Problem with my 2 year old gelding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 11-10-2006, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Problem with my 2 year old gelding

I've recently bought a 2 year old gelding. (he was gelded 8 months ago) He has been mistreated in the past and i understand that this could be part of the reason why he has some problems.
Basically he won't let me pick up his feet, i've managed to get him to let me pick up 3 of his legs but he won't stand still long enough for me to clean them. However he won't let me go any where near his right back leg, he let's me rub down it but as soon as i try to pick it up he kicks out at me and the more i try the more aggressive he gets. i think it's more through a lack of respect than fear but i just don't understand why he's fine with me picking up his other legs. I'm running out of ideas so if anyone has any tips for me i'd appreciate it if you could help.
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-10-2006, 03:47 PM
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Yes I feel the pain..I had the similar experience with my thoroughbred gelding..Your definitely on the right track..Patience is the key to over coming a fear in any horses..Ive had horses in the past catch on really quickly to having just about everything done to them and I've also had some that take a really long time to trust..The best thing to do is to never force the situation..because it will result in bad behavior and and it will take longer.....continue to get him desensitized as you are rubbing..brushing ect ...the more he gets comfortable the more hes not thinking your this scary thing trying to hurt him....Oh and If he wont stand long enough to clean out his feet..How does his farrier..shoe him or file down his feet?

P.s I found out later on that the reason my gelding didn't like his back feet messed with.. He had a run in with a horrible farrier about a couple days before i purchased him..the farrier had struck him with his rasp....If he didn't stay still..(apparently thats the reason they sold him) your horse may have a Previous experience
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-10-2006, 07:40 PM
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i agree, patience is the most important thing right now.

i am having similar problems with my 4 yr old appendix mare. there is no telling what she has been through since the breeder sold her at 11 months old, till i got her a month ago.
some days she lets me have all four feet, and allows me to clean them. other days, its all we can do to get one picked up. some days i have to have someone hold her head cause she will turn around and try to nip me, other days she could care less. i guess it just depends on their mood, AND how much she wants to play the game "how far can i push this human?".

i would just continue to rub, brush, etc. his legs most days. and attempt to lift and clean. i wouldn't necessarily force the issue, but then again, can we really allow them to win????

big question
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-11-2006, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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i haven't needed to get the farrier out to him just yet as iv had him just over a month and he was newly shod. I did contact the farrier that shod him to see if he had the same problem with him or if he was just playing up due to the change in home but he said he was fussy with his back legs. i'm worried i may have to sedate him as my farrier will be coming to him next week. I'm just glad i'm not the only one out there will this problem/
Thanks for all your advice.
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-11-2006, 05:44 PM
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If this were a horse of mine in training, I would stick with the task of working with his legs all day long until he became relaxed and comfortable. But first, I would groom him thoroughly, as this not only relaxes the horse very much, but gives you an idea of sensitivities he may have other than what is going on with his feet, which might even have a direct link to a possible issue he is having somewhere else. It could be that he is just not accustomed to anyone working with him in this way. It's possible that whenever he lifted his leg, it seemed to the handler that he was going to kick, and so it was given up on, and he learned to act this way when his legs are approached and now he uses it to his advantage.

Many horses will try to be helpful and actually lift their leg to assist you in reaching for it. In some horses, it even seems like they are "kicking out" or jumping around, but it's because they are lifting their own weight, and if you don't reach for it with confidence and in time, they will have to put it down quickly, also making that seem like an aggressive act, but it's not at all.

What I would suggest that you do is work with him on the ground by doing things like grooming, and even exercising him enough to get him very relaxed. Then, hose him off, making sure to focus a lot on his legs. This will all help towards "desensitizing" his legs a little more. Then, take him back to his stall, tie him if if he ties, and then start working with picking his feet out starting with one side at a time. For example; the left front, then the left hind, then the right hind and finally the righ front. Once you and your horse learn the routine of going around in a circle like this, he will learn to balance himself and even anticipate your next move, which will assist you in picking up his feet.

