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Breaking Mare's Habit Of Kicking/Rearing When Being Trimmed

This is a discussion on Breaking Mare's Habit Of Kicking/Rearing When Being Trimmed within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        05-06-2013, 11:24 AM
      #21
    Weanling
    "When I got her,she was barely semi halterbroke,and aggressive towards people"

    Horses are by nature, flight animals. Her aggression towards people, had to be taught. I'd guess someone, while trying to trim her, got too rough with her and started the ball rolling. Now it gets worse every time someone tries. Unfortunately, every time she acts out and is not corrected within 3 seconds it gets worse. And you can not react fast enough, with a farrier under her to do any good. Working her, will not work, she will not relate working, to acting out, when some one is handling her feet.

    I'd suggest sedation all of the time to begin with, then start reducing the amount of sedation a little bit at a time. Let her find out slowly, that she will not be hurt by the farrier. Probably best to do this without the farrier even present. DO the reductions in sedative, in between the farrier visits. Do a, known safe, dose when the farrier is present.

    A horse that has had a bad experience will continue to react to it, even if they are "dog" tired. You have to out think them, when this has happened. Usually, more, and more exposure to the experience, without harsh reprimands, will eventually cure the problem. The trick is to never let them act up, while your in the remedial process. Once they act up, you set the process back, way back. When you are reducing the sedation doses, you might try having someone monitor her heart rate with a stethascope, while someone else picks up and handles her feet. At the first sign of increased heart rate, put the foot down. You may be able to increase the handling time a little bit at a time, until it is longer a problem.

    Making the right thing easy and the wrong action difficult, only works when they can relate the work to the incident.
         
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        05-06-2013, 11:44 AM
      #22
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbsmfg3    
    "When I got her,she was barely semi halterbroke,and aggressive towards people"

    Horses are by nature, flight animals. Her aggression towards people, had to be taught. I'd guess someone, while trying to trim her, got too rough with her and started the ball rolling. Now it gets worse every time someone tries. Unfortunately, every time she acts out and is not corrected within 3 seconds it gets worse. And you can not react fast enough, with a farrier under her to do any good. Working her, will not work, she will not relate working, to acting out, when some one is handling her feet.

    I'd suggest sedation all of the time to begin with, then start reducing the amount of sedation a little bit at a time. Let her find out slowly, that she will not be hurt by the farrier. Probably best to do this without the farrier even present. DO the reductions in sedative, in between the farrier visits. Do a, known safe, dose when the farrier is present.

    A horse that has had a bad experience will continue to react to it, even if they are "dog" tired. You have to out think them, when this has happened. Usually, more, and more exposure to the experience, without harsh reprimands, will eventually cure the problem. The trick is to never let them act up, while your in the remedial process. Once they act up, you set the process back, way back. When you are reducing the sedation doses, you might try having someone monitor her heart rate with a stethascope, while someone else picks up and handles her feet. At the first sign of increased heart rate, put the foot down. You may be able to increase the handling time a little bit at a time, until it is longer a problem.

    Making the right thing easy and the wrong action difficult, only works when they can relate the work to the incident.
    I am beginning to wonder also if this behavior is possibly linked to a bad experience she's had,so lately when I've been working with her feet,it's pick up/handle and as soon as I sense she's even thinking of becoming bothered,I put it down,give praise,and move on. Some days I can have them up for a few minutes,other days only a few seconds,but she has allowed me to do a little rasping on all four.It is going to take a while,but I'm hoping over time that she will realize that this is not such a bad thing.
         
        05-06-2013, 12:33 PM
      #23
    Showing
    No one knows how it went with this mare in the past but when one picks up a hoof, especially a hind, in the horse's mind it's unable to escape the hidden predator. This is why so many horses are reactionary. Putting a rope around her ankle and starting in small increments barely lift the heel and working to picking it up forward, then a little sideways. The horse will likely kick as it objects and let it. It will get tired and quit. That's when you let the rope go slack for a few minutes and start again.
         
        05-06-2013, 01:33 PM
      #24
    Foal
    My mare is also a pain in the ass to trim. Luckily, my farrier doesn't give up easily. This past weekend, she put a new trick into her bag of tricks though and learned that she can put all pressure on the one hoof when it is on the stand and raise her other hoof in a partial rear. I am going to try lunging her before her next trimming session and then making her circle everytime she moves when being trimmed. In addition, I am going to work on picking up her feet everyday and seeing if I can't make her easier to handle. I feel bad cause she broke my farrier wrist last visit. Although, my farrier says that it is an occupational hazard.
         
