stable door kicking

jodieshaw

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Apr 7, 2008
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Help! Does anyone have any advice they can give me? My new horse arrived with me a week ago, she settled in really well apart from every morning at 4.30 am she kicks at her stable door, she is a 16.1hh cob so she is a big girl so when she kicks the door it makes a really loud banging noise this in turns starts my terriers barking waking up our whole family and more to the point I am worried about our neighbours being disturbed. She only kicks at the door early in the morning, she is fine at tea time and anyother time when she is in. Please can anyone help as 4.30am mornings are not agreeing with me - I am knackered, as I just get up and turn her out as soon as she starts, I have tried putting a bale of shavings infront of the door, infact last night I put 2 bales infront of the door but she just moves them!!!!
 

Trewsers

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I guess she likes an early start! hehehehe! Fancy moving the bales like that!! I can only think she is still settling in? Plus if you go down to her when she starts with it then she'll probably carry on doing it. But its a tough one if you're bothered about disturbing your neighbours! Could you move the dogs to where they can't hear her or do they live out? Funny how she doesn't do it of an evening. Could you leave her out overnight?
 

Nookster

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Does she need to be kept in?

Is she on her own or with other horses?

Seems like shes used to a routine and expects it. Doing anything when she kicks the door is just reinforcing the fact that it gets attention. I would be inclined to ignore it if she can not damage her self and see how it goes? I know it will be very hard to do especially if neighbours can hear, but in turn no reaction will mean kicking gets her no where. My boy started this at evening feed times. Scrapping the floor, if he does it I walk in the opposite direction and leave the stable block out of his sight ( gets him no where). Its stopped him demanding but I know might not work for every horse.

Could you install a guard (chain guards ) that will keep her a foot back from the door?
 

mikh

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My mare used to do this, what we did:

Got 2 large metal shaped D's and fixed them to either side of the door, on the wall
Bought a big plank of wood about 4ft long and 2-3inches thick
made 2 small indents about 1inchx1inchx1inch (so that these parts could rest on the metal and the bar wouldn't easily slip out)
Also put a carabeena (SP) clip on to secure the bar to the wall as my mare could nudge it out

I hope this makes sense, it worked for us - will try find a pic!
 

Fizz

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Aug 28, 2004
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rubber mats on the door work well too.

if shes doing it at that time in the morning its harder to stop , has she geot enough hay etc?
 
J

Julz

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put her out to live so she cant kick at all.... my sisters horse did this fir three years and ended up lame with a RSI. treatment was to turn out for good.
 

**jet**

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I have one mare that does this the minute anyone appears on the yard tried putting carpet on back on door bit quieter but dosnt stop her!! ignored her as well that just makes her worse!! perhaps she spoilt :D
 

atillathefun

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I would mat the door or get a slip rail as if you can it would be better to get her out of it rather than avoid it as you never know if you might want to stable her in the future.
You can get slip rail brackets at Robinson's
http://www.robinsons-uk.com/products/search.asp?keyword=slip+rail#sku.41410

As Nookster says it sounds like she is used to a routine of going out early is that what happened with her old home? Hopefully she will get out of it when she realises she does go out (when it suits you) but I guess she wont get used to a new routine until she has stayed in a few mornings until the time you want to turn her out.
 
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capalldubh

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ignored her as well that just makes her worse!!
This is called an extinction burst :) When a behaviour has been reinforced and the reinforcement suddenly stops, the animal (or human - very common in babies) repeats the behaviour more and more and more until it drives you up the walls. You have to ignore it, because if you reinforce the behaviour even once, you are right back to square one (or worse). If you keep ignoring it, and the horse does not get the reward it's working for (probably being let out), it will stop doing it eventually.

However you do need to work out what's causing it in the first place? So could be a long standing habit, or could be due to something that winds the horse up at that time (e.g. a central heating pump starting up, or just dawn coming...) and eliminate it. If you try to prevent the behaviour by blocking it (i.e. putting up bars etc) and the cause remains, the animal will simply choose another behaviour to deal with the cause (which may be even more annoying or injurious).

Here endeth the behavioural science broadcast ;)
 
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wonkeywoody

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Ditto Capa......

There is a device (not cheap tho) on the market, based on dog barking correction. Its fitted to the outside of the door and when the horse kicks the door it gets a squirt of water from the device. (the squirt comes from floor level upwards...)
 
http://irishnhsociety.proboards41.com/index.c.cgi?board=usefulinformation&action=display&thread=1191929099

First, why is your horse kicking the door?

Is he stabled for too long? Horses (bar any vet reasons) should be allowed out to graze every day. This is for their digestive health, physical development, mental stimulation, social stimulation, and to allow them time to be a horse. Horses are not built to live in stables and do develop vices including door banging, windsucking, weaving, cribbing, etc.

Has the horse got enough hay, so that he's not hungry for long periods?

Does he have to wait until everything else in the yard has been fed before he gets his?

Does he have to wait until last to go out?

Has door banging worked for him and it's got him what he wants?

Does it matter if he bangs the door?

Will he hurt himself?

Can I change my routine in some way?

Or is horse on a huge yard where what I say , ultimately doesn't matter?



Bearing all this in mind, here are a few ideas:

1. Take horse out of stable and put him in field.

2. If you're bringing in horse to stable to be fed, have food in stable before you go out to catch your horse.

3. If horse is stabled near other horses feed him first (before he bangs door) as you don't want behaviour spreading.

4. When in stable, ignore him when he is kicking. (this means ALL people on yard, not just his owner)

Do not look at him,

Do not walk over to him,

Do not bang on door yourself (this is a bit ironic as now both of you are kicking the door :eek: )

Do not feed him, etc.

So banging on door doesn't get any results.

5. When horse is not banging on door, then you can look, walk over, feed, etc.

6. Put carpet on inside of door and just at the start of the stable floor, if its a long term issue.
 

lauraandharvey

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my horse kicks when he is left in alone
i.e. cannt see any other horses
when he is hungy and knows it is tea time
or just because he wants attention
the only thinng that seems to work is ignorance
he is a cob too so i know how loud they can bang
xx
 

mikh

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Bearing all this in mind, here are a few ideas:

1. Take horse out of stable and put him in field.

2. If you're bringing in horse to stable to be fed, have food in stable before you go out to catch your horse.

3. If horse is stabled near other horses feed him first (before he bangs door) as you don't want behaviour spreading.

4. When in stable, ignore him when he is kicking. (this means ALL people on yard, not just his owner)

Do not look at him,

Do not walk over to him,

Do not bang on door yourself (this is a bit ironic as now both of you are kicking the door :eek: )

Do not feed him, etc.

So banging on door doesn't get any results.

5. When horse is not banging on door, then you can look, walk over, feed, etc.

6. Put carpet on inside of door and just at the start of the stable floor, if its a long term issue.
Having had a horse who was also a repetitive door banger because she knew every trick in the book to irritate everyone, I know that all of the above doesn't work. Personally I would avoid number 2 at all costs it will encourage bargyness. I removed the door and instead put up a wooden bar and that was the only thing that worked. As a result of removing the door my mare didn't develop any other stable vices she just stopped kicking.
 

capalldubh

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horse who was also a repetitive door banger because she knew every trick in the book to irritate everyone,
It's really not useful to think of horses like this - she most certainly wasn't doing it to irritate, that would assume she knew how you think and was able to think like you, something which it's not clear that even chimps can do (not to mention some humans).

She did it because it got her something she wanted or because it stopped something she didn't want.
 

gordysgirl

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I think the idea of removing door & replacing with bar which she cannot remove sounds the most sensible option. Alternativley turnout out full time.
I know is sounds like a sensible option to ignore it, but if it is waking the whole family & disturbing neighbours - you will become very unpopular very quickly!:)
 

mikh

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It's really not useful to think of horses like this - she most certainly wasn't doing it to irritate, that would assume she knew how you think and was able to think like you, something which it's not clear that even chimps can do (not to mention some humans).

She did it because it got her something she wanted or because it stopped something she didn't want.
This mare could switch on and off her lights, bump her wooden bar along till it came loose yet keep standing in her stable she didn't escape - hence why it had to be clipped to the wall. She only banged when people were in the yard, we had cctv to view our horses, she had enough hay to last a life time, so what did she bang? She never got anything when she kicked there is no reward associated with kicking the door. You say she can't think like a human, but then go on to say that she did it cause she wanted something which is practically saying she does have the ability to think like us - isn't persistantly doing something to get what you want typical human behaviour...?

When the door was removed and bar put up she stopped kicking she didn't weave, paw ground, box walk etc instead so was in no way was the kicking stress related.
 
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mikh

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I think the idea of removing door & replacing with bar which she cannot remove sounds the most sensible option. Alternativley turnout out full time.
I know is sounds like a sensible option to ignore it, but if it is waking the whole family & disturbing neighbours - you will become very unpopular very quickly!:)
I agree with becoming unpopular quickly also with the tendancy to copy each others vices the last thing you want is them all banging together;)
 

wildponies

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What time is she coming in at night? Try to bring her in as late as possible. Put a rubber mat on the door, turn her out as early as possible. Once she's in a routine she'll settle.
 

capalldubh

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isn't persistantly doing something to get what you want typical human behaviour...?
Eh, no? It's something you can observe in lots of animals - see post on extinction burst above. It's nothing to do with being able to work out what you or another person or animal is thinking, it's just a learned behaviour.

Problem is, people see an animal doing something that they would do, and assume the animal is doing it for the same reasons they would. But animals don't (and can't) think like us.

Because you can't immediately see what's reinforcing her behaviour, doesn't mean that she's doing it to annoy you.

Funny thing about extinction bursts - new parents get caught in the trap all the time. Child wants sweets at eh checkout, doesn't get them and throws a tantrum. Parent gets the sweeties, child stops. Next time, child only has to look a bit grizzly and sweeties are got. Eventually, parent decides to take a stand, but child has learned crying=sweeties, so cries harder and harder until parent decides they are about to be reported to child services and gets sweeties. Or decides never to take child to shop again. Both deal with the unpleasant situation, but neither has dealt with the problem . Unless you ride out the extinction burst you have not trained the child not to tantrum or the horse not to kick the wall. But social pressure is a powerful thing, right enough, and better to change the environment than get on the wrong side of your neighbours :)
 
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FinkleyAlex

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I bought the water squirting machine off ebay, when mine decided to kick the door at breakfast time (like his legs havent been through enough trauma already!) he got a squirt in the face, did it twice, learnts quickly and now patiently waits for his brekkie. I stick it back on every 6 months and wait for him to test it and then it comes off again, havent had to put it on for 2 years now!