Kicks while handling back feet - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Kicks while handling back feet

I have a new horse (been with me about a month). Before I bought him, I made sure that he would stand for all of his feet to be handled. The owner picked up his feet, I picked them up, her kids picked them up...no problem. I looked at him on two different days before deciding to buy him and handled his feet both times. The owner's husband is a farrier and he trimmed him the day we went to pick him up, he stood fine for that as well. Now that I have him with me, he doesn't like his back feet handled. At first it was just a lazy "leave me alone" type kick, he never jerked from my hand and I stayed with him and did what I had to do. I figured that he was just testing me out, as the new owner, to see what I would put up with. He has steadily progressed to a solid kick. He doesn't violently strike out, but it's a pretty solid cow kick if I try to pick his back feet up. He's fine otherwise, I can handle his legs no problem, it's just when I ask for him to pick them up. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
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post #2 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 01:35 AM
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Is there any reason it might be uncomfortable for him to support weight on 3 legs? Front end issues, maybe stifles, etc? Is he kicking at you, or just kicking straight back to get his foot back down?


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post #3 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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As of right now, I don't know. He's a rescue horse. The lady I bought him from rescued him and got him up to a decent weight before selling him to me, but he is still pretty thin. Her vet checked him out and deemed him sound. He has been swapped around in my general area and a previous owner found out he was sold to me. She contacted me and was curious of his condition. After some talk I learned that at one time he had a bad wound in one of his front hooves. When she got him his feet were horrible and packed with hardened clay. As they cleaned them out, something was imbedded in a front hoof and it was infected. They got it cleared up and he was fine after. That is the only thing that I know of any kind of issue. I have only ridden him a handful of times, my main focus has been getting his weight up, and he rides awesome, no signs of any soreness.

As far as kicking, he draws his leg in under his belly and does a sweeping motion out, not straight back. So yeah, it's at me, but it's not a violent strike. It's hard enough to pull free from my hands and it would definitely hurt if he were to catch me. He also doesn't move around. I know some horses will kick then swing their butts away, he just stands there.
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post #4 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngrl7500 View Post
As of right now, I don't know. He's a rescue horse. The lady I bought him from rescued him and got him up to a decent weight before selling him to me, but he is still pretty thin. Her vet checked him out and deemed him sound. He has been swapped around in my general area and a previous owner found out he was sold to me. She contacted me and was curious of his condition. After some talk I learned that at one time he had a bad wound in one of his front hooves. When she got him his feet were horrible and packed with hardened clay. As they cleaned them out, something was imbedded in a front hoof and it was infected. They got it cleared up and he was fine after. That is the only thing that I know of any kind of issue. I have only ridden him a handful of times, my main focus has been getting his weight up, and he rides awesome, no signs of any soreness.

As far as kicking, he draws his leg in under his belly and does a sweeping motion out, not straight back. So yeah, it's at me, but it's not a violent strike. It's hard enough to pull free from my hands and it would definitely hurt if he were to catch me. He also doesn't move around. I know some horses will kick then swing their butts away, he just stands there.
So he isn't just trying to adjust weight you think, it's just behavioral. Does he swish his tail when he does it or pick up his head?

While the obvious solution seems to not let him put his foot down, I have to admit I'd rather move a horse's feet when they disrespect me like that (kick out at me). Rather than hold tight and hope you don't lose your grip, I'd drop the foot and give a swift open palm smack on the rump to quickly move him over. You want to get that "Oh crap!" look, where they're paying a ton of attention to you and seeing what you're all about. Respect. Eventually, he'll learn holding his feet quietly is much easier than the alternative: moving them around ... but that's just my way of thinking. Someone more advanced with horse feet might have better advice.

On a side note I am glad you got a rescued horse. I try to encourage anyone buying a new horse to look into adopting...


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post #5 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 02:22 AM
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I would say bad behaviour is best left ignored. The best thing you can do is condition him to learn that keeping his foot still for you means he will be rewarded. This could be in the form of a treat, or you could keep trying to pick up his feet and when he does stand quietly, don't bug him anymore and give him a big pat and a sooky "GOOD BOY".

Another alternative that I often use with horses difficult to pick up their back feet is to not use my hands at all. You get a bandage wrap (or something similar) and wrap it through the back leg like a leg strap, only you are holding both ends. Stand about near his head on the same side. Gently wiggle both ends alternatively so that it creates a pulling down motion until the bandage is wrapped around his fetlock bone. Then pull the bandage toward you, and ask him to hold his leg in the air under is belly nice and low. When he stops kicking, release the bandage and "good boy". Do this with the other side, and eventually do this same thing with your hand. Then you will eventually be able to pull his leg from underneath him.

It sounds very much like a behavioural thing. Like he is confused or being stubborn.
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post #6 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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He's like a statue. There is no tail swishing or head movement, always keeps the same lazy look on his face. He just kicks and puts his foot back. Smacking him on the rump is actually what I was thinking of doing, just didn't know if there was a better way.

He's my first rescue horse, and I admit, I was a little leery at first. I actually saw his ad on horseclicks.com and something about him just caught my attention. I wasn't even looking for a full sized horse, but a pony for my daughter. I went out to see him the next day and by the end of the week he was mine. He's the sweetest guy (aside from the kicking) and it saddens me that anyone would let him get into the state that he was in.
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post #7 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKatie View Post
Another alternative that I often use with horses difficult to pick up their back feet is to not use my hands at all. You get a bandage wrap (or something similar) and wrap it through the back leg like a leg strap, only you are holding both ends. Stand about near his head on the same side. Gently wiggle both ends alternatively so that it creates a pulling down motion until the bandage is wrapped around his fetlock bone. Then pull the bandage toward you, and ask him to hold his leg in the air under is belly nice and low. When he stops kicking, release the bandage and "good boy". Do this with the other side, and eventually do this same thing with your hand. Then you will eventually be able to pull his leg from underneath him.
I like this idea. Most of the time I'm home alone (hubby works away for two weeks at a time). I don't work and no one ever comes over, so if I were to get kicked no one would know about it. This will keep me out of harms way while I work with him, when the hubby is home I can focus on trying to pick his feet up with my hands.
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post #8 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 02:40 AM
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Yeah I usually am in the same position, work on my own with horses and not strong enough to handle them if the time calls for it. I am a pretty small female lol
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post #9 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 02:42 AM
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See, the reason I don't handle horse's feet a lot is because I'm so tall. It kills my back. I bend at the waist and people ask me why I don't pick their feet up higher. Honestly, because it's harder for me that way... I don't have the physical capacity to fight with a horse that wants to kick.


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post #10 of 36 Old 07-26-2012, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangweichongare View Post
to see what I would put up with. He has steadily progressed to a solid kick. He doesn't violently strike out, but it's a pretty solid cow kick if I try to pick his back feet up.
Are you a prev. owner or something?


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