Does your horse have feet manners? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Does your horse have feet manners?

Okay, there is no doubt about it, I am going to a horse shoeing school and do my own horses, and maybe others. I just want the expierence. Doing things like that will give you more respect for something. Farriers work hard, and many people don't realize how hard it is, and many people don't train their horses proper horse adequate to stand still for the farrier and the vet.

So, hopefully by reading this, you will teach your horses to be respectful if they aren't already. I watched Clinton Anderson, so this is his work, I am just telling it to y'all

First, you should never try to pick up the horses foot unless you can brush it, or rub it vigorously all over. If the horse is very spooky, get it used to the rope first, then move to your hands. Once the horse is relaxed with you touching and rubbing his/her legs all over, the next step is to get the horse to pick up his foot. So, for their front legs, squeeze the chesnut until they lift up the foot by themselves, then release and reward. Don't pick it up just yet. Do that several more times, where the horse seems to understand.

Squeeze again, when the horse lifts it's foot. Hold it, but only for a second. You can't expect to just walk up and hold the foot for 2 minutes. Each time you do this, pick up the foot longer and longer. The goal is too release the foot before the horse struggles, but if that is not the case, let your hand go with the foot, but always keep the leg bent, and the hoof sole side up, as it is harder for the horse to get his foot away. Wait until he is done thrashing around, when his foot is relaxed, move his leg for him, like he is thrashing around. he will soon learn that relaxing his foot there, is better than you or him thrashing it around.

After he is used to you picking it up and you can hold it a minute or so, you can then put the hoof between your legs like the farriers or vet would do. Then quickly release the first time. Build up on it gradually.Eventually, you will get to where the horse will behave for the farrier and vet, and you will get a better reputation and people will appreciate you more.

I am currently doing this work with Bo, as his feet weren't messed with much.

Do you guys have other ways to do this? Do you agree that farriers and vets are a lot of times left to deal with a 'unbroke' or 'not gentled' horse? A horse that has feet problems is dangerous and not broke in my definition.

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post #2 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 10:51 AM
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I shoe my own horses and they are all good about thier feet. I thought that one horse was miserable to shoe untill I went to a ranch to help get some horses shod. The horses there were much harder and I came to realize how much easier even my hardest one was. There are many vets that don't know how to handle a horses feet and sometimes horses get hurt befoer there has been much training done so they have to expect it. Farriers however should never have to fight a horse to shoe it. I train a lot of young horses and I used to have a farrier come out to shoe them and I always made sure that I had them as solid as I could before I called him. He commented many times that my colts being shod for the first time were better than some older horses that had been manhandled many times before. Most farriers that I know will load thier tools and go home if the horse has problems with rearing or kicking. Those are problems for horse trainers not farriers.

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post #3 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 10:52 AM
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I don't know how my gelding was taught to stand, but he was a race horse, so they made sure to teach him I'm sure. All I have to do is touch his leg and say "leg up" and he picks his foot up.

Of course he also expects me to pick each of his hooves in like 30 seconds, so hes not very patient.
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post #4 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 11:09 AM
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My arab mare is ultra sensitive and will pick up her feet as soon as you assume the position, before even touching her leg. She stands very patiently while the work is being done without leaning on you. She's wonderful!

My 2 yr old filly I've had since birth and I picked up her feet daily since day one , but she's worse about it than Stella. She's a little stubborn about picking those dinner plate sized feet up, but stands still nice. She will also lean on you, though, and she's a big girl!

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post #5 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 11:22 AM
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When I got Scout the first thing on the list was to get "feet manners" on him. He would pick them up, but not before a lengthy discussion, and not for very long. His MO was to overbalance, then half fall down. I did basically the CA version that ChevyPrincess posted with good success.

My farrier often comments that he enjoys coming to our farm and doing work on our horses because they are both so well behaved. He's told some really amazing stories about having to shoe horses who were only touched at farrier/vet time, and those visits didn't come often enough.

When I boarded, the farrier would come and do a day at the barn and get all the horses done at once, as long as the owner was there. There were a surprising number of horses who gave the farrier heck. When it got to be my guy's turn, that farrier looked at me with sheer disbelief when my horse respectfully picked his hoof up before he'd even bent down to get it.

