Picking up feet

Jane&Ziggy

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Charlie has been taught to lift his feet. He lifts his fronts if you squeeze the chestnut, and the backs if you squeeze the hock.

The trouble is getting the feet to stay lifted. He hoicks them up so you can see the sole, then seems to think "job done" and puts them down again. I have the feeling that I should grab that foot and just hang on, so that he learns that he has to wait until I've finished with it. That's fairly easy on the fronts but a bit harder with a back hoof flailing about.

Any suggestions, peeps?
 

carthorse

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As @fourlegs said, cup the hoof. Many people say hang on once you've got it, but I've always taken the approach of letting go if they start to flail it around then pick it straight back up and repeating until I've done what I need to. Only when I'm done do they get a good boy and reward. I find they quickly figure out what I want without it turning into a fight that I might not win or that might put them off picking the foot up in the first place. Oh and make sure he's standing properly balanced before he picks it up, some youngsters don't seem to register that it's far easier to stand on three legs if they're in the right place!
 

chunky monkey

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If flailing badly. I put the foot down as it's more likely that horse flexes leg and you end up getting hit or pulled off balance.
If it's only a little then I tend to use a good firm voice and tell them to stand.
Hes still new and he could be testing to see what he can get away with. I would just practice picking each foot up a couple of times. First time pick up put down. Second time hold for a few seconds before putting down. Just work on extending the time you hold the foot up for. You could also use clicker training to teach that holding his foot still get reward.
Agree that you should make sure he knows how to balance his weight before you pick up the foot.
 

MrC

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I just kept picking the foot back up. Youngsters do have balance issues when holding their feet. The wee guy is rock solid now for as long as you want them but it has taken me a while of Just constantly picking them straight back up again. He’s tried to kick me out of frustration once. That got a pretty quick Discussion and he hasn’t done it since.
 

Skib

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Mr C is right - I could consult my library about teaching to pick up feet (and the horse must bear the weight).
But the horse is a flight animal and allowing one to control the foot is risky - so it may be one of the hardest things we ask a horse to do.

I rode a new mare last week. She had never seen me before and her stable manners were lacking. I was required to pick out her feet before leaving the box. She too lifted each foot (in the correct order) even before I had asked and put the foot down again at once.
I made her do it properly foot by foot thinking that if she got away with it, she would not comply with my subsequent requests, grooming and riding.

However I read yesterday in Tik Maynard's book that it is completely wrong for riders to believe that if you let the horse get away with one detail of non compliance, you have lost dominance and it establishes a pattern.
What do other people think?
 

Huggy

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Mr C is right - I could consult my library about teaching to pick up feet (and the horse must bear the weight).
But the horse is a flight animal and allowing one to control the foot is risky - so it may be one of the hardest things we ask a horse to do.

I rode a new mare last week. She had never seen me before and her stable manners were lacking. I was required to pick out her feet before leaving the box. She too lifted each foot (in the correct order) even before I had asked and put the foot down again at once.
I made her do it properly foot by foot thinking that if she got away with it, she would not comply with my subsequent requests, grooming and riding.

However I read yesterday in Tik Maynard's book that it is completely wrong for riders to believe that if you let the horse get away with one detail of non compliance, you have lost dominance and it establishes a pattern.
What do other people think?
Having a very stubborn, argumentative but clever cob, I actually think that he does react (favourably) to my taking a stand with certain things, and learns to recognise my determined self when different situation arises where I have to establish authority. Does that make any sense at all? When he established his dominance in the field, he definitely upped his game, trying to assert it over me. I put him right on that one!
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
Whenever you handle a horse you are training it so consistency is important. Letting it "get away" with something is not disastrous but will teach it something you don't want.

I have a very intelligent horse that will evade anything she doesn't want to do but is inherently lazy so I use the laziness to get her to do what I want by making her use more energy to evade doing it.

I don't think it is a question of dominance - in the herd the dominant leader is less effective than the passive leader (usually a mare) that the herd prefers to follow - I look to build the communication in a way she understands and respects, not fears.
 

