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Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2005
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Southeast, Colorado
We have a rescue mini that had been severely abuse/beaten when we got her. When we first got her we could not touch her as she was so much fear of being beaten. She didn't know a kind hand. Even the slightest touch as she was running by would cause her to kick at you. This was all in fear not meanness as when she would stop she would be trembling and looking at you like well aren't you going to beat on me too? This is how she got her name "Kicker".

Anyway ii has been a looonnng road with her but deep down she is really a sweet heart. She does have flash backs every so often as she will hunch down and start trembling if you approach her to fast and don't talk to her when approaching, but she hasn't kicked at us for a long time.

But she is in deperate need of having her hooves done. I have been working with her but she will not let me have the back ones. And since I have seen how hard she can kick with them I really just don't want to take them from her. Also don't suggest using a rope or a brush to get her used to the feel as I can not go near her with anything in my hands without her falling to pieces.

So I was wondering if anyone has used Quitex or anything like it on their minis to calm them before a stressful situation? And if you have used it can you tell if it has actually had a calming effect on your horse? As I can't see using it if it really doesn't seem to work, but also hate to drug/tranquilize her with stronger things. I'm thinking this hoof trimming is going to be pretty stressful to her. The tube says to give the whole tube 2 hours before stressful situations - I am sure this is for a big horse. She is a 37" size mini, so about how much would I give?

Thanks for your input here and am open to any other suggestions you guys might have on trimming her hooves. I do trim the hooves myself so at least it is someone she knows and has been gaining trust in. As she isn't to fond of people she don't know.

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My husband is a farrier, and he's got a method that works well for him (and I realize, everyone is different). It takes 2 people. One person sits on the ground cross legged, and then the other lays them down on their side. He goes like he is going to pick them up (one arm under their neck/chest, other under their butt), then pulls them into him and lays them on their side. Person sitting cradles the little ones head in their lap, while holding them down on their shoulders/neck, and also holding their front feet. You can trim their hind feet quickly, then they are up on their feet, no drugs, no added stress of wrestling them while they're standing up. And, of course, everyone is different. This may not work for her, she might not let someone get this close to her. Good luck!
A word about my "Magic hand" which may help you get her used to having her back legs touched. The magic hand is a marigold glove stuffed with tissues to bulk it up to hand shaped. It is stuck on the end of, by personal choice, a short piece of broom handle. You can slot this up your sleeve so it looks as if it is your hand, and stroke and handle her wherever she is happy using the apparatus held close, by your real hand. As you go further down the body, you stay where you are and extend the magic hand slowly out until you are holding it fully extended. This gives you access to the hind leg area without danger. I find it easier to quietly drop the "hand" when finished and retrieve it after moving the animal- pulling it back up your sleeve is nowhere near as easy as extending it out!!
Tuffsmom, The laying on the side sounds like a good idea - but I don't think I would even be able to do this with her. Confinement sends her into tremling - so I think by grabbing her around the chest and hips - I would definitely be in trouble here. Plus don't think I'm big enough or strong enough to tackle this with her. Probably could do it on our smaller ones though - thanks for the idea here.

Rabbitfizz - am wondering how I can actually adjust this to getting the legs picked up. As I can rub her down to here knees - but if I put my hand around it like I'm going to pick it up - she hunches down on that side and goes to trembling. I know if I pick it up at this point she is going to blow and probably kick. I think I will use this to get on down the rest of her leg with touching though.

The front feet we are working on - can manage to pick them up - still not where I'd like her to be with picking these up either. But I have seen how those back feet work on her. I can't put the fear of god into her either for doing it - as she is doing it outta fear. Even a harsh voice gets her shaking in her boots. This horse had been severely abused, almost didn't get her, but she really does have kind looking eyes but scared, and I couldn't let her go for slaugher and we paid above slaughter prices for her. She has come a long ways with us. Just that I'm not sure on how to approach getting those back feet - I know if I just take them from her and she start fighting I'm not going to be able to hang on - even with it up under her belly - and then it will be a fight she won.
I have used Quietex before when I was getting ready to shave Smarty this Spring. It says to use a whole tube on a large horse so I used a half a tube and it didn't work at all. He's afraid of everything and he still won't let me clip him. You have to be careful using stuff like that on them. I'd ask your vet if there is something he could do. You may have to use a sedditive for her untill she gets used to you touching her. It might be the safeest way right now for all parties involved.