Too many people expect their farriers and vets to train their horses. Not cool. I have very little pity for owners who have high farrier bills because their horse took 2 hours to get one hoof trimmed due to behavior problems.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #6 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ChevyPrincess View Post
Okay, there is no doubt about it, I am going to a horse shoeing school and do my own horses, and maybe others. I just want the expierence. .
I will get shot down for this yet again BUT it takes a certain build to shoe horses. It is not an easy task and bent over for extended periods, having a horse sit on you is very demanding on the body. From your picture you seem like a slight build girl who might find a horse a heavy load.
If you go to school and then just do your horses you don't gain the experience to do a good job. The school only touches on the bases and isn't long enough for you to gain a working knowledge.
I have been shoing for 24 years now so I know what abuse the body takes. Not to mention the hands.
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post #7 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 11:58 AM
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I somewhat agree...that is extremely hard on the body, and I don't envy my farrier at all. Heck, it puts a strain on my back to pick Lilly's hooves and she is extremely cooperative in that respect. She lifts her feet for me without my having to touch them, doesn't lean, and is patient. A lot of horses aren't. But you seem aware of that.

If you truly want to do this, then I'm happy for you that you're going ahead with it. Through training and experience I'm sure you'll decide for yourself if you're up for this sort of work. :)
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post #8 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 11:59 AM
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I have been doing soemthing similar to CP as far as feet work. Still got a ways to go with my Draft but she is lightyears ahead of where she was when I got her. She mostly has balance issues.
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post #9 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 12:06 PM
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My mini baby picks her feet up for me and I have been practicing holding them longer and longer, but she loses her balance very quickly. Will this get better as she gets older? I certainly hope so!

My older horse is great with his feet, however sometimes he gives the farrier trouble because he has arthritis in his back legs. He can pick them up but not extremely far and he can't hold them OUTWARDs. Unfortunately we had a farrier that did not listen to me, tried to pull the leg until it was out of my boy's comfort zone, and ended up getting him all riled and upset. Then he used a twitch on him. I did NOT have that farrier back. Our usual farrier knows to work on him is a more difficult position for the farrier, but less pain for the horse.

To answer the main question, I think many horse people do not understand the importance of ground manners...they think being a good horseman = a good rider! People should always school their horses for farrier visits. On the other hand, farriers should be able to deal with less than perfect horses because that is their job, and neither horses nor people are perfect. No one said being a farrier was easy!

Last edited by sammsgone; 11-18-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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post #10 of 61 Old 11-18-2009, 12:08 PM
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RiosDad - I hear what you're saying about having to be a certain build...but that's to make it EASIER on you, not that a smaller person can't do it. I'm 5'9 and barely 130lbs and I've trimmed my own 6-12 horses for the last 8 years. It wasn't easy, I apprenticed my own farrier for a couple years before doing my own, but it CAN be done by someone not "built" for the job...just makes it a little harder to do. I don't have the brute strength to hold onto a foal trying to kick its back leg away from me, I don't have the wide base stance to balance both myself and the horse when 1200lbs of nag desides THAT leg is tired...but you find other ways. I've used ropes to help teach foals to give, pokey objects to teach my leaners to stand on their own legs, and had other people to just pass instruments so the trim is a little faster/smoother instead of putting the foot down to switch.

I think it's fine to WARN her she may be in for more than she bargained, but unfair to write her off entirely purely due to her size. Yes, there will be some horses that a bigger person could handle easier, but step back and find another way.

Chevy - you go girl! LOL like I said, I apprenticed my own farrier for a couple years before ever picking up a rasp or knife, but I do just fine with my own horses. Because I do my own, I've been able to modify some of my techniques while still making sure the trim is balanced and strong. Most of them I do normally, but with my retired mare she's so good with trimming I'm able to kneel beside her and rest her leg on my knee to do the paring and nipping, but filing is the same. Biggest thing you'll have to work on is your balance and your leg strength. I never realised how weak my legs were until I had 1200lbs leaning on them!!! Don't get discouraged, even if you only take the course to better your knowledge and take on your own horses, I think it's worth it and considering going down to Montana for the course myself! I understand alot of the how's but not many of the whys, which is why I still have a certified farrier check on my horse's feet every now and again!

Trimming Eve (yearling Clyde X, darn near wild when I bought her 6 months before this)

I'LL probably get blasted for this one...LMAO - Cinder, my 18 year old retired mare...we've found ways around her fused hip to make trimming more comfortable!

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