Picking up back feet issues

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Picking up back feet issues

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  • How to get a yearling to pick feet up
  • How to pick up rear hooves of yearling

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    03-31-2010, 01:58 AM
Picking up back feet issues

My Madeline came to me in December 100% unhandled, never touched by humans save to load her in a trailer to bring her home, with the use of panels and gates and a lot of prayer. I put her in a 60x100 pen and asked myself, "what the heck are you thinking!!!"

The first month was spent gaining trust, in small steps. After a month I was able to pet her forehead and offer her food from my hand. In February I started working a lot with her on accepting haltering, and within a few days had her haltered and leading.

She is super smart- but scared. Before coming to me, she simply had no positive experience with humans. It has helped very much that she now has a buddy horse who has showed her how to mooch for treats.

Fast forward- I can now touch her everywhere, she stands tied, leads. I can back her up, turn her in circles, and lead her forward. I can pick up her front feet and clean them and have started tapping on her soles a bit with the nippers so she gets used to the feel of them.

The problem I am having is her hind feet. I just can't seem to get her to accept me picking them up with my hand. I can loop a leadrope under her pastern and pick up the hoof while I stand near her ribs, but if I get close to her back foot with my hand, she strikes out.

I spend at least half an hour a day grooming and working with her. She will be 2 years old in August. If anyone can offer me a safe solution or suggestions, I would be thrilled. She NEEDS her hooves trimmed badly and I feel horrible asking my farrier to work on her and risk being kicked. When he comes out next week he'll do the fronts which are the worst, but its my job as her owner to have a safe horse for him to work on.
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    03-31-2010, 02:07 AM
My TB tries to kick out when we pick up his back feet really high. He does have some stiffness in his hocks, which could attribute to the problem, because if I keep them relatively low or bring his leg out, he's fine.

The problem with the back end is that's where predators jump, because that's where all of the meat is. Just work very slowly at getting her to accept your hand moving across her rump and down her leg. Don't try to pick up her feet until she doesn't flinch and lets you run your hand all the way down her leg.

You say you can pick up her foot with a rope, but can you wrap it around her butt?
    03-31-2010, 02:16 AM
See that is what is confusing me. She lets me brush her all the way down her leg to her hoof, with a brush and with my hand. I have even (dumb, yes I know) knelt down beside her and touched her all the way up the inside her her back leg and hugged on her butt.

She could care less about ropes- I've wrapped them all over her to desensitize her to them. When I pick up her back feet I just double the rope (its a fat white cotton soft leadrope) and "hook" it around her pastern and say "lift" and lift it. She will lift and hold for several minutes if I ask. Its just when I combine lifting her foot with my hand that she struggles and kicks out.
    03-31-2010, 02:25 AM
It sounds to me then she might just protest having her foot held. After all, she is a baby, and she may not feel confident that you can support her weight. Have you tried correcting her when she tries to kick out? Just a simple "no" or "Aaaagh" and keeping a hold of her foot while she tries to get it loose. When she calms down, count to five, then put her foot back down. Increase the time she needs to keep her foot up every time you work with her.
    03-31-2010, 02:27 AM
Have you ever tried having someone hold one of her front legs up while you handle her hind legs?? I know someone who has a horse that has hind end issues and they do this. This is just a suggestion but I hope it helps out. My favorite thing to say when dealing with horses is " There is a million different ways to do one thing with horses". Hope I was some help.
    03-31-2010, 02:37 AM
Yes, I did correct her with a loud "AAAH" sound and held on until she stopped kicking and put her foot down.

She has no physical issues that I am aware of that would preclude her to pain in the hindquarters.

Randa you gave me an idea. I am wondering if maybe I held the rope with her foot up, and had a helper cup her hoof with her hand while I kept her calm at her shoulder.

Sounds funny, I got my first horse when I was 3, and I'm 34 now. I have had many horses over the years and never a baby horse- I wish that I'd gotten her as a weanling instead of an unhandled yearling. After this little lassie is well broke I might just be ready to adopt a mustang LOL
    03-31-2010, 08:42 AM
Hmm...my mare was the same...wouldn't pick up her back legs, but just shuffled and danced out of the way when I had them, never kicked me. Mine is well-broken and handled daily, so I'm not sure if this will work for you, but how I dealt with mine: When I go to pick up her back legs and she moves or misbehaves or whatever, I quickly back her up 5-10 steps, then calmly try again. Mine got the point that it's more work to misbehave than to stand quietly and lift her feet. If that doesn't work, the most I can say otherwise is hold on to her foot when she kicks it-don't let her get away with putting it down.
    03-31-2010, 10:11 AM
I recently worked with a youngster that had a somewhat similar issue. She didn't kick, but would "bicycle" with her rears if I tried to pick them up. I used a soft cotton rope and loosely looped it over her fetlock, lifting and telling her "foot" and worked up to being able to hold it up as long as I like. Next step was keeping the rope on her foot, and picking up the rear with my hand. If she started to peddle or protest I still had the rope in one hand and could back out of the danger zone but still keep her foot off the ground.

I know you said she was untouched, but is there any way someone maybe really worked over her back end? Sounds like she has a lot of fear associated with it, more so than the normal worry due to instinct.

Good luck with her! I am getting ready to start with a nearly untouched 2 year old.....this could be interesting,lol.
    03-31-2010, 10:46 AM
If she is rising 2 this August has she had any hoof care?? Some farrier must have trimmed her? He would have picked up the foot? I do alot of these and I just step into them, pick up a foot and hold on. They settle down.
Try nailing shoes on something like this
    03-31-2010, 11:21 AM
No Rio, she has never been trimmed. A lot of people in this area don't bother handling babies til they are 2-3 yrs old then they rough break them. I don't believe in that. This is why she so very much needs to get her hooves done! Especially with being part draft, foot care is so very important.

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