For the last week I have been working intensely with Feather on her hind hooves. She knows how to kick, but she did not act like she knew anything about having any of her hooves picked up for cleaning. None of them. It took me eight days of working with her twice a day to get her to accept her front hooves being held and cleaned out. She wanted to pick up her front hooves, and either paddle the air, or take a step. She doesn’t do that anymore.
Her back end has been harder. I can pet her back legs all over. But picking them up, holding them, cleaning her hooves out – no way. Wasn’t happening. All she wanted to do after picking a back leg up was to tuck it in, and try to jerk it away, or lean towards me – which really isn’t good! over and over and over again. So I started using a rope loosely around the pasterns. I would tug on it until she picked it up. Then release, and praise her. All the while I had her lead rope draped over a round pen post. She was not tied.
Yesterday was pretty bad. While she stood as if she was tied, she kept kicking out – worse on her left then her right. Before I ended yesterday’s lesson. I used the rope to pick up a hoof – then did my best to hold it UNTIL she stopped kicking out. Then and only then did I release her hoof and praise her.I did that several times.
Today – the 9th of Feb. I again did the same thing. Cleaned her front hooves and used the rope to get her to become more receptive to picking up and holding her back legs up. She was kicking less, not resisting as much when I picked them up and held them up for longer periods – and by longer periods that means 10-15 seconds.
If she kicked out, I held onto the rope, and kept her leg up until she stopped struggling – then I released her leg and praised her. there was a big improvement made today. She is getting it. While she is worse on her left then on her right – I was able to pick up her right hind ‘briefly’ with my hands and used the hoof pick on it, and her left hind she allowed me to pick it up with my hands without kicking out.
She does know how to tie. I had doubts, but today I tied her for 10 minutes and she was PERFECT.
And to make the day even better – I removed her halter in order to see if she would let me catch her again. The first go around she was like no way. I worked her freely in a circle until she started chewing and stopped. I rubbed the halter on both sides, scratched her head with it and tried again. She let me halter her. Yay! Wanting to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I made her move off again and was able to halter and un-halter her successfully 3 more times.
I am sure she feels better having the halter off.