Horse kicking when lunged?

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  • RackingHorses<3 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    I recently bought a 13 year old TWH gelding that haven’t been messed with in over a year so before I rode him I was going to try to lung him first well when ever I lung him on the lung line or in a round pen if you get close to him with the lung whip (not even touching him!) he kicks and when I ride him you have to give him ALOT of leg so I popped him with my rein (not hard at all!) and he bucked. He is completely fine with the whip like I can rub and scratch him with it. Any ways to stop this behavior? I was told to beat it outta him and I’m not about to do that!!!!

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    First of all the two things may or may not be related. He could be bucking because he is not comfortable speeding up, not because of the swatting rein. Perhaps his ‘go’ signal is not a kick but a squeeze? (Mine will move off if kicked but they are indignant about it – will get you a tail swish or a snort.) Will he move off pressure on the ground? Will he yield his hindquarters? The amount of pressure required to get him to move aside should be roughly equal to that required in the saddle. You can make him lighter on the cues by working on this from the ground. (No whips) Reward movement on lighter and lighter cues, and always quit when he has it that way he’ll remember that moving off got him a break!

    If he hasn’t been working for a while or if his tack is new, it might need some time or adjustments in tack to get him comfortable to move out. Does he move freely at a lunge – does he kick out only when you approach with the whip or is it when you ask for speed?

    If speeding up is the issue in both cases then I would look for a pain issue that is prompting his striking out. The only time my wonderful mare has bucked is due to rushing her rehab from a tendon injury. She bucked my daughter for asking too quickly for speed – it hurt – and she needed more time. Given time and conditioning it should be better if it is nothing but an out of shape horse, but there may be a hock, back, ??, issue?

    Additionally, he is new to you and is still acquiring trust, maybe he just doesn’t know what you intend with the whip and is ‘protecting’ himself? If that is the case you should be fine after he gets to know that you mean him no harm, and “beating it out of him” might make him think he was right to fear you. That does NOT mean you put up with it. I have a few suggestions for corrections, but it depends on your answers to these questions. A horse kicking out is NOT acceptable.

    If it IS pain he is trying to communicate and you punish him – you’ll be defeating yourself with this horse.

    Secondly, I’ve worked with TWHs (and owned/adored one) and they are generally great companions and very gentle. Sometimes they can be overly sensitive to the whip. One of my neighbors has a TWH that will leave the county when he sees a whip. (Don’t know if he was hit with one, but I know SHE has never hit him, and he freaks out if he even sees it.) He’s a perfect gentleman, but not hugely trusting, and will dump a rider if he sees a crop. When lunging this horse I use a twirling lead line (or just a verbal click and step off in his direction) and he’s fine – he requires finesse around his quirks, but is a truly nice trail horse.

    You said he’s fine being scratched and touched with the whip – but maybe he’s just putting up with it – does he chew, tilt a foot, or relax when touched with it, or is he high-headed and wall-eyed?

    If you eliminate both pain and fear, determine that he clearly understands what you are asking, can, but won’t do it, then you have a spoiled horse that needs a stern correction (not a whipping IMHO). But I’d bet that is not the explanation.

    (Could be as simple as a poor-fitting saddle blanket – true story.)

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Mapale Mapale.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    I briefly had a horse who kicked at the whip when I longed him. Turned out he had really been worked over by somebody with a whip. I sold him–I’m not a trainer, I just wanted a trail horse. He sold immediately to a husband and wife team. The husband decided to “beat the silliness out of him” and found himself running for his life when the horse charged him. So they sold him too, to a woman who also wanted a trail horse but never used a whip around him. As far as I know, they lived happily ever after. My point: force is rarely the answer. I would follow Mapale’s guidelines on this one. Good luck to you and let us know what happens.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I think that force begets force, and never resort to it (you would laugh at the ways I have gotten my horse to allow me to do things). Even in the old days, we were taught to use the crop on our own boot – the noise was sufficient. As for kicking, that is more often a response to prior mistreatment, from which he is defending himself than meanness. If there is no physical issue, you will have to rely on time and patience with him.

    The first time I opened a liniment bottle, my boy tried to climb out the window. So, I wore some every day for a week, to get him to accept the smell. That is the sort of thing I will do, no matter how silly it sounds to others!

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    This horse wasn’t mean by nature. He was fine when I rode him before buying him, but after that, “whip” flipped a switch in his brain and he became another horse. I skipped a lot between my realization that I had inadvertently bought an abused horse and my decision to sell him. I don’t want to needless alarm RackingHorses when something else is probably making her horse kick, especially if he tolerates having a whip rubbed on him without reacting. Sometimes you just have to do the detective work–does the tack fit, is he out of condition or in pain–before you can work on the solution.

