Tips to prepare for farrier. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-15-2019, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Tips to prepare for farrier.

I have a new to me 8 year old Brabant. She's not mean, I believe she's been manhandles and maybe a little mistreated with her feet, I think her feather must have been treated with something that burned. I say that because, I'll had her a month, I can now spray her legs with fly spray and I can wash and scrub her feathers. My problem now is I cant get her to lift and hold her feet up.
Between the farrier, his helper and I we got the front feet trimmed,( they were 2 inches to long with no cracks, hard as rocks) it was a fight, not mean fight but just a consent tug of war. Shes not mean, just concerned and doesn't understand.
So I have started with a rope and lifting her feet with the rope, she will pick up but immediately step back and put the foot down, and of course I cant hold it up, she's to heavy. I am successful at getting it off the ground but would like be able to keep it up. Im trying to get her prepared for the farrier.
I don't have stocks, so that's out, and I want to be able to pick up feet when we are out and about to check for rocks.
Any suggestions or tips.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-15-2019, 08:42 AM
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Try to be quicker than her.....lift with the rope, let it back down. To gain her confidence the let down part needs to happen before any thoughts of panic set in. After you you one, praise and back off. Repeat for all four, then take a big break or quit. Donít do this tied up; do it ground tied.

I don't break horses, I FIX them!
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-15-2019, 09:29 AM
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One thing to add: I always say "okay!" before I let the foot go, so that it doesn't happen unexpectedly. I like them to know when it's coming up, and know when it's okay to go back down again, instead of just letting go before they have a chance to prepare.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-15-2019, 12:18 PM
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Great tips above:):)

This is a time when I always-always use verbal requests to let the horse know what's going on.

My foundered horse also has a fractured sacrum so it can be very difficult for him to hold his hoof up, even if I am being quick.

I have taught him to "hold" for just a few seconds long until I finsh squirting the thrush buster along his frogs, for example. If he starts fussing and I am only a few seconds from being done, I say "Joker hold - hold, I'm almost done" and that means I have to follow thru because he does manage to hang in there for a few more seconds. I then say "ok", gently let go of his hoof and give his leg a few rubs along with the words "good job".

My other horse picked up on "hold" just listening to me work on the foundered horse, so he will also "hold", if I ask.

In this instance, I also would not be opposed to a treat each time there is any measure of hoof success. My horses love soda crackers -- I carry them them to the barn this time of year for myself because I need the salt and some water to avoid muscle cramps. I discovered the horses lust after those soda crackers more than the Manna Pro cookies:):).

Horses have almost as good a command of simple/repetitive language as dogs do. -- I learned this many years ago:):)
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-16-2019, 02:01 PM
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Horses with feathers can come with a lot of baggage about their feet. I've seen people lift by the feathers and yank the legs. Often scratches, treating scratches or trying to prevent scratches some pretty caustic substances can be used. Often time, lots of patience and correct care and soft handling of those feathers can bring change once you build trust.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-19-2019, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
Horses with feathers can come with a lot of baggage about their feet. I've seen people lift by the feathers and yank the legs. Often scratches, treating scratches or trying to prevent scratches some pretty caustic substances can be used. Often time, lots of patience and correct care and soft handling of those feathers can bring change once you build trust.

I believe this is the whole issue. I have gotten her ok with the fly spray and I can actually wash and scrub her legs with shampoo now, which is progress. I guess Im just in a hurry to get her feet trimmed, fronts were at least 2 inches to long (but amazingly no cracks or splits) which we did manage to get done in 2 1/2 hrs and a lot of sweat from all of us. We tried to keep it easy and she was doing a little better towards the end, but we didn't get anywhere with the back feet, just did the front tried the back a couple times and decided we had all had enough for the day.
I do believe its due to someone putting something on her that burned and she hasn't overed it yet. She is so quick to put them back down, I get it off the ground with a rope and she puts it right back down, and there isn't any stopping it. I don't want to man handler her to much, for one I cant, and that's not going to help her trust me.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 10:20 AM
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Another method besides the rope is using a stick and tapping the leg. Then once the leg is up you hold the stick on the leg to get them to keep holding it up.

Before I trim I like to take my horses out for a 15 minute walk/jog as it get them loose and ready to hold the position while I trim. They aren't so stiff and it isn't so painful.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 11:11 AM
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The trick with the rope is all in the timing. Lift it up, let it down, then start doing the let down a little slower. At some point, let down 1/2 way and hold for a split second, then down. It takes time. Feet & legs can be the trickiest parts of the horse, especially if they have a bad memory about something. If you don't get progress with the rope, consider giving a tiny bit of Dormosedan gel before the work (talk to your vet), it can calm them down about the whole thing enough to get the feet done. You can do it for several trims, reducing the amount each time until you no longer need it. I like it because it is not an amnesiac, they remember that it was a good experience, instead of having no memories like if you use Ace or Rompun.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 03:45 PM
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Hi, whether with a rope or otherwise, as greentree & dream said, lots of asking her to pick up her feet *and giving it back before she takes it*. You need to reinforce & reward what you can get first. Set her (& you) up for success & give her good reason to want to do as you ask - make it easy & rewarding.

Every single time she takes her foot from you & you can't stop her, she is learning THAT is the way to go. Horses learn to do what works & quit doing what doesn't work. So take things gradually enough that you can BOTH win the round.

While her feet may be desperate, another month or 2 while you train her is not likely to be more detrimental. If it is & she is in dire straights now, get a vet to come knock her out & farrier can do her on the ground.

Otherwise, wait. Avoid any hours long battles, where you're just further confirming having her feet dealt with is an unpleasant, maybe scary experience. Stick to short & sweet. Find a trainer to help you, or a farrier *good with horses*(they are not one and the same) who is willing to help you train her & will not just try to manhandle. If you have to pay him for half a dozen 20 minute sessions before he gets one hoof done, so be it. You're setting her up for future, not just trying to get a job done any which way.
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