People often ask me what they can do to help their horses who have been abused or charroed. I find that consistency and performing tasks the same way every single time helps the horses feel more secure.
Consistency is imperative when you are working with any horse, however. I review some of the ways in this video how I help horses to feel more secure when I pick up their feet.
Issues with picking up feet:
Reason #1: Horses need time to adjust their weight.
Reason #2: Horses don’t like their feet “dropped” after their feet are picked out.
Reason #3: Horses have arthritis or other issues that make it difficult for them to pick up their feet.
Picking Up Feet- What to Do:
Solution #1: Pick up the feet in the same order every single time.
What does this do? This helps the horse know which foot is going to be next when being picked up, allowing him to adjust his weight so he can move his weight off of the hoof that you want picked up.
At Hanaeleh, we pick up the hooves in the following order: left front, left back, right front, right back. Honestly, however, it doesn’t matter what your pattern is, as long as you’re consistent. Some people will pick up their hooves in the same way as their farrier, although I’ve noticed that not all farriers are consistent in their pattern of trimming hooves.
Solution #2: Tap the hoof twice when you are finished picking out the hoof.
What does this do? This helps notify the horse that you are “done” with the hoof, and are going to release it in a few seconds. The horse has warning that you are going to let the hoof go, and the hoof won’t drop to the ground, throwing him off-balance.
Solution #3: Gently bring the hind hoof back, and allow the hoof to be low to the ground.
What does this do? This helps arthritic horses gently adjust their legs and hocks so they are not in pain. Some horses will just cock their hoof and rest it on the ground, which is fine as well for horses who have severe arthritis.