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    In Splash’s case he also had a trainer who did not spare the whip. Such a sweet shy guy, it breaks my heart. As long as you keep the whips away, he’s a saint. Comes right up to me and loves on me. But I made the mistake of trying to round up my neighbor’s horses for her like I round up mine. Walk out in the field with the lunge whip – mine come. Two of my friend’s horses came, but Splash left town. Took me an hour to entice him back to me (she has 60 acres). He looked sideways at me for a couple of weeks and then he was back to meeting me at the gate at meals (My neighbor was sick and I was trying to help – some help – nearly scared her horse to death.)

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    RackingHorses<3 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    I recently bought a 13 year old TWH gelding that haven’t been messed with in over a year so before I rode him I was going to try to lung him first well when ever I lung him on the lung line or in a round pen if you get close to him with the lung whip (not even touching him!) he kicks and when I ride him you have to give him ALOT of leg so I popped him with my rein (not hard at all!) and he bucked. He is completely fine with the whip like I can rub and scratch him with it. Any ways to stop this behavior? I was told to beat it outta him and I’m not about to do that!!!!

    All of his tack does fit good!

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    It may fit well, but if he should have some physical issue, it could still be causing him pain. I do not recall where we had a discussion about saddle pads, but you might find it interesting. Pheets, Joan, Mapale, do any of you remember where that is?

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    RackingHorses<3. Since he has not been ridden in a while, just like any person coming back into exercise, it can hurt until he gets some conditioning. The reason he was retired for a year might have been an injury? That can cause stiffness or weakness. I am just guessing here.

    Try lunging him without the whip, perhaps he just doesn’t like whips. Just walk for a while in the beginning of your ride, if he loosens up after ten minutes you can ask for more speed. Watch for ear-pinning.

    Good luck.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    Atreyu is the same way in the round pen and under saddle(not as bad now, as when i first brought him home). he was whipped and whipped bad by his previous owners. I knew he was abused, just didn’t realize the extent when i brought him home.(he was tied in the flexed position while saddled and beaten, with a bit in his mouth, whipped to go faster, whipped to go slower, whipped just for being a horse, yanked on, kicked on, etc)

    our trainer told me that when i work him in the round pen to not use a whip(i practice parelli, so it’s a carrot stick to us) and just work him on a 6 ft rope, nothing longer until he is comfortable walking. For the life of me, I could not get this boy to walk. He was always running, for fear of being beaten.
    but anyway, Atreyu turns out to be a super sensitive horse and using too much pressure(even when you think you aren’t), freaks him out. Having too high of energy while in the round pen, makes him go, go, go.
    perhaps your boy is just very sensitive and doesn’t need the whip while in the round pen, or maybe just work him on a short line and use the end of your rope to move him around you.

    as for the bucking thing, atreyu was awesome on the ground with being touched with the stick and even a riding crop, but getting on his back with either one….it was on. And I really have no intention of meeting the ground anytime soon haha. you can’t even swat him with the reins.

    like many others have said, it could be from his past, it could be from pain, or just plain stubbornness and he’s testing you since you’re new to each other.

    i do hope it works out for you.
    I know there’s been times where i wonder “what did i get myself into with this horse who has so many issues” but it’s been an amazing journey watching him get over his fears and watching him blossom. as well as learning and becoming a better horse person because of him.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Atreyu is lucky to have you, NinaJD.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Good suggestions, NinaJD. And good for you for taking on an abused horse in the first place, and sticking with him.

    RackingHorses, did you buy him shod and take his shoes off? If his feet hurt, he’s not going to be too enthusiastic about moving out.

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    RackingHorses<3 said, I recently bought a 13 year old TWH gelding that haven’t been messed with in over a year so before I rode him I was going to try to lung him first well when ever I lung him on the lung line or in a round pen if you get close to him with the lung whip (not even touching him!) he kicks and when I ride him you have to give him ALOT of leg so I popped him with my rein (not hard at all!) and he bucked. He is completely fine with the whip like I can rub and scratch him with it. Any ways to stop this behavior? I was told to beat it outta him and I’m not about to do that!!!!

    When you lunge your horse keep his head tipped to the inside and his hind quarters to the outside while lunging him and if he tries to get his butt closer to you, massage his head back to the inside by pull and releasing his until it is tilted again. While massaging his head back towards you, put some pressure on his hind quarters to get it back away from you.
    I would suggest that before you ride, to lunge him with a saddle on and to keep pushing your horse to do what you want even if he doesn’t like it and starts to act up. I hope this helps.

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