To answer your question-I have used Quietex, years ago, on my mini gelding, who was just the "wired" type. I could tell a moderate difference, but--I don't think the proper dosage would be enough to "do the trick" in a situation such as you are facing9and it surely wouldn't be safe to overdose!) If it were me, I believe I would set up an appointment to have your vet out(or perhaps, to save some of the cost, meet your (good, patient!)farrier AT your vet's office,) so that the vet can tranquilize the mare, and the farrier can then do the necessary work.

You can then continue with a program of desensitizing the mare. Rabbitfizz's "magic hand" is a good idea; I have also read of using a very soft bristled,long-handled broom to GENTLY and very gradually 'sweep' from the ground up, touching the hoof, then on up the leg, as will be tolerated, with a great deal of soft, soothing talk-and small food treats for the desired response can't hurt...it may be a very long, slow process, but patience, persistence, and consistency can and should pay off in the end. Best wishes for success, and keep us posted, will you?
we have used quietex with very good results. but remember you have to give it and wait 30 mins to an hour for it to kick in. It just calms them down a bit but doesnt make them act drugged

I can sympathize as four years ago we got a mare and a stallion who had been beaten with a 2X4 in the head when they didnt behave as the owner wanted. They would both bite and the little mare would also kick although she wasnt as frightened as your girl. The little stud became trusting in about 3 -4 weeks. It took several weeks to be able to lead either of them but they would lead as long as you didnt touch them. It was a battle to even get a halter on the little mare. When it was time to do her feet I was as fearful as you but our farrier said it would be fine. He does all horses from tinys to Drafts. He was so patient and good with her but he was strong enough to not give back her foot once she gave it. She needed pauses between each foot and she did get lots of treats but eventually they got done. Farrier day is still not the best day but she has come a long long way and will stand to have feet done now as long as she is the first one to be done. To answer what you asked if you are the one to do the feet and you are still nervous probably as others have said I would have the vet come to help when you are ready to do her feet.
I have used it 1 time . For the same reason you want too . It just takes the edge off . Does not dope them up, or even seem like they are . Just kind of calms them. It did help a bit , but it still took 2 of us to trim her hooves .
Well, I'm probably going against the grain here and actually it is against what i would usually say, but I would have a vet out and give her some acepromazine (sorry I don't think that's the correct spelling) a short while before the trimmer gets there. I would normally recommend that you work through it until she was ready as I feel they don't really "learn" a lot when actually drugged, but if she is truly needing trimmed, it is better to do it now, than have to do something after she badly chips or splits a hoof.

One other thing you might try. I know you mentioned no ropes, but you might try this. I had a horse here for a friend one time that was kinda being a stink about her back legs. The trimmer was due to come in a few days and we needed to do her. Since she had a habit of getting nervous as you handled her back legs and had been known to use them (kick) I decided to keep my head out of harms way. I started working with laying a lead rope across her back (looped in half, but not tied together) I would rub her with it and after a couple days I could let it touch her legs without her getting too upset. Then I let it get around her feet. Once she was fine with it at her feet, I let the loop drag the ground, and stepped her into the loop (remember- the rope is just looped-the snap end and the loose end are just held together in my hand)I worked with her on picking up her foot with the rope. Since it is loose, you can let go and she doesn't get rope burn, doesn't get tangled and you don't get kicked. It was amazing, she still didn't care much for having her leg "handled" but she tolerated picking up her foot with the rope quite well. By the time the shoer came, she was nervous, but we did get her back feet done, using the rope (i held the foot with the rope while he trimmed). Finally over time she got over her fear. It is always so hard to work with a fearful one. Good luck.

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