Picking Up Feet & Braiding Mane/Tail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-17-2012, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Picking Up Feet & Braiding Mane/Tail

First, I am leasing a horse... She is a paint, and she is BIG (for a paint.) Shes around 1200 pounds. She is a good horse and she usually listens but sometimes she gets stubborn and wont pick up her feet. I am a very petite person, so trying to lift her foot by force is difficult, becasue she leans into it. I have tryed pinching her chestnut and pushing against her as hard as I can, but she refuses. I always end up having her owner do it becasue I am not strong enough. Any suggestions?? (She had a hoof ingury that had her unable to be ridden for a year and a half to two years. She was just starting to get back under saddle this past fall, so she is still a little green with things. She also recently had her feet done and her teeth floated, so I understand her not wanting to pick up her feet for me... She has been through a lot. I have also only known her for only a week now, so I am sure when she gets comfortable with me she will listen and do fine but until then I still need to pick out feet! Thanks! Just thought a little more information would help!)

Second, I want to braid her mane and tail eventually when it grows longer. Any suggestions for how to do it so it looks natural?

Thanks! Any help would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-17-2012, 10:57 PM
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What I do is take my thumb nail and pinch the horse's fetlock harder and harder untill they pick it up. That can be paired with leaning into her shoulder to get her to balance on her other foot. Then when you let her foot down DO NOT just toss it down with no warning. I grab higher up on my horse's leg to let them have a cue when they can put their leg down. So now I just get a hold on their fetlock and they will pick it up, then grab higher up and they put it down.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-19-2012, 04:12 PM
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You could try pushing and starting at the knee and rub your hand down to the fetlock... im not really sure because my horse picks up his feet right when i put the other one down:) on the other horse i just rub my hand from the knee down and push and she normally just picks it up.... you could also try pulling forward first then once she has her leg forward swing it back:)
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-19-2012, 04:39 PM
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With my mare, I like to give her lots of warnings that I'm about to pick up her hooves. I do the same routine of things every time when I pick out her hooves and I pick out her hooves in the same order every time so now she often starts picking the "first" hoof up at the first "warning".

So here's my list:
1. Let her sniff the hoof pick
2. cluck once and poke her shoulder (this is what she picks her hooves up for now)
3. if she doesn't pick her hoof up for that, the next step is squeezing the fetlock.
4. If that doesn't work, I try shoving her in the shoulder with my shoulder to get her to shift her weight over (so it's easier for her to pick up the hoof), then I squeeze the fetlock again.
5. if fetlock squeezing+shoving doesn't work, I whack her with the pick end of the hoof pick, in the pastern area.
I would use extreme caution doing that to her back hooves but I've found that once you get the fronts up, the backs are pretty easy.
The whack gets her to pick up her feet, no more goosing around. I use the whack as a "last resort" type measure. I give her enough opportunities to pick up her hooves before the whack comes into play that whacking is very rarely engaged.

I've used it on all manner of horses and usually, after one whack, they're picking their feet up really nicely from then on.

Another thing that seems to often go unnoticed when people are trying to pick up feet, is how the horse's weight is distributed. If a horse is resting a back foot, it's going to be very difficult for them to comfortable lift and hold up a front hoof. Or, if one front leg is really under the horse and the back two are in varying places out behind the horse, the one front foot that seems "square" is going to be impossible to pick up because all the horse's weight is going to be on it.
That's the reason I let my mare sniff the pick before I use it. Often, I see her rearrange herself after that sniff so that her feet are relatively square vs being all over the place.

Good luck! :)

ETA (I missed your question about braiding)- I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "braid it so it looks natural" but my favorite "fancy" braids to use are a running braid for the mane (which is basically a one sided french braid), and to tightly french braid the hair on her tail bone, leaving the longest hair to "poof" out the bottom of the braid.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 01-19-2012 at 04:49 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-19-2012, 05:23 PM
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Location: Missouri
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I love running braids on manes and french braids on tails.

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot..._2845977_n.jpg That's after... over 6 hours pasture wear and tear.. it was straight and perfect before xP


But there are other ways of doing it.

Like this:

http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com...ntest-tail.jpg (not my horse)

Or this http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_iuM-IApOd3...Tail_braid.jpg

(also not my horse)

or this http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_WMLJW9X6Bq...ail_braid1.jpg

(not my horse again)

I've only done the usual french braid but eventually I'll try those..

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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