Two mares with bad hoof manners - suggestions?
 
 

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Two mares with bad hoof manners - suggestions?

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    09-25-2013, 02:38 AM
  #1
Foal
Two mares with bad hoof manners - suggestions?

I have a hoof manner problem with my two mares. I started trimming myself this summer, and I get really frustrated looking at their hooves and thinking about what I need to do, but often I can achieve very little because they won't stand quietly

One is a 12yo Arab mare, currently on the brink of foaling. She had a hoof issue in one forefoot that prompted me to start trimming in the first place, (I bought her in June). She is strong-willed but good-natured (typical Arab!). Her favourite trick is to lift her foot but then slam it back to the ground. I often wonder how she doesn't hurt herself. If my fingers were underneath, she'd mash them! It seems to me like no-one has ever taught her to lift her feet and Relax. She gets all uptight about it. Seeing as she's so huge with the foal right now, I don't want to stress her out too much over this, but as soon as she foal I need to sort this problem. Ideas please?!
The other mare is young (3yo) and I reckon no-one's taught her much either. She has a tying-up issue which we're slowly working out, but which doesn't help with hoof work. And she has wobbly legs. She's always standing in weird postures, four-square is a rarity for her. I don't know why? So when I pick up her front feet, she sits back so low it's like she going to hit the floor and I have to let her foot go or she'll probably fall on me. By the way, she's Big (Spanish)... too big for to have her sitting on my lap, anyway.
What can I do with them? I know if I release their feet when they misbehave I'm reinforcing the wrong behaviour, but I don't know what I can do.
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    09-25-2013, 09:36 AM
  #2
Started
This isn't an issue that I've had to deal with, so I can't give too much advice about the training aspect, but I'm curious about your experience with horse shoeing/trimming. Did you learn by observing multiple farriers with lots of experience? If not, it may be something that you want to consider. Most of the farriers that I've known have been around for awhile, and have seen it all. They know what to do with all sorts of misbehaving horses, so it may be beneficial to watch and see how they would handle the situation.

Sorry if you've been doing this for awhile, just thought I'd throw out that suggestion in case you haven't. Working on training them is definitely the best option though!
     
    09-25-2013, 10:03 AM
  #3
Green Broke
I'd grab that foot and hold it high! Don't let go until they relax. You can use a soft cotton rope (and gloves for yourself!) to rest the horses foot in. Don't tie it! Make a you with the rope, rest the horses pastern in and just hold close to the foot. That should make it more difficult for them to pull away. Let them keep fighting until they have had enough. I like to say "reeeeelaxxxxxxxx" until they settle down. Once they calm down and let you hold the foot gentley let it down. Persistents is key.
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    09-25-2013, 03:07 PM
  #4
Green Broke
For the Arab mare, try not to let her set it down. Or, release her foot before she thinks of stomping down. Even if you just barely picked it up. Ask for her foot and if she gives the slightest bit, even just shifting weight, stop and praise the crud out of her. Keep doing so until shelets you pick it up. Always release and praise before she thinks of slamming it down.

As for the 3 year old, does she sit back on her hatches when you try either foot? Or is it just one she does that with? She may be in pain and putting all her weight on that one hoof is hurting her so she sits back to take the weight off it.
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    09-25-2013, 03:47 PM
  #5
Started
This applies pretty well for both mares:

Pick up her foot, and gently guide it in a few circles each direction. This gentle movement encourages them to allow their muscles to relax rather than to be tight and tense. Try not to let her snatch her leg away from you -- put it down on your terms. This might mean that you pick up her foot, guide it in one or two circles, and calmly put it back down before she has a chance to get worked up about it. Gradually build up the amount of time that you have her leg.

Also practice running your free hand up and down her leg while you have it held up, even giving it a light "hug" with your body so that she gets more used to having her entire leg handled (although be certain that you are always in a position that will allow you to get out of the way quickly if she overreacts).

