Advice for picking up feet please? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Iowa
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Advice for picking up feet please?

Recently bought a horse out of the kill pen, because he was a totally sweetie, well put-together, and looked like he'd make a good all around horse. He's my project to eventually sell. Koda is such a nice boy, has already learned better manners, had already been halter broke, follows me around the pasture like a puppy, and doesn't mind being kept away from the other horses. ANYWAYS, we are soon going to start some serious ground work when the ground thaws, and so I'm currently working on little things like picking up his feet. He isn't kicky at all until I go to pick up his hind legs. He jerks his leg forward and back violently once before giving it to me for just a little over five seconds. His front legs, he pretty much just acts like he hasn't really had his feet messed with a whole lot. He picks it up and holds it until he decides he'd rather not anymore and then fights for it back. A strange thing he does is once he does get his foot back to the ground, he strikes out with the opposite hoof. Not aggressively, but it is really strange. I knew I was getting a horse that potentially wasn't even halter broke, so I'm not complaining. This has so far gone much better than Id hoped, I'm just looking for training advice/tips. I've never really had to work with a horse with his/her feet a whole lot, so go easy. I have been using the "make the right thing easy..." method, making him realize running circles is harder than holding up his foot for as long as I'd like him too. Anyone think they have a better method or idea? Sorry this is such a long thread. Koda will be three in May, so not old and set in his ways.
These pictures were taken the night of the auction. January 19th. Obviously not good confo pics, but feel free to tell me what you think of him!
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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It won't let me upload pics:(
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:22 PM
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1. Give it back before he even -thinks- (important) of taking it back.

2. When you pick one foot up, the other three should form a kind of tripod upon which he can comfortably stand. The legs of the tripod don't need to be 6 feet apart. It should be comfortable for him. ;)

3. When you go to pick it up, it shouldn't feel like uprooting a tree. If it does, he's not prepared to hold it up. Which means that he's not balanced. When a horse is standing balanced and comfortable you can literally hold up a draft horse's foot with one finger.

That's really about all you need. It's not really much of a problem, but it can be! haha
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Iowa
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I know to make sure he's balanced, and I can pick it up, but the strike thing is just so strange! Thanks!
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:31 PM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Holton, KS
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I agree with Ian. It is extremely important to give his foot back before he even thinks of taking it back. Eventually you just hold it longer and longer, but always giving it back before he takes it back.

I'm not normally a treat person, but I wouldn't be opposed to using them here to really help him understand having his feet messed with is fun!
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've been doing that:) But do you think it will just take time for him to get over his fussiness with his back feet or that there is something different I should be doing?
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Iowa
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Finally figured out the picture thing! Remember, these were taken night of the auction on January 19th 2013 and I have yet to take good confirmation pics for the confirmation critique forum but feel free to have at him! :) Thanks everyone
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File Type: jpg IMG-20130119-00465.jpg (84.5 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg IMG-20130119-00463.jpg (94.9 KB, 32 views)
File Type: gif Koda.gif (522 Bytes, 1 views)
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:44 PM
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How old is he? He looks pretty young.
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:45 PM
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I never lift their leg. That is their job. If I ask and they don't, I make it uncomfortable until they lift. Here's a post I did on another thread:

"When we got Harley, you couldn't touch his back legs. The only way to trim them was to tie them outstretched to a pole or tree. Then I started working with him. First, getting him accustomed to being touched back there. Started with touching his butt and slowly working down his leg. Then I worked on HIM picking up his leg. I emphasize that he is the one to pick it up because I want him to choose to do it.

There are several ways people ask a horse to pick up their leg. The most common are squeezing the tendons above the fetlock or pulling on the fetlock. This is how I do them. Start with your hand up by their body and slide it down the leg. Front legs I use the chestnut to cue them to lift. Once there, I squeeze the chestnut and if the don't lift I will twist it. The back legs I do the same but use the "knee" part, not sure of its correct name but the joint that sticks out back. If that doesn't work, I will slide my hand down to just above the fetlock where you can feel the tendons. I will squeeze with just my fingers, then my fingernails and finally, if needed, I will push the hoof pick into there. As soon as they lift, let go and rub on their body. With practice they will lift when you slide your hand down the leg.

The idea is not to hurt them. It is to ask, sliding the hand down. Suggest, squeezing. Tell, create uncomfort/pain.

Back to Harley. After I did this with him, he will lift his back leg before I even slide my hand down. All it takes is practice and consistency."
picking up my horses feet- he has a weird thing going on lol

I don't know why he would strike with his off leg. For the back leg, loop a rope around his leg and pull to get him to lift while standing out and away from his side. Ask he kicks, it will go side to side for you and you can keep holding pressure on the rope. If you stand forward or rear of his leg, he can pull the rope from you. When he stops kicking, create slack in the rope and let him have his leg back.
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-27-2013, 10:47 PM
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Very cute horse!! My horse hated her back feet picked up. So I started just picking them and putting them down and slowly held them longer. It didn't take her long to accept it. Also you I bet know this but I was excited when I found it out and it works great on my horse. To make her pick her leg up squeeze her chestnut. I'm so glad I found that little trick out!
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