The Cure to stop a Horse from Kicking
I get a lot of horse training questions about stopping a horse
from kicking. The kicking habits of these horses range from the
horse kicking at virtually anyone to kicking at only the
It's a daunting problem that lots of people have no idea how to
cure. That being so, I want to share some insight to horses
First I want to relate some causes of horses starting in the
habit of kicking. Because a horse kicks is no reason to think he
is naturally bad or unmanageable. I don't think there is a horse
alive that is "naturally" vicious. In fact, they're made that way
due to bad management or ignorant handlers.
Admittedly, there are some horses that inherit the
characteristics of their ancestors. But one should never start to
break a horse without first taking into consideration the nature,
disposition, and understanding of a horse.
For instance, there are some horses that are naturally
predisposed to have a "not so good" disposition. There are
certain physical characteristics you can spot on a horse that
indicate what his disposition is like.
Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, was
brilliant at deciphering a horse's disposition. He even wrote
extensively about how to do it. You can read about it at
Anyway, now we can handle the horse according to its disposition.
We can get it very nearly equal with a good dispositioned horse.
All the difference in the world is due to the management and
training of the colt. A horse with a "not so good' disposition
will require more patience and thorough work.
All animals in nature have a self defense of some sort. A horse's
self defense is kicking. After all, if you work with a horse that
gets badly excited by some cause (such as ropes or chains coming
in contact with his legs and those parts of his body aren't
broken) his first inclination is to kick it out of the way.
The trick is to break a horse in a way that the habit never
occurs in the first place. Too many people think a lesson will be
enough to educate the horse to be ready to go. But if you're
driving your horse and he gets caught under the tail or the cross
pieces of the shaft touch his quarters...and those parts are
unbroken, it would likely frighten and excite him enough to cause
him to kick.
And the worse part is this: Once started, there is an increased
inclination to go on kicking until confirmed in the habit.
So the cure is prevention. You must make all parts of his body
submissive to sensitivity of his extremities. One way to do this
is using a technique called poling. Essentially, you take a light
pole and start at a horse's nose, rub it over the mane, back,
belly, quarters, and sensitive parts of the body, until all
muscles become relaxed.
But what if you have a horse confirmed in the habit of kicking?
If that's the case, I can give you three possible answers.
One is to sell the horse. If you feel it's not fixable then it's
not a good idea to keep the horse around. You're going to get
severely injured if you're not extra careful.
Two, get a professional trainer to help you. A trainer will
charge anywhere from $400.00 per month to $900 per month. Is that
worth it to get your horse to stop kicking? Only you can decide.
Third, you can learn to do it yourself. There are solutions out
there that are pretty good. Jesse Beery, which I mentioned
earlier, has a permanent solution to stop it.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of
several best selling horse training and horse care books. For
information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He
is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at
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