Handling feet---advice for a filly
I'm getting a 2 year clydesdale filly soon. I know she is sketchy with her feet being messed with. Just wondering if anyone can give me any advice on working with her feet? I want to work patiently with her.... but I will have her in my possession for about 2 months before I will need to call the farrier out for a trim. All the research I've done refers to foals, and clearly there is a difference between an average foal and a large 2 year old Clyde.
Thanks in advance
I go to a website by Jay Ojay and he has some videos on training young colts, in one episode he is working with the feet (it is free). This may help you. I am looking at buying a young horse and will be useing some of this info from Jay Ojay. Let me know what you think and how it goes.
Successful horse training - DVDs, how to videos, advice, and tack
I've worked with 2 year olds that were already quite large and were not good with their feet at all. It can be much more dangerous to work with a large horse than a small foal! I suggest getting your filly desensitized to you touching her all over, and then dangling ropes all over her and around her legs. When she's comfortable with that you can loop the rope around her leg (not tying it) and slip it down by her hoof. Then pull on it saying "foot", "lift" or whatever. As soon as she slightly lifts it off the ground put it down and praise her. Even it it is only a fraction of an inch. Then she will learn that it is not scary and you are letting her have her foot back. Slowly increase the time and soon you can just run your hand down her leg and she should lift it. I got the horses I worked with picking up their feet in one day - but it does depend on the horse and how much time you have. Just take your time and remember to reward for the slightest improvement. Good luck!
2yo scetchy with hoofcare but you'll have 2 months before needing a farrier?? Does she get thrown or some such to be done now?
While as a hcp I know how important regular good hoof care is, my advice for situations like this is generally that it can wait & it's far better to get the horse confident & well trained before putting it in a situation that could be dangerous for horse & human, not to mention reconfirming her previous ideas about it. So it's great that you reckon you've got 2 months up your sleeve. You can set her up for easy hoof care for the rest of her life.
Agree basically with Equus Girl. If the horse has indeed been thrown or such, you might have your work cut out for you & perhaps ropes may not be a good option. Just a matter of lots of approach & retreat, getting her comfortable & confident with all you do, before asking her to get comfortable with a little more.
I also make sure to positively reinforce(reward) the horse with Good Stuff, not just negatively reinforce(remove pressure). Whether it's scratching a favourite spot or giving a treat, making sure her 'good' behaviour causes immediate desirable consequences should have her being great with her feet in weeks, rather than months... but be prepared to take however long it takes.
BTW, especially with an animal that'll grow into a monster size, I'd also suggest you go on to teach her to put her foot on a hoof stand & cradle. Depending on previous experiences, it may be worth employing a *patient & considerate* farrier - or Man With Tools to come play with her feet too, as she may become easily good with you, but have an understandable aversion to farriers to get over too.
Thanks. I'm going to look into training her to lift into a hoof stand... good suggestion. It would probably up my options of farriers willing to work with my giant horse =} I also like the rope suggestion so long as I take it slow. I'm going to work with her for a while before I do that, though. Luckily, she hasn't thrown a shoe... she isn't wearing them as of yet.
Thank you! I'm going to watch some right now =) Haven't found th foot one yet....
I got 2 yearlings completely unhandled (never feet done, never brushed and all). I spent at least 2-3 days just get them used to brushing and me touching their legs. Only after that I started asking for the feet. What I did I put a lead rope around the leg and moved it up and put it back before they start panicking. Like 10 times each leg couple times a day. After 2- days of doing so I started to ask for the foot with my hand. I'm not sure how much handling your horse had, but mine took quite a while. May be you'll be able to teach her to stand nice in 2 months, but may be not. Just don't be discouraged!
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