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post #1 of 12 Old 03-13-2013, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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hold still

i have got my mare to pick up her front feet for a few seconeds then she pulls it away with her back feet she starts moving her but back and forth how do i teach her to stand. i have one month to try to get her ok with picking up her feet before she gets hauled over to meet her new fairrier, and chiropractore the fairer she had was mean and hurt her several times (i didnt own her then) so it is fear based.
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-13-2013, 09:23 PM
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No matter how hard she tries to get her foot away, don't let it go.

Start small at first and set goals every time you work with her feet.

"Today, I'm going to pick up each foot, then set it down on my terms after five seconds." Once you accomplish that goal without her fighting you, praise her.

Reward/praise her every time she relaxes and lets you hold her feet.

My gelding's feet hadn't been handled in almost a year when I got him (plus he was only 2). It took a lot of work and patience...and a lot of smacks on the butt with the crop when he tried to kick me (not something I would recommend with your mare if she's been abused), but now I can go in his stall and handle all four of his feet without him restrained.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-14-2013, 04:14 AM
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The more practice she gets at pulling away from you, the stronger that behaviour/attitude will get, so it's important not to lose if you can possibly help it. BUT of course, she is a **** sight stronger than you, it doesn't pay to get confrontational in your approach, especially where fear reactivity is concerned, and you need to keep safety no. 1 priority at all times. So... attempting to just make things happen is not the best IME.

Baby steps, as above suggests, so you can build gradually on win/win experiences. Using ropes(if you're confident & horse is first desensitised) can be helpful. Positive reinforcement for everything 'good' you do get. While it's good to work gradually enough that you're not likely to get into a fight with her or lose the foot, if it does come to that, keep hold *only if you safely can & don't think you'll lose.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-14-2013, 09:17 PM
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I play the horse's game except I change the rules. Put your lunge line on and have your lunge whip handy. Move the horse to where there is plenty of room to lunge it. Have the line over your left elbow with the remainer on the ground behind you. Pick up the hoof and as soon as she pulls it away, chase her out to the end of your lunge line and move her, looking at her like you plan on killing her. Trot her briskly in three circles then have her stop and pick up her hoof. She probably didn't learn the first time so you'll likely have to repeat the lunging. You may have to do it a third time before she catches on. The real dumb ones need 4. She wanted to move, so you made her move, not how she wanted. She may be more cooperative when you try to pick the hind, if not chase her out again. She has learned that it works for that end as well. If you have been tying her to something solid, sometimes just keep the lead over your elbow instead will settle a horse down.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-14-2013, 09:57 PM
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Can't say I'm a fan of lunging for punishment at all. I also think you've got to know whether it's fear/pain based first too, before you even consider any punishment. *Keeping safety/effectiveness in mind of course, if the horse pulls away, I want to try to ensure, as instantly as possible, that this behaviour doesn't work for her (I pick it up immediately again), rather than if she pulls away I ask her to do something else.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-14-2013, 11:00 PM
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I think you have to look at each horse as an individual and know wether they are pulling away due to pain or behavioral issues. There is no way that if a horse decides to really pull it's foot away that you will ever stop it and I have the detached bicep tendon to prove it. I am a big believer in using the "you wanna move? Then let's move". philosophy when necessary. But you have to be able to judge when and how it will be effective for your horse. My daughters horse...it worked wonders on. If he wanted too put his foot down then I didn't resist him but put him to work. I was never mean about but just made standing still with his leg up a MUCH better choice. There was aother mare at our barn who had bad knees and it was hard for her to hold her leg for long periods of time. So to prepare her for the farrier we worked with her gently and built up her ability to hold her leg up over time...which was both mental and physical for her. Two different approaches for two different horses. You have to know your horse.

I would say that overall the "making them move hard" approach will work probably more an half the time. Give it a couple of tries, if things don't improve (they may not be perfect but hey should improve) then take another tack and see what else you can do to inspire her to stand still with her foot up.

My old horse Apache was go good at his feet that if you picked up his left front and put it down he would automatically lift his left rear and hold it for you to come clean, followed by his right rear and then right front. If you didn't follow each foot in order he would hold it there, sometimes long enough for me to get to the barn and back....god I miss that horse!!!!! :)

Good luck.

Les Voorhis
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-15-2013, 08:35 AM
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I doubt it is fear based.

Much more likely you are not holding foot right, and that you are letting this repeatedly happen.

And are you teaching horse a "be still" command?

Horse is doing this because you are letting him, and not correcting it.

And I too think the whole "move the horse around to teach it to be still" is asinine.

Get after horse with voice and attitude when you pick up foot and he moves. Don't let him do it over and over. Get your hands on hoof, clean it out and move to next.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-15-2013, 09:01 AM
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Making a horse move to be still is asinine? I wonder where I went wrong. I thought I was utilizing the horse's ingrained desire to not waste energy as it was needed for a fast getaway from a perceived predator. I'll try to remember your remark the next time I pick their hooves at liberty in a large pasture while each stands quietly.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-15-2013, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Palomine View Post
Horse is doing this because you are letting him, and not correcting it.
I have a feeling that's stating the obvious to OP. It's how not to let him & how best to correct that's the topic. I think your comment about holding the foot correctly is an important point that no one's yet mentioned. Holding the hoof wall at the toe, fully flexed, tends to give you more control & allow you to hang on & go with it(without detaching biceps muscles!) much more effectively.

'Correcting' & making 'the wrong thing difficult' in whatever manner is important, but I think it's even more important to focus on making 'the right thing easy' and reinforcing it, both positively(giving a reward) & negatively(removing pressure).

I thought I was utilizing the horse's ingrained desire to not waste energy as it was needed for a fast getaway from a perceived predator.
I don't personally think it's 'asinine'... not that I would put it that way anyway if I did! I think that perhaps talking the theory to wasting energy & perceived predator escapes may be a bit irrelevant & often not the case... especially with overfed, under exercised beasties. Basically what it comes down to is that you're aiming to make the wrong thing difficult by running the horse around. In some situations I think this is a very valid answer (tho I still disagree with using lunging as punishment - that's not how I want the horse to think of lunging) but I think it's much more straight forward to teach a horse to... well, stand still, to stand still. Just as *part* of the reason I disagree with 'Join Up' is because I don't think chasing a horse in circles is the best way to teach them to come to you. Horses learn by *instant* association of cause & effect, so I think it's also more effective to use more direct consequences.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-15-2013, 08:45 PM
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I think everyone's mentioned some great points.
Holding the foot in a way that they can't easily pull away - I've been having to squeeze medicine on a 19 hand Belgian's VERY painful thrushy feet, despite the massive difference I'm able to (mostly) prevent him from dropping his foot by holding it as Loosie described, at the toe, fully flexed.
Pain can be an issue, so while you want the lower leg flexed, try not to cram their leg all the way up, it's not easy for them to hold their legs in those cramped positions if they aren't flexible.

But I think another aspect that I don't think has been mentioned is trust.
A horse's entire life depends on their feet and their ability to get away. Giving up their foot to a human is a total display of trust - of course it can be forced or otherwise terrible - but when done right there's gotta be trust. This horse may only trust you so much to hold give up their foot for a few seconds. Most horses I know will rear up or throw themselves on the ground in total panic the first few times a human tries to pick their feet up - if there was no preperation.
Practice your basic groundwork - in your groundwork periodically ask her to pick up a foot and then when she's holding it calmly for a second or two put it back down (gently, don't just drop it). Carry on with your ground work and go back to another foot. Over time increase the amount of time the feet are off the ground.
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