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Help! My horse is addicted to kicking down his shed.

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  • Help! My horse is addicted to kicking down his shed.

    Its driving me CRAZY. 23 year old very studdish, spoiled rotten gelding. He's not going to change his ways at this point, and is retired.

    He seems to get a kick out of kicking the run in shed's wall out - its only plywood with oak strapping, I've reinforced it countless times, but he is absolutely compulsive about it, especially once the cold weather hits and he's in the shed a lot.

    He makes this studdish squeal and kicks it,especially after swishing his tail so it makes a sound against the wood, and then he reacts by kicking. Either he's incredibly thick and thinks there's a horse behind him, or he likes the sound.

    He's mellowed out a lot, but is still a nervous, compulsive sort - he also likes to bang on the gate at feeding time until I throw stuff at him - I feed him as FAR AWAY from the gate as I can.

    He's out with 3 others, is the dominant horse in the herd, has plenty acres of pasture, and should not be bored enough to kick at the shed all the time. Its not like every 5 minutes, but he probably gives it a good kick every other day, maybe more. Sometimes I hear a bang in the night.

    I'm sick of worrying he'll hurt himself, someone will step on a nail from the boards, and having to nail the damn thing back up once a week.

    I know I should just put strong kick boards in, but the sheds are crappy and not permanent, and I can't afford to build new this year.

    I don't know if there's ANY ideas which might help with this, short of waiting out there and giving him a good slap every time, which he'd probably like the attention of anyway.

    HELP! any ideas appreciated, I'm off to nail walls back on!

  • #2
    Don't let him in the shed; put him in a different field if you need to.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling


    • #3
      Okay, that's got to be one annoying habit!
      I know this is a standard equine BB reply and I sometimes think it's overused...however...in this case I would suggest having him checked over by a vet for his kicking. Pinned ears, swishing the tail and then a hard kick *might* mean he's having some sort of pain/discomfort somewhere since it sounds like it's coming from out of the blue.
      If he does have a pattern of it...say if another horse gets too close to HIS run-in...then I would chalk it up to pissy attitude. But if it's coming out of the blue with no visible outside influence I would worry that he's having intermittent pain somewhere.
      My late mare would kick my barn once in a while...but those were fly-by kickings when she was feeling good.
      If he is just being pissy, then except for putting up a good strong 4' tall kick wall in there I don't know if there's much you can do until spring except go out there every other day with a hammer and put the walls back on.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • #4
        If he kicks in the same area all the time, you might be able to hang a stall mat there.

        Some kickers stop if they don't get the satisfaction of a loud thump.


        • Original Poster

          Can't lock him out, its too cold and windy for him to have no shed. It's a good suggestion to check him out pain wise, but he's mister poster child for healthy - never took a lame step in his life of endurance races, never even been off his feed. He's constantly checked by our great vet, has his teeth done regularly, no, he just like the sound, and I think he's defensive of the shed. Funny thing is he lets all the others in with him.

          And you're totally right, there's really nothing I can do, I was just hoping someone might tell me about a wonderful invention where a foghorn blows when he kicks it or something!


          • Original Poster

            And when I say healthy, I mean he looks 10 years old MAX. Dappled and incredible looking - they should put his picture on his extruded feed bag. He's half mustang, I think its like mutts, they have great genes!

            But obviously there are downsides in the temperment/vice area!


            • #7
              my draft horse paws at the wall with his huge hooves when he wants food. I was going crazy trying to stop it, because I was worried that he was going to wake our neighbors in the middle of the night. That's how loud it is with those huge hooves.
              I went to our local Gymnastic center and they helped me find the least expensive, most durable mat they carry. I bought two, and it's the best $300 I have ever spent because it now means I get a full night's sleep. Just a thought for your kicker.


              • #8
                This may be an impossibly stupid suggestion, would there be a way to install a mat or something that would lessen the sound if that's why the horse is doing it? The neurotic horses are the toughest- I've had 2 at my place-one addicted to mares, the other a chronic walker(stall,pasture,whatever)whenever he doesn't get his way. Mostly, I just keep experimenting with different ideas until I hit on one that works(and I can tell you lots of things that don't work, lol!) Would it also be possible to do some type of barrier rump high and far enough away from the wall that his hooves won't come in contact with the wall if he does kick?(providing the run in is large enough). These are just some ideas coming into my head at the moment-they may or may not work, but that kicking would certainly drive me crazy,too! Good luck!


                • Original Poster

                  That's a great idea, I'm going to take a look at the shed and try and figure out what sort of material might work. He'll probably just move onto the next walls, but it might buy me some time and a respite from the madness.

                  I just love feeding everybody at night, tucking them all in and the peace and quiet, and he kinda makes my blood pressure explode - its incredible how annoying it gets.

                  The neighbors here probably can't hear him, but I'm sure they can hear me yelling at him when he bangs on the gate, and then yelling at the border collie - "make yourself useful and stop him!" but he just wags his tail and keeps running the perimeter of the fenceline.

                  ahh, animals, I couldn't manage without them, but they do make things fun for us.


                  • #10
                    Another idea(you're gonna be really sorry I found this thread!) for the gate banging-if you're delivering food (hay) after he bangs the gate, he thinks he has to bang the gate to get food. You may be able to keep a lunge whip by the gate and every time he bangs the gate, "work" him by sending him away from the gate with the lunge whip. When he stands quietly elsewhere, then give him his hay and tell him what a good boy his is. You may need to invest a lot of time at first but he'll eventually discover that gate banging means work and standing quietly means hay. The fence walker I had would also paw like crazy whenever he was in cross ties and I had to constantly reprimand him- I then discovered that his owner would give him a treat whenever he started to paw, so he learned that pawing meant treats. I never give him treats when he's cross tied because he reverts immediately back to pawing!! What I find so amazing is how the animals figure out our patterns before we do!! BTW-I cracked up about the border collie-ours would do the same thing!!!


                    • #11
                      If he really likes noises, hang some sleigh bells in his shed so he can ring them. Or, take used plastic milk jugs and put some small rocks inside them so when he kicks them they rattle. It may spook him, if he doesn't like the noises and get him to stop or add to his noise making activity.



                      • #12
                        If the mats don't you can hang or nail something prickly in the spot where he kicks, bits of spruce christmas trees are perfect, and he'll probably stop doing it pretty quick.

                        I do think some horses just like the sound, or it might be a habit he picked up when he was younger and lived in a stall and he's only now remembered how much fun it is. It does get a reaction from you when you would otherwise not be paying attention to him, right? Fun!
                        Last edited by silver2; Dec. 6, 2008, 07:44 PM.


                        • #13
                          If he is that healthy I'd put him somewhere else, even if it did not have shelter. Just blanket the snot out of him when it's cold and/or wet and make sure he has plenty of forage.
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.