This sort of thing just takes a huge amount of repetition and praise. If you can handle their feet while they remain calm and reward them with a few pats or a treat each time that they handle themselves politely, you'll gradually build up the amount of time that they are willing to hold up their feet and the amount of relaxation while you do so.
     
    09-26-2013, 04:44 PM
  #6
Yearling
The rope on the pasterns is a good trick

Had the same issue last night --- ending up putting the rope around the pastern

1. Pick it up and put it down
2. Pick it up and hold it for a second then put it down
3. Pick it up and hold it a little longer and then put it down

Rinse and repeat.

If it looks like your horse is losing balance and is tipping over -- push her around a little bit until she gets all feet planted firmly --- then pick it up and then put it down

Took me 20 minutes per foot before I could look at her feet long enough to scrape them
     
    09-26-2013, 04:58 PM
  #7
Yearling
The rope on the pasterns is a good trick

Had the same issue last night --- ending up putting the rope around the pastern

1. Pick it up and put it down
2. Pick it up and hold it for a second then put it down
3. Pick it up and hold it a little longer and then put it down

Rinse and repeat.

If it looks like your horse is losing balance and is tipping over -- push her around a little bit until she gets all feet planted firmly --- then pick it up and then put it down

Took me 20 minutes per foot before I could look at her feet long enough to scrape them
     
    09-26-2013, 05:56 PM
  #8
Foal
Thanks for all the ideas. I'll try the rope trick next time. It sounds like the key is patience and timing: always try and let go while you're in control so you can praise the horse, instead of letting go because the horse is in control.
And if that means praising her for just shifting her weight, Kayella, I'll go with it. Because she (the Arab) doesn't often lift it for long enough to try the circles, I'll start small with her.

I've got big news too! She foaled this morning

It looks like I won't be checking her feet for a few days. She is one PROTECTIVE mother. She won't let anyone near the foal, and because the foal is always close by, I can't get near her without her freaking out either. And this is a horse you can do anything with normally (except pick up her feet of course!). I hope she'll catch on soon that I don't want to hurt her foal, and calm down.

The 3yo filly doesn't have a sore foot, Kayella. She's careless with her legs and often leaves one in a really weird position when she's eating or resting, or even under saddle. I think she's just experimenting, seeing what she can get away with. But she's smart and learns quick, and she's not mean in the least.

By the way Duckdodgers, I haven't seen many farriers in years. I had a horse as a teenager, then nothing until I bought the Arab mare this summer. I've learnt trimming from the Barefoot Horse site, with invaluable help from Marjorie, and here I am. I had the farrier out once to trim her before I started, but this is rural Spain and barefoot trimming is not common, non-existent in my area. Observing farriers isn't really a possibility so I'll stick with the training ideas you've all given me.
Thanks again everyone
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    09-27-2013, 11:05 AM
  #9
Showing
With the 3 yr old and the mare after she foals, put your lunge line on and keep the whip handy. Move to an area where you can lunge them. Pick up the foot and the moment the horse gives you unwanted behaviour, drop the foot and chase the horse out on the lunge. Your whole demeanor should be like you are planning on murdering it. Lunge it at a brisk trot for 3 circles, no more no less then stand it where you started and pick up the foot. You may have to repeat the circling because the horse usually doesn't catch on the first time and maybe not the second. Usually by the third time they have figured out that their behaviour results in work. It hasn't failed me yet.
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    09-28-2013, 09:37 PM
  #10
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop    
I'd grab that foot and hold it high! Don't let go until they relax. You can use a soft cotton rope (and gloves for yourself!) to rest the horses foot in. Don't tie it! Make a you with the rope, rest the horses pastern in and just hold close to the foot. That should make it more difficult for them to pull away. Let them keep fighting until they have had enough. I like to say "reeeeelaxxxxxxxx" until they settle down. Once they calm down and let you hold the foot gentley let it down. Persistents is key.
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I agree. Not behaving =hoof held higher. Worked on my mule.
     

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