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Horse kicking when asked to move


Good morning. I bet you are having a wonderful time in New Zealand? Or whatever paradise your at!!! We are having a little problem with Kia (At Sharon's). When we round pen her to get her stink out. She is really trying to kick and hurt me. She throws her butt around and kicks right at you. Any suggestions??? Thanks for your time and we are looking forward to your next clinic. Whitney just really appreciated your sensitive and soft way of teaching. She is so eager but quiet. She loved your time.


I hope you are well and happy. I am in Snowmass at Starry Pines Ranch and doing a lot of writing. It's very snowy and I am not a skier. I have been working on a book for quite a while and am getting a lot done this winter. Lovely to get your kind email. Please give my best regards to Whitney. She was terrific!

I don't really think Kia is trying to hurt you, she’s just being a horse. First you must eliminate anything organic. Is anything hurting the horse? This will make the animal very resistant and angry about being made to exercise. Call the vet if you have any doubts if the horse is hurting in any way. Once pain is ruled out, here are some alternatives€…. Imagine you not doing much physically, resting a lot and hanging out. Occasionally someone comes over and grabs you takes you outside and says to jump, run or do some sort of other mildly strenuous activity. You would be resistant. In order for you to be OK with the activity so abruptly put upon to you, you might want some sort of warm up time, perhaps some kind of connection process to the person before you began to move or 'dance' actively with them. Perhaps you would tell him to get lost and leave you alone. There are so many normal responses you might have to abruptly being asked to exert yourself physically. You might even kick out a bit yourself. Please understand your horse is not trying to hurt or attack you. It is being resistant to working because it probably was not prepared enough and even then would have resistance because he only moves like that occasionally. It is very hard to exercise only occasionally. It takes conditioning and routine to get in shape to be able to move actively and do it comfortably. This is the resistance you are experiencing from the horse. There is no blame, no quilt and no punishment to be dished out. There is nothing the horse is doing or trying to do to you. It is not in condition to do as you are asking and perhaps your method of asking is not quite right on. If your requests are not precise, accurate, and appropriate or lack the confidence of the true leader of the dance, the horse will be resistant to complying with those requests. The horse throwing her butt in your direction and kicking is actually normal resistant behavior. Trust me, if the horse really wanted to 'get you', it wouldn't miss and you wouldn't get away. It would run you down and corner you so fast you wouldn't even see it coming.

There is something that is missing in either the program of exercise, the conditioning of the horse, your cues, and attitude, confidence, expertise or communication style.

It is not about the horse actually. It is being a normal horse. It’s always the human that is not normal for the horse. It not about making the horse do your will or bidding. It is not about taking charge or control. It’s about partnership, cooperation, joining, great communication thru a common language of trust and respect.

I shall be at Sharon's again perhaps in April. I talked to Sharon about the first weekend in April. Perhaps we could get together then. Please ask her for details if it is going to happen. I have not heard back about those dates. I would come there just to work privately with you if you like. Private fees are $75.00 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Let me know. I look forward to hearing back from you. Remember, your horse is not doing or trying to do anything to you...No guilt and no blame...ever.... it is as innocent as a child...

Sincerely, Franklin

Hello Franklin!!!

Kia is doing much better in the round pen. She doesn’t like speed or to really get out and buck and run. I have been encouraged and have heard that the round pen helps get all their bucks and such out. I rarely have got Kia to just get in and run. She just enjoys the slow western trot. When I try to encourage her she feels threatened (or at least that how she acts). I have went back and forth on this round pen "energy release" and have decided that I don€št think that a canter, run, buck is for every horse. I have been nervous about maybe making a quick decision in buying this presumed to be "lazy" horse. Then I thought I would look at her dam and sire. They are on the AQHA directory and found that her blood is for a very mild temper, slow western pleasure for novice, youth children. I think that I have bought a horse that is behaving just how she is suppose to be?! That maybe all my worries about her being lazy and not willing is her personality and blood lines. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them.

Your friends Whitney and Kellie

Inbred Temperment

Hi Kellie and Whitney,

I get asked about breeding for temperament occasionally and this is a good time to answer some of the questions. Yes, it does seem as though Kia is just being herself after all. A round pen is not to just push a horse around to tire them out and "get the bucks out." If a horse is high energy anyway, turning them loose in a round pen and letting them run around and buck on there own is one thing. But deliberately chasing a horse to get it to be afraid and run is really another. Unfortunately, many people think that chasing a horse around a round pen is what to do. This is abuse pure and simple.

Breeding for temperament is done all the time. I have seen stallions like pussycats because of their breeding. I have seen horses that were bred to be feisty and they are. You can breed for speed, ability to jump, run, dressage, working cows or whatever else you may want your horse to do. I think you have a great horse for Whitney in Kia. She is calm and responsive to your daughter and at her age Whitney does not need a speed demon. So I think you have done well with her. If I remember she did have some foot problem. Is that correct? How is that coming along? Anyway, Kia is a great horse for Whitney. Even Malik will be able to ride him. Kia is, in large part, a product of her breeding. Fortunately, she has had some wonderful training as well. This makes for a great combination.

I look forward to seeing you guys soon. Perhaps I'll be able to come down to ride over some weekend before I start to travel. Blessings to all.

Your Friend, Franklin

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