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Horse Leaning on Me When I Clean his Feet


What is the best way to correct a horse that leans on me while picking his feet? I have a 4 year old Spotted Saddle horse. I pick up his front feet and he does fine, I go to the rear feet and he leans in on me, this makes it very difficult due to his weight. I push back in on him and tell him to quit but I have never had this experience before and don't know how to correct this can you please help me?

Thanks for any suggestion you can offer. Sherrie

Hi Sherrie,

This is not uncommon. Lots of horses look to lean on someone when holding up a hind foot. Ferriers hate that and I don't blame them. To get a horse used to keep his foot up on his own, try holding something like a dressage whip (not to hit the horse with). Ask the horse to pick up a hind foot by tapping the lower leg with the wand. As soon as the foot comes up remove wand and give praise. Don't grab the foot. What you want is to extend the time the horse keeps his foot up on his own gradually. They will not want to hold it up for too long naturally without having it be held there. This is to be expected. Merely reward the horse for trying to keep his foot up on his own just a bit. Next thing is to ask for a foot. Then when he gives it, you hold it for a few moments and let it down. Don't hang on for too long. So, can you see how step by step the horse will learn that if he doesn't lean on you, you will let the foot down a bit sooner. That is the reward. Also, when he first picks the foot up do not cup it in your hand. Rather take several fingers and just reach from the front of the hoof to just under the toe and hold it lightly like that. The horse cannot lean on you when you hold the foot like this and it will help him to balance without leaning. It takes a lot less effort on your part to hold the hoof by the toe as well. Once he gets good at standing with you holding his toe, then move your hand around to allow you to clean the hoof. Do you understand all this? Let me know and good luck...I have a DVD about handing a horse's feet who has issue with the process. Check out my shopping corral within the website.

Sincerely, Franklin

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