Horse is 10. I've had him for 6 years. Up until this week would have described him as saintly, excellent with beginners, on trails, in the ring, never has bitten or kicked. Very quiet, not spooky. Moved to a new barn about 10 days ago, has been on individual turnout, but near other horses. I have been trail riding him, and doing ring work. Brought him inside one day, removed his blanket, and began brushing him, was brushing stomach, flank area and whamo, connnected with my thigh and left me flat out on my back. No warning at all. If he had of connected with my head, I'd be dead. Palpated body later the same day, and the next day, and no signs of injury, soreness etc...Does not have any symptoms of ulcers. Any ideas why this might have happened? Not knowing why has made me very nervous around him.
He's a horse. Any horse can kick. Stomach/flank can be especially sensitive areas. Over time your horses body is going to change/age just like any other mammal. Maybe places that were not 'sensitive' before will become sensitive.
Then again, maybe you just got 'sloppy' with the brush and 'poked' him with it more than brushing. Maybe he got zapped with some static electricity. Maybe a horse was making 'faces' at him and he responded.
Lots a reasons.
Personally, I prefer to have a horse ground tied so I can move them away from me if something like that happens. If they are hard tied or cross tied, and you have to 'send them away' for some reason, then there is only so far they can go.
I don't think anyone who was not there could really tell you why your horse kicked.
You will likely have to pay more attention to how the horse is acting/responding in the new environment. He may be your same old trust worthy guy, but he is adjusting to new surroundings and this may result in new behaviors.
I landed about 3 feet away from him on my back, so there was nothing I could do to him. Fortunately he connected with the meaty part of my thigh, so nothing was broken, very bad bruise, and whiplash from how I landed. No flies, barn was about 37 degrees, and there were no other horses in the barn. I am aware no one can give me a reason, but maybe some insight can help me prevent it from happening again.
You will just have to be more aware and conscious of his actions when you're working around him going forward. All it took for me was one good kick 5 years ago and I trust no horse not to kick me. Even the saintly old folks.
My dear TB had "track manners" and was nippy from Day One for the 20 years I had him.
Poor guy started to mellow and nuzzle me in his last years, but I always kept an eye out.
He'd cowkick too when brushed near his flank/belly so I learned to always keep one hand on the horse - just rest lightly on the hip if that's where you're brushing, or nearest part of the leg closest to you.
You will feel muscles tense before they kick.
At least this gives you notice so you can step back out of range as well as give a warning growl that this is not acceptable behavior.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
That sucks. I would guess either a freak thing or ulcers. Unless he's ever cocked his leg at you before when you get his ticklish flank?
When I first got my gelding, he cocked his leg at me when I got his ticklish flank. He really kicked out at the air a bit. He got a good smack on the butt and I went right back to it. Another kick out and another smack. He turned his neck, stuck his head in my face, and stared at me. I knew he understood. I went right back to his ticklish area. He has never kicked out again, ever, in 7 years. We both learned something valuable that day. :-)
Did he fall asleep? My old BO got kicked one day while grooming a horse who fell asleep and was startled awake as she was picking out his tail. My horse has spooked quite a bit when someone startled him and he was asleep in his stall...
You mentioned that you took off his blanket. Sometimes dragging a blanket across their body can build up static electricity, then you could have shocked him while brushing his belly. That would make even a saint react. I occassionaly spray the lining of my blankets with static guard when the humidity is low because my horses do NOt appreciate getting shocked by the blanketing/unblanketing process. I also occasional touch the metal stall gate while I am grooming to disperse any electrical charge built up and sometimes the zap I get is pretty strong!
Last edited by Ponyclubrocks; Nov. 2, 2012 at 08:15 PM.
He is still settling to the change. You mention t/o, did the conditions change? Does he have more energy I.e. not enough play time.... And you just might of tickled him plus a little more tense, High energy thrown in. Let the routine, new location and surroundings settle a bit more. He just may not be relaxed, laid back as he normally is. Sleep may not be deep as it once was....new noises, routines etc
I was kicked completely out of the blue and for no apparent reason while pulling a mare's tail through the tail strap on her blanket. I had blanketed her and handled her plenty for months and months before that day and she had always been perfectly cheerful. She was never the brightest crayon in the box through, so after I was kicked my only guess as to why is that perhaps she zoned out for a minute, and when her brain clicked back into the real world there was something (me!) messing with her tail... so even though I did nothing surprising, maybe I surprised her dumb little mare brain?
I got nailed by old OTTB at his first 'away' event (a 4H clinic at the fairgrounds, where he had no idea what was going on--he was 'stretch' kicking, like some will before a race.) I was lucky, took a glancing blow to the thigh instead of dead-on the bone. Huge bruise, lots of pain, but I didn't have a broken leg.
I have two mares (mother and daughter) who normally LOVE to be groomed, are both wonderful solid citizens. But for some reason in the Fall when they bring in their winter coats they become very cranky and irritable about having their backs, sides and bellies groomed -- tail swishing, ear pinning etc. Totally out of character for them. Face, necks, rump, legs...no problem. The only thing I can figure is perhaps their undercoat hair runs opposite their top coat, so to them it feels like I'm grooming across the grain? Happens every single winter. Just thought I'd pass this on. Also, what another said...could be the static.
It could have been anything. He's a horse, horses kick, just like dogs bite. Even the mildest mannered animal can mess up once and a while.
I got cow kicked in the thigh by a very sweet TB gelding last month...he was going for a fly on his belly and had no intention of kicking me. He was very upset when he realized that he'd hit me instead of the biting bug, poor dude. It was an accident and I reminded myself to be more vigilant of where I am standing when brushing a horse, especially during biting black fly season.