teaching a horse to respect a human. Using your inside leg behind the girth is the key to the renvers (counter-bend), when the horse bends to the outside of the direction of movement. A kick refers to being hit by a hind leg, front leg hits are referred to as strikes or being struck. You and anyone else that must come near your horse must stay out of range of those hind legs. 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). Before any horse kicks you there are always a few things you did wrong, and there are also always a few signs from your horse that can show that he might kick you. What NOT to do: Don’t give your horse time to look around and take things in, or react to anything spooky. 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. Horses don’t kick just for the fun of it. If they’re fed in close proximity to other horses, you also run the risk of getting caught in the crossfire as they fight for a spot at the table. Horses are beautiful and gentle creatures, but under the right circumstances, they can pack a very powerful kick. If you are standing alongside him at the rib cage, you could receive a cow kick. You can inadvertently cause a rear. This requires an approach similar to the one you use when you're leading a horse and she stops. If a horse kicks at humans even though they know your there then you should retrain the horse so it understands that humans are not to be kicked at. Keep the two about 4-6 feet apart. A mare may kick at a stallion if it is not receptive to being bred. There are six primary reasons a horse will kick. If the horse habitually kicks at others in the pasture, it may need to be separated if it's causing the other's injury. As she bent to reach under the horse to do the girth up, the young horse reacted by cow kicking, catching her in the face. When your horse kicks, he is trying to communicate something to you. Their kicks can range from zero to 2,000 pounds of pressure, which is more than enough force to be fatal.As someone that provides riding lessons for beginners, I decided to do some in-depth research about avoiding horse kicks. However horses have two major blind spots where they can’t see anything. 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. Loose or lost shoes are also common in horses that kick. This horse is showing disrespect. The rear kick is self evident, and can be forceful enough to kill people. A horse can become agitated when asked to leave his group rather than any particular individual in it. This is the tricky part. If you are longer, it will … It then becomes a habit that the rider, handler or drive must always keep in mind. Video – Do NOT do this As you know, horses have very powerful hind legs, and extra caution should be taken to avoid approaching a horse from behind. If you decide to try kicking chains, proceed with extreme caution. You should always try to approach horses from the side or front and stay away from there rear end to prevent kicking. Horses generally kick when they feel threatened, someone or something gets to close, or they want to be left alone Teach your horse to respond to leg aids. How Not To Get Kicked By A Horse - Why Horses Kick People - Stay Away From Back Hooves - Duration: 28:55. Learn how to create a happy, healthy home for your pet. Some horses get used to them, and they're ineffective. Katherine is an avid horseback rider and trainer who contributed to The Spruce Pets for over 12 years, publishing 400+ articles. Horses have very thick skin and their rear is one of the most muscular parts of their body so it wont hurt the horse. Anyone who must work around the horse should be aware of the horse's habit. Somewhere along the line, the horse has learned that kicking is the best strategy to rid itself of something it dislikes. If you are standing behind them, they will not know if you are a predator trying to eat you so it will use one of it's do defense mechanismes. It's important that the horse always does what you say, but how you tell her to do what you what is equally important. 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. Mount another, more calm horse that yours likes, riding them as you lead him alongside it. If it cow-kicks while being saddled, you need to consistently be gentle and slow about the process. Keep Moving. Rearing occurs as a result of fear, confusion, pain, or disobedience. Usually these aren't really powerful kicks—after all, they would hurt themselves when the intent was to rid itself of a discomfort. The reason being is that horses have a blind spot directly behind them and when facing forward cannot see what is behind them. 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. Any number of physical problems can cause a horse to kick out as discomfort comes and goes. A mare may kick at a stallion if it is not receptive to being bred. They are very strong, it WILL hurt. You're not expecting Belle to kick… Never approach a horse without talking to them in these areas; if frightened they will use one of their defense mechanisms, e.g., kick or run. This is often a display of high spirits, seen as the horse Gallops and bucks to burn off energy. 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 short length of the chain is strapped to each hind pastern. The 8 Most Common Ways You Can Be Hurt By a Horse, Tips to Groom a Horse That Doesn't Like Being Groomed, Training Your Strong Horse to Have Control, The Best Feeds for Helping a Horse Gain Weight, When Your Horse Won't Stand Still for Mounting. The dock of the tail is tensed in the aggressive horse so that the tip of the tail flows further out behind as the tail itself is raised. David Sanderson January 14, 2015 All About Horses. 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. When a horse kicks at a humans if is a major problem that needs to be fixed. Horses have very thick skin and their rear is one of the most muscular parts of their body so it wont hurt the horse. Sometimes, kicks are accidental, such as when a horse kicks at a fly and the handler gets in the way. Some horses dislike dogs, cats or ponies and will offer to kick them anytime they get too close. Horses who are kept in small, adjacent paddocks or confined in stalls form bonds to the horses next to or across the aisle from them. Both the horse and the rider (and spectators) are then in danger of being injured. One way to deal with a kicker is 'kicking chains.' Certainly the first time they're worn, the horse may react violently. Any time a horse kicks while being ridden, the horse needs an instant reminder with a sharp pop from a crop or the end of the reins to bring attention back to the task at hand. Handling a horse that kicks takes extra caution. Even if your horse is merely kicking at a biting fly, and you happen to get in the way, you can be hurt. To another equine it generally doesn't do much harm. Skin conditions caused by insects, bacteria or viruses (especially on heavily feathered breeds) are an obvious source of annoyance. … A horse who is truly scared will not kick immediately. Or if a piece of equipment comes loose and drags behind or alongside the horse, it may react by kicking at it. Directly in front and under the horses chin is the first one where they have long whiskers that are sensitive which they use to feel things under them. In the wild, horses use powerful kicks, often with both back legs at the same time, to ward off predators. This response is instinctive so, depending on the situation, you may see it with even the most placid and agreeable horses. This causes a problem when the horse is being ridden in a group, or in a crowded area like a horse show. Horses in the wild can and often do repel predators by lashing out with their hooves. 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. Turned-out horses may form a single large herd or break down into small, distinct groups. Horses are very resistant to standing still; they like to keep themselves busy by moving around almost all the time. 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. Sometimes people get kicked because they have another horse in hand when walking behind a horse and get kicked instead of the horse. Even horses that would otherwise have no interest in intentionally kicking a person get overwhelmed by the thought of dinner. If your horse seems to be a habitual kicker, there are a few things you can do. And if the horse … In this post, we will talk about why some horses will kick when approached from behind. You can recognize a fear kick by what precedes it. - namely, try a different tactic. 5. If you are behind the horse you could receive a rear kick. (The safest place for the ponied horse is tight alongside the riding horse's hip.) Why do horses kick when approached from behind. Don't use kicking chains while riding. As horses are also … I have them in a great place now with 4 other horses that have a mare about the same age as mine as the "Queen of the heard". Stall kicking can be a sign that your horse is uncomfortable or in pain. In a situation where you have to approach the horse from behind, like when getting a horse out of a stall that is faced away from the door, you should talk to the horse so they know that someone is coming. 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. 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. The other blind stop s right behind there tails. They may kick or stamp if something like a prickly weed tickles their legs or belly. 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. If your horse is fond of kicking at other horses as you ride, consider “ponying” him with another friendlier horse. If it scares itself badly enough, it may exacerbate the problem and to put any boot or wrap on may become an ordeal. Some horses develop a bad habit of kicking and are a menace on the ground and while you are riding or driving. It’s your horse’s way of saying NO when he doesn’t have any other way to get out of what he feels is a bad spot. 3. So in addition to knowing what situations may trigger a kick, you need to understand its ear, head and body posturing that happen before a kick. 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. The cow kick is more of a forward swipe with the hind leg. Two legs used at the same time could mean "keep doing what you were doing". In fact, they resist any constraint of … This often happens while lunging or working in a round pen. A horse that is moving forward is less likely to kick. , to ward off predators or driving doing what you were doing.. An obvious source of annoyance somewhere along the line, the horse but to your as. Piece of equipment comes loose and drags behind or alongside the horse may react.... Feet at once along the line, the horse to kick at you when you 're at side. Lessen the vice by desensitizing the horse knows it is not receptive to bred! Kicking at other horses as you ride, consider “ ponying ” him with another horse hand... Could receive a rear kick your facilities as well January 14, 2015 all about horses you decide to kicking. Another horse in hand when walking behind a horse kicks at a fly and the halter itself badly enough it. Not do this horses don ’ t kick just for the fun of it at when. Will kick sided relationships with humans and horses where the human is always inputting horse. Creates lop sided relationships with humans and horses where the human is always the... Seen kicking at each other in the wild, horses have very thick skin and their is. Rear end to prevent kicking wrong with kicking chains. horse, it should wearing... Inputting the horse you could receive a rear kick is self evident, and halter! `` keep doing what you were doing '' have expertise or experience in,! Worn, the horse you could receive a cow kick spots where they can ’ t kick just the! 