Help.. Training to pick up hind feet.

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Help.. Training to pick up hind feet.

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  • Yearling doesnt pick up feet
  • How to pick up a horse's hind foot

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    08-18-2011, 10:46 AM
Angry Help.. Training to pick up hind feet.

I have a 4 year old mare, that is very nervous of her back feet being picked up. I can touch all over her legs but when I apply pressure to pick them up she would rather kick me, than let me have them. I would like to work on this.
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    08-18-2011, 10:56 AM
Originally Posted by My Shadow    
I have a 4 year old mare, that is very nervous of her back feet being picked up. I can touch all over her legs but when I apply pressure to pick them up she would rather kick me, than let me have them. I would like to work on this.

There is not a magic trick to fix this, the only advise I can give is to just continue to mess with her feet.
Touch, rub, wash, do anything and everything with them you can.
Over time she will grow to trust you, just stay calm and comfort her and praise her for good, do not punish her for bad.
    08-18-2011, 11:09 AM
As she's still young, she may be nervous about having her back feet picked up due to balance issues. My boy is a little over three, and he does not like his back feet being picked up as it upsets his balance. He is none agressive though and has never tried to kick me, but has almost fallen over because he loses his balance.
If this is the case, balance exercises would be very beneficial.
Could her back feet be sore? I would check for abcesses, etc. as well.
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    08-18-2011, 11:11 AM
Get a rope around the pastern in such a way that if you dropped it it'd fall away from the leg not tighten or stay there, then standing out of kicking distance pull 'till the horse lifts the leg and release. Keep doing that untill you don't have to put much pressure on the leg to get it up, then practice holding it up with the rope.

If the horse goes to kick try to keep pressure on the rope. Don't let him have his leg back untill he's standing nicely.
    08-18-2011, 11:17 AM
Ditto Christopher, it keeps you out of firing range. The only thing I did differently is adding a verbal cue every time I picked up the feet, it transfers over to when you're picking up with your hands. Now all I have to do is run my hands down the back side of his leg and say "Foot" and he picks them up for me. Make sure you release all pressure as soon as they stop resisting.
    08-18-2011, 11:26 AM
Also a soft rope and a light pressure can help you along some.
Give the leg back to her at the very first give on her part.

    08-18-2011, 11:39 AM
I feel you here...

I have had to train a ten year old Belgian cross mare to pick up her feet. Her previous owners had just forcefully tied her. Very big feet....

More recently, my 4 year old, Friesian cross, 16.1 hand gelding has had issues as we just purchased him about 6 months ago now.

I personally start with teaching them the verbal cue. Either "up" or foot
In beginning
When they even switch their weight off the foot, you give reward, either cookies or scratches. You then progress to actually holding the foot for longer periods of time.

My 4 year old gelding got into the lovely habit of trying to sit on the farrierwhen he did his back feet. He would just generally be rude. So I would hold his feet for increasing increments of time. When he would try to sit on me I would smack his belly with the lead rope or lightly with a whip.

It is best to start with small increments so you can place your horse's foot down, not have them take it. This way they get the reward and understand the concept. However, if they refuse to progressively hold their foot for longer and attempt to pull, belly smack comes in and no cookie. In all these attempts you use the verbal cue as well.

This is a slow process, but I find this is the best way to avoid conflict and make them understand it. I would pick up Tungsten's feet maybe 4-5 times a day. Groom a few minutes, pick up feet, comb mane, pick up feet, ect.

The above method works as well, but my guy is not comfortable being tied by his feet, and it can lead to more fighting.

Anyway, if you have more questions or run into issues, you can PM me. I have experienced almost every trick in the book when it comes to picking up feet :) Good luck
    08-18-2011, 11:44 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Marecare    
Also a soft rope and a light pressure can help you along some.
Give the leg back to her at the very first give on her part.

Yep, that's the fastest, safest & easiest way to do it.
    08-18-2011, 12:01 PM
Thank you all for your help! I will be sure to let you all know how this works out for me.
    08-18-2011, 08:29 PM
Green Broke
What about teaching a horse to hold it's feet in "farrier position" with the back feet?

I have been working on that with my yearling. He generally holds his feet pretty good for just picking the mud out, but I have also been practicing bringing those back feet out and draping them across my thigh (because when you trim you need two hands) and that always seems to trigger him to pull them away.

Any good suggestions for that? The rope method looks great except that it isn't in "farrier position."

When he does try to pull away, do you try to hang onto the foot or let him have it and try again?

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