Horse's legs and hooves awareness. Training exercises?

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Horse's legs and hooves awareness. Training exercises?

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  • Horse hit ground pole with hoof

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  • 1 Post By palominolover

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    07-05-2012, 03:05 AM
Horse's legs and hooves awareness. Training exercises?

The horse I'm leasing is starting to come around. Page is started English now, as before she only knew western. And not really well. She'll still try to get away with things sometimes but I'm now taking her on solo trailrides and cantering her (neither of which her owner had tried). She'll try to buck sometimes at the canter but so far at not at the trot and she's not barn sour, just spooky on trails because she's afraid of everything.

She's spooking less and listening more now though as she learns that she must listen even if she's scared and that I won't let anything eat her.

The only issue I'm having with her that I haven't really experienced before is Page seems to have no idea where her hooves or legs are! For instance, whether I'm riding or leading her over a pole on the ground she hits it 90% of the time with her feet. She's trying to pick her feet up but hits it anyway. Usually with her last hoof.

I'm hoping trails will help her become more surefooted and help her learn to coordinate her legs better but I was wondering if anyone has any ideas or experience with this problem that might help. Thanks!
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    07-05-2012, 04:24 AM
You might try looking down when she needs to be looking down. Don't know where your hands, balance and body intentions are, but all of you focusing on that intention consistently and gently, with lots of encouragement may help. If your consistent and it seems to help, you can get more subtle with cues as time goes on and she'll probably have the confidence and self assurance by then.

You might try doing some massages, stretches, belly lifts etc. with her. If she's not fully aware of herself or is "somewhere else," sometimes massaging and stretching helps, and/or maybe spicing things up a bit with a break in routine. Another thing that crossed my mind is possible physiological discomfort causing her to "drag" herself over the poles.
    07-05-2012, 12:33 PM
I agree with the above. Massages and lots of cueing her when to lift her feet. Trails would definitely help, but make sure you don't over-face her. How old is she? Age could also play a factor, as in if she's young she just may genuinely not realize how to pick up her feet, or if she's old there could be something physical or neurologically wrong with her same as if she's young. Have you had the vet check her out for anything? Or you could get the a chiropractor to check her. If there is nothing physically wrong with her then just do lots of ground exercises with her, lead her over the poles before you advance to riding her over them, pick up her legs and just massage them, do circles with them, and just stretch them out in front. Incorporate stepping over things in all your training sessions. How well does she pick herself up outside? That will also be a clue if there is something wrong with her.
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    07-05-2012, 12:36 PM
She might be lazy, or uncoordinated. But, there is always the chance of her having a neurological disorder that affects coordination.
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    07-05-2012, 04:26 PM
Try free lungeing her over raised poles. If you have heavy cavaletti, use those. Perhaps make some if you can. Otherwise set up raised poles in such a way that she can't move them without effort.
If you can't do that, try lungeing her over some cross country obstacles, like a fallen log. She'll certainly notice when she hits that.
Don't put any boots or wraps on her.
If you're using PVC poles, switch to wooden poles.

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