Huggy

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Oh Hogan doesn't know the meaning of the word, fear! I have to be very quiet but firm as he is extremely argumentative and I'll always lose if I try to actually dominate him. With him it's a case of repetition repetition repetition. Picking up his feet when I first got him was a challenge, he didn't kick, but snatched away each time. I had to just keep lifting, over and over, until he gave in. He keeps me on my toes, mentally, as I have to always be one step ahead. If I raised my voice to Ramsey he'd flinch , if I do it with Hogan, he squares up to me. Softly softly, catchee monkey.
 

MrC

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I have discussions with my horses. Usually starts off with me asking them to do something, then if they say no I ask again more firmly, then again if I don’t get it by try three I go in the opposite direction and make them do what they were doing (usually moving the feet) to avoid my request.

I am not above giving a skelp when I think it’s necessary. Faran went through a period of biting, nipping him didn’t work, chasing him backwards didn’t help, so one day he got me a cracker and I instantaneously walloped him on the muzzle and chased him roaring like a crazy mofo. He literally ran away with his butt tucked in and when he dared sidle back over he was licking and chewing, I gave him the Human mare face and he held back until I let him come in and then we were friends again. Nipping stopped mostly. He still does it now and again but he is young so I’m sure it will stop with me being firm but fair with him.

Every horse will respond differently, some you can wallop until you break your hand and it won’t make a different, some you just raise your voice and they know and everything in between. There is no one size fits all ;)
 
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Huggy

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I have discussions with my horses. Usually starts off with me asking them to do something, then if they say no I ask again more firmly, then again if I don’t get it by try three I go in the opposite direction and make them do what they were doing (usually moving the feet) to avoid my request.

I am not above giving a skelp when I think it’s necessary. Faran went through a period of biting, nipping him didn’t work, chasing him backwards didn’t help, so one day he got me a cracker and I instantaneously walloped him on the muzzle and chased him roaring like a crazy mofo. He literally ran away with his butt tucked in and when he dared sidle back over he was licking and chewing, I gave him the Human mare face and he held back until I let him come in and then we were friends again. Nipping stopped mostly. He still does it now and again but he is young so I’m sure it will stop with me being firm but fair with him.

Every horse will respond differently, some you can wallop until you break your hand and it won’t make a different, some you just raise your voice and they know and everything in between. There is no one size fits all ;)
Absolutely! I never really had to argue with Ramsey, as long as he understood what I was asking, he was happy to oblige. Hogan has now learned that a raised voice with a deep glaswegian accent (I pull it out for naughty children as well!) means we are going to do this til I get my way, but smacking him is a waste of time - he would meet force with force. I think possibly in his distant past he may have been knocked about a bit. Our dog is like Ramsey - if I drop the f-bomb at an annoying household appliance, he hides behind the sofa - he's never had a hand raised to him either.
 

carthorse

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However I read yesterday in Tik Maynard's book that it is completely wrong for riders to believe that if you let the horse get away with one detail of non compliance, you have lost dominance and it establishes a pattern.
What do other people think?

I agree with this, plus in most cases I look to have a horse working with me rather than to dominate it. If there's a way of doing something that the horse is happy with then why create a situation by changing it? As long as something is done then does it matter, within reason, how? As I see it the problem with turning everything into "my way only" is that at best you end up with a robot & at worst you end up with a horse that figures out he's bigger, faster & stronger than you with absolutely no need to do as told & possibly nasty with it. There will be times when compromise isn't practical, but at that point you should have a trusting ally who's going to play along, and if you need to put a bit of authority behind it then you can. Also the horse may have a reason for non-compliance, so it doesn't hurt to think if there's something behind a refusal or reluctance.

My welshie looks for leadership and only needs very small body language & cues. He isn't always the brightest and will get quite stressed if asked to do something he thinks he's already done, and when stressed he can start to over-react and then unless the handler is quick to read things correctly matters go downhill. Even if he gets cheeky it doesn't take much to pop him back in his box, the bigger trick is doing it without turning him into a gibbering wreck that will then strike out in defence. I don't think ever have the mind set to take non-compliance in one area to another, though by upsetting him too badly the handler probably could put him in a position where he carried on acting up because he was too stressed to act how he wants to.

