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Pick up his Feet

Teach your horse to pick up and hold his own feet.


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Teach your horse to pick up and hold his own feet: How do you pick up your horse’s feet?  Do you pinch the tendon at the fetlock to get him to wince just enough for you to grab his foot and pull it up?  And then do you have to stand there, bent over, holding up that foot?  Wouldn’t it be nice if your horse picked up his own foot and handed it to you, and then held it up himself? Stand at your horse’s shoulder, facing the hindquarters, and lean down as though you’re going to pick up your horse’s foot. Put your hand on the chestnut, then snap your fingers (or whistle or whatever signal you’d like to teach your horse) and lightly grasp the chestnut.  Continue holding the chestnut, even getting a pretty good grip on it, until your horse makes the slightest try at picking up that foot.  The instant he tries, let go.  Repeat the process. The better your timing gets at the release, the sooner your horse will understand what you want. 

After several times of accepting the slightest try, begin to ask for more effort, always starting from the beginning. If he puts weight into the leg, let the foot go and start the whole process again.  You could spend the whole 10 minutes on one foot each day and by the end of the week, your horse will pick up his feet at the snap of a finger!

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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

6/28/2014 11:50:55 PM

I just touch my horse's fetlock and say, "Pick up your foot," and he does. He even picks up the next foot in anticipation but I still have to hold it. I can't imagine a horse holding the hoof up all by himself. That would get really tiring for him.

Al    Sydney, NS

2/25/2014 6:02:42 PM

What is the chestnut?

Mary    Douglasville, GA

5/11/2013 10:38:20 PM

The article and comments were helpful. I bought this 8 yr old paint TWH. When I first got him he would pick up his feet, pretty well, but now he refuses and stomps it back doe hard like he wants to paw me. He is a very nervous horse and had issues with taking the halter on and off. I think he must have been beaten at one time . I keep trying to pick his feet up hoping he will give in, but he quickly slams them down. My husband is afraid he will strike me. He knows what to do, he just refuses.

Andrea    new holland, PA

1/23/2013 7:08:59 AM

when i come around to sweet peas hooves she just lifts them up-just the fronts but its pretty cool. i bet this would really work!! i'm going to try all these tips. thanks pat.

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