Hi Stacy; I wanted to pass this on to you. You may have already seen it. I’d like your thoughts on this. It looks to me like that horse aimed for her and really intended to hurt her.- Cindy
Cindy-I had not seen this video before you posted it here. I agree with you that it looks like the horse aimed for her. However, if I were to take an educated guess about why the horse appeared to try to hurt her it would be this:
When horses are scared or emotionally worked up they rarely make good decisions. Often they are reactive and rely on instinct….sound familiar? Have you ever been emotionally worked up or scared and made a bad decision? I know I have. It is natural.
It is also the reason why I don’t want a doctor or paramedic who hasn’t been properly trained to work on me in an emergency situation. When things get scary; blood loss, emergency surgery, etc. I want someone who knows how to stay emotionally level…even under pressure.
If you read the story that goes with the video it says that, “Video footage shows Luke refusing a jump and Rosie, who had been riding bareback, slipping off and hitting the ground next to her horse. He then thrashed out his back leg, catching his owner’s face.”
My guess would be that Luke got a little bit worked up for some reason at the fence. I don’t know why but we know he refused. If you can imagine that he was emotionally ‘up’ when that happened and then was ‘surprised’ by the sudden flying object near him…then it isn’t much of a leap to see why he may have struck out at it.
Do you remember Episode 15 of Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac, when I was pulling the saddle off and letting it hit the ground? I have seen many horses kick out the same way Luke did the first few times I did the exercise; some just barely kicked the saddle, other sent it flying. With training these reactive horses can learn to think under pressure, which increases the odds of them thinking clearly in a spontaneous situation.
Do I believe the horse aimed for her? Yes. Do I think it was a decision that reflected his thoughts on his rider? No. I think he was being reactive and a terrible thing happened.
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I had a very similar experience 7 years ago. I had owned this guy for about 2 months and we were working on ground respect because I was not a very horse savy person. We were lunging and he kept pushing me towards the gate so I raised my hands up and moved towards him in an attempt to push him away, next thing I know I am on the ground and didn’t see what came. Luckily went to hospital, had a lacerated liver and spent 6 days in ICU, guess it was a cow kick that got me. Not knowing what to do I sent him out to a trainer/friend for the two months I was recooperating while I wrestled with decisions. The trainer said he was the sweetest guy out there and it was just probably one of those horrible moments when he just lost it. Oddly when I went to pick him up he was way out in a back pasture and when he say me and the trailer pulling in he galloped all the way up to the gate, actually brought a tear to my eyes. Oddly enough we are still together and have grown. I now lunge him regularly, which it took a while to get up the courage to do so, like 4 years. I took a chance and it worked out, I am lucky cause it is a tough call. Good luck to all.
That really gives you a reality check, as to how accurately they can aim in that video. I hope she was ok after that fact. Obviously that horse had gone right brain about something! Too bad the girl in the video didn’t recognize the fact that the horse was heading in that direction before she got hurt. There usually is that instant where you can tell. I have a 3 year old filly that when I first got her she barely knew how to lead. I put her in the round pen and started sending her around and every time she would turn into the fence and not in towards me. She at one point in time went right brain on me and she went back and forth within a few feet of the fence away from me. I backed off and recognized what she was doing and let her calm down and let her collect her thoughts and she was fine. I know now that emotionally she will break if she is pushed too much. She and I have come along way in the round pen and she turns towards me and really listens to the slightest little cluck. I will walk in the round pen with her with the stick and string and make the slightest little cluck under my breath and around she will go. Makes me feel good that I have come so far with her and she trusts me , but I am also taking it slow with her because she is really emotional. Thanks for listening Stacy!
