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Kicking a horse from the ground

From: MM

Recently a woman was at one of the barns we visit and had a somewhat inexperienced rider on her horse. The horse is in his late teens and fully broke but hasn't been ridden on a regular basis lately but is usually very nice when I have seen him. On this instance, each time the rider would go around the arena and get to the stall area where the horse lives, the horse would stop. The novice rider was frustrated and the owner went over to the horse and attempted to kick it in the belly. Fortunately for the horse, the owner kicked the bottom of the iron and now has a big gooseberry bruise....heheheh....Today, I nicely asked the owner how kicking the horses belly would teach it not to stop. She said, oh, it just would get his attention and it was no harder than if I were to kick him when I am on his I'm not that knowledgeable about horses but this doesn't seem like a very effective, safe or for that matter, nice approach. Other than in an extreme and truly rare situation, would there ever be a good reason to kick your horse from the ground? Am I overly concerned where I shouldn't be? The animal doesn't appear to be regularly or systematically abused I just thought this was a harsh reaction for the situation. Not that there is anything I can do about this but I am curious to hear from you on this "training technique".....thanks for your thoughts. as a post script, the owner said she kicked it near the girth where a rider would have kicked it and that is why she hit the iron. It wasn't in the belly.

Thanks again. MM

Hi MM! You're absolutely right, this is not an effective, safe, or nice approach to training. But let's be honest: None of this had anything to do with training the horse. Kicking the horse was NOT a training technique, it was nothing more than a badly-behaved human taking out some frustration inappropriately. In this case, the novice rider who couldn't get the horse past that spot was undoubtedly frustrated, and the horse's owner was probably feeling embarrassed and wanting to "punish" the horse for failing to perform for the novice. None of this makes any sense to a horseman, I know, and none of it made any sense to the horse, either. There's no reason to kick a horse, and no excuse for doing so.

As for the horse's owner attempting to kick the horse but coming into contact with the stirrup iron and getting a big bruise... all I can say is that every once in a while, what goes around DOES come around, although it usually doesn't happen quite so quickly. Let's hope that she learned the right lesson from the experience, is heartily ashamed of herself, as she should be, and doesn't ever do that again. Meanwhile, it wouldn't hurt to take a close look at the horse's side. The stirrup iron may have been driven against its belly hard enough to cause a bruise.


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