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Kickers

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  • Kickers

    We've got a new rider out this season. She is a fine rider and will be a good addition to our hunt, but her horse is a vicious kicker, and to make matters worse it wears 4 shoes.

    Just out of idle curiosity (I'm not going to mention anything to her, not my job), is it possible to cure a kicker and, if so, how? He's a 9 YO.
    Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!

    freespeling

  • #2
    A bullet should do the trick.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling

    Comment


    • #3
      A kicker has no place on the hunt field. Much better suited for the kennel...as dinner for the hounds.
      Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.

      Comment


      • #4
        Before we put the horse down and feed it to the hounds.

        How long has the horse been hunting? If it is in its first season it can be trained. My younger hunter started hunting at 5. Twice in his first season he kicked out hard and high. He has not even hiked a leg since then. The key is to get after them fast and hard.

        During the off season they can be worked in groups on trail rides.

        Being aware of the potential problem, keep the horse away from the crowd at checks, etc.

        In other words, work hard to help the horse adapt to the excitement of the hunt field.

        Getting them properly introduced is a key. They should have a red ribbon in that tail and be ridden at the back until the behavior is eradicated.

        What does drive me nuts is when, usually by an experienced member of the hunt or one with colors, someone has a horse that kicks, they put a ribbon in its tail and then ride at the front or middle of the field.

        Those people I'd like to put down and feed to hounds.
        A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've seen riders, horses and hounds injured due to kicks.

          If the horse, prior to hunting, was a known bad actor, he should NEVER have been brought out to hunt.

          If on the other hand, the horse, prior to hunting, had not shown this behavior, then I would say yes it can be trained out of them.

          It requires a massive come to Jesus meeting if the horse even offers to lift a hip, much less a leg.

          The hunt field is dangerous enough without a kicker.

          Does the Master know? This may be a good place to start, or with the person who sponsored the new member.

          Comment


          • #6
            If the horse was a card carrying kicker prior to being in the hunt field I'll offer the odds of rehabing it are slim. Otherwise, pull the rear shoes and follow Fittobetieds recommendations.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SLW View Post
              If the horse was a card carrying kicker prior to being in the hunt field I'll offer the odds of rehabing it are slim. Otherwise, pull the rear shoes and follow Fittobetieds recommendations.
              Agreed. It is astonishingly rude and dangerous to impose a known kicker on ANY riding group- foxhunters, trail riders, whomever.

              It's great to have and welcome newcomers to hunting, but in this case, the MFH- not another member, Altjaeger is right about that- should be having a chat with newcomer about NOT bringing this horse out, and pursuing other options such as leasing a made, safe hunter.

              If newcomer 'only' wants to pursue activities with this particular horse, then sorry, hunting should not be one of them. Hunting is inherently dangerous enough without allowing new, known risks just to make a person happy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just sayin'....

                Yeah like they said but.....I would cut her SOME slack and see if it's a case of a green, scared horse who needs some "training" (aka: come to Jesus moments!) and exposure to stop it and learn it's not ok. If the rider seems ernest and makes an effort then I'd allow her some cubbings to work it out. In the back of course....with lotsa room. But like they say; the hunt field isn't the place to train horses but sometimes it's not possible to reproduce those conditions for a training experience. Exposure to group riding is called for. Hunting is group riding on steroids imho!!

                This brings to mind the question; is kicking a learned/reactive behavior that needs remediation or is it one that can't be trained outa some horses.?? Like is it generic...I mean genetic?!
                Can all kickers be reformed?
                I know some kicker-riders can't!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I do believe there can be a "genetic" predisposition. Just like some buck, rear, bolt, etc can be found in family lines. But I believe most can be helped if they have a proper "CRJM" early and they learn that the behavior is not worth the consequence.

                  I also believe that these types of horses are not the best for a newbie hunter to be bringing out. There is SO much sensory overload that it is easy to miss the early warning signs and have a disaster averted.

