is when a horse (or cow!) kicks out to the side with a hind leg. It got
its name from cows that kicked when being milked. Perhaps their udder was sore
or they were anticipating that the milker would soon be attaching the dreaded
milking machine ! In any event, the cow would take a sideways swipe with the hind
leg which was basically saying "Get out of here, I don't like that".
Most cows get over cow kicking once they become familiar with the milking process
and are desensitized to the sensations of being touched in their very sensitive
areas. Those that didn't get used to it would require the use of "cow kickers"
which is the name given to a set of metal hobbles that slip over a cow's hocks.
That's a little history for the term "cow-kicking".
onto horses that cow kick. It is basically for the same reason. The horse is saying,
"Get out of here, I don't like that."
if a normally good horse all of a sudden cow kicks, you can be sure that there
is a logical reason - tender skin, a cut, scab or sore, rough grooming, or use
of harsh tools. If you are like me, when spring comes, I want all that old winter
hair to come off right now !! So maybe we get a little vigorous with our grooming
or use tools that are quick but not as comfortable for the horse.
be sure there are no cuts, scrapes, scabs or other sores in the area.
take a look at the grooming tools your daughter was using. In the flank and belly
area, the skin is thin and sensitive so on those areas (as well as the face, legs,
girth and udder or sheath areas) you should never use metal curry combs, shedding
blades, stiff bristle brushes or the like. I like to use the soft, gummy curries
in a circular motion. They require a little more elbow grease than using a shedding
blade but they are healthier for the horse's skin and most horses, by their body
language, tell us that they are more comfortable too.
that this gelding has it in his mind that he is going to be groomed somewhere
he doesn't like, you'll have to desensitize that area just like you would with
a new colt. Start with just your gloved hand at first. (I like to use the ones
with the rubber bumps on them.) Begin in the shoulder area and work your way
Each time you sense resistance, work on that
area before you move rearward toward the flank. Once you can rub the horse all
over, including his ticklish spots, with your grooming
gloves, do the same thing with a soft rubber curry. It might take a few sessions
to thoroughly desensitize him again, but if he has been with you for 5 years,
he is obviously a good horse and it would certainly be worth your time to work
on this rather than sell him.
If you have a minute,
let me know how you make out with your
Hi Again Cherry,
you for your advice, it has taken awhile and a lot of desensitizing but the stubborn
old man has finally given up his bad habit (hopefully for good!) I am grateful
to you, I would never have guessed that would work, and being able to keep him
in the family is worth more than I can say! He was a rescued animal, who has become
a friend to myself, my children and my grandchildren. We have all learned a great
deal from him. Keep up the good work and thank you again.
Deb Slavish and Willy