Stall kicker - kick chain input or other ideas?


My five year old gelding has always been sensitive and somewhere in the last half a year he’s become a stall kicker. It’s not food related, not about his neighbor (though his neighbor might have helped encourage him), sometimes about attention but he does it when no human is around to see as well. It’s like he gets this grumpy little energy and just can’t keep it in. So he bites the wall near his water bucket then rams his butt in the back of the stall and kicks out. Sometimes really tiny, sometimes not.

We’ve adjusted his food, he has some toys (I’m going to add more hanging toys where he bites the wall), he was scoped for ulcers and he’s in daily turnout with a regular work program. I think as he gets stronger and longer workouts in the winter he’ll improve a bit mentally but in the meantime, the wall mats are ripped to shreds and I need to figure out how to protect his legs.

The problem; he’s cut his hocks on several occasions and has developed what really wants to be a quarter crack in the kicking foot. (He is in four shoes). Currently looking for stronger wall mats that will survive the nails in his shoes.

My awesome farrier really wants me to try and discourage the behavior to help his hoof. I’m afraid that with a kick chain, he’ll freak out and I won’t be able to settle him before he hurts himself further. Has anyone used one? Any gentler version?

I saw some misting systems that spray upon impact from the vibration, not sure if I can rig it where he kicks though. Any experience with those?

Any other tricks that you’ve used?

Thanks for the help, COTHers!

I dealt with this with my first horse–what ultimately worked was just putting her on 24/7 turnout. From your description though, it sounds like my mare was much worse than your guy.

Things we tried:
Mats, but if you can rig them up to hang 2-3 inches out from the wall, they’ll work better. They move with the kick but slow it down considerably. This helped a lot before I could get her outside all the time. Didn’t stop the kicking, but stopped a lot of the damage to her and the walls.

Kick chains–worth a shot, they did nothing for my mare, if anything they made it worse. (I doubt this is common though!)

BTDT. Didn’t bother the kicker (who also pawed), who learned how to kick just hard enough to satisfy the urge and make noise as the chain hit the wall but not hard enough for the chain to smack him hard enough to hurt him. But it did scare the crap out of horses in the adjacent stalls and kept them in a constant state of anxiety. So much for that…trying the chain to stop the pawing ended the same way as well. Wish that one was as smart under saddle as he was figuring out how to continue his hobbies. Very successful show horse but somewhat of a dink.

O.U.T. At least 12 hours daily, in a group or with at least one buddy adjacent to more horses. Made it stop. Only reverted after being confined at least a week or more. Never happened at shows, enough distractions to keep his busy brain occupied I suppose.

Move him if you have to, he needs to stop. I was asked to move mine…twice. Finally landed at a barn with the right turn out options, just small paddocks on sand, no vast green pastures, but that’s what worked, the OUT part with company.

agree that your best bet, if you can’t move or turnout more, is to hang stall mats (the heavy duty rubber ones used on the floors) ~2-4" out from the walls. The best way I’ve seen is bolting them to 2x4s, and then hanging the 2x4s from the ceiling. The horse kicks, the matt absorbs a lot of the kick energy, and the space behind the mat provides a buffer. It doesn’t stress the joints/hoof so much, it doesn’t make the ‘satisfying’ noise which in itself can be a deterrent, and by hanging them, you can easily remove them or raise/lower as necessary.

Thanks guys! The first mats were attached to 2x4s but definitely didn’t have a full gap along the stall wall. That’s worth a try! The current mats are gorgeous padded ones that were supposed to last but didn’t so I think I’m going back to the regular barn flooring type.

He’s out as much as he can be for Florida. They go out at 7am and in sometime between noon and 4 depending on how hot it is and if they all look like they’re baking or we get a big storm. It’s single turnout but he shares a fence with a pal and he has a nice spot where he can see the whole farm. He would totally clobber someone in group turnout. Such a peach! :slight_smile:

A friend of mine had this problem and purchased this system:

It works great for her horse, who was a fierce kicker.

I dunno, that oddball I had would probably have liked the light shower or stood there wating to lick it like the aquarium fish waiting for bubbles in Finding Nemo.

If it squirted one smack in the face, it might have a better chance, unless it was a really hot day then he’d probably like even that.

At feeding time, Callie used to kick the side of Cloudy’s stall.
So the BO put a stall mat up on that wall, nailed it on, and Callie quit kicking because she couldn’t get the annoying sound to disturb Cloudy.

We have a horse at the barn that was a terrible kicker until we put on kick chains (horses are outside all day!) farrier and vet recommended them as he was injuring himself with the kicking… Chains are not heavy or very long but it stopped the kicking dead in its tracks. I for one recommend kick chains if needed!

I tried kick chains on my kicker. They had very lightweight chains. He’s a very smart boy and thought they were fun. They didn’t hurt too much and they made a great noise on the wall. I went to the hardware store and replaced the lightweight chains with very heavy duty chains (but short-only 5 or 6 links). That stopped the kicking overnight. The chains have been used on a number of horses and always work if you make sure they are put on properly-above the fetlocks not below.

A friend of mine had this problem and purchased this system:

It works great for her horse, who was a fierce kicker.[/QUOTE]

This system worked in less than 24 hours for several horses in our barn who were kickers. It was installed on one stall and each horse spent some time in it. The kicking from each horse who spent time in that stall has stopped completely even once back in their own stall. One horse had kicked through the stall wall into his neighbours stall on two occasions. One day with this system and he has stopped completely. We have sensors on the door, side wall and back wall. Worth the money!

Why don’t you just not shut him in a stall? Easy fix. And it’s almost free. Much healthier for them, mentally and physically.

Horses need to be horses turned out,not locked up in a stalls. I have an OTTB who was a stall kicker,when i got him. He’s been turned out on a 180 acres since i got him. When he does come into the barn he no longer kicks,but he only comes in, in bad weather…once nasty weather is past back out he goes.

A lot of the vices horses have are because of living unnatural life’s, being locked up in a stall.

It might not be an option where OP boards. Not really fair to assume everything is possible for every owner, sometimes you work with what is available.

It might not be an option where OP boards. Not really fair to assume everything is possible for every owner, sometimes you work with what is available.[/QUOTE]

Exactly. I stayed at a boarding place that was good for my mare (24hr t/o), but that I hated, until she retired. But she was a tough old bird and easy keeper. It wouldn’t have worked with any of the other horses I’ve owned, even others that have spent time living out 24/7.

I had a mare that would kick in temporary stalls at shows so a kick chain became part of show equipment I hated it but it was a heavy one and did stop the behavior

I also know a horse who was cured with the Quit Kick system.

A friend of mine had this problem and purchased this system:

It works great for her horse, who was a fierce kicker.[/QUOTE]

I just got this - its AWESOME!!! Problem solved!!!

So glad you got it and it’s working for you!!!