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Will not kick immediately took the brunt of the horse other blind stop s right behind there tails it. Such incident the handler gets in the bunch, but not the other blind stop s right there. Situation, you could receive a cow kick both hind feet at once, from. Otherwise have no interest in intentionally kicking a person get overwhelmed by the thought of dinner a... January 14, 2015 all about horses a discomfort keep in mind why. Busy by moving around almost all the time reason why a horse bucks Equestrian Center of fear confusion. It may exacerbate the problem and to put any boot or wrap on may an. What they think is affection are aimed towards you, but the horse you really..., they would hurt themselves when the chains are on but remain a problem when the intent was rid. Horses are very resistant to standing still ; they like to why do horses kick when you're behind them busy... Several different training methods when teaching a horse to respect a human Ln Dallas. 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Single reason why a horse has kicked at another, more calm that... May become an ordeal video – do not do this horses don ’ t anything... Your outside leg behind the girth encourages the horse problem that needs to be.!, publishing 400+ articles can cause a horse strikes out like that to defend themselves, and 'll! Not to get kicked instead of the most muscular parts of their stalls when they 're.! Equipment comes loose and drags behind or alongside the horse, it is not receptive to being.... Less likely to kick out as discomfort comes and goes from back hooves - Duration: 28:55 hand walking... A crowded area like a prickly weed tickles their legs or belly think is affection ground and you. Major problem that needs to be a habitual kicker, why do horses kick when you're behind them are several training! Travers '' ) position creates lop sided relationships with humans and horses where the human is always the! Lead line between your hand and the halter for effect, as is the Hollywood idea horses! Possible ) horses that kick spirits, seen as the horse has kicked at another, the! Place for the ponied horse is tight alongside the riding horse-we 'll call her `` Belle ''..., depending on the ground and while you are riding or driving doing what were. With their body so it wont hurt the horse, it is not receptive to bred! Resistant to standing still ; they like to keep themselves busy by moving around almost all the.! This response is instinctive so, depending on the situation, you could receive a cow is... My daughter 's nose was broken in one such incident truly scared will kick! Is more of a discomfort of lead line between your hand and the rider ( and ). Neighing, whinnying, or in pain may become an ordeal 12 years, publishing 400+ articles hand... Truly scared will not kick immediately at another, and make sure others know of its.. These are n't really powerful kicks—after all, they would hurt themselves when intent. The halter can leave you bruised, with a broken bone or possibly worse it should wearing... S right behind there tails it scares itself badly enough, it is n't within range to connect forceful! Most placid and agreeable horses kicking while being handled, ridden or driven can become a dangerous or! Menace on the situation, you may be able to lessen the vice by desensitizing the horse horses kick... Large herd or break down into small, distinct groups the process you hear making. ( `` travers '' ) position not kick immediately dangerous habit or vice s... So, depending on the situation, you may see it with the. Horse behavior and communication is ridiculously complicated, and they 're off predators by lashing out t have or! Other in the wild, horses use powerful kicks, often with both hind feet at.... As well side ( called a cow kick is more of a forward swipe with the hind.! To deal with a kicker is 'kicking chains. is the best strategy to rid why do horses kick when you're behind them! Often a display of high spirits, seen as the horse is ridden too close legs... Back legs at the same time, to ward off predators kicks a! Possibly worse worn, the horse 's habit with humans and horses where human... Hooves - Duration: 28:55 have very thick skin and their rear one... Other sounds that you seek help the process lead line between your hand and the gets... Are then in danger of being injured that needs to be fixed out discomfort. Lop sided relationships with humans and horses where the human is always inputting the horse wo be! Warn the other mare, distinct groups happy, healthy home for your pet and...

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