training young horse to get use to farrier - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-13-2012, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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training young horse to get use to farrier

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any tips for properly introducing a young horse (2 year old) to the farrier/blacksmith. I have been working with him by picking up his feet, holding them for a period of time. He is pretty good, but sometimes jumps upwards to extract his front foot. As well, I have been picking up his feet and hitting the bottoms so he would get use to the blacksmith nailing on shoes. He is actually pretty good about that part of the lesson.

Are there other things that I should be doing, or is just repeating the above enough. He has two trims already, and overall was pretty good. He does get impatient though and tries to jerk his leg away from the farrier.

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post #2 of 10 Old 02-17-2012, 08:55 PM
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I'm working with 2 that are less than a year. I pick thier feet up and clean and scrape on them, then praise them when they do well. ONe thing I hadn't thought of until the ferrier came out, was that they need to be comfortable with thier feet forward on the stand as well. So I have started bringing thier feet forward. Only a few minutes at a time, but working up to longer periods. The more you do it the better they get. Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-18-2012, 12:56 AM
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Give the foot back when they're still giving it to you, rather than waiting for them to take it. Develop a sense for how long they're comfortable giving it to you. It also helps if the horse already wants to stand still so working with their feet after they've been exercising is easier than doing it beforehand.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-18-2012, 06:06 AM
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Handling, handling, and more handling, whether it be when tied or loose. The more you handle his legs and feet and make it a routine, 'non event' for your horse (and horses love routine), the easier it will be. We've handled the legs and feet of our mares so much over the years that I can trim them in the pasture without even having a halter/lead rope and they will lift their feet for me without being asked as I go from foot to foot.
For your investment in handling, not only will you wind up with a well mannered, patient horse, but you'll save yourself (and your farrier) a bunch of time, effort, and frustration.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-18-2012, 08:12 AM
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besides what you are already doing, i like to have my youngsters meet my farrier before they get their feet done. if your farrier is coming out to do another horse, have him pick your horses feet up, tap them with a rasp, and put their foot up on the stand for a couple seconds.

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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-18-2012, 09:05 AM
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I thought I had prepared my young horse for the farrier, but when the farrier put the foot between his knees the horse went nuts. You might want to practice that along with all the other good sugestions you are recieving.
Good Luck, but it sounds like you are well on your way to having a well trained horse.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-18-2012, 09:07 PM
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If a horse is real skittish or aggressive with their feet, especially the hind ones, use a rope to pick them up for the first time. I use a big, long, soft cotton rope. I get a horse used to having it all around and between their legs, and actually 'sack them out' with it. It then makes it very easy to pick the hind feet up with the rope and transfer the foot to your hand.

If the horse is safe and easy to handle, lets you brush all four legs and never acts 'fussy' about it, then they are ready to pick up their feet. I am old and crippled and very slow, so I use the cotton rope on all of them, but did not do this in the past. I used the rope if I had to and just went to handling their feet if they were gentle.

It works best to have a second person hold the horse. I like to have the horse's butt in a corner to do the front feet and like the horse's head in a corner to do the back feet.

If you start out just holding the foot up with a handler (not putting it between you knees yet) and the horse starts 'pulling' on the foot, the handler can say "Ah!" and give a tiny tug on the halter. As soon as the horse quits pulling on the foot and stands relaxed, set it down.

Ian nailed it when he said to set the foot down before the horse wants it back. If you do this in the beginning so the horse never learns to jerk the foot away, it is so much easier to teach them.

Always get the horse used to having its front feet up between your knees and bringing its feet forward to put on a stand -- particularly the front feet.

It does not take very long for a green horse to get comfortable with having their feet handled and held up if you do not let them make a lot of mistakes in the early schooling.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 02:00 PM
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Holding their foot untill they struggle to get it away is just setting them up for failure. Get a feel of what they will put up with, and before they start getting antsy give them their foot back and praise. When you have to let go of their foot because they pull it away then they learn that getting worked up gives them there foot back. But it is an easy thing to train away from at such a young age, and you are on a good path. Just keep to it and your horses will be plenty ready.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 09:48 PM
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While my mare is older and extremely well trained. I still work with her feet as much as possible. She is normally very easy for the ferrier but when she wants her foot back she is getting it back. Otherwise she starts lowering all 1800 pounds onto you. If she starts struggling for me I hold it until right when she stops then put it down and praise her. But working with the legs and hooves as daily as possible helps.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 09:50 PM
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Along with all the above suggestions,think of all the positions the farrier will have the horse's feet in while trimming/shoeing and get him used to these positions ahead of time. I've always started handling my young horses feet from the time the were just a few hours/days old, or as soon as I purchased them,depending on the circumstances,and by the time the farrier paid the first visit,they were cool as cucumbers with the whole process.The farrier always said he wished other peoples old horses were as good at getting their feet done as my youngsters,lol. One thing to keep in mind is to get him used to having his feet up for "longer" periods of time;the youngsters tend to get impatient with just standing there and will try to pull their feet away or move around,and it's easier on the farriers if they don't have to keep shuffling around trying to hang on to a foot or have to keep picking them up after they get pulled away and set down. :)
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blacksmith , farrier , young horse

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