New horse spooky about feet!

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New horse spooky about feet!

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  • My 4yr old pony won't pick up her hooves
  • Horse wont pick up feet she turns her bum

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    03-15-2010, 06:53 PM
New horse spooky about feet!

Hey all!
I just got a 4yr old paint mare rescue. She had been kept in a box stall most of her life, with no outside access. To top it off, she was beat about the head with a manure rake every time the stable guy came in to clean! She has had pro training, I'm told, and has been ridden. My problem is this: When grooming, she will not allow her feet to be picked up She doesn't kick, but will turn her butt to me, or move around a lot, so there is no safe place for me to stand.
I have started to just rub her neck and shoulder, working my way down her leg, and ask for her foot when I get to the hoof. On her left side, she started to offer her front foot, putting it down quickly, and moving away. I can't even get near her right front or either of the rear feet!
I want her to be stable for the farrier when that time comes, and I want her to trust me, and for me to trust her. I don't have a barn, the horses are outside, and safely tied to a post. The problem is when she moves, I can get squeezed into the fence if I don't jump away in time, and she MOVES quick!
Yes, I am new to horses, have only been in the game 3 years or so, so please no rude remarks.
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    03-16-2010, 11:21 AM
I mean no disrespect, but while I'm sure you have all the best intentions, a 4 year old rescue may not have been the best choice for a first horse. Your best option may be to get a professional to work with her. Confidence is the most important thing, you must be willing and able to hold your ground against her and not let her get away with things just because it is easier than correcting her.

And just so you know, she will trust you if she thinks you are a competent leader. If you let her walk all over you, she won't trust you because she thinks you're a pushover, and can't protect her from anything. Don't think that smacking her will cause her to hate you, it won't.

But if you are up for the challenge, I would suggest working several different things.

First, does she lead well with you? Work on walking and halting in hand, and then trotting and halting. I suspect that she doesn't respect you as the leader, so she needs to know that she must do what you say. Make sure she knows that she needs to halt when you ask her. I don't know how bad she is at that, so I don't want to go on and on if that's not an issue at all.

Work on just getting your horse to stand still in one spot while grooming. Constantly correct her, and don't let her move a single hoof. If you were working on halting in hand, this should be easier. Don't let her crowd into your space, smack her rump with the flat of your hand if she turns it towards you. If she's trying to move forward, back her up three steps for every one step she takes.

Finally, for handling her hooves, put the horse on a lunge line in an arena or round pen, and attempt to pick up a foot and hold it. If she moves away from/turns her butt to you, immediately send her out on the lunge and make her work for several minutes at a trot. Bring her back to a halt, and try again. Eventually she will realize that it is much easier to stand still and let you handle her hooves.

That is what I would do in your situation, I'm sure others will have their own recommendations though.
    03-16-2010, 11:29 AM
This is my 2nd horse. Have had Sunny for 3 years now...
    03-16-2010, 11:34 AM
Thanks for the great tips! I'm 48, old enough to know better but also old enough to stick with it, unlike previous owner who wanted a pretty pony and then discovered boys, so walked away leaving the horse to suffer.
Yes, I had the same I ready for a 4 yr old? But here we are.
She does "whoa" very well. She sometimes balks when I try to lead her (result of her not trusting me?), any ideas? I thought about bringing in a trainer, or getting training videos (parelli or the like) but money is tight (like with everyone) so would like to do this on my own if possible.
Any ideas would be welcome.
    03-16-2010, 11:40 AM
I think a trainer would be best for you and your new horse. A trainer is way cheaper than a hospital bill or being laid up for weeks. Be careful.
    03-16-2010, 12:02 PM
It will probably be a challenge, but as long as your don't get discouraged, I think you'll be fine. I think the main thing is just not letting the horse get away with bad manners, then they can get dangerous. So that's where the confidence comes in, be your horse's leader first, and the friendship will come after.

I personally am not a fan of Parelli. I think it's a marketing scheme from the guy. It's like paying for bottled water when you can get it free out of the tap. There's lots of information on working with your horse on the ground without paying the tons of money that Parelli requires. But that's just my opinion on it.

Before I could afford to take lessons (and even after I took lessons) I read and reread horsemanship books like crazy. I also love reading though, so it was a great way for me to learn. I'd recommend John Lyon's videos for basic training. I haven't watched any of them, but I did read about him a lot of his articles and I think what he writes makes sense. He is western though, but if you're English like I am, just look past it!

For leading, I'd suggest a dressage whip held in your outside hand, and when she won't go reach back and tap her with it, that way you're still in the leading position, but can reinforce your forward command.

I do want to add: This may not be the best horse for you. You may end up paying a lot of money in trainer bills and hospital bills, it would have been cheaper and less heartache just to buy an older completely quiet broke horse. You will certainly get a lot more enjoyment out of a horse you don't have to worry about misbehaving.

Good Luck
    03-16-2010, 02:48 PM
UPDATE: Wow! I just had THE most amazing session with Darlin'! I did what you suggested, got her on the lunge/longe line, had my lunge whip at the ready. I started walking, and she balked. Reached back witout turning around (praying frantically that she wouldn't bolt!) and tapped her side. She started to walk. We went a few feet, and I said "HO." She stopped right away. Then I started walking again. She balked again, so I did the whip tap, an she started right off with less frenzy than before. Again and again, less balk, less frenzy. I started to weave between trees, up and down little steep slopes, in between rocks, all the way starting, stopping, starting stopping. After a few minutes, I stopped, faced her and gave her rubs and good girls. Started off again...did this for about 30 minutes. Then stopped, good girls, rubs, then approached the feet. First foot "foot". She started to slowly lift the foot, not high but it was a good response, so good girls, rubs. Then to the right side, where she'd always had problems and would shy away. Again, rubs, hand down the leg, "foot" This one she actually raised, and allowed me to hold for a moment. Good girls, more leading and stopping, My other, older horse, Sunny, was going along with us, as if to say "She's the Momma, and we follow her!" He went through all the commands like a pro (Being an only horse, this was often not the case without an arguement!) He did the foot lift, even the one rear hoof he absolutely abhors giving up. So both pones were awesome, and I felt Darlin' accept me and give in to me. Afterward, I was just cruising the pasture, looking for any debris, bad weeds, what have you, and Darlin' was right there. I did a few start/stops without words, just body language, and she obeyed perfectly. Good girls, rubs. Later, I approached her, did the foot lift, again, good responses. I want to thank you for your suggstions! Once again, I let doubt creep in, and, instead of just getting my behind out there and spending time with the horses, I fretted and worried. Dumb me.
    03-16-2010, 03:03 PM
Make sure you put the foot down before she takes it away from you . It will also help if you just groom her legs all the way to the hoof and never try to pick up the foot. She needs to feel comfortable with you around her feet and once she is it's no problem to get her to pick them up.
    03-16-2010, 03:07 PM
Great idea...Thanks!
    03-16-2010, 03:11 PM
Yay!! I'm glad it worked! I hope you have continued success with her!

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