Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Kicks at Stall Walls, Doors or Fences

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • To discuss your equine's general health and management.

Kicking at stall doors, walls and fences can become a habit and is considered a stereotypical behavior or stall vice. It is most often seen in horses that are confined excessively and is usually related to boredom.

Injury to vital structures of the limb can result from this behavior, not to mention damage to facilities. Injury to the point of the hock, flexor tendon and hind feet can be seen in horses that do this. In addition, occasionally a horse will get a hind limb trapped in a fence, potentially causing severe injury.


Examine management and stabling to reduce this behavior. Move adjacent horses that may be provoking the behavior. Feed additional long-stem roughage to occupy the horse during the day. Provide more turnout and consistent exercise.


Your vet may be called upon to treat injuries sustained by this behavior. Occasionally aberrant behavior can be caused by physical problems, such as gastric ulcers, or ovarian tumors in mares. A careful physical examination and potentially other diagnostics can help rule these things out.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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