I bought a beautiful little Boston Mack, 4 year old mare several years ago from a horse trader. She had the most perfect confirmation but had the worst temperament. The first week I owned her she tried to kick my head off with both hind feet. She watched me walk past and reached out as far as she could and kicked as I walked past. I was not injured but felt the air on my face. A friend in the arena screamed because she thought the kick connected. I already knew better than to trust her because she had tried most every dirty trick a horse could think of to do including turning her butt to me in a threatening way in her stall, so I started investigating her back- ground and found out she’d been badly abused from an early age by her previous owners. To make a long story short it took a couple of years but she made a awesome horse but she had to learn to trust me first. I learned with her how important it is to know the back-ground, no matter how cheap the price. Lol
[…] try to help explain equine behavior in situations that are less than ideal. In the case of this story, a graphic video is shown of a horse that seems to intentionally kick its owner after she has […]
I not that long ago had a very bad accident as well with my horse. In a unexpected situation, I went out to catch my horse when I had him caught a wicked wind and a big bang happened, I think it was a thunder crack as it did rain crazy after. This scard the crap out of both of us. We were among 8 other horses 3 of which are heavy horses. My horse started running (flight or fight) with the rest of the horses flighting it doesnt suprise me that he choice the same . When I was at the end of the shank I made a choice to let it go, fearing that I might get wrapped into it and dragged. I think the rope hit his back legs but not sure, this I believe frightened him, im sure he thought he was being attacked. He kicked nailing me in my hand and chest. He had no place to go, the rest of the horses were infront of him, bottle necked at a gate. I fractured my wrist in two places, dislocated 11 joints and knuckles in the hand, fractured three fingers, the thumb and shattered two knuckles completly. In total I broke over 15 bones, I have had 3 surgeries and have at least two or three more ahead of me. The use in my ring and baby finger are less then 20%. When I first got home I was afraid of my horse, thinking that he may have been malishes and aimed for me. I stopped and thought about the environment at the time and the natural instinct of my horse friend, relizing that he did not aim for me, he would never intentionally hurt me. My horse is so attached to me its such a great relationship. Still I needed to know that it was just the situation in hand, with the help of my husband I brought my horse in the arena. I worked on ropes and balls and anything else I could think of hitting and smacking his back legs. He never once attempted to kick. I at that time felt very confident that my horse was not mean but he was a horse with natural instincts. I have a very messed up hand with a long road ahead of me, but I love my horses, I will not give up nor would my horse want me to. What I did learn is to listen to my gut more and always put my horse and myselfs saftey first, dont allow people around you to disrupt my focus. That day I did and now will always have something to remind me to stay focused. Stay safe play safe.
It’s called fight or flight- it’s in all of us…
I have owned one mare over the course of a 30-year equine career (I competed and trained at the National and World level in 4 different breed associations) that I believe maliciously and intentionally sought to harm and injure the people around her. There were countless instances (from the very day I purchased her) that showed me she absolutely plotted her ‘revenge’ on the humans around her. Despite being a very good mount at the World level, she ended up being sold when she stood at the back of a dark indoor arena and waited for me to drop a bale of hay, and lunged at full speed from the corner of the arena and grabbed my forearm as hard as she could bite. This caused permanent nerve damage to my arm and there was absolutely no rhyme or reason for her to do what she did. I still own her 10-year-old gelded son (whom I have owned since birth) and he is suddenly starting to exhibit her same malicious characteristics. I do believe that there are horses out there that do intentionally injure people and horses around them…. (I did have the mare blood tested for hormonal imbalances, X-rayed for pain and was under the constant supervision of a chiropractor and veterinarian to check for any signs of her malicious behavior being chemically or structurally related)….. While I don’t think the horse in the video was specifically targeting its rider, I do believe there are horses who do have the ability to think outside of normal e
quine behavior, and do irrational things out of maliciousness.
Looks to me like a defensive reaction from the horse. Rider slipped and fell, startling the horse, In doing so her legs flailed at the horse (who has no depth perception) and a reflexive kick is not unexpected. My guess is that it all happened too fast for the horse to process and I didn’t see any classic aggressive body language, although we don’t see what led up to this accident.
This clip illustrates two critical points that relate to preventable serious accidents. (1) Choose a safe place to mount with good footing and use a mounting block or other suitable surface if you need a “lift.” (2) A blow like this to the back of the head can kill you if you aren’t wearing a helmet and please don’t say it won’t happen to you. We can’t tell if the helmet absorbed part of this impact or not, however the potential violence produced when something goes wrong is clearly illustrated here.