                  I do agree that hunting is group riding on steroids. It is not something that can be easily recreated for "training" purposes, so some training does happen in the hunt field.

                  If early warning signs are given, what have you all found to be effective?

                  My retired hunter had someone use him as their brakes his first season out. I had green drool on the back of my hunt coat from that horse literally almost riding my horse. My hunter didn't kick out, but was for obvious reasons concerned about horses behind him that were too close, or horses that came up faster than the pace.

                  I would feel him "bunch up" and lift his hip and he would turn an eye to the offender. My response to the bunching was to apply my leg and have his butt be away from the target. This usually worked. If his nerves were a bit raw from continued harassment and he lifted a hip, he got a solid wack with the crop and a scolding.

                  If it progressed to the crop, I would usually get an apology from the person crowding saying "oh, it was my Dobbins fault. We were too close and he nipped your horse." I replied, "my horse isn't allowed to even raise a hip at you and Dobbin, no matter the offense taken."

                  I have seen people's horses kick and those people being told they have had their warning, one more and the horse would be excused. This was done in the heat of the moment, an was hard on everyone to witness. It would be great if the Master could do it in private, but for some people public embarrassment is the only thing that hits home.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Having had to bury a couple of hounds that got mortally injured by a kicking horse, and having had to rehome a couple more that were totally put off hunting after getting the daylights kicked out of them, I still say there's no place for a kicker in the hunt field.

                    Hounds don't know what that red ribbon in the tail means, nor do they expect to get clouted if they are trying to work their way through the field to get back to their huntsman.
                    Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The worst offenders I've seem about having kickers/not managing kickers tend to be long time hunt members. When I have capped in at other hunts I'll ask a friend for a heads up on the problem riders/horses. They tend to be the people that have been around forever.

                      My older hunt horse is a saint. He has kicked one time in the hunt field. We had been hunting for several hours and the horse behind us kept using us for breaks. Finally, he had had enough. Any horse has its limits. When I swung around with the whip I cracked the brake-less horse instead of my own. I saw no reason to punish mine when he was getting run into at every stop.

                      Introducing horses to the hunt field should be done carefully, quietly and patiently. In the first year with my youngest hunter I kept him on the fringes of the second flight. Slowly worked him to running in the field. When hounds were nearby I let him look but we always moved away if the hounds came near us. Slowly we worked our way closer.

                      In his second year, he was ponying the huntsman horse, running down stray hounds, etc.

                      The person in question just might need good advice on the best way to get their horse acclimated. Whether we like it or not, hunting numbers are dwindling as is available land. Instead of finding ways to disqualify people we need to find ways to help people enjoy the sport. I wonder how many of the "bullett" solution crowd here have spent hunt days riding at the back of the field with a new rider or new horse.
                      A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agreed, dawglover. A green horse lifting a leg or giving a love tap is one thing, IF the rider deals with that horse harshly.

                        The proven kicker, the vicious kicker, does NOT belong out hunting. The red ribbon in the tail does not excuse the rider or absolve him of responsibility. Kickers need another job. Hounds come first. Always.
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, I have. And I've helped new riders with their green horses, and I will happily be the steady Eddie any rider needs. In fact I did that last Saturday. And I'll help anyone who asks, including going in early with that person if they are having a bad day.

                          And I still say the proven or vicious kicker needs a bullet or a different job. How many dead hounds or injured horses does it take to prove that point?
                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                          -Rudyard Kipling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't hunt (am too chicken) but I have mare that "kicks". She has gotten way better over the years, but just exposure to groups. And having more than one come to Jesus discussion with her. If you ride a kicker, you can usually tell when they are thinking about getting ready to kick. And hopefully you can intervene in time. My mare was (is) FAST though and even when I am on my toes and now it might be coming I might not still be fast enough.

                            Back when she was still prone to it, I would make a point of having a ribbon in her tail. I can't tell you how many people (eventers mainly) would still ride right up behind her, bump into her, etc. And would continue to do it even if I had verbally warned them. Some people are just stupid, or clueless.

