Feet trouble

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Feet trouble

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    02-18-2010, 04:57 AM
Feet trouble

So, Mana has absorbed everything I have thrown at him like a fuzzy sponge. He picks up his feet like a dream. Since Deja is witchy about her feet I have been pretty anal about getting Mana used to having his feet messed with. He will lift and hold up all of his feet exept his front left one. He has never liked lifting it even when he was very little. At one point he even let himself fall to the ground when I was trying to hold it. He will try to pull his foot away and if I don't let go he will try to hop backward. If that fails he will very nearly flop himself to the ground. I try not to let go of his foot when he tries to pull it away so he doesn't get any ideas about getting out of holding his foot up, but this is getting rediculous. How do I stop this? He is perfect for his other feet so I don't understand what the problem is. He does not have any medical issues that would cause him pain. I don't know how to break him of this. I want to fix this before he gets too much bigger. Any suggestions?
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    02-18-2010, 07:43 AM
My mare had the same problem this is what I did.. Everytime you clean that foot do a quick clean. Once he pulls away, let him, and drop it. Go do the other feet and then always come back to the one that's bothering him. Once he gets used to you cleaning it everyday, the longer he will let you hold it up. And make sure you reward him after!

Usually horses have a problem with the back feet, you should get it checked out.

People always say "don't let him pull away because then he will think he can do it every time", that isn't true. I learned not to fight with it because the more you do, the worse the problem will get. And on top of that it isn't worth you or your horse getting hurt in the process.
    02-18-2010, 07:56 AM
I had a horse like that some time ago and what I did was similar to White Foot's method. The only difference is that I would pick up his foot for a moment and let it go before he had a chance to do it himself. Doing it that way, it was my idea not his. Little by little, I held it longer and longer until I could hold it for as long as I wanted, but it took time to get to that point - it wasn't an overnight fix. In the meanwhile, he had to be twitched to trim him.

I never did figure out why he did that but I got him as a 10 year old and he came with a suitcase full of problems. I fixed them one by one and sold him as the very nice horse he had become.
    02-18-2010, 04:19 PM
Excellant answers! I am going out there in a bit to work with him so I'll try these out. Thanks! Glad to know others have had this problem and that it can be worked through.
    02-18-2010, 05:03 PM
You can do it, it just takes time :)
    02-19-2010, 08:27 AM
The part about the horse almost falling over and hopping back kind of stood out to me. I was wondering if she knows how to balance correctly on three legs. There have been occasional times when I'll pick up one of Frida's front feet and she will start to almost lay down, and then I look and she has unevenly distributed her weight on her remaining legs. Most of the times it looks like the other front foot is slightly underneath her, and normally when I let the hoof down she will correct herself. My horse has been pretty good about picking up her feet, she even preps them for me as I walk over to each one. I concentrated on front feet first, once she was really good at that I worked with the back feet. I would let her smell/see the hoofpick, run my entire hand down her leg, and put pressure on the chestnut. If she lift it herself, I wouldn't even go to pick out the feet at first, I would just praise her and let her put it down, then stroke her legs and ask again. It was all pretty gradual, and a simple thing like picking up a hoof and cleaning it out took pretty much a whole training session. I always think of what a submission it must be for the horse to do this, allow us to take away the only guarantee that he has for survival momentarily. I ran into problems later because she was too eager to pick up her feet, it came to a point that even when I just wanted to brush her legs she would start to lift her hoof up. Now I change directions when I want to brush her legs. I face her head when I brush them, and face my back to her when I want to clean them out. Good luck!
    02-19-2010, 02:39 PM
Green Broke
The above is all wonderful advice. My only further question would be, have you ruled out any physical issue either with the left fore OR his other three legs? It could be that the movement of having that leg picked up is causing pain in it -or the shift in weight to the remaining three legs causing discomfort in one of them.
    02-19-2010, 03:04 PM
Yes, we have ruled out pain. I had the vet out a couple weeks ago to do a check up. He's just turning 6 months next week and I have been working on his feet since he was a month old. He has always had a problem with this foot. It is possible that he doesn't know how to balence with this one up, but why would he be fine with three of them and not this one? I suppose all I can do now is to work with him for awhile and see if he improves. I did manage to pick all of his feet yesterday, though his problem foot I had to do over the course of a half hour, but it got done. I did notice that he is quite flat footed. If that means anything. Thanks for all the advice everyone, I'll keep this updated on how he does.

**Edit: And I just remembered that when I was working with his feet up untill now he was not being held. He wasn't lead broke untill recently and any work I did with him he was loose in the pasture for.

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