Trimming hooves on untame mare.

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Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2012
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Sooo...spent the last three afternoons trying to trim Pokey's hind no avail. She has not had her hind hooves trimmed since I got her (three years ago this July ) and I am at the point of giving up. I handle her every day, she now is easy to catch and halter, leads like a lady now (instead of a reindeer on amphetamine in mid flight), ties and loads but...attempt to touch her hind leg and DANGER! She lets me do her fronts no problem, but if I even reach toward her hind end and she gets NASTY, fighting for her life defensive. I have been patient for the past 3 years, I have never raised a hand to her, or even raised my tone of voice, I even tried the stupid glove on a stick trick (complete waste of my time and a good pair of gloves by the way). So I resorted to tranquilizer, had to wait until she foaled per the vet. I first tried Ace to no avail, might as well have given her crack, I swear there are now hoof prints on the ceiling. I have been told sedatives can have the opposite effect on the little ones, and I now believe it. I did not upset her before dosing either as I know that can render the drug ineffective if they're all worked up. Next we tried dormosedan gel, as I have had much success with it in my minis, nope, didn't phase her even at a double dose...she was staggering and drooling and leaning on the wall from sedation, so it is not like the drug didn't work but even after calm relaxing talk, gentle stroking and petting and slow movement toward the general direction of her hind leg and BLAM, she broke my wrist with one swift kick (that witch). Even higher than a kite, she will have nothing to do with this trimming business. So I have now come to two conclusions, one, all ponies are ninjas and two, Pokey either needs knocked out cold to do her hind feet or she is going to cripple herself. Her hooves won't break off in turnout like Janey's do, and she just isn't coming around like Nelly did (lets me trim her all the way around like a lady). Her hooves are so long in the toe, she's wobbling on her heels and straining her tendons so much her stifle clicks. I feel so bad for her and I feel so helpless, especially since she has a little one to chase after. I am out of ideas and am open to any and all suggestions. I am not at the point of pawning her off on some poor sap, plus, I like her too much to ship her, but I cannot let her go like this, plus my husband is worried someone is going to turn us in to animal control for neglect. She is a broodmare who needs to keep brooding as this is a business, not a homeless shelter for hooved mammals, but she shouldn't keep getting drugged while nursing, and none of these drugs are good for pregnant mares as they cause contractions. I need a cowboy trick or some sort to get the job done. I keep getting flack for keeping her from some people (one even suggested shooting her) as most won't deal with this crap, other people criticize me for breeding her (she's not a pet). Any advice? How do others overcome difficult kickers? I asked my farrier friends and obviously none want to trim her because she's such a bad kicker. I am out of ideas.
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What about a stock? The guy I board with has a mare just like that. He bought a crappy draft horse stock and pulled the hardware off and 'miniaturized' it.
I rented a stock from a supplier and paid a fortune to keep it for a while so as to allow her to grow accustomed to it. I was trying to make it as positive and stress free as possible to keep it a positive experience. Well...after a month of loading and standing in the stock we decided to go for the feet, first with the stick -glove, then with my hand, she kicked uncontrollably banging herself all to heck. Even after sedation, she still was unapproachable even in the stock. I really thought it would help, but it didn't.
work horse nippers? you can trim with the foot on the ground --it's clumsy but would get some toe off her. But, sounds like she might not even let you touch her feet with those?
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I doubt she'd let me near her even with those, but I know someone with a pair that would lend them to me. I'm willing to try anything at this point. I was trying to tame her to make this a positive experience to grow I'm willing to do anything to get it done, it has to be done soon.
What about a standing cattle trim chute? She might get banged up a bit but it might get it done. I know they do blm horses on a tilt, and I don't like that, but maybe one of those cheap manual lifts or find a friend with an Appleton?
My husband asked me about a cattle chute. I am glad we're not the only ones considering it a possible solution. I appreciate your input, I do think it may be terrifying for her, but it HAS to be done. We don't milk the herd numbers that we used to, most of my cows are "pets" who let me lift their feet ( pony won't stand but my freakin holsteins will). I will call the hoof trimmer and try to sweet talk him into it.
I've got "nothing"...

I have a pony from the same farm, though I think she has different (somewhat?) bloodlines, and she is "the devil incarnate". Doesn't matter the amount of work you do with her. She bites and strikes. when trying to catch her, she will run right through or over you. Once haltered she's fine - until you mess with her legs/hooves & like yours - especially the rear ones. I was told that they were run thru chutes to give them vaccinations and to trim their hooves. She arrived to me with the prettiest, round & "appeared to be" just trimmed hooves ever - but was also told they were running a very large pasture, too, which can also work well for natural trimming...

