Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Answers I've gotten so far to my horse problem

I went to my favorite horse forum and posed my problem there; here are solutions I've received so far:

1. "I have absolutely no first hand knowledge, and no credentials to offer an opinion. However, I have been lurking here for some time, and I want to see if I have learned anything...

I am predicting that someone will say that the trick is to put the horses foot down before she pulls it away. (followed by praise). Then the horse gets used to you being the one putting it down, rather than her. And simply hold it a little longer each time, until she gets with the program."

2. "I noticed on one of the mustang training videos (was looking up the Mustang Makeovers - fascinating!) the trainer addressed this. He (or she, can't say that I remember) was working the horse by gently sliding ropes all over it. When the trainer got to the back feet the rope was slid down and up the leg until the horse was entirely calm about it, then looped under the fetlock and used to lift the back foot. The trainer gently kept the back foot in the air until the horse relaxed, then set it down with the rope. By the time that trainer handled the foot with hands, the horse was totally calm and at ease with it.

I was amazed by these videos - people are very clever at training and the horses benefited so much! I was glad that the many tips were shared and I could see how these horses were worked. It's helped me to work with my own calm old horse - I'm SO out of practice!"

3. "At her age it could be a balance issue, or she just might be having a little power struggle with you! She may have felt off-balance and insecure at some point when you had her back feet up, and she's determined not to feel that way, ever again.

My 3 year old filly was like that last year, a real little moo for the farrier, but this year, she's much better."

"Stand next to her(left side), with your shoulder next to her hindquarters(you are close enough to barely touch her with your arm as it hangs down), you are facing the opposite way she is. Bend down, slightly squatting, put your thigh in front of her hock at the same time grab her with your left hand(your arm will go over her leg, behind her hock, then your left hand will reach in front of her fetlock), bring her foot up and straight back, resting her lower leg on top of your thigh, also push with your thigh a little to bring her leg back behind her. Now you are holding her leg with her hock under your armpit, her lower leg on your thigh, and her fetlock in your hand(like the front is in your palm and your thumb is over the top around it). This gives you a very firm and solid grip--when the horse has it's leg extanded back its hard(er) for it to pull it away from you--especially when you have the leg in a choke hold. You need to be a little flexible and nimble to be able to hold onto her and keep your balance if she jostles a bit--but you CAN hold onto her, and she WONT fall down. PIck her foot out, tap on it (to simulate farrier work), then set her foot down when she relaxes--do NOT let her snatch it away, or set it down herself.

This method has always worked for me, and I've always been able to hold onto a horse, and we've never fallen down(though I'm sure there's horses out there that would squash me like a bug--never say always with horses! ;0). If the horse is super nasty put hobbles on the front feet. This is usually a respect problem, you have to go about it firmly and no-nonsense. Handle her with a firm sure hand, don't dab at her. Your attitude makes a big difference. Practice holding her feet up for 3-4 minutes, pretend you're the farrier(he will looove you! and you will get a greater appreciation for the farrier's work!). Front feet bring the foot up between your legs and hold between your knees.

If this is clear as mud have your farrier show you how. GOod luck!

PS I should add if doing this with a nasty horse(your's doesnt sound "nasty") don't do it on slippery concrete, do it on good clear footing. I guess I should add too that anyone who works with horses should always be ready to get out of the way. This is why it's good to do this work with foals, they are way easier to hold onto!"

4. "the word no in an angry voice always seemed to work for me.

but then if they hold still for a second or two you have to tell them how good they are and make a fuss.

make jerking her foot away less pleasant than standing still."

5 "Originally Posted by GrannyCarol
I noticed on one of the mustang training videos (was looking up the Mustang Makeovers - fascinating!) the trainer addressed this. He (or she, can't say that I remember) was working the horse by gently sliding ropes all over it. When the trainer got to the back feet the rope was slid down and up the leg until the horse was entirely calm about it, then looped under the fetlock and used to lift the back foot. The trainer gently kept the back foot in the air until the horse relaxed, then set it down with the rope. By the time that trainer handled the foot with hands, the horse was totally calm and at ease with it.

This is basically the system I've used for years. I even start my weanlings this way now. I've got a 20-foot soft 1" cotton rope that I don't use for anything else.

I've got a lot of arthritis in my hands and shoulders and the rope absorbs a lot of the jerking if they do try to put the foot down, so it is much easier on me. The entire process tends to make them less touchy about things as well, so that is an added advantage.

The other advantage with the warmbloods is that for some reason they will often decide somewhere around their 2 year old year that they are big enough and strong enough that they don't HAVE to do what you want them to. No kicking or anything like that, they just simply put the foot down and you can't prevent it.

With the foot rope, you can make another wrap around the pastern and then tie the free end back into the neck/shoulder loop so they literally can not take the foot away and put it back down. Once or twice and they quit and go back to being fine with the feet.

Sure saves a lot of yanking and jerking on my hands and shoulders."

Isn't the Internet wonderful?

1 comment:

The Guy Who Writes This said...

If balance is the problem try putting out a wooden block. Lift her foot and place it on the block. She will feel supported and slowly learn how to balance with one foot elevated. The block will support her, but she will be placing her full weight on the opposite hoof. This is an every day activity and it is a learned skill. You will see a difference in a couple weeks.