Picking up hind feet
   

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Picking up hind feet

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  • Pick up horses hind feet
  • How do you teach a young horse to pick up their hind feet

 
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    01-09-2009, 06:33 AM
  #1
Foal
Picking up hind feet

I am just wondering about someways that people have taught their horses to pick up their back feet.

I've gotten my girl to lift her front feet (in a weird, jerky young horse way) but she's always been funning about her legs and she it weird around her back legs (i think someone has hurt her before).

I've been scratching her and petting her a lot so now she lets me touch her hocks. How have people taught their horses the picking up part and how do you avoid kicks?
     
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    01-09-2009, 06:57 AM
  #2
Weanling
Here is one method that works well (it works well for front feet too): Take a lead rope and stand at your horse's side, facing towards their rear. You will need to have them tied or have someone hold them for you. First, rub them all over with the lead rope to get them use to it, rub it over their rump and down their rear legs. Once they seem to accept that will, run the lead rope behind their fetlock and hold both ends of the rope in each hand (this should form a V between you and the horse's foot. Now, standing near your horse's shoulder (or slightly behind it) out of kicking range, gentle pull back on the rope. Use gentle pressure to start with and slowly increase it. As soon as the horse even tries to lift the foot, release the pressure and pat your horse. Repeat this, slowly increasing the amount of time and the height the horse must lift their leg before they get relief. Eventually you want them to lift their leg and remain relaxed. If they fight with you and kick, keep holding the pressure until they relax. This can take awhile to teach but if you do it a little bit each day as part of your normal grooming routine then she should learn to pick up here feet in no time.

For the front feet you do it exactly the same except you stand in front of the horse and slightly to the side, out of striking range.

This method can actually save a horse's life because it teaches a horse to relax when their feet are caught on something instead of thrashing. I have heard of many cases where a horse got caught in a fence but made it out unscathed because they were taught this way and just waited for someone to come and get them out.

Jubilee
     
    01-09-2009, 07:53 AM
  #3
Foal
I use the exact same principle that Jubilee said to do and have had great success with it. I also am not too worried about getting kicked or anything like that because I am not really in the kicking range.

I mostly started doing it that way because I had a mare that would be really difficult about giving her foot up- so my back got tired! I then started working with the lead and it was easier on me and she got the point! I have been practicing this principle with my 6 month old colt for months now and he is a pleasure to work with. Still gets a little antsy, and needs more breaks, but not dangerous in any way.

Good luck to you!
     
    01-09-2009, 10:55 AM
  #4
Foal
That is a very good first step, I would add though that once they are comfortable with having their let confined you do need to start working on holding them with your hands.
When standing at their side put one hand on the hip as you move the other hand down the back of the leg to the fetlock, gently put some weight on the hip to slightly shift the horses weight as you lift the lower leg forward and up. Once the leg is up, move the leg up & down, back & forth, in & out, all around in different positions. Then eventually put the front feet between your legs and the rear legs on you lap the way your farrier holds them. Pick their feet and tap on them.
Before you know it she'll be standing like a pro!
     
    01-09-2009, 07:28 PM
  #5
Yearling
Yep I do exactly the same thing... and once the horse begins to relax about the idea of its feet being lifted I move in closer and reach in to grab the foot. Always make a huge deal about praise. Make it a good experience, hold it in your hand, then drop it gently and praise.... repeat and soon you'll be able to hold it for longer and introduce the hoof pick!

If the horse is particulary kicky, it would pay to get a dressage whip and tie a stuffed glove on the end and let it act like an extension of your arm... rub the legs, rump, the whole back end with it until the horse is used to the fact that it's being touched down there... that way you are teaching the horse, at the same time not risking your own arm!

Good luck!
x
     
    01-11-2009, 08:05 AM
  #6
Foal
I use the leadrope method until they are okay with it, taking it step by step, lifting it with the lead just a few inches and setting it down instantly but not dropping it, then lifting it with the lead up to the normal height they would get their feet held at then setting it down instantly, then try holding it in the air with the lead for about a minute or two, then move onto picking it up with your hands a few inches and setting it down instantly, then picking it up to normal height and setting it down insantly, then picking it up and kinda tapping it with the palm of your hand, then move onto holding it up for a while and tapping it, then you are ready to pick out their hooves with a pick. Take the steps slowly though, one step a day but it can be repeated in the day several times.
     

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