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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My mare won't pick up her feet. I've read tons of articles and tried what they say but she still won't pick her feet up. The best I can get her to do is slowly drag it up and then she leans on me. She's 10 years old and an amazing mare except she won't pick up her feet! I'd like to get her to the same point as my other horses were I can just tap their foreleg and they'll pick up their hooves. Any advice? Thanks!:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Clicker training?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks! I'll try it.
 

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With clicker training you first have to teach her to touch something, a stick, anything. When she does, make a cluck sound, like a chicken, and offer a tiny reward. Within 5 minutes she will be looking to touch the stick whether held high or low. The click means she's done the right think and the treat in the reward. The timing of the click is important, she'll learn that the treat is coming. To pick up a front hoof, gently squeeze her chestnut. As soon as she barely lifts her hoof, click as she's doing it, not after, then treat. At first she may barely shift her weight off that hoof but you need to reward that. Think of progressing inch by inch. When she's good with her fronts, and you have to train both sides, she may catch on faster with her hinds. Place your palm over the cap of the hock and try squeezing there. Some respond, others don't. But reward the slightest try. Once she hears the first click and is rewarded she may, as it sometimes happens, try to hand her hoof to you to get her reward. This can be seen as the horse attempting to kick so you need to be observant. Always slide you hand down the hip so she knows what you are doing. Your body blocks her sight. Be sure to use the word "foot" or "hoof" each time so she learns the verbal command.
 

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I've had great success with clicker training my mare. She's doing really well letting us pick up her hinds. My trainer & I have taken it very, very slow (she was a rescue, so her history is unknown) & we're really seeing some dramatic results with clicker training.

She's a draft, so she has a tendency to lean & she is just heavy, but we are progressing well.

At first, just taking weight off was rewarded. Then, pointing her toe was rewarded. We're to the point where we're actually picking her foot up quite high now.

A lot of people dont' care for clicker training & I was quite hesitant at first too. I was afraid of turning her into a treat mugger There is a WRONG way to do it, for sure, so you have to be careful & consistent & not send the wrong message. She was a good candidate for it. She is very food motivated & learned to "play the game" very quickly.

Many people mistakenly think you have to have a clicker & treats on you at all times, but it's really just used when teaching something new or something difficult, to get over the hump.
 

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I have found that some horses respond wonderfully to clicker training. I had a Shire mare who used to play fetch for me. That was somethign to behold... 18.3 hands of black Shire chasing after an orange cone!

Some horses don't do well with it. My current gelding goes beserk at the concept of food - even though he has never missed a meal in his entire life. You never know until you try.

The last mare I used clicker training to pick up feet, I think it took us about three sesssions of 20 minutes to go from not being able to touch any foot to easily picking up and cleaning all four.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What do you do when she won't pick up her feet?
I pinch harder in between the tendon and leg bone. I'd rather not use clicker training because my mare already has a weight problem so I'd rather not use treats. Is their another way to teach her? with or without the clicker?
 

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How experienced are you? I ask as many novice owners have this problem. Be bold and commanding when you go to pick up the foot. Think "You will pick your foot up NOW" often it is just the handler being a bit cautious about picking up feet.

I always say "Hold Up" to my horses as I pick the foot up. You can first try squeezing the fetlock joint - if that doesn't work pinch between the cannon bone and tendon, if that fails then twist the chestnut. Do you have a riding instructor that maybe could give you a 'ground work lesson'
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How experienced are you? I ask as many novice owners have this problem. Be bold and commanding when you go to pick up the foot. Think "You will pick your foot up NOW" often it is just the handler being a bit cautious about picking up feet.

I always say "Hold Up" to my horses as I pick the foot up. You can first try squeezing the fetlock joint - if that doesn't work pinch between the cannon bone and tendon, if that fails then twist the chestnut. Do you have a riding instructor that maybe could give you a 'ground work lesson'
I've been riding/raising horses for 11 years. This is the one mare I've ever had a problem getting to pick up her feet. I've tried squeezing her chesnut but all she does is swing around and bite me. Getting an instructor up here would be more hassel and money that I'd rather not spend (we live way up in the hills).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The farrier doesn't have any problems with her. The only person who ever has a problem with her is me! And unfourtanetly I'm the person who has to take care of her.
 

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Another tactic I love is using a hoof pick to start tapping the fetlock getting harder and harder till that foot comes up.

You'd start as normal run your hand down her leg with a bit of pressure cup the fetlock ask by a gentle 'pull' then still holding the fetlock start tapping. Can also use your hand but not as effective.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another tactic I love is using a hoof pick to start tapping the fetlock getting harder and harder till that foot comes up.

You'd start as normal run your hand down her leg with a bit of pressure cup the fetlock ask by a gentle 'pull' then still holding the fetlock start tapping. Can also use your hand but not as effective.
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Tried that and it worked!:D Thank you for the tip!
 

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With the positive reinforcement training (clicker training) you will be using something that she values. There is something in it for her. This helps the horses to become invested in the training process and the positive outcome. She will come around pretty quickly. It will also change her attitude about lifting her legs. Instead of doing it begrudgingly she will be happy to oblige. This may give you some ideas: Teaching Your Horse to Stand Quietly for the Farrier : On Target Training with Shawna Karrasch
 
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