What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


While Under Saddle, Kicks at Other Horses


Kicking at other horses while being ridden in a highly undesirable behavior that needs to be resolved. Horses are taught to engage in this behavior in the same way they are taught to engage in many other unwanted behaviors. They perceive the behavior to be easier and more rewarding than alternative (desirable) behaviors. This type of behavior is more commonly seen in stallions and mares than in geldings. These sorts of behaviors can also relate to both normal and also abnormal hormonal factors.

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your role


What To Do

Look to yourself, and others who have handled your horse as both the cause of the problem and the solution. What is required is good timing and technique, as well as a method of handling your horse that rewards even the tiniest attempt at compliance.

There needs to be a cost to a behavior if you expect it to disappear. If you are riding and your horse kicks at the horse behind it, you need to put pressure on the horse with your legs and seat and drive it forward. If your horse is adequately focused on you and your actions, they will be less likely to interact with nearby horses. In this case, training must make the difference in order to maintain attention.

It may also be wise to consider the services of a qualified trainer.

your vet's role

Your vet will seek to rule out conditions that could be causing changes in behavior, such as hormonal problems. They might start with observation of the behavior, and a physical exam.

Once physical problems are ruled out, your vet may or may not have additional suggestions for helping your horse overcome this behavior.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • If your horse is a mare, is she showing signs of heat or estrus behavior?
  • Is the horse a mare, gelding or stallion?
  • When did you first notice this behavior?
  • Can you identify when your mare is in heat versus not?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP