Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northern Illinois
Well she seems to be food oriented. Try making it a game. For example, with the foot thing, give her a piece of carrot in a bowl. Do nothing, just a carrot in a bucket. Cool. Then leave. Then come back later, giving her another carrot in a bucket. Pet her neck. Then leave her alone. Then come back, give her a carrot in a bowl and go to the point on her leg where you know she wont retaliate with a nip or a kick, the "safe zone." then go back to petting her head. Then leave again. Come back later (BTW this doesn't have to all be done in the same day, or week, or month, take it at HER pace) give her another carrot (she'll be used to it by now) and then put your hand in the safe zone and inch down, but barely, and pull away BEFORE she retaliates or pulls away. You gotta be the one to stop first. Keep doing this, jsut making SMALL baby steps down the leg. (Do you get where I am going with this?) Keep up this pattern and eventually you will be able to touch her foot, with her completely calm and cool, eating her carrot. Then after that, you wont even need the carrot! You can do the same thing with the right side, just start in a safe place, inch over and pull away before she gets uncomfortable. She will soon learn that it ain't so bad. Just be patient, don't rush her, and if she does retaliate at some point, she's telling you that you are going too fast, so go back a step.
I have used this to train my filly to pick up her feet, accept a saddle and a blanket, and to accept her belly being touched. I have used it on MANY horses to get them to be calm when saddled, touched in the ears or face, or whatever their vice may be. It does work, but it ain't no quick fix. And if you don't like feeding treats all the time, it is also possible to do the excersize without the treat (as I prefer).
Good luck with her, and remember that lapses may happen, just take it slow and easy and she'll learn to trust you. This will also help her learn to Join up with you.
** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **