Issues with picking up legs
Recently my horse has started showing problems with picking up any of his feet. He is a 6yo, dominant warmblood gelding (a typical LBE by the "horsenality" chart, if this helps) and it started not long after I bought him and began treating his thrush.
He will let me pick up his legs and will tolerate speedy hoof cleaning with a brush and a hook. However, due to the thrush, his hooves have to be soaked so I have to put boots on them and pour the healing liquids inside the boots. At first he was completely fine with it, but, as it has to be done often, he seemed to get more and more annoyed by the procedure (especially the moment when the liquids are poured inside the boots - he then tries moving around and pawing, not to let it happen) and is now constantly trying to pull his legs out of my hands after a few moments of cleaning. He then sometimes paws the ground before letting me pick up his feet again, but it is a constant struggle.
Before I started soaking his hooves I made sure that he was used to water running down his legs, the boots, the cleaning and all that. I am also aware that due to the thrush his frog is a bit sore still so a part of this behavior is caused by discomfort. However, he has no problems at all with getting a shower and standing in puddles, so he dislikes specifically the soaking part.
Up to now I have tried going back to basics and treating his legs with approach and retreat - picking a leg up, holding it for a second, then putting it down and praising him. Putting a boot on, leaving for a second or longer, taking it off, lots of praising again. Pouring a stream of warm water in the boots and ceasing the stream when he stands still, but letting it flow if he tries pawing and moving. Lots and LOTS of praise all the time and also watching that he respects my territory during the procedures.
Up to now, it has given little or no results. So maybe I am doing something wrong or being too impatient? Any ideas? My farrier says that his feet should be ok for picking up, his discomfort is not THAT big to act like this, so I feel it is mostly his dominance. Thanks for hearing me out!
I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.