If I was still in MT, I know that I'd try to get her to the cattle clinic that had a surgery table set in the floor, drop her (drugs) and then the table would raise and can be tilted w/ them strapped to it and have a farrier work on her that way. BUT she isn't/hasn't been pregnant since she lost her first foal not long after she arrived in NC in 2012... She should be pregnant now and that can be an issue in about 5-6 months. OR might be part of the reason she isn't breaking off??

I looked at her this week and soon I will be in the same boat. While in a much larger, sandier pen in our new home, and with horses or ponies that will make her move around, she's not breaking off this year like she has in the previous 3. I'm not sure what to do with her next to be honest - I've even had two trainers work with her - that make their livelihoods with training horses & retraining problem ones (both have also worked with BLM mustangs) and they both recommended we also shoot her (or send her to auction and make sure she didn't go to a beginner owner or that she DID end up going to the kill pen) - she wasn't worth the time, $$, effort or possible injury.

I hadn't tried the stocks - with our draft horse friends, I can check around for that possibility for us.

I actually watched a show about mustangs and how they filled solid stocks with rice to completely enclose and immobilize the horses. But I don't remember how they collected the rice back up to use on the next horse or even to release the one in the stocks. It did make the horse calmer and quieter (you'd think it would be terrifying, but it seemed to work to calm them instead - think that's why I remember it - but ...)

Please let us know if what you try next works for your girl.
The rice thing sounds neat. I worked for a trainer who had a 2 horse trailer setup converted into a hot tub whirlpool hydro therapy trailer for horses. Maybe you could pick up a junker trailer to submerge the horse in. I wonder if the pressure of the rice surrounding them relieves anxiety? I am glad that I am not the only one that thinks some ponies have a little bit of thr devil in them. ..I am feeling like since she has been raised/handled Like cattle, then I should work with her like I do my cows. I wonder if I sedate her then get her in a cow trimming table if I could get her done. We had a friend offer to "cowboy" around with her (willing to try anything) he lassoed her foot and figured he could tie it up so we could trim it. He swears it's how he does his nasty draft horse clients trims. was comical seeing this little girly pony send this big burly man running for his life, jumpimg right over the stall door. He got her foot roped and tied to the telephone pole while her head was tied to another pole (she was heavily sedated) she managed to kick him with the other foot while the one was tied! She wouldn't stop either, we figured she would struggle, realize she's not going anywhere and settle, since she had enough sedative on board to date rape a clydesdale...nope, she contorted herself (like something out of the exorcist ) and gave it to him good, real good. Now, I'm not a religious woman, but that pony is the devil. Period. Her feet absolutely stink too, I feel so bad for her.
The worst part is that each time you and I try something that doesn't work, they think we are doing our darndest to hurt, maim or "kill" them. And they become craftier and harder to work with. AND yes, similar happened with our girl w/ the one trainer - the chasing over the fence part... (& I couldn't help but laugh, then wondered what I was going to do next)
Well this morning Pokey came up to me and gave me a slobbery wet kiss while I took her out to graze her. She let me brush her too. I am relieved that our attempts to trim her hooves haven't completely turned her off of people. Janey is like that with me, I cannot touch her, even in her stall. My husband has to help he get her every day. I am going to call the vet Monday and see if she can recommend a different tranquilizer maybe even see what it'd cost to have her completely anesthetized like for surgery, may be easier on all of us in the long run.
Sedate her fully and use your cattle trimming table, no point in your getting hurt again. No not ideal, but it's not like you haven't tried the train your way to success path and it's not working with her; so sedate fully and use the table and any other facilities you have at your disposal to keep yourself safe.

I have one that was roped and tipped over, trussed up like a pig and trimmed while she was down with me sitting on her. Luckily, she got over it, and now stands and tolerates her pedicures. [i was shocked the first time the farrier suggested laying her down and tying her up, but it worked, so I wasn't so worried the next time. But, he knows what he is doing, and actually laid her down rather gently, even if she was hog tied once on the ground.]
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At the risk of getting flamed her, I agree with Chanda's farrier. Find an old cowboy who knows how to lay the down and hog tie them. It is the way the old guys here geld their colts (I prefer tranqs and vet care but then I'm not an old cowboy either) In the case of these wild mares I would use a tranquillizer first so they were a bit easier to deal with and so easier on themselves. Then lay them down, keep them down and trim them up. Use the time to rub them all over the back end and legs too. You might be surprised at how this changes their attitude. Something about being completely helpless and you having the power to make them so but no harm being done seems to change the thought processes sometimes. Perhaps partly why Chandra;s horse is better about it now.It might take a time or 3 but at least you can do it without damage to you or her and eventually get rid of the drugs too. Good luck.
If no one has an Appleton locally (stand up hydraulic chute, usually red), what about a manual crank 'chute' - the kind where you kind of lasso the foot and reel it up? Saw a nice one go at the Amish auction the other day for $300!

They also have manual hoof lifters in the AniMart cattlelog. Might be a good investment if you could rig up a stock?

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