Please, everyone, be safe. Enjoy the sport and don’t become a statistic!
A horse that I have had for 5 years bit me on my stomach. She was eating and another mare came up to her and she did what is natural protected her food. Instead of biting the mare she bit me but if you would have seen the panic in her eyes when she realizes she had bit me I stead of the other mare. That is a short video of just the kick not what happend before it. My mom was kicked by my horse I had when I was a teenager but everytime the horse came up to her she would slap her in the face.
Yesterday my horse stepped on my foot! No LOL; it hurt.
Afterward, I decided maybe my horse was being disrespectful??? She knows where she’s putting her feet. If she had a foal, would she step on it? She was squirmy when I put the saddle on, (I can’t remember her stepping on me before this.) and she stepped on my foot with her hind foot as I tried to steady her. I’m not sure if I might have turned her head slightly with the reins… but if I did, is it her job to know where her feet are? I wonder if my feet were mud puddles if she would have missed. The weather was finally looking nice, and she did not have her mind on me, but was looking out at the pasture.
Maybe I’m being stupid… but any comments on this? Was this a show of disrespect?
I answered your question in a blog! Click here to read it.
Why are humans surprised when animals behave like animals? If the horse did ‘premeditatedly’ kick the rider, it was probably angry with the rider. Humans with a much bigger brain, physically lash out when they are angry. Why should animals be different?
To me it looks like it is a reactive flight/fear/fight response from the horse that in that moment doesn’t link that the object, he is kicking, is a human. Reactive responses like that can therefore be so dangerous, as it is a response linked to basic survival. My 45 years with horses have learned me, how important groundwork with horses is. I am very happy for the video’s of Stacy working with Jack and they inspire me in my work with my young Friesian mare. I also like this link, since I am from Holland (and living in DK): http://academicartofriding.com/training/workinhand/ and Bent Branderup http://www.bentbranderuptrainer.com I have been living a couple of years in Andalucía/Spain and in the Doma Vaquera ther’s lots of groundwork aswell. Best of luck to the girl and her horse!
Well…. Ok … we can dance around with the fact a horse does not INTEND to hurt someone – simply because they can not determine to the injury. This horse made it well known how he felt and he is simply saying ” and stay down”! He is telling her to go away. He gladly went away. Nope he was not thinking I am going to kick her in the head and she will bleed all over and maybe she will die or have brain injury! Of course not!!!! Can they measure exactly where those legs are going are going to go – or where her head will be … No! But is it an accident … I hardly doubt it – he meant to say I am out of here! He is acting out naturally – Horses may not intend to hurt you – but will determine to scare the hell out of you. They will use force if they have to – remember it is flight or FIGHT! and this horse choice was both.
The girl had good luck, I have seen terrible things happen and even some riders not surviving.. a kick in the face or on the head. What it again and again reminds me of: safety belt in cars – helmet on horse-back. (Yes, I admit, I too “forget” both sometimes, the helmet frequently… but the fact that so far nothing has happend while I was NOT wearing one serves as no proof it never will or is in any way a good example; besides, I have had a helmet save me injuries decades ago..) However: face is always unprotected. What this scene and discussion mostly reminds me of: our interpretations and emotions are simply what they are – OURS. And thus, human. Let us keep in mind that neither does a horse show deliberate malice or revenge, plans actions thus to injure us – nor does it love us in the way we so often like to believe… Both things in mind help remain calm and fair and well balanced when handling or riding horses, I believe.
Well I feel that the young lady riding would be better prepared to answer this question. If she had had much of a relationship with this animal. Or how well this animal could see..So very unfortunate I would sure like to know how she is now and how the horse is working. Best of luck to her and her horse..
