The Safe and Smart Way to Pick Up Your Horse’s Back Feet
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The Safe and Smart Way to Pick Up Your Horse’s Back Feet

August 29, 2019


Hi, I’m Danvers. I’m the Hoof Health Consultant
for SmartPak, and today we’re going to talk briefly about safely picking up a horse’s
feet and how to do that in a way that makes them more comfortable and more willing to
be cooperative. As a general rule, horses will give you their
hind feet more willingly. They don’t feel as threatened by losing a base of support.
Again, they’re used to supporting more on the forehand. So, they’re a rear-wheel drive
vehicle, so you’re taking away a little bit of their ability to run. But, we’ll go ahead and pick this up. I have
a different way of approaching this. All of the textbooks, all of the materials that I
am familiar with tell you to start here and run this hand down the leg. Or to start here and run this hand down the
leg. With a horse like this that is kind and considerate
and cooperative, that’s fine and I’ll do that all day long. If I don’t trust a horse, I don’t want to
do that. It exposes everything that is near and dear to me to danger. It puts my face right in his line of fire.
Puts my chest and heart there. Puts my wonderful, fat belly there. Puts my groin and crotch
there. And my knees don’t bend the proper direction. So what I do when I’m not…I’m
not sure that everyone is comfortable with this, but it certainly makes me more comfortable…is
I turn my back to the barrel of the horse. If he were to cow-kick now, my knee would
bend the way that God intended for it to, he would catch me in my fat butt, and I would
go away from him in a much more natural manner than I would if I were being thrown backwards. In effect, if he kicked me now, I would be
thrown into my travel not away from it. It does expose my kidney a little bit, but not
anywhere near all of the opportunities that I have going the other direction. It does require me to make one extra turn.
So, when I come down and…I think it’s very important that you start here and you never
just grab down here and startle that horse, but you let him know it’s coming. You work
all the way down, you pick this up, and then, I’m going to have to make an additional turn
where I step under. And at that point, I get the toe. This is critically important to get
the toe. Then, I put my other arm here, bring it up, and I’ve got it in my lap. Notice that
I have my arm over the hock and my hand at the toe, so I can actually push down here,
pull up here and gain some element of control if this horse wants to kick or fight. And again, I’ve created a bench to work from
and I can go to work on this horse in a fairly comfortable position.

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  1. Hi there,
    I am currently working on breaking a mare. She is now comfortable with everything (carrying weight, tack, front feet picked up) What's the best way to introduce her to having her back feet picked up for the first time?

  2. Hello, l have a question.
    When l am trying to pick out my horses feet (especially her front feet)
    I have trouble lifting her feet up and when l am trying to pick her feet out
    She slams her feet down
    How can l fix this?
    Because l am trying to get the mud and stones all out and getting her feet all clean.
    And she's not letting me how can l fix this?
    She's not trying to hurt me she's just slamming her feet down
    She has two front shoes might that be why?
    She also had a old injury what l figured out she has a crack in her hoof and the hoof is coming off
    Could it be she has trouble with this?
    Do you maybe know what to do?
    She's a beautiful 3 year old bay mare
    Thanks very much
    Very beautiful video too!

  3. I have an American blazer mare and she will not let me lift her hooves so i am looking for advice on getting her to lift because she stays there once you get them up

  4. Ok thanks for sharing this my question is how about a young pony and I also am a movie too just trying to help someone else who I don't think knows exactly what she is doing ? X

  5. I’m only 13 and the horse I have to do the back feet of is a cob will I be able to pick the foot up like that and she has feathers so it’s hard to see I work at the stables and Minnie is the only horse that kicks when you pick her back hooves
    On of the horses freckles picks it up for you I got the hoof pick out of the bag and she just picked her foot up without me asking

  6. My horse will spin his butt away from me and pull his hoof away., I don’t think I could hold his hoof when he does this, and even if I could, I’d be worried about an accident and injury to one of this when he tried to spin. Any advice? Oh – spinning his butt away is his typical action when he’s afraid of or doesn’t like what you’re trying to do beside him.

  7. I find that if I tuck the hock under my armpit like that, I quite often can't reach the hoof to work on it. It's a bugger when working on a horse that pulls away. I'm a farrier…5'2".

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