Breaking Mare's Habit Of Kicking/Rearing When Being Trimmed
My one mare is an absolute cow when it comes to having her feet trimmed.I've had her just a few months,and it took numerous tries with different farriers,before she got a complete trim job,and even then it's a very 'basic' trim job.
When I got her,I was told that 'Yup,she's good for the farrier,never a problem,except for one hind she tries to pull away sometimes." Her feet were very over grown,so I was suspicious,but she let me pick up and hold/handle all four with no problem,and all the horses on the property were needing a trim,so didn't think too much more of it..
Well,turns out she's an absolute terror when it comes to being trimmed;biting,kicking,rearing,pulling feet away,dancing around,you name it she tries it! Needless to say,after the first episode,which only resulted in one front being partially done before the farrier quit,it was back to square one on Feet Handling and Manners 101. After using different approaches,having her checked over for pain issues,consulting with others who watched her behavior,ect.,I would say it's more of a defiance issue than a fear or pain issue.She behaves fine until she decides she doesn't want to do this anymore,then it's fight on! If you watch her,she'll be completely chill,then it's like she suddenly decides,I don't want my foot being held anymore, and then the tantrum starts.Sometimes it's within seconds,other times she'll wait until the foot's almost done.I've been working with her,but I'm not making much progress in regards to the rearing when her fronts are being done,and kicking when the backs are being handled.She'll be good one day,and back to square one the next.
Any ideas on how to break these habits? I've never had to deal with the rearing issue in this kind of situation before,so not sure what else to try..
Thanks for the pointers,Aesthetic.
Any other ideas/experiences with this,folks?
Have the farriers tried twitching her?
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Has she ever been hobble trained?
Not that my horse is hobble trained, but I've been thinking and reading on it, and it sounds like the same training might help your horse learn that she must give her legs to pressure rather than deciding to have a fit. And even if it didn't fix the issue entirely, I can't imagine it not helping somewhat. And then, she's hobble trained, so that might come in handy when she's getting trimmed all by itself.
Ooo! My mares favorite move-- squish me or she liked to bend down so low i had to leg go of her hoof or shed crush me under her shoulder.. she would also paw at your head, knock over your stuff, paw things, paw the ground, snatch her foot away, try to run away on 3 legs, bite my butt, bite my leg, bite my boot, lol. She was awful..
Till i picked up her feet every day and scolded her when she did wrong-- shed go ta actin a fool and id poke her in the butt with the nippers and that changed her whole demeanor once she realized i could hold her front hoof and poke her butt, lol. .. now if she even flinches i just say 'quit' and she acts like a lady, lol.
If you have to get her trimmed immediately for her own good (ie. to avoid lameness or damage to the hoof wall), I'd go ahead and sedate her or even put her on the ground.
I've had to do this to a couple because they were so new to being handled, and a couple others who were terribly spoiled, and the condition of their hooves needed immediate attention. It really didn't interfere with my teaching manners related to the handling of their feet and legs.
Beyond that, it is back breaking work, but constant handling of the feet increasing the time they have to tolerate having their foot held is the best way.
I have noticed, however, that on otherwise "trained" horses who highly object to having their feet trimmed or shod, there are usually signs of disrespect toward their handlers in other areas, too.
I was always taught to hold on. Never let go until the horse relaxes enough to leave the foot with you and not pull or anything. If a helmet/vest/pads need worn, wear them. That's how I deal with it..It seems I always get the horses that like to kick and pull.
If the horse wants to sit down or drop their front shoulder to the ground, let them. Hold on (out of the way) and let them go down. They'll learn, hasn't failed yet for me and a few others.
In this case..I wouldn't to that route. Only hold it long enough until JUST before she explodes and put it down. Leave her alone or love on her as a reward. Keep doing that and she should learn that you do plan on putting it down, you just decide when, not her.
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Ask the vet for a little drug cocktail..... just Ace is not as good. Used as a training tool, there is research to show it works. Most of the time, one non-traumatic experience is all it takes. YMMV
If she's really exploding this isn't going to work. You'll have to be the judge.
My grey sometimes likes to stretch her front legs out as far as she can when I do her feet. I hold onto the foot and don't let her put it down. When she gives to me and relaxes the leg, I release her foot and let her put it down.
You can also untie her as soon as she starts to pull back (gotta luv slip knots) and take her off to the side to lunge her in circles. When she starts behaving and listening, you take her back to the rail and start again.
Basically you are making the right behavior easy and the bad behavior hard.
But honestly, I would check the pain thing again. The only horse I've had rear when having their feet done, had a shoulder problem. Also, my buckskin started pulling away when I was doing her hinds about the same time she started having problems with her stifles. She'll take so much, but need breaks during a trim.
You got watch your farriers and trimmers too. Some will really crank that leg out to the side and pull it up high. Which can be painful to a horse especially if they got any joint issues.
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