I guess it’s true horses are afraid two things; things that move and things that don’t
Because of my career as an equine massage therapist and riding instructor, I’ve been trying to learn the science behind horse neurology (how horse’s think). I’m by no means an expert in that subject, but I have read enough now to know the horse did not kick the rider out of maliciousness. Horse’s brains are not wired to be able to plan out revenge even a revenge as simple as “I didn’t want to go over that jump and she tried to make me -now I’ll punish her”. That kind of conscious planning and cause and effect thinking is not possible for a horse. I agree with Stacy that the horse’s reflex out of fear was to (as someone else put it) “defend now – ask questions later”. Horse’s also don’t have enough cause/effect reasoning abilities to say “back off – I don’t want you to try and have me jump that fence again” by kicking her. The only reason that horse was neurologically capable of having for kicking out like that was “I’m scared, I feel threatened, there is something moving right there that I think is dangerous”.
Let me explain my view. Horses take pictures, make memories of them, and compare them to their instinctual prey pictures. If it is close enough to something not scary, or they have been trained to deal with it NOT out of that comparison, one is safe.
Now ask yourself, what does a big cat or a wolf look like? The are stretched out on the ground.
I have seen horses time and again, and been the target a few times, react as though the figure on the ground, only seconds before in an upright or mounted position, be treated exactly like a predator in the grass.
So what do it do to train about this. Two things. I teach Line Drop Dead Stop, so they have something ELSE to do when things go bad like this vid. And I desensitize them to objects that resemble an approaching predator. Having done so I’ll tell you that horses I train this way do not swing their butts at the “predator,” they turn their heads toward it.
To examine it and see what it is.
If you search on You Tube you can an example of the result of teaching this.
and the same mare, on a logging road trail ride, got to prove it, when her foal jumped on my back as I mounted, and knocked flat on my back. The mare, Altea, faced me took only one step back to get me out of her blind spot and stopped dead.
Line Drop Dead Stop is a life saver.
And even if a predator does approach your horse trained this way they will tend to face it and may well, as another horse I trained this way, run off a pack of dogs. He spun and faced them and charged. Happy horse, happy old rider, happy owner of the horse I trained this way for him I recommend everyone do this simple training. It’s just a cue added to ground tie, nothing magic or hard.
Totally agree stacy!! Had a similar accident our older horse didn’t see my sister coming around her and clocked her right in the jaw. It wasnt malicious at all just sheer reaction. Up until the day she died the poor horse was so remorseful for the whole thing! She adored my sister and strangley enough the whole accident brought them even closer.
OK…so how do you turn a horse around that reacts like this…
I totally agree! What a great way to explain it so that others understand the flight or fight instance. I have a gelding that will do just about anything I ask and rarely shies. In fact, my friends comment on how steady he is (thanks to Natural horsemanship training from the time he was foaled). Anyway, on a recent ride I held my friend’s horse tail fly whisk for her at the same time I tried to take a photo. Her horse’s ears were lazy so I waved the whisk. LOL, my guy bolted sideways, but I got him under control (dropped the whisk on purpose). My friend was surprised at his jumping and commented on it. My question to her was to ask what the whisk was made from. She replied it was horse tail…and the light came on in her eyes. I said, all he saw as a tail flicked drastically in his direction and he thought he was going to be kicked. Of course he jumped, it was all my fault. We did a have rub down with the whisk after that. But I enjoyed the idea of my friend understanding the concept.
I have known horses who would kick a person on purpose. There was no malice involved, however. In these situations, the horses had learned that if they got “mean” with people, they got to stop working and go back out to pasture, not that there are different rules for communicating with humans. One would work for a bit, then decide she was done and lash out. She jumped 20feet sideways and cowkicked me in the face, calm as can be, eye contact the whole time. I blame her old owner for that, 100%. , and she did it to a few other people before being put down. The other was rehabilitated, thankfully. These are few and far between. Its hard to know, from this video, if the horse meant to send a “back off” signa as he would to another horse, but I would agree that unless this was a habit with him it was probably just a startle reaction.
Hi Elizabeth, I agree with your statement except that I did own a mare that would pin her ears and kick anyone around intentionally. The poor horse had been tortured in her stall with a lunge whip at the age of 2 at a certain equine college (MM) and never learned to totally trust humans again. After owning her for 15 years and working constantly with her trust issues, a lot of her hostility got better but I was always hyper alert when handling her.
