04-01-2009, 09:59 AM
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The "rope thing" is a good, gentle way to get the horse desensitized to touch, with the human in a safe zone, and it's easier on your back, and to not let go at the wrong time.
Please, do not bribe your horse with food while working on their feet. The most annoying horses I work on are all fed treats.They wiggle, they pull away, they stomp and reach for food and pester their handlers the whole time, and makes my job 9 times harder. Save the treats. They also get distracted and aren't thinking about the person working on them and "forget" and don't keep their balance well, or may try to get rid the farrier for interfering with their eating. Food has no place with working with feet. If they are grazing, they want to walk forward to the next bite, if they are eating grain, or hay or cookies, besides the distraction, they now have a bucket or hay net in front of them, making it hard to get their front legs on a stand, and we farriers DO NOT appreciate dribbles of slobber on our necks or hay down our shirts. So it's best to NOT start using food at all.
Pick up the foot, release, pick up for a little longer and release, and so forth. A good pat after you drop the foot is fine.Verbal praise is always good. A cookie in their feed bucket after a training session is fine, but save it for after the whole session! THe main thing is to just make it a daily habit to pick up the feet. Sometimes more than once. =)