Kicking Behavior in Horses: Causes and Solutions


Author By Hope Horse

Kicking Behavior in Horses: Causes and Solutions


Kicking is an effective means of communication for horses, often used to express their mental and physical state. However, it can also be highly aggressive, with significant force and destructive potential. So, what are the reasons behind kicking behavior in horses?


1. **Fear:** When horses feel threatened, kicking is a natural instinct. They may pinch their ears and raise their hind legs to intimidate a perceived threat, and if the threat persists, they may kick to defend themselves. Besides, kicking can occur suddenly without warning, especially if something approaches from their blind spot.

2. **Playfulness:** Horses may kick when they are happily playing, as a way to release energy and stretch their limbs. It's best to keep a safe distance when they are running joyfully.


3. **Frustration or Hunger:**  Horse kicks when it feels frustrated, usually because it is hungry and you haven't fed it yet.

4. **Pain:** Sometimes kicking is a response to pain. It is possible that wearing improperly harness could cause pain or physical illness such as equine colic. 


5. **Insect Repellent:** Horses may kick to ward off bothersome insects and flies.


6. **Dominance or Aggression:** In certain situations, kicking may be a display of dominance or aggression, especially in herd dynamics.


Kicking is a dangerous habit, so measures must be taken to correct it and avoid injury.


1. **Warning Signs:** For a horse that can kick, tie a red ribbon on the horse's tail as a warning to tell everyone that the horse can kick. In public places, please place your horse in a low-traffic area and tie a red ribbon to keep everyone away from the horse's hind legs. If riding in a group, stay behind the group to avoid kicking other horses and riders.


2. **Environment Management:** How to stop horse from kicking in the stable? You can slightly reduce the amount of food and increase the amount of exercise to release its excess energy. To reduce horse injuries, the stable doors, walls, and floors of the stables can be covered with materials such as rubber mats to reduce the possibility of injury.


3. **Separation:** If there are certain factors or other horses in the stable environment trigger anxiety or kicking, separate them and rearrange the horses to alleviate anxiety.


4. **Training:** During training, always stay within the horse's sight and let it know where you are to establish trust. If the horse is unable to learn because of fear, please seek guidance from professional trainers.


Kicking behavior in horses is complex and may stem from various underlying causes. Regular monitoring and understanding their body language are essential. Promptly identifying and addressing the source of discomfort is crucial, along with regular health check-ups. By implementing appropriate management strategies and training techniques, kicking behavior can be effectively addressed, ensuring the safety of both horses and humans.