Picking up hooves a problem

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Picking up hooves a problem

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  • When a horse wants to put leg down while your picking hoof
  • How to pick out a draft horse's hoof

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    04-28-2012, 09:56 AM
Picking up hooves a problem

I have always had a hard time picking up my Percheron's hooves, especially the hind feet. It sounds like classic draft horse stuff: legs like immovable posts; if I leaned on him to shift his weight, he leaned back harder. Once his feet are up in your hand he rests his weight in your hand and then often slams his foot down when he's had enough.

After two months of clicker training, he now picks them up willingly but honestly, it seems physically hard for him. I don't lean on him anymore, just ask, but he shifts his weight back and forth several times, picks up an easier foot, and seems to lose his balance frequently. How do I tell if it's still a behavior problem or a physical problem?
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    04-28-2012, 09:59 AM
You must have a farrier you use, right? Has he/she said anything about it?

Have you asked your vet? What has your vet told you?

Without seeing your horse, we can't exactly help you all that much.

I'd consult with those two first :)
    04-28-2012, 11:27 AM
You very well could be dealing with a physical issue. EPSM and shivers are both draft ailments that manifest as general hindend weakness and instability. A simple test would be can he pivot on his back legs in a fluid motion? Can he easily back? It can be very subtle and the first sign could be nothing more than a change in his head and neck position when you ask for something..
    04-30-2012, 09:49 PM
My farrier says he is just being a "typical draft" and my vet checked him out fairly briefly, flexed a hind leg, and said she saw no evidence of EPSM or stiffness, although she didn't rule out is having a touch of arthritis (Ahab is seventeen). I got the name of a chiropractor who comes to our area once or twice a month, and I think I will schedule an appointment for Ahab.
    04-30-2012, 10:05 PM
Originally Posted by Captain Evil    
My farrier says he is just being a "typical draft"
That doesn't explain anything.. your farrier should offer you more than "typical draft" grr.

OP I hope the chiro has better answers for you!
    04-30-2012, 10:14 PM
It might just be Lazyitis. He's gotten away with it for so long why should he hold up his feet. When a horse demands to put it's hoof down, I chase it out on the lunge for 3 circles. The first time teaches nothing but the second or third times teach him that he can either cooperate or work.
    05-01-2012, 09:17 AM
This was pretty much how I taught my first horse almost everything, and it was very effective. I never used it for picking up his feet, as we started than when he was just a baby, so it was never an issue.

It might be a case of lazyitis (I like that!); that would click right in with his personality, but he acts as though he wants to try, and he knows a treat is forthcoming when he gets it up.

Well, that didn't sound right.

Anyway, he acts as though he wants to, and he does it, but it takes him a minute and he seems uncomfortable. Then I see him buck high, wide and free in the paddock or roll over twelve times in a row, and I think he's putting me on. He is WAY more athletic in that way than was my Arab.

I'll see what the chiropractor says...
    05-01-2012, 09:45 AM
There's a gal on youtube who taps a draft horse's hip with her pick and his picks up and holds his hoof high for her to clean. It's almost comical but it shows it can be done. She always follows with a treat.Horses quickly figure out that if they lean or drop a hip some dumb person will hold the leg up for them. My trail horse was a pro at dropping his left shoulder and leaning most of his weight on the farrier. The rest he was good with. I'd be busy trying shift his weight so he couldn't lean. Then it dawned on me, change the sequence. Farrier started on right front, rh, lh. When he got to the left front the horse didn't lean. Why? Who knows but it worked ever after.
    05-01-2012, 11:22 AM
I like it! We're going to get there, somehow!
    05-01-2012, 11:32 AM
Try picking up your drafts hooves each day for a few minutes, tap on them, then let it go. Each day do it for a little loner, if they pull back then make a sound that is guttural or a firm NO and hold it then let the hoof down. I did this with my draft mare and she is a lot better now. If she did lean I would take the end of a hoof pick and shove it into her ribs with a NO, not hard enough to hurt her but enough to make it uncomfortable so she wouldn't immediately lean.

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