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Curbing A Stall Kicker

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Stall kicking is a serious problem and may even get your horse evicted from his barn if it's not corrected. Not only does stall kicking potentially damage the stall, but your horse could also end up hurting himself. Fortunately, there are things you can try if you've got a chronic kicker including both behavioral or stall modification. If you're concerned about this issue, then here's some more information and possible solutions.

Why do horses kick stalls?

There's really no single reason why horses kick their stalls. For some horses, it's a way to work out frustrations or discomfort. If your horse is mostly kicking on one wall, it's possible that something on the other side of that wall is bothering him, such as a strange noise or another horse. If he's kicking around at random, then it might be general irritation or frustration. He could also be doing it when he wants attention or more food and knows that kicking will get him that. Some horses just like the sounds they make or do it because they're bored.

What are some common solutions?

If it appears that the stall location is the problem, then try to see if you can change stalls. Try a stall in a busier area if you suspect boredom or a quieter area if too much activity is the problem. See if you can have the horse exercised more or let out into an open pen or pasture more often. Check your horse for health problems or anything else that might be making him more uncomfortable. If its a behavioral issue, then you could try positive reinforcement by ignoring the bad behavior and rewarding the good. Some horse owners have found success with using kicking chains; however, these must be used with caution and should only be a last resort.

Can stall modifications help?

Stall modifications can help especially if your horse is kicking because he likes the noise or wants attention. One way to stop stall kicking is to place a board or barrier which prevents him from getting his rump high enough to kick. If you have a large stall, you can place bales of hay around the favored kicking area. Another thing you can do is put stall padding around the stall or just around where he likes to kick. The padding should be thick enough to withstand repeated heavy kicking. When the horse realizes that he's not able to make as big a ruckus as he had been doing before, then he may stop the habit. Even if he doesn't, he is less likely to be injured and the stall walls will stay intact.

Stall kicking can be a sign that something is bothering your horse, or a way to manipulate you into giving him what he wants when he wants it. It can quickly turn into a destructive habit if left unchecked. Try correcting the problem, first, but if that doesn't work, then see if stall modifications are possible. If you want to check into different types of modifications, then contact a business like Rarin' To Go Corrals that specializes in horse stalls.