Originally Posted by Spirithorse
Well, it's obvious that this is a fear issue and not a dominance issue. So, I would start out by being able to gently swing a lead rope around his legs in a friendly manner. Get him used to that. Then take a lunge whip and gently rub him all over with it, including his legs. That way if he kicks you are far away. If he kicks at the whip, leave it there until he stops and then quickly retreat when he calms down. Look for signs of relaxation. When he is confident with that, then give him leg massages. That's an excellent way to get a horse to like his legs being messed with. When you ask him to pick up his leg, pinch the chestnut, not the tendon. If it's his back legs, squeeze the cap of the hock. When you finally ask him to pick it up, when he gives it to you hold the very tip of his toe. This is a power position and you have more of a chance holding on this way. If you have to let go, that's ok. Just rub him until he relaxes then start again. You don't want to punish him, he's just scared.
When the farrier does come out, I would be VERY CLEAR that he is to take his time and be VERY PATIENT. If the farrier is not, then the horse's confidence will not improve.
I don't think the crux of the problem is fear as I could pick it up the other day it was when I started cleaning it that he squealed and kicked. It was most definitely a pain issue to me. He's fine with ropes, touching the leg and everything, his issue comes when you start doing anything with the hoof. We have done heaps of ground work over the last little while and in every other way he is 100% better than when we got him. I can even brush him while he's eating which may not sound like much at all, but trust me, its huge lol
My farrier is brilliant. I spoke to him about the probs when I rang to organise it all. He is very patient, gentle and knowledgeable. This is the only reason I continue using him. I was amazed when I first got him out. Im used to farriers being a little rough if the horse isnt cooperating but he just strokes, them says 'whoah bub' and tries again. I wouldnt have it any other way.
And for the record, I never have nor would punish him for reacting cause I know he has had past issues with the farrier and understand he isnt going to be overly keen. Thing is, when my vet was out the other day to look at my mares eye, he saw jarreds hoof and suggested I get it done sooner rather than later or I would have bigger issues to contend with. My view is we can only try. If jarred gets freaked out and doesnt want anything to do with it, then we will stop and try again later.
Jwhisperj - he isnt worried by new people either. I tested this on tuesday by bringing some friends out and he was actually better with them than he is with us lol the bonding and calming things we have been doing are working wonders (thanks frank bell :))
Sweetypie16 - as I've already touched on, my farrier is awesome. He has his own horses and seems to have no noticeable fear ever. Very gentle man for a 6'5" brick %$#& house lol (sorry for the people overseas who would have no idea what that is :)) I spent a while talking to him on the phone today and he knows the whole scenario and didnt seem phased. When I asked him if it would be a problem for him he just laughed and said "only if he kicks me" lol im pretty picky about who deals with my horses and to be honest, he is the ONLY one up here I would use (out of the ones I know anyways).
I will be working with him more than usual over the next few days I just want to be armed if anything happens.
Thanks for everyones input :)