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chasin the dream 06-25-2008 07:10 PM

ok so the colt i am going to start breaking is perfectly fine with most stuff except for his hooves. well one thing is kicking...i wouldn't dare go behind him right now. so obviousely i don't do his back hooves. any suggestions on how to fix this?

another thing is when i pick up his fronts, he will do it, but then he will start pawing the ground! its so annoying.and i know i should just fight it and try and hold on but this is a Percheron!! and so after i pick them up one time, every time after that that i touch his legs or whatever he will start pawing. hes almost hit me legs, face and arms with his knees and i do not want him doing this!

i know he should be perfectly fine with this before breaking but hes fine with everything else.this is my only issue. hes really calm, he will tie, and let me groom him. but like i said, i don't go near his rear.i like can barely brush back there! please help me!!!

alstaxidermy 06-25-2008 07:44 PM

have you done any desensitizing yet? ya know...sacking out or as I call it "scarey things on a stick"? before I ever tried to touch the rear half of our 2 babies we did all that first. since I am tender and delicate (basically a wuss) i started with like a 2 foot long stick and attached plastic bags, towels, then a brush, various things ...Then I slowly moved in closer. Plus the first few times i didn't actually pick up their feeties - I just brushed on hoof conditioner junk and let it be, then worked up to picking them up - oh and the first few times we did that there were 2 of us and a hay net involved to keep them busy and still. Keep in mind also if they fidgeted or freaked I went back to touching a spot they liked/felt comfortable with then worked my way back down towards the tootsies - it honestly took us a few weeks to get them really comfortable with it (but we also didn't go every day either - think like 3 times a week) but it made a huge difference the last time the farrier came!

*ArabianPrincess* 06-25-2008 07:45 PM

Get a rope and use the rope (around his ankle lol) and use that to lift it and bring it down.. once he is alright with that rest his hoof on your leg and then smack (not hard) the bottom of it to make noise as if the farrier was doing his feet!


chasin the dream 06-25-2008 07:56 PM

yes..most deffinately. he has done eerything! he has had a blanket over his head and a saddle oad on his back and a whole buinch of things to scratch him..ive even like thrown things at hard..very lightly for desensitizing) i mean hes not hard core just trying to limit my chances of getting sure i will..i mean everyone does eventualy :)

BUT..i actually was going to try that rope thing. that was my original plan. and i never tried it but i am going to.

anyone else??

*ArabianPrincess* 06-25-2008 07:58 PM

Oh good, well good luck trying it.. I've had great success doing it with the other horses i have worked with =]

chasin the dream 06-25-2008 07:59 PM

yes, thanks so much guys!

Abby 06-25-2008 08:42 PM

To fix the pawing what I would do is put him on a lunge line, something at least 15 feet, and when he starts to paw like that, immediately ask him to do something, like back up, or send him off in a circle, side pass him, ask him to spin on the forehand, hind end anything. To me, the pawing is not wanting to stand still, being an impatient youngster and its his way of saying "ya right, try and pick my feet now!" so I'd give him something to do if he doesn't want to wait to be picked.

chasin the dream 06-25-2008 08:48 PM

yeah..i guess i get what ur saying abby

loosie 06-25-2008 09:42 PM

Re: hooves!!!
288 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by chasin the dream
start pawing the ground! its so annoying.and i know i should just fight it and try and hold on but this is a Percheron!! and so after i pick them up one time, every time after that that i touch his legs or whatever he will start pawing.

I definitely disagree that you should just fight it. I think this is the cause of his pawing getting worse. Firstly, it's a very worrying thing for a prey animal to have their legs restricted. Even if you've done lots of desensitisation & he trusts you, to try to fight him will likely bring out that innate fear & make him more nervous about it. Secondly, as you say, he's a percheron. Unless you're built like the proverbial brick ammenities block, even a pony has enough strength to get away from a person, so you don't have a lot of hope, and every time his behaviour works to make you stop, he is more likely to repeat it, to persist & fight harder about it if needed. You're actually reinforcing the 'wrong' behaviour.

I would start out using approach & retreat to desensitise him to handling his legs without holding them to start with. Just touch & rub them gently. Reinforce him for just standing there & not for pawing or fidgeting. Do this with all feet, starting with a stick/whip if you feel the need to do it at a bit of distance for safety, then use your hands when it feels safe.

Using approach & retreat, so you don't go too far for where he's at, and using positive reinforcement(reward) along with negative reinforcement(removal of pressure) should keep you safe and allow you to progress without too much 'bad' behaviour. Make sure he's really comfortable standing quietly to have his legs handled before asking him to pick them up.

You then need to use the same principles to *gradually* teach him to pick up his feet. Eg. squeeze the chestnut or hock(or whatever cue - the higher the safer, IMO) to ask him to pick up his foot, but immediately release to reinforce him for even shifting his weight off it to start with. When he's good at yielding to this cue(responding softly with understanding, not resisting or escaping it), then you can start taking hold of his foot. But to start with, do it a split second only & reinforce him for it. Hopefully you can be quick enough to reinforce him before he starts to paw. If not, let go, but no positive reinforcement & immediately & firmly ask again.

If you're skillful with ropes and he's desensitised to the feel of them around his legs and understands how to yield to this pressure, you can use a rope around his fetlock to start with, but I caution you that if you're not skillful, if there's a possibility the rope will get stuck & not provide instant release, if there's a possibility of tangling or the horse running away with the rope attached, it may be safer & more effective for you to just use your hands & progress more gradually.

Only after he's really comfortable with you holding all his feet should you *gradually* increase the time you hold them. That way, you should be able to reinforce him before he starts to fidget and when he does, it won't be reinforced. If you're good with your timing & using effective positive reinforcement(something he really wants, such as treats), you should find that by the time you begin holding his feet, he's actively trying to do as you want and work out how to earn those rewards.

While regular hoof care is vital and if he's already a big boy, this training & care is hugely overdue already, I would suggest you get him good at it before you attempt to have his feet trimmed. Lots of short(minutes only) sessions rather than long ones will be more productive & less frustrating for you both. The first time you employ a farrier for him, make an effort to find a patient one who has good handling skills and inform him that the horse is inexperienced and needs time.

NorthernMama 06-26-2008 12:26 AM

OK. I had a Belgium that wasn't trained to be tied or have his feet looked after. He was about 1200 lbs, stud. Yee-ha! Anyway, I picked up his feet every day for a week (after teaching him to stand tied). I would pick, brush, bang, smack, whatever on the bottom of his feet. I started with just picking them up and increased the time and action as he was ready. But within 10 days, he started to try to pull away. I held my ground. This was with his near hind. You know, it's surprisingly easy to hold a foot up -- the horse is either gonna fall over or let you hold up his hoof. I'm not a muscle-woman by any means, but I guess I'm generally "in shape". Anyway, I held this guy's hind foot up while he struggled and finally he decided that having me hold his foot was far better than loosing his balance. He gave. I never had another problem with his feet..

I highly advise having a helper to do this. You want the horse to be in control, but not tied down. If he does push it so far that he looses his balance, you don't want him to be hurt so a helper that holds the lead is needed instead of a tie down.

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