Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Hoofpic, you need to pick your battles. If you want the horse to pick her hoof up willingly, work on that. It ****ES me off if my horse makes me bend all the way over to grab a foot. So I worked on that daily, sometimes more than once a day, until I could walk up, tap the back of the leg and they'd pick it up.
It didn't happen overnight. More like over months.
Once I had them picking up a foot when I tapped the back of the leg, then we worked on not leaning on me while I worked with their feet. I have a bad back and I'm doing good to stay bent over long enough to pick a hoof when they aren't leaning on me, if they try to lean, I'm done for days. I can't afford to not be able to walk. Again, because it HURTS me, it ****ES me off if they lean. So when one of them starts to lean over on me. like their 3 other legs just aren't strong enough to hold up their 1200 lbs selves, then I get mad. When I get mad, I get my point across in whatever way I need to and in this case, I step away and let 'em fall like a tower of cards. They can either hold themselves up or they can fall down, their choice and they teach themselves very quickly that it's much easier to hold that leg on their own than to think I might.
It isn't a pipe dream, it just requires that you break it down into small steps, work on one step at a time until they have it and have it without a doubt in your mind, and then go to the next step where you work on that until they get it.
A typical scenario might be:
To Get The Horse To Pick Up Their Foot
1. Tie the horse to the patience pole.
2. Work on getting them to pick their hoof up as previously described.
3. Do it 2 or 3 times a day until the horse is picking up hoof when back of leg is tapped. HOWEVER LONG it takes.
4. Walk up, Tap back of leg, hold foot for a few seconds, let go, pet, praise and walk away
5. Repeat step as many times a day and as many days in a row as it takes to get an instant response
Get Horse To Hold Its Own Foot Up
1. Tie to the patience pole
2. Tap back of leg to get horse to lift hoof
3. Hold hoof and start to pick
4. If horse leans, step out from under horse all at once
5. Get clear and let horse figure out if they will fall down or catch themselves.
6. Walk away
7. Rinse and repeat as long and as often as it takes until the horse quits leaning on you.
8. Daily, from then on, tap the back of the leg, take hoof, clean it and enjoy not having the horse lean on you. Give horse a reminder as often as needed that leaning results in unpleasant consequences. That can take months, years or even may need a yearly reminder from now on, depending on horse's personality and smarts.
Don't try for perfection. Nobody is perfect and trying too hard only results in anxiety in you AND in the horse, because good enough isn't when you try too hard.
Thanks. I printed those steps out and will give it a go tonight. :)
If she leans into me when her hoof is in my hand, and I let go, wont that say that she won?
Those two scenarios you gave, would you say I should start with the first one first? Then when she has that down, do the second? Or do both at the same time?
Im not trying for perfection, just steps in the positive direction. I have the past 2 success stories to reflect back on. Those 2 really gave me confidence going forward.