Playing games with me during hoof picking...
I'm needing some advice. The mare I lease has just started playing some sort of game with me during grooming. She does not want to pick up her front feet to be picked, and when she does, she will only let me pick them for about 10 seconds before she puts it back down. She does not do this for her owner, nor does she do it with her back hooves. She is shod, with pads on as well, if that makes a difference...thanks for any training advice you can give to get us past this!
It sounds to me like she has a bit of a respect issue. I would do some ground work with her to reinforce her respect for you. If you show halter, practice your showmanship skills, walk her around obstacles or in patterns making sure that when you turn, she turns appropriately without letting any part of her body touch yours and keeping your personal space. She must stay with you, but not touch you. If you make a sharp turn to the left and she doesn't follow and leaves her butt behind, give her a light tap with the end of the lead or a crop to let her know she must move her rear. Backing, backing in circles, etc.
I know none of the above sounds like it will help you pick her hooves, but it will impress upon her that YOU are the lead horse, YOU make the rules and you command respect. The respect will help you with the hoof situation. Once you get the respect in order, work more on picking up feet. Do it any time you think of it, not just for picking hooves. Teach her that she is to release her foot to you ANY time you want it.
Thanks Cinny...we show dressage, so I haven't much halter/showmanship experience. She is extremely gentle though, and fabulous on the ground with me. She even stops in front of her stall when going back after a ride, so that I may enter the stall first, even if there's hay waiting for her. I do agree, she doesnt see me as the lead horse, as she sees her owner as her lead. One thing I forgot to mention, when I'm not riding her, she is a lesson horse. I have a feeling she's doing this to the students as well and they may be too young to help out the situation.
My back can't handle this 15 minute hoof pick session every day!
My mare gave me some repect issues when we moved barns almost a year ago. When she didn't want to pick up her front feet, I would grab her leg and bend it up as tight as possible and hold it there for a few minutes. Then I released it to hold to clean the foot. If she gave me more trouble, I would hold it up bent again, and do that until she behaved. Doesn't work with back legs, as bending them up just provides momentum for a kick.
Then of course, we did lots of ground work for a couple of weeks. She settled down fairly quickly, I would say in about a week.
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