Originally Posted by Palomine
Also, never make a V with your hand on the back legs. Using a V shape where thumb is on one side of the leg and all fingers are on the other, when attempting to pick up hinds? Can result in broken thumb, massive bruising, if horse pulls or kicks, as all of the force is towards the rear in the hinds.
On the hinds, you need to cup the leg, so fingers and thumb is on same side, which will keep you from your thumb being dislocated.
V'ing on the fronts is fine, as horses strike forwards, and will pull leg out of your hand.
Hmmm...guess I've been doing it wrong my whole 40-odd years of picking up rear hooves. And never even so much as a strained finger from all the kicking horses I've dealt with over all those years. /shrug
The following is how I was taught, and how I teach others, to teach a horse to calmly pick up all 4 feet with a simple voice cue. It works just as well on front and rear feet. Remember to reward with a quick release of pressure if he even shifts his weight the first couple times you try. Weight shifts, stop and rub the shoulder or hip for a second or two and then do it again. Ask for a little more each time until he willingly lifts the foot for you. Some will get it in one setting, some will take many repetitions, but it has worked on every horse I've ever had.
I always start facing the rear with my hand nearest the horse resting on the their shoulder for front foot, hip for rear foot. I use a voice cue of "give me your foot" as I slide my hand down the outside of the upper leg. I gently lean into the horse to give them the idea I want them to shift their weight to the opposite foot. It also helps me feel instantly when they start to lift the leg. That way I can be ready to accept and hold the foot (or get my head out of the way if it feels like a strike/kick is coming!!). Just a little contact, don't lean hard, your horse will laugh at you when s/he steps away quickly and you overbalance and fall on your face...
If the hoof hasn't been lifted by the time my hand passes the hock joint, I up the asking pressure. I wrap my hand around the back of the leg and press my fingertips into the inside tendon groove and my thumb into the outer groove of the lower leg. I apply a firm squeezing/pinching pressure as I continue slowly and firmly running my hand down the back of the leg.
If my hand reaches the fetlock without the foot being lifted yet, I use the point of my hoof pick and just start pecking at the rear of the fetlock joint. Not hard enough to draw blood of course, but certainly firmly enough to be annoying. Most of them will swish their tail and sway their hips around before finally giving up and just picking up the foot. Don't release the pressure on the tail swish or hip sway...that's protesting, not acquiescing. Wait for the hoof to at least move a bit before giving them a release and rub.
Be warned, a few of them can be very stubborn. It may take quite a long bout of pecking and then you may get a quickly jerked up hoof!! Pay attention and keep your head out of the way.
Once they have it figured out, with a bit of repetition just the voice cue and hip touch will have a hoof waiting for you in mid-air.