Trouble with picking up back feet.

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Willapa Bay

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Willapa is now 6 months old, and is great with cleaning her front feet, but will not hold her leg still when I pick up her back feet. She will kick out, even when I hang on. At some point she will need to be trimmed, how do I get her used to this?
 

chandab

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Mostly lots and lots of practice. Short sessions. I'm surprised she hasn't needed a trim, yet.
 

ServiceMini

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I find tying Sodapop short up next to a wall or our car helped, and then positioning her so she had one side against a solid object and the other side against my leg, and then picking her hind leg up, waiting for her to stop struggling, then instantly putting it down (fully to the ground) and giving her a treat and praise helped! And staying very calm throughout. You want to make it easy for them to learn that calmly staying still = getting their foot back, and by limiting their ability to struggle it makes it easier for them to be quiet. :) But that's just what I did with Soda, I'm not an expert.
 

Abby P

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Go slowly. Resist the temptation to muscle her. First just ask her to pick it up, don't hold onto it. You can even start by using a rope, a soft lead rope, just loop it around her pastern and ask her to shift the foot, release with praise when she does. You can progress to picking it up using the rope, just hold it up for a second, really close to the ground not high up, put it down before she tries to take it away. That's always the key - she has to learn that she can always have it back, that you'll GIVE it back, she doesn't have to take it. Hind feet are a sensitive topic for horses, it's where predators grab. So you have to be consistent and gentle but firm, without any aggression whatsoever, but persistent. I would work on it a little bit every single day, even a couple times a day if you have her at home, just very short sessions as Chandab said.

Is she kicking AT you, or just flailing her leg around trying to get her foot back? If she's flailing, just the suggestions above - your timing should be such that she never gets to the point of feeling she needs to flail (but if you do get there, then I totally agree with Servicemini, letting the foot go while she's flailing is basically rewarding her for flailing so try to wait until she softens and then let the foot go). If she's actually kicking AT you, you want to head this off now. I do this with a growl, if that doesn't produce a change, then send her away when she tries to kick, that's what Mama would do. Caveat is, if she's doing it from fear, then give her a bit more of a break. :)
 

Marsha Cassada

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The lead rope around the leg is very gentle and effective. You will probably need a helper. Hold the foot just a few moments and set the foot down--don't just turn loose. A horsey person is the best helper here. This method has worked very well for me and after just a couple of times, we never have anymore trouble.
 

Willow Flats

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I use the rope method on horses that are resistant with the back feet. Up and down with the foot a few seconds at a time until we can build up to more time. First though, I get them used to me touching them everywhere on the back leg and foot. Starting high, rubbing them with my hand and as they relax going further down the leg but not picking the foot up. I like my horses to learn to pick up their own feet. So I always say "foot" when I lift with the rope. Then "good foot!"
The rope has never failed me. I was given a horse (mini) that they told me had developed a bad habit while they were using junior farriers from a school for their 30 minis. She would literally sit down on her back feet when you tried to pick one up and we worked right through it with the rope training.

Also when you get to the point where you are holding her foot and she flails, keep holding the foot gently going with her movements and she will realize that won't get her anywhere, but since you aren't fighting they just stop.

Lots of good posts here. Let us know how it goes!
 

BSharpRanch

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At my age, fighting is not an option. I use a corner. The head goes into the corner and the horse's side against the wall.

I run my hand from hip, over the croup and down the leg. Not too slow, but not fast. I will do this several times (if they are accepting) more if not.
Once the horse accepts this, I will run my hand all the way to the hoof and ask "foot". I'll pick it up and set it right down. And praise.

Then I repeat, several times. Holding the hoof a second or two longer each time. Keep it slow and non threatening.

I'll then change sides and repeat the steps.

That's it for lesson one. You can do several lessons a day.

Usually, once they figure out you are not going to eat their leg and they will get it back, life will be so easy!

I hate to set up my horses to learn that they have to fight.
 

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