Picking hooves and leaning

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Picking hooves and leaning

This is a discussion on Picking hooves and leaning within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    06-26-2008, 11:26 AM
Picking hooves and leaning

Spree has never been all that thrilled about having her hooves picked. Her owner's been working with her on it (as have I) but she wasn't ever trained well in it. For awhile, the worst issue I was having was that she would try and pull her hoof away. We were able to work past that, and it mainly just took patience and my holding onto the hoof for dear life. She has continually been pissy about having her back feet picked up though, and will always try and circle. I usually work on picking her hooves outside, so when she moves I can just keep her circling. But, I also do try it when she's tied, because we're working on her patience while being tied and just standing.

A new issue, however, has come up. She doesn't mind my picking up her front hooves (she won't try and yank them away) but she's leaning! She'll start swaying heavily from front to back, eventually leaning so far back that she has to step down onto the foot I'm holding to keep her balance. Her owner wonders if she's actually having balance issues, but I think it's more she's figured out another way for us to let go of her feet. This is happening while she's tied.

Should I go back to working on picking her hooves while she's outside, so if she does that I can send her moving? I do want her to be able to tolerate this while she's tied at some point though. Suggestions welcome!
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    06-26-2008, 12:50 PM
My fiance and I are having similar problems with our gelding. Since before we got him, we were told he was worked with every day to pick up his hooves and they had little success. Since we moved him, i've been able to work with him more and for a longer time period.

Gem doesn't have a problem when you pick up his back feet, he could stand there all day, but with his front feet, he'll let you pick it up and then he'll lean back to where you have to let him put his foot down or else his bum is going to touch the floor.

I have backed up into a corner and when he does this, his bum will hit the walls and I can pick his feet. But, I found that if you hang on for dear life, he'll be ok, but if you try to pick it up again, he won't have it.

So what I did was let him have his foot whenever he wants it (he is also lame and has arthritis so I don't know if what I do will work for you and spree) But when I take his foot back up, I hold it for one second longer than before, until it's all cleaned out. I do that for 2 of his feet and then take him out for grass, as a reward for letting me clean his feet.

His left side is better to pick up than his right. With his right front, he'll lean into you and will move all other feet, but that one. So I have done everything to that leg BUT pick it up. I'll massage it, clean the outside of his hoof, pet his leg, brush his leg to take his mind off it. I'm not sure if its more for him, or more of a way for me to relax. But when I try and pick it up again, he'll usually let me. And then if he needs his foot back, i'll give it to him (as long as it's not a pick up and immediately he puts it down) Then when his front his done, I move to his back and then out to grass we go.

I do this in his stall as he doesn't like to be restricted, and then I feel he has the ability to find a place that is comfy for him.

I have been working with Gem for the past 2 days consistantly and I think we are getting somewhere. Just remember to be patient and if you're getting frustrated, do something else :) and when you're ready to continue, continue. If there is something Spree likes, eating grass, or getting her favorite treat, try and see if rewarding her for letting you pick her feet helps you any. If you're not into giving treats, a good scratch would be good too!

I hope I have helped some :)
    06-26-2008, 03:01 PM
Thanks, that's very helpful! I could try doing it with her bum in the corner, but I can almost bet she'll lean forward or try to walk forward.

I'm not opposed to treats/bribery sometimes. :) I'll sometimes work with her on grooming (because she doesn't like to stand) while she's grazing. I also do like you do with Gem, just touching and rubbing her legs and feet without picking them up.

I think I maybe need to go back to working with her outside (because I've been trying to work on it while she's tied). I notice that she won't do the leaning when she isn't tied, she'll just try and move. Stinker horse :)
    06-26-2008, 03:44 PM
If you fuss too long on one hoof for Gem, he'll take a step forward and then swing his hips around and just back up. But I try my best to make it enjoyable for him.

I like the idea of when you touch a leg it doesn't always mean that you're going to pick it up. I guess it keeps them guessing as to what you're going to do next.

I'll really pay attention when I pick his feet out today, and i'll give you better tips.

You said she leans, does she lean against you, or is it like leaning back or forward?
    06-26-2008, 04:02 PM
It's not a lean in to me, it's a definite heavy sway/lean from front to back. Like a sprinter bobbing back and forth before a race :)

I try and be quick too, so I'm not reaching her tolerance level, and then I'll just start over. Yes, it keeps them guessing, but it also makes them realize your touching them isn't always going to result in something they don't like.
    06-26-2008, 04:07 PM
Hmm..do you know if she has a balance problem? Does she sway/lean when all four feet are on the ground, or only when she has 3 on the ground.

Gem's tolerance for picking up feet is well... he'd rather you not touch them at all But I think for him it's more of a pain issue than anything else.

Grrr, I lost my train of thought... when I get it back, i'll write more.
    06-26-2008, 04:17 PM
I've done this and it has worked wonders with all the animals with picking their hooves up.
Take a rope and wrap it twice around their leg just above the hoof. Stand in directly in front and gently saw each rope until they lift. If they don't saw a little harder. Hold their hoof up for about a second once they relax. Then gently set down. Do it to all four multiple times and then do it by hand. You may have to do that everyday for awhile but then you should just be able to tug on the fetlock and they lift it and it be weightless. It really helps for lifting. I'm not sure about leaning, but they are holding it up on their own so their is nothing to lean into, just fall over.

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