My horse doesn't like to keep his hoof up long...
My 10-year-old horse doesn't like to keep his hooves up long when you're picking them out, shoeing him, or doing anything else that requires his leg to be up. He's always done this even before I owned him, and I've had him for 4 1/2 years now. He's not lame, has great legs, hooves, and body structure. He acts like he's going to lose his balance and will just put his hoof down. Sometimes you can catch him and he will correct himself before he puts his hoof down. He picks it right up again and after a few seconds or minutes will do it again. He does this with all four legs, but mainly the front. He's been doing it more recently. Does anybody elses horses do this?
My mare did that with her back legs, you almost think they are going to fall on you. She did it with the trimmer and he asked for a soft lead rope. He put it around her fetlock and pulled it off the ground(not alot) and we just stood there talking for a few minutes. He went back to the back foot and she just stood there for as long as he wanted her too. He had me do it on all her legs whenever I was cleaning them out. Now she will let you hold it as long as you want. He said they just get lazy and don't want to stand on three legs, so they lean real heavy and make you think they are going to fall down. Once you make them hold up the leg with the soft rope, they learn to stand on three legs as long as you want to.
I would never do this unless the horse is sound on all four legs, and it sounds like yours is. Try it, it sure worked for me and now she is fine. If she "forgets", then I just get the rope out and hold her leg again for a minute or two and she suddenly remembers how to stand on three legs. Soft rope and you standing there will not hurt your guy, and if he starts being stupid, you only have to drop the rope and he has his leg back.
Since you say he's not sore or lame and been doing it since you've had him, I would be bold enough to say it's a manners issue. He's just being rude and leaning on you.
To progress with this, you can saddle your horse, and take a large, soft cotton rope, and tie your horse's foot up to the saddle horn. Tie it up to where you would normally like to hold it to clean or pick it, and leave him to stand tied with the leg up until he stands there and relaxes with his foot up without fighting the rope. Most likely, he'll fight with it for a while. That's good. He's testing his limits. When you come back to him, untie from the horn, but keep the rope on the foot. Do your picking. If he acts like he's going to trip or lose his balance, IMMEDIATELY tie the foot back up to the horn until he relaxes, then go back to picking. Do this back and forth with all feet, every day you ride, until he learns that it's easiest just to hold them there for the few seconds it takes you to pick them rather than stand there all day long with his leg tied up!
But, once he gets it down, and KNOWS what you want, you shouldn't even have to break the saddle out yet. My horse knows better, and if she gets lazy for those few seconds it takes me to pick her feet, or the few minutes it takes me to trim her feathers, a smart and cupped slap on the belly straightens her up!
Thanks so much for the tip!! I really appreciate it. I'll be sure to try it out :]
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