This month of The Salt Block the focus is how to handle our horses feet getting them prepared for a visit with the farrier. I believe it is our responsibility to develop our horse’s confidence and responsiveness when handling their feet, ensuring a safe experience for both our horses and our farriers.
Pat often riddles~
“He is wild and wooly and full of fleas, he has never been curried below the knees.”
The truth within this statement is often the reason for our hoof handling challenges. The portion of leg below the knee of the horse houses vulnerable tendons and ligaments, which, if harmed, are the difference between life and death.
This is why so many horses get nervous or fearful when we try to control their legs. In kind, the horses use their legs to run away from predators in the wild. When developing our horses it is paramount that we remember the nature of the horse as a prey animal. With this lens intact we can think like a horse (one of our four responsibilities as a partner) and nurture the horse in a way that builds their confidence and trust.
Remember, if we give the horse what he needs he will give us what we want.
Whether your horse is unconfident about having his feet handled, or dominant and naughty saying “your not the boss of me” I hope you find some licks of inspiration in this month’s Salt Block.
As often happens, I realize that there is so much more information that I could have included! However, this is a good place to start. If you have any questions, or need more help on this topic do not hesitate to contact me!
Loved this! My horse will give me his feet but will pull away after a few seconds, especially the back feet. Then the next time he won’t pull away. How do I get him to drop his foot only when I ask? Thanks so much!
Thank you so much for your comment! The biggest thing to remember is that with horses "pressure motivates and release teaches" Therefor, if he gets relief from pulling away from you then you are inadvertently teaching him to pull away. I know this is tricky and empathize with the battle between staying in YOUR comfort zone and not reinforcing bad behavior. Challenge yourself to hold the foot up just a second longer each time and stay as committed as possible to not release when he is pulling on you. This challenge will really test your feel and ability to approach your horse’s threshold without pushing him over it.
Best of luck!
Thank you for your response, I will start working today on your suggestion. Could you please do a video on how to get your horse to stand so still. In everyone of your videos your horses are standing quietly while you tack up, pick up feet…How did you achieve this? Love your videos!!
Really nice Micaela. I’m forwarding this to one of my students. 🙂