picking up feet
So, Roxie is mine now! She is making awesome progress, but has a few problems to work on. One is pulling back. She is improving there. The other is letting me mess with her feet. She is horrible. It is so much harder dealing with thiswhen they are 1100 pound adults instead of little babies. I can pick up all of her feet. But she refuses to let me pull her front feet out in front, like a farrier would do to put on the hoof stand for filing, and she freaks when i put her foot between my legs like a farrier would to trim. On the backs she is bad. I can pick it up, butif i try to bring it back to pick her feet out, she goes crazy. She needs her feet done bad. I may have to sedate her to get them done the first time then keep working with her. Is there anything i can do to get her to qccept this better? She scared the farrier away yesterday. All i can think of is holding until she stops struggling then give her foot back, but she gets dangerous. I dont really want to tie feet up with her trust issues and fear. But this is something she has to get over.
Just start really small and reward the tiniest effort. Pick up a front hoof, give her a "good girl" a pat and put the foot back down. Do it again; and again and again. She will learn to trust that you won't keep it for too long, and that you won't do weird things with it. Take a break, lead her around a little, munch some grass, then move to the other front foot. Same deal- praise little efforts and don't ask for too much too fast. She has to learn balance as well as all the funny feelings of nippers and rasps.
When she will let you hold up her front feet without too much fussing, do the same on the back feet. It's an everyday thing with lots of patience and rewarding her for every try. Good luck, I know you can do this!!
Yeah, that is how i am doing it right now, she is fine with me just holding it up, but she doesn't like them being held the way a farrier would hold them. She doesnt just rip her feet away, she freaks out, rears up, rips her leg away. It is extremely dangerous, she can grab someone and yank them under her when she does it. Maybe im not very inventive but i cant think of a safe way to work on this with het
Hmm... Two thoughts:
1) Does your farrier have a hoof stand? That would help with the fear of the hoof being "trapped". Her hoof would just rest on the stand and not be too confined. That might help a little bit until she is more giving with her feet. I don't think sedation would hurt for the first time just to get them done until you get her more comfortable.
2) I would work on having her give her feet from a distance. Almost like hobble training without the constraints. You could start with a soft vet rope and just loop it around the bottom of her foot and pull it forward a little. If she freaks out, you're far enough away to stay safe. The rope won't hurt her and if it's just a loop it should release the second you let go. The instant she gives her foot a bit you relax the rope. Then after repeating the pull/give/release, keep asking for more and more a little at a time until she is comfortable giving her foot farther forward.
Just my $.02 :)
And actually... another thought. (I'm not a pro by any means.)
Should she freak out and the rope is released... would that teach her that a release will come when she panics rather than calmly giving her foot? I'm wondering what a pro would suggest.
The farrier did have a hoof stand, but he hi-tailed it out of there after saying she was a viscous horse and hr wasn't going to do her feet. I wasn't a fan of him. Qfter he left the BO worked with her a little with a hoof stand. I think she was too worked up from the farrier to really do anything. Today I used a rope to pick her back feet up. She can really kick. I released when she stopped kicking. She is good with the rope now, i will use it a few more days before i go to actually pick them up. Her front feet will be worked with tomorrow.
Use a tranq, or use a twitch would be what I would do, until she figures out having feet done is not going to kill her.
And to me, the fact she is having both of these problems may also mean a great deal of what is going on is that she is spoiled.
Hobble training can help with feet confinement issues. It's a valuable lesson for a horse to learn. I'm sure your BO or trainer can help you out with hobble training, so I would start there. Don't try it yourself. But, once successful it will help ease her mind about her feet being confined and handled.
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Ii have hobble trained her, she is fine with hobbles. It seemed to help a little bit, I will keep working with the rope.
And no, not spoiled. Treated the wrong way, not worked with enough, nervous around a lot of people, but not spoiled.
I've always had good luck with the rope.
For what it's worth, on the hinds, on a couple of particularly troublesome horses I've worked with, I would sort of trap them in a small square of panels (not much wider than the stalls in a 2-horse trailer and long enough to stretch their feet out in front/behind them, similar to a slightly larger, home-made set of stocks). Then I'd run the rope through the panel either in front or behind them to pull their feet out from under their body. I'd use the rope to hold them up and slowly work my way closer to them, of course, taking time to work the pressure/release thing. Then, I even work my way up to holding their foot as if I were actually working on it (though the rope is still snug in my hand so that they can't jerk it away and kick the snot out of me). As I work closer to them, I'll remove the panel on my side so that I can get to them, but keep the ones in front/behind and on the other side so that they can't jump away from me.
I know that my method might sound like "forcing" it, but if you take your time and do it right, it works wonders...with very limited risk to your health.
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