Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I'm not a bit talker when it comes to the horses. I say things, sure. But like with the hoof it's probably like, "Give it.". At the gate, "Back" and if they aren't responding, "NOW". Like Greentree says, I don't go up and say, "HihoneyhowyadoingimmeryourfootIlodveyoubabywhatsw rongwhy haven'tyougivenmeyourfootNOW." I walk up and make my small talk, "Hay Cloney, what's up Big Red Knucklehead?" and I'm petting and scritching and saying hello. When I'm ready for hoof picking, I shut up and walk to the leg I want to work with. Then I tap the back of the leg (that's my cue) and if that doesnt work I grasp the cannon bone and say, "Give it" and apply pressure with my fingers. If I have to squeeze pretty firmly, I say, "NOW" and if they're trained but just not quite there that usually works. If they're being difficult, I stick a shoulder into them and push to make the weight shift and then I take the foot as it comes up, hold it a second and then put it down. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum until they get it.
I tend to stay in a pretty conversational tone with my horses. If I have to raise my voice, somebody's likely to be getting "touched" with the carrot stick. If I actually have to yell to get some attention, we go back to the training drawing board. Once they are trained or mostly trained, I rarely raise my voice, even in the herd situation because they follow the herd leader and that's usually my most trained horse. HE knows what a raised voice means. But remember, and this is key, that these are all MY horses, trained by ME, MY way. They're not outside boarder's horses and who know what or if they've had any training. So my situation is a bit different than yours.
Thought about it and Im going to take your suggestion in breaking it down into 3 steps. What those 3 steps will be I need to plan it out but for now I will start with (on the days where i dont plan on cleaning her feet), tie her, put her against the wall and starting with one leg, tap it and get her to make an effort to get it off the ground. Start small, then increase the distance she moves it each day. Praise and treat.
If theres one thing about my mare that is blantantly obvious that i know is that she is 100% food motivated. Whether or not this is a good thing im not sure about but you can bet this 100% a result from her previous owner and she always used treats with her when teaching her stuff.
Right now I have 3 solid things to work with her each time I see her.
1) Lowering her head when haltering her. I have to ask, is there any benefit to having a horse lower their head when being "unhaltered"?
After thinking about it some more, I think once I lower the halter and she lowers her head, I feel I need to give her the treat right away as I say "good" cause if i priase first and wait any longer chances are she will have her head back up. And if i give her the treat then, that will send the wrong message. So right when she lowers her head, treat immediately, say good, then give rubs and scratches.
2) Getting her to pick up her feet on her own. This may take a good week or two, but again...start off small. If anything, I think it would be a wise idea for me to take a full week off from picking her feet so that i can work on doing lessons with her on this. Is it safe to go a week without cleaning her feet? Its not so much about the dirt but any small rocks that may get lodged inside her hoofs.
3) Getting her to stand quietly when I have food in my hand. Now this one I have to say, yesterday was only the 2nd time Ive been working on this with her in the roundpen but she already showed a huge improvement over the first time. I dont know if anyone has asked why Im doing this one, but my goal is essentially I want to be able to approach my mare any time when shes eating hay and her not turn her butt at me. I should be able to approach her every time when shes eating hay and have her accept it. If I ever need to move her food, then she will stop eating and follow where the food goes but until she stands quietly and not in my space, she doesnt get the food again.