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Gelding Threatening to Kick When His Feet Are Picked Up

This is a discussion on Gelding Threatening to Kick When His Feet Are Picked Up within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • I have to trim a horses hooves and he kicks
  • Horse threatens to kick when picking hind feet

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    01-22-2013, 07:00 PM
  #11
Yearling
Don't tie him.

Either you or someone hold him. Hell probably move his hindquarters around if you keep his head still,just let him... Let him kick. As long as he can't get that rope off his leg, he's not winning and I've never had one not give up.
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    01-22-2013, 07:37 PM
  #12
Showing
Are you certain he's threatening to kick or is he lifting his leg in readiness because he knows you are going to ask for it? If he does kick at you, this is an easy fix. Get him out where you can safely lunge him. Take you whip and pick with you. Have him trot 3 or four circles then draw him and and put your hand on his back then walk toward the hind leg. If he kicks at all, grab the whip and wave it at him and chase him out to lunge like you intend to kill him. Have his circle 3 times at a brisk trot., no doddly trot. No canter eighter. Again bring him in a repeat to pick up his hoof. Be sure your left hand slides down his back and hip so he knows where you are. Their rearward sight is poor. Again if he kicks, send him out again and make him work. Most figure this out after the second time lunging but some take a third time. He's now learned he can cooperate or he'll have to work. Pick his feet in the same place for the next week. He may test you again so be sure to use the lunge line and have the whip handy.
     
    01-22-2013, 11:43 PM
  #13
Weanling
Time and patience. I've had Topaz since August and I still can't pick his back feet. He's been abused pretty bad in the past. Keep touching him, reward with whatever you are rewarding with (treats, affection, et) I can finally get Topaz to let the farrier trim and care for his rear hooves if I am standing by his head.
     
    01-22-2013, 11:54 PM
  #14
Started
I'm with fox hunter and saddlebag on this. If he hasn't kicked out (I skimmed and didn't see where you said he did) I honestly think he's picking his feet up for you and should not be scolded for it. Actually you should be happy! We have 2 that do that and it's a godsend. You mention Amish, they don't have the same ummm, tactics as the average pleasure rider. Lol. But if the horse is Amish broke I'd highly doubt it's wanting to kick. Y'all may just be going about it different then the horse is used to.
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    01-23-2013, 01:24 PM
  #15
Foal
Is he okay with you just touching his back legs? If not start with a prop like a very long feather duster, this is what I did with my boy when we first started working on lifting his feet for picking out. He used to be very unhappy and tried to move around if I tried to touch his legs before I did this. Show it to him, take it away, then bring it back so he can see it again. Then each time move it closer until it touches him, start somewhere like his shoulder then gradually across to his rump then move down to the leg then the foot. The idea is if the horse stands still you take the prop away. If he moves you hold the item there until he stands still.

Then once he has accepted the prop use your hands instead. I started by just touching my boy's lower back leg and said "up" each time I did it. First I had to put some pressure on to get him to lift but even if it is only for a second and you are the one controlling the lifting and putting back down, saying "down" when you do, the horse will get it eventually. Back feet are always harder to lift and pick out because they need more support than the front and if he's a big boy his feet will be pretty big and heavy. :) Wear a riding hat to be on the safe side. :)

You could also try clicker training which is quicker. The method I used took about a week and a half for my boy to get the idea with the back feet, so that I was fully able to lift the hoof and pick it out. But as I had already done the same on his front feet which took longer originally due to him being shy around the feet, he learnt quicker on the back feet being used to my handling his front hooves already. Even if your boy only holds his back foot up for a second, gradually increase the amount of time, but make sure you are the one putting the foot down before his is pulling it away from you.
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    01-29-2013, 01:02 PM
  #16
Weanling
Personally, I would try the hand method mentioned earlier before the rope method. From your description he threatens more from ignorance then meanness. Take the time to get him used to being touched everywhere with it, then when he calms about having his legs touched with it, start working your way back there with your hands. Take your time and work in an approach/retreat methodology. Gradually work your way back there and down his legs. Making sure to retreat before he can react with a threat. Just go a little farther each time before retreating.

I understand that you can only get to the barn on weekends, but this is really something that needs to done daily for a while until he is comfortable with having his rear legs handled and his feet picked/trimmed or whatever done to them.

You also mentioned that he does not like to be brushed behind the rib cage with even the softest brush, but does not mind if you touch him with your hand. Have you ever thought that maybe his skin is most sensitive there and that is why he doesn't appreciate being brushed there. Just a thought, about something that stuck out to me in your original post.
     
    01-29-2013, 05:33 PM
  #17
Trained
First, GET SOME HELP from a trainer.
This is where I totally agree with Clinton Anderson's theory of controlling your horse's behavior by moving his feet.
A horse's feet are like a dog's teeth. It is their first line of defense if cornered, and we know that a horse would prefer to run away than fight. Those back feet are particularly dangerous bc a horse's motor is from the rear, and they can inflict the worst damage kicking.
Something else about training horses to be safe for you and good for the farrier. You must take it in stages. I really like using a rope to pull the foot forward.
I am working on perfect foot behavior this winter with my 6yo QH. While I spot clean his stall every day I spend 5-10 minutes training. I start picking up the back foot that is cocked, and I rub him and make a fuss. I will also pick up the front foot, same side and do the same. I don't even bother to pick the hooves out. I want him to "offer" his feet to me.
OP, this will take time but it is worth the time spent to retrain him.
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    01-29-2013, 06:16 PM
  #18
Weanling
My dad has a horse with this issue (the horse was a kicker before we got him, just to clarify). I hate dealing with this kind of stuff, so I don't mess with his feet.

Our farrier uses a soft lead rope on his back legs. He pulls the foot forward, sets it up on the stand, and trims. However, the horse can still kick forward, so the farrier is still really cautious.

For my young horses, I first rubbed a stock whip on their legs, then used soft ropes. Once they didn't mind the rope, I would apply a bit of pressure, and ask them to just lift the foot slightly. Then I got them used to my hands touching their legs, and finally asked them to pick up their feet with my hands, an inch at a time.

Personally, I would rather jump on a salty green horse than deal with an older one that threatens to kick when you work with its feet. I would suggest being there next time your farrier is out. Good luck and be careful.
     
    01-29-2013, 06:22 PM
  #19
Weanling
With the rope method, be aware that the horse can kick forward. And also, if he kicks back, he could rip your shoulder pretty good if you hang on (and you don't really want to let go, or it will be a win for the horse).

I can't remember what my farrier's advice on this was exactly - maybe others will have tips to make sure he doesn't rip your shoulder to shreds.
     
    01-30-2013, 04:47 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Quit the wiggling to back horse up as that is counterproductive.

As for feet? Moving him around only tells him he is to move. Which is not what you want him to do, not to mention it is a huge waste of time.

Get after him. Can use whip handle to rub him down, but I also wonder if your handling skills need to be readjusted. You may be allowing him to get by with things, and he is testing to see what else he can get away with.

I would not treat him either. It will not make the horse like you, or respect you.

And why if this is happening, is the farrier not using a twitch? That would come closer to getting this stopped than monkeying around will.
     

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