He won't pick up his feet. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Iowa
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He won't pick up his feet.

My five year old gelding is VERY reluctant to pick up his feet. When I try to pick them up I have to lean on him to shift his weight over just to make it a little easier. When I finally do get it up (which only happens about half the time), he tries to just lay down. He's an amazing horse other than that one thing. He's great to ride, but I can't ride him if I can't pick his feet out!! What can I do?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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When you lean on him, do it only enough so that he shifts his weight over to his other legs then run your hand down and if he doesn't pick it up, squeeze both sides of his chestnut. He's already learned that if he doesn't budge you'll give up and horses don't like to not have the use of their legs (they're a prey animal) so if he doesn't HAVE to pick up his feet, he won't.

If he tries to stomp his foot down, you're going to have to be strong and not let him. Only put down his foot when you decide to, not when he does. The first few times, don't hold his leg up too long. When he picks it up, set it back down almost immediately and praise him.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Iowa
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I've tried literally all of that. When I do get his feet up, I try to work quick and put his foot down as soon as possible so he knows if he just lets me do it, it's over quick and it's not that bad. The thing is, he doesn't try to stomp his foot down, he just goes straight to laying down.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 04:28 PM
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Are you sure he's balanced enough? Some horses go very unbalanced when hoof is picked. My paint lost her balance once when farrier was stretching her front leg and fell on farrier. She was 5 already and she's very balanced in general! Try to pick next to the stall wall, or in corner, so he would have some support if he's loosing his balance. You can also try to use rope to pick his fit rather than do it with the hands - you'll also have some distance then.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 04:38 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2010
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some people will use hobbles.
My new horse does it ...looks like she is trying to bow. I just bend her hoof up and keep holding on.If he isn't picking up his feet put pressure near his fetlock with your fingers...works for me everytime...even tapping on the hoof repeatedly will sometimes to the trick. Also if he picks it up reward him somehow..treats,or tell him good boy and pet him. Make him know that it's a good thing.
He might have pain in his hoof also..just check for heat and press in areas.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 04:39 PM
Green Broke
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oh and also I have heard(don't know if it's true) that if they don't trust you enough they won't pick their feet up. Does he do well with the farrier or does he fight them?
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-26-2010, 04:42 PM
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First, teach the horse to 'stand' no matter what you are doing with him. It is best for the horse to stand square. This is when he is most balanced. If the horse is not square when you pick up his foot, he is not well-balanced enough, and may even be leaning as if he was just going to walk off, but you are holding his foot when his weight shifts to that part of his body to walk, so he can either back up and panic and be even more off balance, or lean into the weight where his leg would go, but then falls.

A lot of times, we have to restart from baby steps in the beginning. First, I think he needs to learn and understand how to properly shift his weight to other feet while you hold on. If you want to pick up his left front hoof, all his weight should be on his right hind foot. Take a rope and just apply pressure to the back of his fetlock with it on his front foot, to start there first. As soon as you feel his weight shift off of that foot, release pressure. That's what he was supposed to do, keep weight off that foot.

But first, he needs to learn to stand still, and as square as you can get him so he is well balanced.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back. -- Unkown
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