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Preparing horse for farrier - training

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  • Preparing horse for farrier - training

    I'll ask my BO/trainer, too, but thought I'd ask here. My new guy is four, and his hooves have clearly been trimmed, but he's not the best at holding up his feet. He seems to be a little unbalanced on three legs, or not used to having his feet handled regularly - for example he might try to rest a hind foot while I am holding the front, then go "oh help, I can't do that" and try to put the foot I'm holding down or lean on me for balance.

    I've just had him a few days, and the farrier will be seeing him in about two weeks, so I'd like to have him improved by then. I'd like to work up to holding his feet forward and backwards, and between my knees, and for longer periods of time, as would happen for a trim or shoeing.

    What are some tips for helping him learn to stand on his other three legs and hold his feet up for longer periods?

    He's fairly sensitive, in the sense that ask him to move over or back with your hand, he moves right over. He's calm-minded, and he doesn't kick.

  • #2
    One thing I found that really helped is to get them to stand square before you lift the foot. My older BTDT guy was so easy, but he knew to balance himself when he realized I was about to mount or ask for a foot. The youngsters kind of just stop mid-stride and unless I "rock" them or set them up, just can't stand up with their feet willy-nilly.

    lol it seemed so obvious once somebody pointed it out to me.

    Comment


    • #3
      I tend to leave a bit of that to the farrier who is used to working under horses, and who is stronger than I. My horses stand tied, and pick up their feet when asked. They don't snatch them away. They don't lean. They don't have any behavior problems. But, it seems I personally (working alone without a helper) end up with some hoof picking up issues which cause me unecessary worry, while my farrier does just fine and considers my crew to be star pupils.

      Don't over stress about it. Explain to your farrier that the horse may have balance issues etc, and let him or her proceed slowly with "baby". In the mean time, continue with your program and let the horse get used to the routine. Praise small improvements, and avoid fights and drama at all costs.
      ::With age comes wisdom. Apparently "wisdom" weighs about 40 pounds.::

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a horse that was pretty tough on my farrier when I first bought him. He'd snatch his feet away and really try to wrestle. He's a super beefy horse, too, and strong.

        After the first disastrous sessions with the farrier, I made it a point to pick up his foot, hold it, thump on it with the end of my biggest hoof pick, and when he'd start to try and pull it away, I'd hold it longer until he stopped. Then I would put it down, praise him like crazy, and move on to the next foot. At the end of each session he'd get a horse cookie.

        I did it every day for seven weeks, until the farrier came the next time. He started working on my horse and asked "what have you done with THAT horse and who is THIS GUY?" I still do refresher work occasionally, but the consistency made all the difference...and probably the cookies, too!

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by trailpal View Post
          One thing I found that really helped is to get them to stand square before you lift the foot. My older BTDT guy was so easy, but he knew to balance himself when he realized I was about to mount or ask for a foot. The youngsters kind of just stop mid-stride and unless I "rock" them or set them up, just can't stand up with their feet willy-nilly.

          lol it seemed so obvious once somebody pointed it out to me.
          This seems to be at the crux of the problem! I'll make a point of squaring him up before I lift each foot.

          Comment


          • #6
            That cradle that farriers use really helps with many of my younger ones.

            I think it is called Hoof Jack.
            www.oakhollowstable.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by saddleup View Post
              I have a horse that was pretty tough on my farrier when I first bought him. He'd snatch his feet away and really try to wrestle. He's a super beefy horse, too, and strong.

              After the first disastrous sessions with the farrier, I made it a point to pick up his foot, hold it, thump on it with the end of my biggest hoof pick, and when he'd start to try and pull it away, I'd hold it longer until he stopped. Then I would put it down, praise him like crazy, and move on to the next foot. At the end of each session he'd get a horse cookie.

              I did it every day for seven weeks, until the farrier came the next time. He started working on my horse and asked "what have you done with THAT horse and who is THIS GUY?" I still do refresher work occasionally, but the consistency made all the difference...and probably the cookies, too!
              Madame "What do you MEAN I have to go back to WORK?!" broodmare and her nursing "ROPE is still a 4 letter word" daughter are attending that school right now along with their regular handlers. I think "farrier broke" is a class of broke somewhat distinct unto itself.
              HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
              www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
                Madame "What do you MEAN I have to go back to WORK?!" broodmare and her nursing "ROPE is still a 4 letter word" daughter are attending that school right now along with their regular handlers. I think "farrier broke" is a class of broke somewhat distinct unto itself.
                LOL

                Every horse I've had before had this part of the training done already, so it's interesting to figure out what the new guy needs to learn and how best to teach it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Your guy sounds like he's sweet but doesn't quite have the hang of it yet. Practicing the squaring up and then the waiting until the tapping stops and the foot is let go probably is all he needs. He'll sort his legs out with some chances to practice.
                  HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                  www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You want your horse to adopt the frame of mind that the way to get a human to put his foot down is to stand still and relax.

                    You get a horse to do this by holding up his foot until he is standing relaxed, then putting it down immediately.

                    Conversely, every time your horse succeeds in getting his foot away from you before you are ready to put it down - he is learning HOW to get his foot away from you.

                    So, put that foot down BEFORE your horse begins to fidget, or hang on to it UNTIL he stops fidgeting.

                    Dig?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom Bloomer, CF, RJF View Post
                      So, put that foot down BEFORE your horse begins to fidget, or hang on to it UNTIL he stops fidgeting.

                      Dig?
                      I had to laugh at this. I operate by this principle, and you should have seen me wrastling my 8 month old one day. I hung on to that hind leg, for all I was worth. Boy was I sore the next day. But Baby is good for the farrier. Glad that fight didn't come later when he was bigger!
                      ::With age comes wisdom. Apparently "wisdom" weighs about 40 pounds.::

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Tom Bloomer, CF, RJF View Post
                        You want your horse to adopt the frame of mind that the way to get a human to put his foot down is to stand still and relax.

                        You get a horse to do this by holding up his foot until he is standing relaxed, then putting it down immediately.

                        Conversely, every time your horse succeeds in getting his foot away from you before you are ready to put it down - he is learning HOW to get his foot away from you.

                        So, put that foot down BEFORE your horse begins to fidget, or hang on to it UNTIL he stops fidgeting.

                        Dig?
                        Yes, the principle makes sense and I've understood it in other contexts. Good thing he's small, pliable and generally willing!

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