When I moved to a new, much busier stable where people wouldn’t leave her alone, she reverted to her distrust and aggression towards humans. She intentionally spun her hindquarters around and kicked a person standing in the arena one day. Sadly, I immediately arranged to have the vet put her down.
There are vicious horses out there but 99.9% of the time they are made that way by humans. This clip is a very short one and doesn’t show the horse’s general attitude from day to day but to me it sure looks like this was an intentional, non-fear related kick. I do believe we can “over-face” horse by trying to force them past their mental limits and their reaction can be violent.
another reason why the state of CT wants to label horses as vicious animals…unfortunately
Really!!! Send me links to that issue please…
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/02/11/connecticut-gov-dannel-malloy-proposes-law-to-ban-vicious-label-on-horses/ and http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20131114/connecticut-horse-lovers-say-vicious-label-would-harm-stables-riders
Here’s a link to the Connecticut issue btw: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/09/24/conn-supreme-court-hearing-appeal-of-lawsuit-labeling-horses-inherently-vicious/
Had to look it up myself after seeing that. (facepalm)
I know I’m preaching what most people know but please…please wear a helmet for these reasons alone. I also would never jump a horse in snowy conditions dangerous for horse and rider. It’s hard to make judgement because you aren’t seeing the whole video. Did she do something earlier to really upset this horse or was the horse being reactive to an object suddenly falling to the side of it. Since they are a flight animal survival mode could have most certainly kicked in.
Think of all the people that intentionally hit their horses. This horse was just reacting to something it considered dangerous the way all animals do, with fight or flight. In this case, the horse chose both. Really unfortunate.
This horse was so emotionally charged and just got rid of the “tiger” on his back , turned kicked and run … could have been a dog, ball, log what ever… it was almost a “normal” reaction of the horse specially for his personality
I agree with Stacy. Wisely put. I do wish that a mention of the importance of helmets had been included.
wonderful reply stacy. very well said.
Horses are a “flight” animal. No matter how bomb-proof you think your horse may be there is still something out there that will trigger their flight instinct. Like a rider falling in the c
Luckily the kick looked like it made contact when the leg was almost at full extension or it could have been much worse
Ouch I almost hurled, and why in gods name was she not wearing a helmet
I think she was wearing one.
Are you amazed at the number of responses and the emtions that go with the responses?
I do seem to think that what happened in that video was an accident. Horses always can get worked up like we do…it still does look terrible though, no matter what. It just happens sometimes. Also, I have tried to saddle exercise with my own horse! He was great for it! Each time he got better at stopping to look at it once it hit the ground. Really am glad that I found a few tricks from you that I could use, Stacy!
I agree with Stacy. Emotions involved here and it may not involve the human. It looks terrible but..it’s an animal and we need to always acknowledge that.
Sent from my iPad
Also the exact reason why riders, especially children, should wear helmets when they ride.
I agree with you Stacey, I don’t think the horse did it to be malicious but it kicked out in fear…nothing more nothing less
I have been raised around horses, many kinds of personalities, breeds, as well as the different life style of horses. Without being right there knowing what exactly happened at that moment or moments prior there is no way to say if the horse intentionally was trying to hurt the rider. Was this pony in pain for some reason or other. What happened was not good at all, but it did happen. Is all it takes to avoid anything like this again is to know your horse, surrounding, conditions as well as yourself.
that horse MEANT to kick her, he aimed and you only had to look at his head and expression (ears) to know he was not surprised or scared…he wanted to nail her.
The only reason he “wanted to nail her” was out of fear that she was somehow dangerous and he was going to fight off the threat to him. Horse are not neurologically capable of being malicious or getting revenge. I know a horse that will go after people in what appears a vicious way, but there is something wired weird in him that he feels the need to keep everyone away from him because he feels they are somehow a threat and he needs to keep his place of dominance in the world – but he’s reacting to instincts – not to conscious thought or planning.