                            Do I trust her 100% today? No. But then again I don't trust ANY horse to not kick in some situations, esp in crowds. You never know what the other horse "said" to the kicker to warrent getting kicked.

                            But if you ride a kicker, I feel it is your responsibility to be extra vigilant to keep your horse out of situations that will cause him to have a reason to kick.

                            Now back to my regular boards.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              well, maybe a month with a polo string or polo trainer would help. those horses will body block a run away and be unphased.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                [QUOTE=jawa;5805949]

                                My retired hunter had someone use him as their brakes his first season out. I had green drool on the back of my hunt coat from that horse literally almost riding my horse. My hunter didn't kick out, but was for obvious reasons concerned about horses behind him that were too close, or horses that came up faster than the pace.

                                I would feel him "bunch up" and lift his hip and he would turn an eye to the offender. My response to the bunching was to apply my leg and have his butt be away from the target. This usually worked. If his nerves were a bit raw from continued harassment and he lifted a hip, he got a solid wack with the crop and a scolding.
                                QUOTE]

                                When people ride up right on you like that they are being rude and dangerous. I do not punish my horse for bunching up in that instance. If you hit a hole and they were that close they could really cause a bad accident. That's when I give people the stink eye and ask them if they would like to pass. If they say "Oh, no. that's okay" I say no, it's not okay.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  This horse does have a prior history of kicking in lessons, sometimes, after a jump, but it is for different reasons there -- more a sort of "woohoo!" kick. Anyway, I think it was the Master and the Secretary who invited this person out, so I don't think they'll be getting into any trouble with the Master and Secretary! I was just curious to see if there was some training method to stop kicking, and apparently, there isn't much of any.
                                  Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!

                                  freespeling

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I wasn't even thinking about those that kick hounds....woops! I was focusing on horse to horse kicking.

                                    Besides turning their hinds away and using a crop; I'm thinking any kind of distraction can redirect the horses attention away from what they're thinking. I snarl at mine. Moms "angry voice" works. Watch their ears; I think they always telegraph what direction they are thinking about.

                                    And training them not to kick hounds? Exposing them to riding with dogs, lotsa dogs. Trailrides with dogs. Walking out with hounds, exposure to hounds, turnout with hounds/dogs, and can you bring them to the kennel to board for a few days to get used to the sounds/smells etc. I think many kick at a hound out of fear & surprise when they dart out. Carry a hunt whip and let the lash dangle down around your horses butt so the hound stays away from kicking range. That's also a mental distraction for the horse from kicking.
                                    JMHO!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by altjaeger View Post
                                      This horse does have a prior history of kicking in lessons, sometimes, after a jump, but it is for different reasons there -- more a sort of "woohoo!" kick.

                                      I was just curious to see if there was some training method to stop kicking, and apparently, there isn't much of any.
                                      Altjaeger- your first post said 'vicious kicker,' but now your are sayng 'sometimes after a jump in a lesson.' I think maybe we need a little more clarification from you.

                                      When you say 'vicious kicker,' my definition is horse known to go out of its way to kick at horses in a group setting- suck back at the gallop to nail someone, or swing butt to nail someone, or positioning itself to kick another horse when the group is at a check, for example. When you say a horse that gives a little wahoo buck when landing from a jump- that doesn't fit my lexicon of 'kicking.' Likewise, a horse that finally gets fed up with people parking their horse on its butt is not a 'confirmed vicious kicker,' it's an annoyed horse and can't particularly be blamed for the idiot on the tailgating horse.

                                      So- if you clarify we can perhaps discuss more intelligently. Yes, there are cures for 'some' kickers. The known, confirmed kicker, we all agree, has no place in the hunt field. But now I am not sure that's what you are talking about.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Thats my definition as well.
                                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                        -Rudyard Kipling

                                        Comment

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