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Help! New mare kicking door down!

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  • Help! New mare kicking door down!

    I'm cross-posting again from Horse Care, because y'all actually answer--plus, the mare is an eventer--willful, bold, takes matters unto herself.

    Okay, guys--

    my barn has dutch doors that open onto the pasture, as well as regular doors opening onto the aisle. The dutch doors fasten with a bolt as well as double-end snaps onto eyebolts (because Gully used to open the bolts with his teeth.) My new mare, a 5 yo 1/4 draft, doesn't like being put up in a stall. First she was simply leaning onto the door until the eyebolts gave (the regular bolt on her stall doesn't fasten very well, and it tends to be just fastened). Now that I've fixed the eyebolts, she's resorted to kicking the door until the double-end snaps break.

    Obviously I need to fix the bolt, but I'm afraid that now that she's learned the kicking habit she's going to keep at it. Suggestions?

    Let me add that she's rarely kept in the stall--only twice overnight so far, and one of those times she broke out. But last night I was working with my daughter's horse, and she kicked herself loose because she wanted to be with me.
    Last edited by gully's pilot; Nov. 6, 2012, 09:08 AM. Reason: clarification (with luck)

  • #2
    Is her kicking just being opinionated...then Kicking chains. If it is more panic...then you need to do something else. She may need chemical assistance.

    Sound bad but they really are not. My old mare (now a broodmare) was so bad about kicking that she hurt herself. So besides making sure she was on an end stall and doing everything I could to keep things away that caused her to start kicking...I finally had to put on kicking chains. They are easy to make and she figured it out very fast. They did not hurt her and stopped the kicking (when she was wearing them!).
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • Original Poster

      She's not remotely panicked. She just would rather be out, and she's figured out that kicking the door will sometimes make it open.

      I'm actually thinking I might have to change stalls so that she goes in one across the aisle, that doesn't have an outside door.


      • #4
        You might try a stout bar across the door.
        Seat the brackets for it well.
        It will hold better than snaps.
        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


        • #5
          Oh,this is interesting. This is why horse people become neurotic. My initial thought is you are going to have to make stalling fun now...train to standard...favorite hay/food in stall, 10 minutes, go out, don't get that hay except when in stall, work up the time. Right now stalling sucks in her mind and getting out is her main focus. I'm curious what others think. This is really important to fix now as when you go showing, you don't want her kicking out of the temp stalls. Or your trailer. Kicking chains might be an answer as well for a while as well because she needs to STOP that behavior now. But the core motivator...wanting to get out of confinement...is the behavior driver.


          • #6
            Originally posted by gully's pilot View Post
            She's not remotely panicked. She just would rather be out, and she's figured out that kicking the door will sometimes make it open.

            I'm actually thinking I might have to change stalls so that she goes in one across the aisle, that doesn't have an outside door.
            Certainly moving stalls will be a quick answer....but you may need to deal with the kicking at some point. My mare had her chains for a few months. She hated having a neighbor even LOOK at her. It did get better but those chains lived in my trailer for shows just in case I needed them. She had such a powerful kick...probably why she had a powerful jump too. But she wasn't stupid....when the chains were on...she just made ugly faces at her neighbors instead.

            You then do also have to make it otherwise pleasant....good hay etc. But the smart opinionated ones can out think you....
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


            • #7
              If you are not really using the door for ingress/egress right now you might try hanging a stall matt along that wall/door (make 3-4 holes in top of matt lengthwise -run chains/heavy rope through holes and hang attached to screw eyes.) For some horses kicking is just not that much fun if it does not make noise and does not break something.


              • #8
                Kicking chains have worked wonders for a few horses at the barn and two of my own. One woulld kick the tar out of stalls and trailers, so I got the suggestion of chains. After a few hours with them on in the stall, he never kicked with them on again. Leave them off and he was slamming the stall, on he was fine. He actually started slamming his food dish around. That was less expensive then breaking his leg.

                The last horse I had used chains at the track after he broke his sesomoid from kicking the wall. The guy I bought him from gave me a pair with him. Never kicked, except for during his feeding time. He went with that same pair of chains to his new owner.

                Another poster said stall mats and that might help from her hurting her legs. Good luck!
                I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.