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Trainer Q&A - Behavior Problems & Quirks - How can I teach my horse not to kick in the pasture?

How can I teach my horse not to kick in the pasture?

Dawn Asks:

Our quarter horse turns her back to us and kicks with ears back if we even get near her. She used to be the sweetest thing but after her first foal, which was nearly four years ago, she is quite a you know what. How do I address this? Maybe separate her from the herd? She comes from Mr. San Peppy's line and I have heard a few of his offspring come with that spunky attitude.


Our Trainer Answers:

The first thing you need to do for everyone's safety is to separate this mare and put her in a 30 to 40 foot round pen. Let her settle down for a day or two and get used to being alone in the pen. Only go in to give her food and water and watch out that she does not try to kick you. Keep a whip handy, just in case you need it!

When you are ready to begin working with her, make sure you have several days in a row to do so. This will give her time to let the message of " just who the boss is," to sink in. Also, it is very hot this time of year and you are going to have to work her pretty hard, so take care to use the cooler part of the day.

Now we're ready for a lesson! Go into the round pen with your mare and whatever it takes to thump her fanny and make her leave when she attempts to kick you. A sturdy lunge whip should do the trick. If she even looks at you and pins her ears, or turns her fanny in your direction,swing that whip at her and make her work hard until she relaxes and looks toward you in a friendlier manner. For example, when she drops her head and starts licking her lips, that is a sign that her thinker is kicking in. When she's tuned into you and turning her front end towards you and wanting to stop, say "whoa" and allow her a few minutes to rest. The instant she turns her butt towards you, swing the whip at her and make her work hard again. Eventually your mare will learn that she is NEVER to turn her fanny towards you. Be persistent, this will take several lessons in a row and remember to always stop on a good note. Such as when she turns to face you and gives you her undivided attention.

Thank You and Happy Trails!

Christy Mellington