How Strong Is a Horse Kick (+ Can It Kill You)?

How Strong Is a Horse Kick

Where I live and walk my dog there are horses roaming. It’s a fantastic sight to see these magnificent animals in a wild environment, but it comes with risk. As you can imagine, a horse kick can be dangerous to your dog and you. 

Whilst my dog or I have never been kicked by a one, I did wonder how strong and powerful a horse kick is. Here’s all you need to know… 

How strong is a horse kick? A horse’s kick is equivalent to 2,000 psi. A whole 2,000 psi of horse kick is very hard and powerful and can lead to serious injury, even death. A horse kick could easily kill a dog, and even a human.

Keep reading as it’s important to understand not just what makes a horse kick so strong but also why horses kick. By the end of this article, you’ll know what you can do to avoid being kicked by a horse, and whether you’d survive a kick to the head even!

How dangerous is a horse kick and can it kill a human?

To give you one example of how dangerous a horse kick is, news recently emerged of an Irish stable worker being kicked by a horse he was attending to. 

The horse kicked him, leaving him with serious injuries. He was rushed to hospital on time, but sadly, the man died from the impact of the horse’s kick as reported in the UK’s Mirror newspaper.

Dylan Boggan, 23, had been working with the animal when it attacked him at 1.30pm on Tuesday in Fethard-on-Sea, Ireland. Mr Boggan, from south Wexford, southeastern Ireland, suffered fatal injuries and later died in the “unspeakable” tragedy.

That’s how hard a horse can kick. If it doesn’t leave you with fractures or internal injuries, it can kill a human being. Read more below…

How hard does a horse kick
By pawing at the ground, the horse might be ready to kick hard (

How hard can a horse kick?

The psi of a horse kick is said to be 2,000 pounds of force. That’s how hard a horse can kick: in simple terms: VERY HARD. 

To better understand, think of a horse kick as two times the punching force from a heavyweight boxing champion. I say twice because even the most skilled boxer rarely throws a punch equivalent to 2,000 pounds of force.

How fast is a horse kick?

I’ll give you a rough clue about how powerful a horse can kick is: a horse kick can be as fast as 20 miles per hour, with a lot of weight behind it. It’s said that could be similar to getting hit by a small car moving at 20 mph.

That said, always keep in mind that a horse kick is brutal. Try to imagine the impact on a person caught off guard and hasn’t put on any high-level safety gear like a helmet or a chest guard. 

Tragic, right? I thought so too. 

Why is a horse kick so strong and powerful? 

I can almost hear you thinking, what makes a horse’s legs that strong?

A horse’s legs are designed for endurance — To endure high running speeds, to endure the horse’s heavy body weight, and to endure the weight of people riding them.

The legs of a horse have a special system of joints and bones. Even the fastest running animals, like cheetahs, don’t have this system. Now you know why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a horse’s kick.

Horses throw kicks in different ways, as shown in this video:

  • Lifting both hind legs (the back legs) and kicking backward (the deadliest of them all).
  • Using one of their hind legs to kick in a sideways direction.
  • Using one of their forelimbs (the front legs) to kick backward.
  • Using both front legs to kick in an upward direction.

Horses not only throw kicks at their handlers, they also kick their fellow stablemates, other animals (including dogs), and stationary objects like walls.  

If a horse kicks you, the kick will probably land on these areas of your body:

  • Head or face.
  • Chest.
  • Stomach.
  • Rib area.
  • Upper thighs.
  • And any other area depending on your position near the horse.

The thought of a horse kicking its owner feels like the highest level of betrayal. But let’s not forget that horses don’t think as we do. A horse won’t remember the bond you two share when it lashes out on you with kicks.

How hard can a horse kick
Horses can also aim powerful kicks at other horses too (

How bad is a horse kick?

Injuries from a horse’s kick are life-threatening. They include:

  • Brain damage when kicked in the head.
  • Cardiac arrest when kicked on the chest.
  • Broken nose or jaw when kicked on the face.
  • Broken ribs when kicked on the ribs.
  • Internal bleeding when kicked in the stomach.
  • Broken bones.

Horses often use their front legs to kick stationary things. Kicking objects like walls leads to fractures in their forelimbs and painful bruises around the hooves area.

Can you survive being kicked in the head by a horse?

You might survive a horse kick to the head, but I would surmise that the chances of recovery or not having significant injuries are very slim. Those that survive a horse kick to the head could suffer long-term injuries and possible brain damage. 