When you going to pick his feet, make sure to "cup" the whole hoof mostly towards the toe (for leverage)- in your hand firmly, and don't let go, even if he tries to pull away or rebalance. This moment is crucial for him to learn that he cannot evade. If you are not sufficiently supporting the hoof, he may find all sorts of ways to hop out of your grasp. Also, remember when working with the back legs, horses tend to pick up there legs awkwardly, so you have to reach for the hoof and then allow the horse to drop his leg comfortably. Sometimes they will jerk their legs, or even stretch their leg straight out behind them. Some will even hold their leg curled up tight under their belly. As long as the horses hoof is in your hand, continue confidently picking the foot out as if nothing is going on. Repeat walking around in the circle I mentioned earlier on all four legs until your horse learns the routine.

From what you are saying, it really seems that your horse just needs a confident handler to help him through his confusion and mistrust. Work with him at least once or twice every day with this. Keep in mind, you need to see his hoof regardless, because if there is a chance there is something wrong with his foot, it will need to be addressed....hope that helps :) Let us know how things progress
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-12-2006, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your advice. I actually made some progress today. I spent hours will him in the field (he only had a headcollar on) and brushed him. Wherever he went i followed him so he knew i wasn't going to give up. Eventually he stood still and i brushed all his legs properly without him even flinching! Normally he would spin around and not let me anywhere his back leg. He also let me brush his tail properly without him being tied up. I didn't pick his feet up as i thought i'd done enough for now, but i will continue to do this so he knows he can trust me and then i will move onto picking his feet up even if it is just for a little while at a time.
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-27-2006, 04:48 PM
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Sounds like it's time for a scotch hobble
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-02-2006, 09:23 PM
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Hi, I had a similar problem with my gelding when I bought him just over a year ago. He used to strike out and stamp a lot with his front legs when he was bored or annoyed, and when picking his feet out he was perfect to do his back feet, pretty good with one front but when I tried to pick up the other front hoof he would either strike out or just not pick it up at all. It sometimes took me 10 minutes to pick his foot out! The key is persistence and patience, often easier said than done, as some days you seem to make progress, then go back a step which I know can be very frustrating.
It sounds like you've got a good approach so keep at it. He may have had a bad experience, he may just be being stubborn but if you have a confident but gentle approach he should soon start to realise there's nothing to fear/dislike. Whatever happens try not to get angry with him, talk to him to help relax him but if you are worried he may kick out groom him where he likes to be groomed to him calm down and try later again later when his mood has lightened-you're not letting him win as long as you try again but it's not worth you getting hurt.
If you perservere you will get there eventually! Good Luck!
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-02-2006, 09:56 PM
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As everyone else said, patience is key. When I first got my mare you couldn't go NEAR her hind end without her trying to kick you! Now's she's sweet as pie - she picks up her foot without you even having to ask and she's also learned the command "hold it" (which really comes in handy if your horse has to have their foot treated). I also taught her "down" so she knows when it's ok to put her foot down and keep it down (great for wrapping legs).

But it's just working with their feet and legs everyday, a few times throughout the day. In the beginning though, I found that tapping each leg twice and saying "up!" before asking her to pick it up really helped to solidify what i was asking for. When I wanted her to keep her foot down, I would stroke 4 times from the knee to the fetlock and say "down". We had a strict routine and within a week she had figured out that a tap means up, and then we pick the feet in order (left front, left hind, right hind, right front) so she was able to anticipate the foot I would as for next. Then I would rub each leg before I put the polos on. Repetition and patience is all you need!

The only thing you'd want to look into is that since he picks up all 3 but not the 4th, he may have some discomfort in the opposite foot (he doesn't want to pick up the good foot and put weight on the ouchie one). Something to keep in mind... ;)
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-12-2006, 08:06 PM
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H17 - I am a bit concerned over any pain the horse may be experiencing. It is a bit of a red flag when the horse has one particular limb or sore spot that he is defensive over. He has also been mistreated and because of this, behavior problems are expected. But, it is highly possible that the horse may be in pain due to physical abuse from his past situation. I would highly recommend a vet inspection if this has not already been done. I suspect that you truely care for the horse and I would want you to know that the horse is having only behavior problems rather then actual physical pain. Good luck to you.
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