Long story short, my gelding has suddenly started giving me trouble when I do his feet.
The longer story is this. I've only had him for 2 weeks, but knew him a couple of years ago. He never gave me problems with anything, other than not wanting to work. He's been rather lame lately, due to a combination of flat feet, bad trims, and I believe the change in the ground has had an effect too (here he is on hard packed ground, before he was on soft, lush ground).
In the past week, I have been brushing neatsfoot oil onto the soles and the walls of his hooves, and there is already a visible difference in his movement - he actually trotted across the paddock of his own accord yesterday.
Back to the point, he has begun to flat out refuse to lift his feet. It used to only take pressure and a click of my tongue. Now I have to try that, the 'fly bite' method, squeezing his chestnuts, leaning into him to shift his weight, stepping him out until the weight is off the particular leg... Once I do manage to get the leg up, the hind legs become stiff and difficult to bend and he eventually kicks them out of my hands or manage to knock me off balance. The forelegs he is better with, but after a couple of seconds he attempts to pull them away. He will swing his leg back and forth and once he has it from my grip, he continues to paw the ground. I give him three chances with each leg. After the three, I give him a slap (not too hard) at the top of the leg in question. He does seem to behave a little better after that.
Now, I want to know if the method I plan to use is the best course of action. The way I trained my breaker to lift her legs was to hook a towel around behind the pastern and use it to keep the leg up. I find that it is a lot harder for the horse to kick out of that than hands. Once the horse stops fighting, I place the leg back down. I was thinking of trying this on him, even though he is twice the size.
Any other options?
Also, as to reasons why he may be doing it - The first time he did it, the flies were horrible and I completely understood his behavior. I wonder if that had made him realize that he can get out of it. The other possibility that I have considered is that his feet are usually the last thing I do, and on the average day he gets fed straight afterwards, so perhaps he is being impatient and trying the rush into feed time.