Hoof trim - horse tried to lay down: - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Hoof trim - horse tried to lay down:

Today, Levee got his hooves trimmed. I can't remember if he has ever had his hooves trimmed at his previous home (she told me, but I can't remember), but I'm assuming he did since his hooves weren't horribly overgrown.

Anyway, Levee is a yearling gelding and he is quite the gentleman. He's not shy or spooky and he regards most new things as new toys. Today, he learned that cats have claws - apparently, the cat didn't enjoy a horse breathing on him. I had a farrier out today to give him a trim and he stood very nicely for his back hooves. When it came to the fronts, he was okay... aside from the fact he tried to lay down. Is this a normal thing for young horses to do? I've never seen it myself, but that doesn't mean it never happens.

He only tried to lay down twice - one time with each front hoof. The first time, he managed to drop very quickly to his knees, but stood up just as quickly when I smacked him on the shoulder. The second time, he started to slowly drop while watching me. He stood up square as soon as he saw me glaring at him with my hand poised to pop him on the shoulder. After that, he was fine. He didn't stand perfectly, but he did a lot better than I thought he would of.

Is it common for young horses to try to lay down as they're getting trimmed? Did I do the right thing by popping him in the shoulder or should I have allowed him to fall down? He doesn't threaten to lay down while I'm cleaning his feet, so I was a little taken aback when he tried to go down today. It wasn't that he was being made to stand on three legs for long... he dropped as soon as she lifted his hoof up. Very surprising.
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 01:00 AM
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Well im no expert but if this is the first time you have had him trimmed he might have been trying to test the 'new' farrier. Young horses like to push bounderies at times and see what they can get away with...heck even old horses like to do this...so he may have been acting a bit mischivious and seeing if laying down would get him out of standing on three legs any longer.

Point is it might be something as simple at that and punishing him with a little smack seems appropriate to me. It let him know he was in trouble and shouldnt be trying to lay down with the farrier. Easy enough.

If it didnt seem like it was caused by pain and you can rule out anything else that might have caused him to lay down then I cant think of another reason behind it. The fact that he quit after you smacked him seems to reinforce my thinking.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 01:12 AM
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Ha! Aires did this to me the first few times I cleaned his front hooves. I had a hold of his hoof and was cleaning it out, then all of a sudden I had 1100lbs of two-year-old leaning on my shoulder. I dropped his hoof quickly and stepped out from under him and down he went. He hopped up post-haste and gave me the most offended look EVER. He tried it again with the other side. I did the exact same thing. He tried this maybe three times (never two days in a row, though) until he realized that I wasn't going to catch him and that doing it wouldn't get him out of having his hooves cleaned. When the farrier came (that was an adventure...he doesn't like men and his hooves hadn't been done in at least six months...and our farrier is a man), he tried it with the farrier, but the farrier did the same thing I did. Dropped the hoof and stepped away in one smooth motion. It only took once on one side with the farrier and he stopped.

On Friday, the farrier was out to re-shoe my friend's mare and I asked him to take a look at Aires, mainly to get Aires used to him. Aires stood like a rock and didn't even think about trying the leaning routine.

As Pidge said, he's young and he's testing his boundaries. He was trying to see who would react to his naughtiness and how. I bet you next time you won't have any leaning issues at all.

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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There definitely didn't seem to be any pain associated. I always keep a close eye on his ears to decipher his mood and while they flicked back quickly when the farrier started working, they weren't pinned. He was just interested in what was going on around him. He wasn't flicking his tail and his lower lip was droopy. He wasn't dozing, but he was highly relaxed. It's very possible he was testing the farrier, and luckily, he didn't get away with anything.

I'm very interested to see if he'll try to lay down again on his next visit. It was very odd... he didn't even lean. He just folded up his legs like he was dropping down for a quick roll and down he went. There was absolutely no warning aside from his legs buckling. I almost wish someone would have videotaped it, because I'm positive it was hilarious from an outside perspective. Heh.

Thanks, all!
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 05:25 AM
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Yes it's quite normal for young horses to try and lay down while the farrier is trimming their feet.

Young horses don't know how to stand on 3 feet and keep their balance so you will have to teach them.

Which normally all a one year old needs is being handled regularly because they tend to forget things you teach them easier than an older horse.

It sounds like your young one is doing fine keep handling it and it will be fine.

Hope that answers your question if it's normal for young horses wanting to lay down.

Keep up the good work.

Good Luck
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 07:51 AM
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Yep. Seen it done so many times. But like everyone has said, keep working with him so he gets used to balancing. Try your hardest not to let his foot go until your ready. Eventually the horse will stand quietly. And you will have a happy farrier.

I think a good way people loose their farriers is if the owner doesn't do a thing with their horses and the farrier has to fight to get his job done.

And I'm happy to see you popped him when he tried to go down on one leg. There's no harm in correcting a bad behavior. Good job!
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-07-2011, 09:39 AM
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My yearling Mystic did the same thing the first time she got her hooves done. But Fri she stood like a rock.....well she decided to try to nip the farrier... that didnt go over well for her, lol! But when the farrier was done he asked if I plan on trsining her because she was so well behaved! Made me very proud!!! I have put a lot of work into her & he saw it!
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-08-2011, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Luckily, the farrier didn't seem too upset by his antics. I apologized and she assured me that, compared to the other yearlings she's worked on, he was actually very well behaved. That made me feel better, heh.

Anvil - What I don't understand is why he'll stand calmly for routine hoof cleaning, but right away felt the urge to lay down when she started to trim. There was no lag... she picked up hoof, he buckled his knees. Silly yearling.

Mbender - thank you. I'm definitely not shy about correcting bad behavior. The last thing I want is a 1200 pound horse who thinks he runs the show. No way, no how.

Mystical - That's so awesome! It's so rewarding when someone else notices how hard you're working to train your horse, isn't it?
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