Picking up your Horse’s Feet, Part 1

Some of our horses have issues about picking up their feet. And even if they do pick them up, it is grudgingly and they kinda lean on you, just to make it that much harder…. There is a simple way to fix this. Read on.

First off, we should always understand why our horse is doing what he is. This helps us deal with the problem, the whole problem, not just the symptom. Your horse may feel off balance when he is standing on only 3 legs, which may be why he won’t co-operate. He also may feel more vulnerable, as, without all four feet on the ground, he is not able to either kick or run.

Work at it slowly. Start with your hand on his withers and slide it down to his forearm. At this point, either give a verbal command such as ‘foot’ or tap twice on his leg. This becomes your signal. Pause for a second and continue down the leg to the cannon bone. Wiggle your thumb gently at first in the groove of the cannon bone, increasing your pressure if he doesn’t respond. As soon as he shifts his weight onto his other three legs, stop wiggling! If you keep at it and do this again and again, he will become more comfortable with picking up his foot, and even offer it to you as soon as you give him the signal you agreed upon.

If wiggling your thumb has no effect no matter how hard you tickle,  run your hand further down to just below the fetlock bone and pinch there. Every horse I have met cannot ignore that! Again, release as soon as you get any kind of response that you are looking for – this is called ‘basic attempt training’. All you want is a try. He will be more willing to pick up his foot a bit faster the next time if you allow him time to develop his balance and muscles.



7 thoughts on “Picking up your Horse’s Feet, Part 1

    • Hi,
      I’m sorry about that. I’m pretty sure there is not much I can do about the problem, but I will try to deal with it. Maybe the fact that it was created in Safari has something to do with it? Thanks for the warning, though. It is nice to know that someone is reading my site!
      the horsegentler

  1. You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I to find this matter
    to be really one thing that I feel I’d by no means understand.

    It sort of feels too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking ahead for your subsequent post, I will try to get the grasp of it!

    • If you have any problems with getting your horse to co-operate, please let me know on the Contact Us page. I might be able to give you some more pointers with your specific situation in mind. Thanks for posting your thoughts!
      the horsegenlter

  2. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for information approximately this subject
    for a while and yours is the best I have discovered till now.
    But, what about the bottom line? Are you positive concerning
    the source?

    • Hello,
      It is great to hear that you have found what you are looking for! I am not entirely sure what you are asking. I have trained my pony to pick up her feet nicely with this technique, and she still needs a reminder every now and then, but this method has worked well for me. Just remember that every horse is different, and this exact approach may not work. If you have any more questions, please reply to this and I’ll get back to you.
      Good luck!
      The Horsegentler

  3. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear
    to know so much about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something.
    I think that you simply could do with some % to force the
    message house a bit, but other than that, this is great blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

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