Can a horse kick break your femur?

The femur is the hardest bone in the human body, so of all the places to be kicked by a horse, you might think it’s the best (which isn’t a great choice admittedly). However, that’s not to say a horse kick can’t break your femur – it’s very possible it might.

Why do horses try and a kick you?

Horses don’t kick for the sake of it. In most cases, their kicking behavior is the way of communicating. Here are everyday situations that might make a horse to throw kicks:

1. Frustrations

Horses do get frustrated. For example, when their owner takes too long to release them from the stable. Or when demanding food, but their owner is nowhere in sight. Most horses don’t take these delays kindly. 

A horse in distress will kick walls and the stables’ doors to make their discomfort known.

The Equus Magazine website say:

The kick is one of your horse’s most powerful forms of communication. Just as pinned ears or bared teeth send unmistakable messages, a kick–or even the threat of one–speaks volumes about a horse’s state of mind or his physical well-being.

2. To protect their personal space

Sometimes, a horse would want to be left alone. Kicking is a horse’s way of telling its handler that it doesn’t want anyone around. You can tell if a horse wants some alone time. 

can a horse kick kill a dog
Whilst the horse might look friendly, you never know and it could kick you or your dog if startled.

For instance, walking away from you (especially when you’re trying to bond with it). If a horse lets you know it doesn’t want you close by, back away slowly as if to say, “I mean no harm.”

You should also be very wary when a horse starts pawing at the ground in front of you. It could be a warning sign they are unhappy and ready to kick out.

Other times, a horse will also want time alone away from other horses or animals. It will kick to signal that it wants no one around, as seen in this video.

3. Self-defense

A horse uses kicks to protect itself when feeling threatened. Horses know a predator when they see one. They throw kicks to chase away or even injure the predator trying to harm them.

4. To establish dominance within the herd

A horse will throw kicks at another horse that’s trying to dominate its territory. As if to say, “I am the leader here!”

5. When playing

A horse in a playful or good mood will throw kicks in the air. But even then, it’s best not to be near such a horse.   

6. When in pain

Pain will make a horse kick to express its discomfort.  For example, a horse that has terrible back pain. When you try placing the saddle on its back, it might respond with a kick.

During grooming, a horse experiencing pain on any part is likely to throw a kick.

How to stop a horse kicking you (or your dog)

1. Always remember that a horse will give out cues (or signs of displeasure) before it throws a kick at you. Meaning, a horse will do everything in its power to avoid harming you. It’s up to you to read those signs and stay away from the horse to avoid a nasty encounter with it. 

2. Keep in mind that a horse won’t take bullying lightly. And what do I mean by this? If you feel your horse is acting up, don’t try to beat it as a way of instilling discipline. Chances are, it will kick aggressively.

3. Pay attention to any unusual movements from a horse and keep some distance. By doing so, a horse’s kick won’t catch you unawares.

4. Don’t sneak up on a horse thinking they’ll like it when you show up without warning. Horses are known to have blind spots. The horse will throw a kick as it will assume someone is trying to attack it. 

5. Set up kickboards on the stable’s interiors. The kickboards will protect the horse from getting injuries when it starts kicking the stable’s walls.

6. Swiftly respond to a horse’s distress call. If it’s frustrated due to hunger or wants to leave the stable, honor its wish.

7. Some horses resort to kicking as a way of overpowering their owner. If you’re having difficulties keeping your horse’s kicking behaviors under control, engage a professional horse trainer.

Handy Hint: 14 signs to tell that your horse has bonded with you.

Can a horse kick kill a dog?                            

There are numerous examples and documented cases where a horse kick has killed a dog. Typically this will occur when dogs are out of control and start spooking horses by running up behind them and in-between their legs.

A horse’s natural reaction is one of fear, and that will manifest itself in a strong kick to the dog, which will often be fatal. 

Can a horse kick kill a lion? 

There is no doubt that a horse kick could kill a lion. Aside from the data revealed in this article, other sources also say a horse kick is the equivalent of being hit by a bowling ball flying at 80 mph. That type of force is enough to kill even the fiercest of lions.


A horse’s kick will leave you with fatal injuries, or dead – there’s no two ways about it. If you don’t want to get kick by a strong horse kick, or put your dog at risk, always be very cautious!

A horse’s kick can bring out the “beast” in them.

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Categorized as Horses