Picking up a horses back feet
PJ, the horse I ride, is fine with having his front feet picked up to be picked out, but he doesn't like his back feet picked up! Sometimes I can't even get them, or, if I go for one back hoof he picks up the other and it looks he could try to kick me! Any pointers? Thanks!
Take a lead rope and loop it around his pastern without tying. Just hold each end securely without tying it because if something happens, its a quick release. Just ask him to pick up his feet a few times and hold it up with the rope. He'll get his fidgets and kicks out and will basically learn its a pointless effort. Do this over time and he'll be fine in no time.
What I tried once with a very spoiled POA gelding, because his owner's were very new to horses was take that 4 year old gelding back to Training 101. I had quite a challenge on my hands with that one. Even the horse's owners were told by their Vet that the gelding was a dangerous horse.
I started off with lunge-lineing him with a 15 ft lunge-line. Then once I had verbal and body language down pat with him what I did to get him to free up his feet for picking up on command I used my lunge whip and rubbed his pasterns one at a time starting with the left front first, to the left hind, to the right hind then the front right. All I asked of him in the beginning was to raise each foot and set it back down as I ran that "extension of my arm" back and forth on his pasterns. It was a successful attempt, but could have easily gone the oppossite direction. This was not a one-time training session. It took me several weeks to accomplish the end result.
Picking Feet of a kicking horse
You're not the only with this problem, it appears to be quite common! I would recommend the approach and retreat method. Start with just rubbing his legs and as soon as he stands still, retreat. Then move on to picking up his foot for a second or two. As soon as he behaves, set it down and retreat. This will reward your horse for doing the right thing.
If he is really kicking out and you feel unsafe, use an extension of your arm such as a dressage whip or training stick to rub his legs. This will keep you at a safe distance while you get him to accept being touched there. Someone mentioned using a lead rope to teach your horse how to pick up his feet without being in harms away, this is also a good idea if you feel it is necessary.
This method is particularly effective for horses who are kicking out of nervousness. If it is disrespect, the approach and retreat method might still work. If it is disrespect, getting him to move such as backing him up or lunging him right away is probably a better idea. It will teach him that there is a consequence for kicking out, and it will increase his respect for you.
Short video on picking feet:
Here is a video of the training stick I was talking about:
Hope this helps! Stay safe :)
Accidental post, trying to figure out how to delete it...
how old is this horse?
first thing to find out is if he doesn't want to pick up his feet due to pain or due to behavior.
when my was starting to get arthritis in his hocks he would act like this. i kept thinking he was being a jerk...he even started to give the farrier trouble.
i found out when i took him to a "leg vet" for xrays of his front hoofs for sole depth and he said he would also like to xray his hocks.
came to find out that he had SEVERE arthritis (already starting to fuse) in both hocks. he never showed a lame step under saddle or on the ground ...just stiffness.
i felt horrible! i disciplined him when he was trying to tell me he was in pain.
not saying it couldn't be behavioral....but always rule out medical/physical reasons first.
he still does this sometimes (picking up the less sore hoof when i want the opposite one)
my mare also does this, shes always been a little sketchy about her feet. she shifts her weight accordingly so that i wont even be strong enough to attempt to pick them up. do i use the same methods everyone is suggesting?
The same methods will most likely work. I'd avoid getting into a pushing match with her when she puts weight down on the foot you are trying to pick up. Instead of pushing back against her, squeeze or pinch her leg until she picks it up, it will make it uncomfortable for her to lean.
I started riding a new horse who will give me his back feet, but refuses the front freet(opposite problem :P). Past lesson kids couldn't make him pick them up, so he's learned that he doesn't have to. He acts like he's going to pick his foot up, then he slams it back down, continuously stretching his leg farther and farther out to get it away from me. I got close one day, but being an inexperienced equestrian, I have no idea how to correct this behavior. Perseverance I guess.
Do you know how to lunge a horse - circles on a long line? If so put the line on the horse along with a lunge whip and go out into the open where you can safely lunge her. Keep the whip handy and take hold of the line giving her about 4-5'. Now pick up her hoof and the moment she pulls it away, grab your whip and shoo her away like you are going to kill her and lunge her in 3 circles, no more. Again pick up her hoof and again repeat the exercise if she pulls her hoof out of your hand. Usually after the third session on the lunge the horse gets the hang of what is happening. It can either stand and allow you to pick it's hoof, or you'll scare the crap out of it and make it work.
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