The first time I got kicked by my horse, it was so hard that I couldn’t stand and had to kneel on the ground.
I remember the impact being so loud that the owners of the neighboring property came out to ask who was shooting.
Fortunately, I sustained the kick to my upper thigh, and the femur is the hardest bone in the human body, so I didn’t suffer a broken bone.
What Is It Like to Get Kicked by a Horse and How Dangerous Can It Be?
A horse can kick at around 220 miles per hour, and this enables them to land approximately 2,000 pounds of destructive force for each square inch of your body their hoof connects with. A kick to your chest, stomach, head and other vital areas can cause internal bleeding and even death.
What It Feels Like to be Kicked by a Horse
The kick I described was my very first, and it was a whopping kick, yet I was lucky.
I had received only glancing impact from my horse’s hoof, and once the initial subcutaneous bleeding had cleared, I could see that only her toe had actually landed on me.
This means that if she had managed to land the entire hoof, I may have suffered a shattered leg.
I have been kicked by horses many times since, but none of these were quite as severe as that first one. Since then, I have learned how to avoid getting kicked and how to limit the damage I sustain as the result of a kick.
Pressure Needed to Harm a Human With a Horse Kick
Just how much pressure from a kick is needed to harm a human’s different body parts?
I decided to find out just how much pressure or force is needed to injure different parts of the human body as an indication of how much it hurts to get kicked by a horse.
The skull is particularly resilient to pressure, but it doesn’t take that much force as only 520 pounds of pressure will crush your skull.
Considering that a horse kick is capable of as much as 2,000 pounds of force, it would easily cave in your cranium.
Luckily, the human head is rounded, which means that most kicks glance off, and while you’ll have a terrible headache, the majority of the kick’s force will slide off your skull.
If you are unlucky and the kick lands somewhere soft where the force of the kick doesn’t slide off, such as your nose or eye socket, you will probably suffer a maiming injury or even a full skull compression and trauma that can lead to death.
The human chest can suffer a crushing injury when as little as 250 pounds of pressure is applied for a consistent period of time.
A sudden but forcefully larger pressure such as the 2,000 pounds a horse can deliver will instantly stop the heart or rupture the aorta of the heart.
Breaking a Leg or Arm
To break the femur, the hardest bone in the human body, a horse needs to deliver 4,000 Newtons of pressure, which is probably why my leg didn’t break.
However, other softer bones like an ulna or tibia may break much more easily—not to mention the knee!
Ways in Which Horses Kick
A horse kick can take on many forms.
There’s the typical straight-back kick that a horse may do to fend off an attacker such as a wild coyote that attacks it (or a human that sneaks up on it), and then there’s also the “cow kick”, which swings to the side.
The “cow kick” is particularly sneaky as you rarely see this type of kick coming. It will often happen when you are bending in under the horse to clean their hooves or if you are treating your horse for an injury.
“Cow kicks” are particularly dangerous, and while they may not be as forceful as a straight backward kicks, they can land on a vital area of your body such as your head, thus breaking bones and even killing you.
Additionally, a horse can also rear up and kick with its front feet. This is commonly known as a “stallion kick” and it can also be lethal.
When a horse kicks down with their front hooves, they have the potential to crush your skull.
How Kicks From Horses are Used in the Past
Believe it or not, horse kicks have played a vital part in our development and continue to factor into our lives and our world today.
In the past, horses were trained for war. Horses were specially conditioned to kick and jump, killing the enemy beneath their hooves.
A horse’s ability to kick and “dance on the spot” proved useful on the battlefield where kicking was desired and even trained for, and it is where the movements of classical dressage originated.
Of course, when a horse kicks you today, it’s much less desirable.
Another way in which horses’ ability to kick has proven useful is in the world of farming, where a well-trained ranch horse can protect their rider from attack by angry cattle when the rider has to dismount to help a calf or treat an injured steer.
The horse will often position itself between the rider and the rest of the herd, keeping them safe by kicking at any approaching cattle.
So I’ve found that while getting kicked isn’t pleasant, a horse that does kick (and especially one that’s trained to do it) can be really helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions about What It Feels Like to Get Kicked by a Horse and How Dangerous It Is
What to do after being kicked by a horse?
It’s vital to assess the damage and decide whether a doctor’s needed. Treat the bruising with pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications. Rub the bruised area to help the subcutaneous bleeding reabsorb.
How much force is there in a horse kick?
A horse can potentially kick with 8,722 Newtons of force, and it can land an average of 2,000 pounds of pressure for each kick.
The Final Kick
It really hurts to be kicked by a horse, and you can expect a broken bone or serious contusions.
The real danger of a kick is the blunt force trauma of the horse’s hooves that can severely and even fatally damage the human body.
My advice is to avoid getting kicked by a horse at all costs as you never know when the next kick will be the last kick.