A kicking horse is engaging in that behavior for one of two reasons…either he’s afraid of you or he doesn’t like you! It would be easier on our egos if we could make it more complicated than that, but that’s the simple, distasteful truth.
Fearful horses kick in defense; dominant horses kick out of resentment and dominance. Either way, smacking the horse – which is the common human reaction – doesn’t work to correct horse kicking. The Parelli method of horse training never condones any type of violence towards horses.
The Natural Approach to Correcting Horse Kicking Behavior
There are three natural horsemanship approaches employed when faced with a kicking horse. The first ensures your safety, the third solves the problem long term, and the middle one does both.
Number One: Stay out of the kick zone. Not a lot of explanation required here. If you’ve got a horse that’s kicking, stay alert and make sure you stay out of the reach of his kick.
Number Two: Learn to “read” your horse’s intent. Horses always give warning signs before kicking; learn to read them. The Parelli method of reading horses is based on determining the horse’s personality – which we call “Horsenality™.” In the August 2008 issue of Savvy Times, (The Parelli International Savvy Club Magazine) Linda Parelli writes about horse kicking in the Problem Solving section of the magazine.
What is Kicking All About? – points out that “kicking is the most natural thing for a horse.” She then goes on to explain why, how and when each horse personality type uses kicking and the warning signs that precede the kick.
Number Three: Don’t give your horse any reason to kick you. We’re not trying to be funny here. We really mean this. If you develop a relationship with your horse in which he trusts you, likes you and respects you, it is highly unlikely that the horse would ever kick you. Note that violence toward a horse achieves none of the elements of a good relationship.
Horse kicking is definitely a problem, but it may not be the horse’s problem – or at least not his alone. If your horse fears, disrespects or dislikes you or the people around him, kicking behavior is a natural reaction. Work on becoming a trusted and respected partner for your horse using Parelli natural horse training tools and truths, and your horse kicking problem is likely to naturally fade away.
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