My ID was a very different story. Most of the time compromise was the way to go & it was easier for everyone to stick to his patterns rather than make an issue out of something that could be done perfectly easily - did it matter to anyone if the left fore was picked out first rather than the right, if I got straight on at the mounting block rather than faffing around, if we loosened up in canter before trot? By not making an issue of it there was no fight, and he was not a horse to get into a fight with if it could possibly be avoided. IF it couldn't be then I had to go in hard and fast enough to back him straight off because if I didn't he would come back at me and he meant it, and yes I think if I'd ever lost a fight that would have given him an opening I'd never have got back. I saw him a couple of times when idiots who thought they knew better tried & he was dangerous, furthermore he thought them fair game forever after. Most horses aren't like that though, and the few that are are either in hands that can manage them or in a hole in the ground.
 
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Huggy

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I agree with this, plus in most cases I look to have a horse working with me rather than to dominate it. If there's a way of doing something that the horse is happy with then why create a situation by changing it? As long as something is done then does it matter, within reason, how? As I see it the problem with turning everything into "my way only" is that at best you end up with a robot & at worst you end up with a horse that figures out he's bigger, faster & stronger than you with absolutely no need to do as told & possibly nasty with it. There will be times when compromise isn't practical, but at that point you should have a trusting ally who's going to play along, and if you need to put a bit of authority behind it then you can. Also the horse may have a reason for non-compliance, so it doesn't hurt to think if there's something behind a refusal or reluctance.

My welshie looks for leadership and only needs very small body language & cues. He isn't always the brightest and will get quite stressed if asked to do something he thinks he's already done, and when stressed he can start to over-react and then unless the handler is quick to read things correctly matters go downhill. Even if he gets cheeky it doesn't take much to pop him back in his box, the bigger trick is doing it without turning him into a gibbering wreck that will then strike out in defence. I don't think ever have the mind set to take non-compliance in one area to another, though by upsetting him too badly the handler probably could put him in a position where he carried on acting up because he was too stressed to act how he wants to.

My ID was a very different story. Most of the time compromise was the way to go & it was easier for everyone to stick to his patterns rather than make an issue out of something that could be done perfectly easily - did it matter to anyone if the left fore was picked out first rather than the right, if I got straight on at the mounting block rather than faffing around, if we loosened up in canter before trot? By not making an issue of it there was no fight, and he was not a horse to get into a fight with if it could possibly be avoided. IF it couldn't be then I had to go in hard and fast enough to back him straight off because if I didn't he would come back at me and he meant it, and yes I think if I'd ever lost a fight that would have given him an opening I'd never have got back. I saw him a couple of times when idiots who thought they knew better tried & he was dangerous, furthermore he thought them fair game forever after. Most horses aren't like that though, and the few that are are either in hands that can manage them or in a hole in the ground.
Your ID didn't have a relative called Hogan, by any chance?
 
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Jessey

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I think there's a balance, you do have to hang on for a second longer each time to gradually eek it to a longer hold, but don't do what was done to my Bo, they wrapped a hose pipe around his fetlock and let him thrash and thrash (until he damaged his stifle) and he was then difficult with his back feet for ages when I got him.
I've found youngsters all get it without too much issue if you set them up to succeed (square up before picking a foot up) and try for a good hold but don't expect it all in 1 session. Most get the front feet before the hinds, but it comes with repetition and patience :) within a few weeks they stand like pros.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Suze found it very hard to lift hinds, took her 4 years. she used to snatch them up to give to you and then over balance and panic. As he is young he may be lifting them too high and then having a wobble. With her I concentrated on getting her to just take the foot off the ground by an inch, and keep it is low as possible so she felt more secure. I trained her to do it by standing behind her and dragging the foot towards me with a rope around her ankle till she got the idea and then just cupped it and held it but very very close to the ground. She now does it find easy now. With the delinquent donkeys, Murphy often tends to try to snatch it back, so we compromise. If he lets me do most of the foot - he ihas very deep clefts and takes ages to dig out- I put it down for him, let him rest a mo and then do it again rather than fight him. If he is just being belligerent I hang on until I put it down for him then have another go.
 
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