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
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
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 http://www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beery_etips.htm.
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
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.
About The Author
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 ca