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MY HORSE KICKS WHEN PICKING UP HER FEET

Q/A Natural Horsemanship training Tips

© by Gordon Adair / Trainer

My horse will kick when I try to pick up her hind feet. She will practically hand me her front feet. I can brush and wash her back legs. But once she thinks I'm going to try to pick up her back foot, forget it! Because I am afraid of getting kicked she can usually pull her foot away from me. About 50% of the time the next move is a kick. My friends recommend a hard swat to her side when she does this. Although I agree with that, it seems to get her even more worked up and my picking up her foot even less likely!

By kicking out your horse is telling you to leave her alone. Why your horse dislikes you touching her back legs is unknown and does not matter, outside of easing your mind. What you need to teach your horse is not to communicate to you as rough as she does. Horses learn by association so every time she kicks, you were told to smack. The only problem is she may have associated smacking with you touching her back legs, thus causing the problem to get worse. Instead evaluate other situations where your horse is voicing her opinions at a lower level of excitement. At a lower safer excitement level you can train with more confidence. Then use the same technique in different situations so you are teaching a language instead of a situation.

Do not plan a hour just to train your horse to accept you touching her back legs. This will only make a big deal out of approaching her hind legs. This will cause your horse to resent having her legs touched even more. Instead start training your horse to accept her legs being touched in different situations and incorporating reward in the hind area with everything you do. Find the point where your horse becomes uncomfortable and make the spot your reward area. Once your horse expects to be rewarded she will look forward to you approaching her hindquarters. If you feed treats, do so after a stroke down her leg. Make one slow stroke and quit, you want to sneak it in. This will be a slow training process, take your time and associate all your reward towards her hindquarters. You want to teach your horse there is be a good association with picking up her legs.

Training programs and rates / Lesson outline / Ground training / Training tools / Gordon's articles

Hoof Studies / Club foot and uneven heels / Laminitis and founder defined / Laminitis / founder treatment

Homepage / G.A. Equine Center / About Gordon Adair / Interview

Gordon Adair is a professional natural horse trainer and riding instructor with over thirty-seven years of experience. Gordon's specialty is instructing owners with their horses, the philosophy of teaching horsemanship and communication. The ability to teach and communicate can then be used with the owners own discipline and personality. Ocala, Florida for more information

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