He indeed wanted to let her know practice was over!
id like to see 15 minutes of footage preceding this snippet…
Generally when a horse is purposefully attacking something, whether it’s an animal or a human, the tend to charge at them using their teeth and front feet. Horses really can’t see behind themselves that well. He probably just saw her shape and thought it was threatening. And saying that you can tell that he meant to by his ears doesn’t mean much. Horses put their ears back to show many different emotions. Anyways, she shouldn’t have been riding without a saddle. Especially on a horse that isn’t experienced. Even on a horse that is experienced and with the proper equipment anything can happen. Every rider should know that and be prepared for it. I’ve been competing since I was four and I am still very cautious around every horse I come in contact with, even my own that I’ve known since they were born. They are animals. So naturally they are going to act like animals.
A Front attack is NOT always a rule!
Umm…I believe you are wrong. Horses are fight or flight. And in some cases fight THEN flight. He saw her as a possible ‘attacking predator’ kicked her and ran. So of course he meant to kick ‘the predator’! Typically, unless horribly abused by a specific person, horses do not hold personal ‘grudges’ toward a particular person. As a side note, jumping saddle-less is not normally recommended.
My horse turns her butt towards me and tries to purposefully kick me in the head when I lunge her. She is spoilt and a dominant mare. I had to stop lunging her as I couldn’t get out of the way quick enough.
Thank you for sharing your experience! I have been involved with horses for 50+ years. I have a Mare that started to show the same tendencies – She felt she owned me for a while. I had the opportunity to work with a fellow Chris Erwin and his Wife. I also witnessed this issue with my daughter’s gelding and her working with him. I guess people think you can not get into an agreement with a horse. While I begged to differ!!!! My daughter’s horse is a big guy so when you have 1400lbs of ” I don’t want to do it” coming at you. (* he was 4). My suggestion to her was take it back to the basic and stop making it a work out every time you saw him. My Prized Mare on the other hand – just got ahead of herself there and she felt she was going start making my decisions for me and started to get possessive over me. Long Trail Rides seemed to work that out in time. HORSES are HORSES 1st. – we ask so so much of them. We demand they come out of that Natural status and we think they should mind read the human. For this Video – 1st it is too short – second I don’t recommend jumping without a saddle ever! WATCH the horse not anything else – she dismounts falls back – he is completed the task – he can see where she is and know the pressure is off. he the turns slightly (aims – aimlessly) from planted hooves – he applies his pressure at her AT the same time his ears pin with the action of the kick out at her directly – other wise he should of just kicked out aimlessly – but that is a aim- as he would use the pressure in the herd. Did he plan to connect??? I don’t know and doubt it. However. He brought his ears forward after the action and left. If it was a scare. It would of lacked the control. He would of continued. He pretty much gave this young lady the FINGER! Unless someone can provide me with an other angle of this movie. Or more proof. This horse did not appreciate his rider and demonstrated this and these things can happen from time to time.
I guess horses all have different personalities and some are mean and some are sweet. I have a senior horse (22) who is as sweet as can be and would never hurt anyone or anything. He is just a GOOD horse. My 5 yr old mare used to be nice but has gotten mean lately and her Dam was just like that (I know both parents and her Sire is wonderful!). My mare is going to a trainers as she is not safe (for me) to be around. She is also mean to my senior horse.
Awesome answer Stacy, I 100% agree. Yes the horse aimed but out of flight and fear. Not out of anger towards this girl. Stacy you are a breathe of fresh air for the horse world. Love it!
Excellent reply Stacy. Hence never walk up on a horse from the rear with out talking to them to let them know you are they, they get startled and react to the motion or sound that catches them off guard. Most horses do not intend on hurting their riders unless they are being mistreated.
I’ve seen horses kick at things that surprise them like that even when they aren’t especially charged up… If it totally catches them off guard like that… defend first, then ask questions. 😉
I had a somewhat situation happen to me. I was riding a green horse on a trail. There were deer in a bottom below us. The other horse we were with spooked, slamming into the filly I was riding. She went sideways. I was caught offguard and was half on/half off. So I thought I would just go ahead and slide the rest of the way off and not spook her. Still having hold of the reins, she turned and kicked me just like this video. Not out of malice, out of panic. But she caught me in the gluteus maximus. Nevertheless, I couldn’t sit right for weeks.