        05-06-2013, 04:42 PM
      #25
    Weanling
    "I am going to try lunging her before her next trimming session and then making her circle everytime she moves when being trimmed"

    Good exercise, but that's all it will be. The horse will have no way of associating the work with the behavior.
         
        05-06-2013, 05:03 PM
      #26
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbsmfg3    
    "I am going to try lunging her before her next trimming session and then making her circle everytime she moves when being trimmed"

    Good exercise, but that's all it will be. The horse will have no way of associating the work with the behavior.
    Not looking for her to associate the work with the behavior, but more looking for her to pay attention to cues and commands. Not only that, but I have discovered that if she is tired, she is more tolerant. Don't know how it is going to work, but I am going give it a couple of shots. She needs to be refreshed on ground manners anyway.
         
        05-06-2013, 07:41 PM
      #27
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Elana    
    One time I had a new farrier.. new to horses and new to trimming horse's feet. My horse was good.. but this guy as slooooowwwwww and my horse had limited patience.

    What we did was to get a length of rope.. a LARGE length of rope and wrap it around his head.. thru his mouth.. and keep on wrapping until it was a large enough wad in his mouth he could not completely close his mouth. This did not hurt him (it was snug but not tight) and it surely kept him focused. It also was not so invasive that he could not respond to having his feet handled. It worked as well (better) than tranqing him. Because it was not a nose twitch (and I have no issue with a twitch) we did not have to take breaks.

    As to the foot snatching.. you need to have the horse is a place where you can get them backed into a corner so there is no yanking away and then handle the feet as mentioned above.. and put the foot down before the horse starts the yanking routine. Every time they snatch a foot away from you they get a reward (they got their foot back). If you try to hang on you may be in for a pitched battle that you will likely lose. The object is to put the foot down before you are in that battle.

    Gradually increase the time you hold the foot and the stuff you do with the foot. Use food that the horse loves.. and keep it coming as she figures out the foot handling thing is just something else we need the horse to do.
    When I first started to read this, I thought you were referring to the farrier, !
         
        05-07-2013, 01:43 AM
      #28
    Weanling
    You could try clicker training. It works great for issues like this!

    Another method is to put her in the roundpen and work her til she is tired. Let her come in, pet her up and down, pick up each foot, and combine with treats. Unless she had some severe trauma with a farrier beating her, she should calm down very quickly.

    The worst horses to trim are the ones who have been rough handled.

    Mostly this is a training issue. Original owner doesn't spend any time handling the horse, farrier comes out and horse won't behave. Farrier or Owner reacts by beating horse because the horse should "know better"... From then on hoof work will always be a fight.

    I had some idiot at the university do the same thing to the weanling I was training. She would let me do anything to her hooves. First time the farrier goes to do her feet, he puts her in a new barn out of sight of the other horses. She starts rearing because she is scared, he smacks her... And the idiots at the university wonder why 90% of their horses fight you when you go to do their feet. I could handle her hooves and trim them and she was fine... But if the men did it they had a huge fight on their hands. She started trying to bite them as well, but never even pinned her ears at me.
         
        05-07-2013, 01:59 AM
      #29
    Trained
    I did not read the other posts, so I apologize.

    Whenever I read posts about defiant horses the first thing that goes through my head is "Oh HECK no, that would NOT fly with me."

    Of course that's easier said than done, however, I would get some serious manners knocked into this mare, like you said. And I wouldn't baby her either. If she's not in pain or afraid, she has zero excuse to be behaving as she is. She knows what is being asked of her. I would go back and revisit your groundwork. I always refer to Clinton Anderson for the basics because it's easy to access and he does a good job explaining it. See if that fixes it. Often defiance is a symptom of disrespect (obviously) which came from holes in previous training.

    Then see if you can get someone to hold one front foot like they're going to trim it. She moves? Have them drop it and YOU get in there and make her MOVE. Go crazy. Chase her hip in circles, lunge her, change directions every have or quarter circle, chase her hip again, chase her backwards, chase the hip, chase her sideways, chase that hip again. Then pretend it never happened. Take her right back to the person, your "farrier", and pet her. Have them pet her. Have them pick up her foot again.

    Bottom line, she wants to move? Game on, make her move. I bet she won't want to do that anymore once she realized you might kill her. I may sound harsh but that behavior is dangerous and there is legitimately no way you can hurt this horse doing this.
         

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