Saturday, November 16, 2013

What is kicking all about? By Linda Parelli

This article was originally published in the August 2008 issue of Savvy Times magazine. 



Kicking is the most natural thing for a horse, and it’s good to know that the hind legs tend to be the weapon of choice for introverted horses. So why do horses kick? What provokes them? Is it a right-brained or left-brained behavior?

Horses kick when they play (this is left-brained - confident, dominant), and they kick when they are scared (this is right-brained - unconfident, fearful). They also kick when they are defiant (left-brained).

Right-brained horses mostly kick when cornered and surprised or scared. Left-brained horses kick out of defiance, so it is more likely to happen when you are trying to get them to do something. This includes asking them to move when they aren't ready or when they don't want to, and touching them in areas you haven't tested for brace yet.

The potential of getting kicked, bitten, run over or struck at is high anytime you're with a horse who feels cornered, threatened or pressured, if the horse is on adrenaline, or if he or she doesn't respect or trust you. The whole point of being savvy is to stay out of the kick zone, be able to defend your personal space, create undying trust and respect and never put your horse in a position where he feels the need to defend himself against you or attack you or to go to Phase 4 to get his message across.

Horsemen are a lot like the rest of us - they just read horses better! And they know what is apt to happen, so they don't go there. And if they get kicked, the first thing they acknowledge is what they did to cause it.

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