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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, my horse really doesn't pick up her feet, she'll move them after trying to pick them up after a while, but then put it right back down... What should I do for her to pick them up so I can clean out and check her hooves?
 

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Can you give some more information?

How are you asking her to pick up her feet?
Has she ever been taught to have her feet picked up?
Does anyone else have a problem with this? (ie. vet, farrier)
When she moves them, what does she do?
 

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Also if she does pick the up, and smash them down so u cant hold them try and put a soft rope and just hold the foot up until she gives in and relaxes...wear gloves doing this.
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My old girl does that, but it's because of her arthritis and I have to get someone to walk her forward then as she lifts her foot I pick it up.
Her first owner could never pick it up so she left it to the farrier.

Oh and my farrier said when you do pick it up and she throws it about just hold the front of the hoof and let Her thrash about until she calms down, after a couple of times of doing this she should calm down and let you pick up her feet.

Hope it's helpful.
 

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Try picking her foot up half way and setting it down, half a dozen times or so. It is unnatural to a horse to have someone hold on to it's means of escape so you need to teach it that it's ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Can you give some more information?

How are you asking her to pick up her feet?
Has she ever been taught to have her feet picked up?
Does anyone else have a problem with this? (ie. vet, farrier)
When she moves them, what does she do?
What I do is I run my hand down the back of their leg, down to their fetlock, and then pull up a little bit.. She's been taught it, and I don't know if she's just being naughty, (she's been known to be sometimes)... When she moves her feet back down, she'll release for a second and just pick them up enough for her to slide it farther away from me on the ground..
 

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My farrier gives them a poke in the belly with the hoof pick when they do that, And that works pretty well for me. Just try to hold on to the hoof while you're doing so, And they usually get it and stop struggling.

If you're haVing trouble just picking up the foot, try holding onto the tendon by the cannon bone and pulling up.

You can also squeeze the horse's chestnuts, which seems to work well for some people, though I opt not to do that.

Remember to never overdo any of these techniques though, as you can easily hurt your horse.
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My mule doesn't pick up his feet the best so I just take the hoof pick and rub in on the back of his pastern and he picks it right up! :smile: Also another thing my farrier has done is pull the hair on his fetlock and he picks it up that way too.
 

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Once your hands are in place and you begin asking for the foot, you might try putting your shoulder into her shoulder / hip to encourage her to shift her weight off the foot. As soon as she shifts, lift the foot up, hold it, give her a pat and put the foot down. Then just repeat this a few times until she understands what you want. Soon you'll be able to just run your hand down her leg and give a little cluck or kiss and she'll lift it for you.
 

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Also, when you do get the hoof up make sure that she is comfortable. Lifting the hoof too high, or at an odd angle, repeatedly can encourage this bad behavior.
 

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I have a horse that did that so I discovered he loves the back of his ears scratched. Every time he would pick up a foot for me I would tell him what a good boy he is and scratch behind his ear for a few seconds. Now he willingly picks up his feet. I don't scratch after every foot now but. I tell him he is a good boy and every once in a while I scratch his ears. Sometimes I just scratch his ears just because he likes it so now he doesn't expect the scratch just when picking up his feet. Worked like a charm with him.
 

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I had the hardest time getting my horse to pick up her feet but my farrier told me to squeeze the the chestnuts and that worked amazing! I have never had any problems now picking them up. On my other two horses I got them used to when I squeese their chestnuts they lift them right up. But on the other hand my friend wanted me to clean out her horses feet so I just did want I do with mine. I got a rude awaking that not every horse is ok with this. When I squeezed her chestnut she fliped out! yanked the lead rope out of my friends hand and bolted.
 

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I gently pull my horses fetlocks and say up and after awhile they learn to lift at the command "up".
 

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First, make sure that she isn't refusing to pick up her feet because she is in pain. If she is exhibiting this behavior in all four feet, she is likely giving you a hard time; once she is trained, however, refusing to pick up a foot can be a sign of anything from hip pain to a thrush-related tenderness in that area.

A few points that have helped me train the young horses here, and re-train the rescued:

- DO NOT GIVE UP. If you go into that barn to clean your horses feet, do not leave until you do. This can take, and I am not exaggerating here, hours the first time if your horse is as stubborn/new as you are describing. Try all the methods at one shot, take water, use the bathroom before, but do not give up until those hooves are in your hand. Even if you just pick them up, without doing anything more, that is a victory.
- Pay attention to your body position, and make sure you aren't in some way unintentionally threatening your horse. If they have eyesight troubles, this can be tricky.
- Work on this skill every day, with not exceptions. Don't ease off until your horse is behaving to your liking.
- Work on this skill in a comfortable way to your horse, which may mean alone or with other horses (for instance, taking her out first while everyone is still in their stalls waiting to be turned out). I recommend the former, because if she spooks or starts fighting you hard, or you get clocked, no one else gets upset, but some horses freak when separated and you want her calm.
- Make sure she's square when you start. If she isn't well balanced, she won't throw herself further off balance by picking up a foot.
- Try working in cross ties, and on a single point. Some horses are more comfortable one way than another. If she's a fighter, do not work in cross ties - I've had green horses sit back so hard and fast they broke the ties or their halters, which was a blessing because the other option is their neck.
- Once you get the hoof in hand, if she starts thrashing or trying to forcibly take her foot back you must be firm, because you can really get hurt. To stop the thrashing or pulling, either give her a hard push in the side, in the "armpit" under the shoulder right where the girth sits (this is where horses nip each other so it is a responsive spot), and/or pull the hoof higher into their side.
- Reinforce good behavior with treats and pet.
- Work in the same order every day. For instance, I work counterclockwise from the front left. For some reason, they seem to do better if you work in a circle than both front feet, then both back feet.... I have no idea why this is, but it's a consistent experience.
- Find out what you can about her history. Has she always been barefoot or shoe'd, or could something there be throwing her off?
- Think about everything in terms of safety. One response mentioned leaning a little into the shoulder to shift the horses weight - I do this with horses I know and that are well trained, and it works, but I personally avoid it with the new or feisty. My experience has been that young or green horses will start to sway, or push their weight against you to regain their balance, which means you are then trying to hold up 1000 pounds or so.

Hope this helps, and good luck! Please do let us know what techniques work.
 

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1. Arthritis has already been mentioned - it is a primary reason why a horse is not willing to pick up its hooves.

2. Laminitis or founder.

3. Any sort of skeletal injury/discomfort that makes it uncomfortable to stand on three hooves.

3. Allowed to get away with it.

Lots of good advice on HOW to get the hooves up so you can clean them but first you need to figure WHY she doesn't want to pick them up.

I have one horse, for example, that sometimes has to be leaned against the stall wall to pick up his left hind hoof for trimming. When that happens, I know I need to call the chiropractor to re-adjust old back injuries.

That is something an experienced horseman, standing right there with you, needs to help you figure out:)
 

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Well, Charlie (my mustang who looks like a twin of the horse in your profile picture) hated getting his feet picked up. I eventually would turn him in tight circles when he would walk forward instead of picking his feet up and he quickly got tired of it! Now it takes two small circles at most before he just lets me pick his feet up!
 
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