Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/getting a horse used to picking up and cleaning it's feet.
QUESTION: I have a 12 yr old green broke horse that I groom, but she will not accept a halter. If I go near her with one, she runs. What can I do to get her over this problem ? Also she will not let me clean her feet. The owner never bothered with either problem.
ANSWER: Hi Lois,
The first thing to do s to make sure she is in a smaller pen where she can move away from you but can not run off. Start by handling her head, neck and ears. Make her completely comfortable with that. Reward her for allowing you to do these things. When she is completely comfortable with that, you can repeat those steps but have the halter in hand. If she pulls back, stop, talk to her and give her a minute then start again. Start by asking the horse to drop her head, you can do this by putting pressure on her poll. Put the halter over her nose and remove it. Keep doing it until she does not shy away from you. When that happens, you can move to the next step which is to pull the halter over her ears. Do not latch it, again keep doing it until she readily accepts it. You can then halter her all the way.
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QUESTION: The same horse will not let me pick up her feet to clean them. I tried a few days ago and managed to clean 1 of her feet.The owner said she never bothered cleaning her feet.
Before you can work on her feet, you need to get the haltering down pat. You want her to trust you. When it is time, spend time rubbing her legs with a cloth and a brush. Keep moving lower as she becomes more accepting. When you are able to rub her legs without her pulling back, then lift the foot, hold it for a few seconds and put it back down. Every time you do it extend the time. Eventually you will be able to use the hoof pick.