My mare won't pick up her feet. I've read tons of articles and tried what they say but she still won't pick her feet up. The best I can get her to do is slowly drag it up and then she leans on me. She's 10 years old and an amazing mare except she won't pick up her feet! I'd like to get her to the same point as my other horses were I can just tap their foreleg and they'll pick up their hooves. Any advice? Thanks!
With clicker training you first have to teach her to touch something, a stick, anything. When she does, make a cluck sound, like a chicken, and offer a tiny reward. Within 5 minutes she will be looking to touch the stick whether held high or low. The click means she's done the right think and the treat in the reward. The timing of the click is important, she'll learn that the treat is coming. To pick up a front hoof, gently squeeze her chestnut. As soon as she barely lifts her hoof, click as she's doing it, not after, then treat. At first she may barely shift her weight off that hoof but you need to reward that. Think of progressing inch by inch. When she's good with her fronts, and you have to train both sides, she may catch on faster with her hinds. Place your palm over the cap of the hock and try squeezing there. Some respond, others don't. But reward the slightest try. Once she hears the first click and is rewarded she may, as it sometimes happens, try to hand her hoof to you to get her reward. This can be seen as the horse attempting to kick so you need to be observant. Always slide you hand down the hip so she knows what you are doing. Your body blocks her sight. Be sure to use the word "foot" or "hoof" each time so she learns the verbal command.
I've had great success with clicker training my mare. She's doing really well letting us pick up her hinds. My trainer & I have taken it very, very slow (she was a rescue, so her history is unknown) & we're really seeing some dramatic results with clicker training.
She's a draft, so she has a tendency to lean & she is just heavy, but we are progressing well.
At first, just taking weight off was rewarded. Then, pointing her toe was rewarded. We're to the point where we're actually picking her foot up quite high now.
A lot of people dont' care for clicker training & I was quite hesitant at first too. I was afraid of turning her into a treat mugger There is a WRONG way to do it, for sure, so you have to be careful & consistent & not send the wrong message. She was a good candidate for it. She is very food motivated & learned to "play the game" very quickly.
Many people mistakenly think you have to have a clicker & treats on you at all times, but it's really just used when teaching something new or something difficult, to get over the hump.
I have found that some horses respond wonderfully to clicker training. I had a Shire mare who used to play fetch for me. That was somethign to behold... 18.3 hands of black Shire chasing after an orange cone!
Some horses don't do well with it. My current gelding goes beserk at the concept of food - even though he has never missed a meal in his entire life. You never know until you try.
The last mare I used clicker training to pick up feet, I think it took us about three sesssions of 20 minutes to go from not being able to touch any foot to easily picking up and cleaning all four.
I pinch harder in between the tendon and leg bone. I'd rather not use clicker training because my mare already has a weight problem so I'd rather not use treats. Is their another way to teach her? With or without the clicker?