Yearling and farrier issues

GreyDot

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 December 2019
Messages
48
My ISH yearling (18 months old now) just behaved atrociously with the farrier! To the point where we had to call it quits for the day out of fear of the yearling hurting himself, or the farrier (and he's a good one, I would hate to be responsible!)

I have had the yearling for about 3 months and he has been seen twice before today. First time was difficult and we had to do it in the stable, with him against the wall as he had problems balancing, but once he was securely being held by the farrier, he stayed still and successfully had his hooves trimmed (and they needed it!).

Second time was outside the stable and although he was fidgety and a bit leapy to start with, he soon settled down and everything was fine.

I only outline this to show he hasn't had a bad experience with my farrier.

Today was a different story. He's been a bit bolshy lately with me (impatient) and although I pick his hooves out every day, he's not been as well behaved as normal and has been quite quick to snatch back (so I persevere and we get there, but there's been a definite change in behaviour). When the farrier tried, he was very, very bolshy and tried to run through him, then when he did get his front leg up, he just put all his weight on the farrier and reared up. This went on and on, every time he was approached, he either tried to spin or just went up. No kicking out, but super strong and totally testing his boundaries.

My farrier did try to continue but it was just getting to the point that the horse was either going to go over, hurt himself or me or the farrier or twist his leg when the farrier was trying his hardest to hold on.

Am a bit at a loss as to what to do next. Farrier is not keen at all on sedation and has asked me to really work on picking up his hooves and tapping them and holding them as a farrier would (i.e. between the knees) in advance of our next meeting. It has just been such a sudden escalation of behaviour. Nothing compared to how he behaves with me, I know I said he had been impatient with me, but I can still manage to have him tied up and do all 4 feet, but today he was having none of it.

My farrier is a really calm guy as well and tried all his tricks of the trade today, but yearling was having none of it.

Is it just a thing that will take time? Any tips and advice really appreciated!!! Today seemed a little dangerous, to be fair.
 

eggs

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 February 2009
Messages
4,765
I've had a few foals over the years and haven't had behaviour as dramatic as you but even though they had had their feet picked up regularly as foals and saw the farrier every six weeks they would still often either try to fall onto their knees or leap through the person holding the leg up - I think it is largely down to a balance issue.

I would always have someone hold the foal/yearling as that does give the person handling their legs less to worry about. The trick is not to let go of the leg even when they try snatching it until they stand quietly and then you can put the let down, give them a pat and pick it up again. Some people might not agree but I found it helpful if the person holding them kept them a little distracted by occasionally giving them a nut or the rope to have a chew on. I don't remember my farrier holding their leg between their knees to trim them though when they were young and they never lifted them that high.

You will need to practice every day until it becomes easy for your yearling.
 

Gloi

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 May 2012
Messages
6,769
If you can't hang on to the leg when he starts messing about you don't want him to learn he can snatch it away from you.
Start off again by picking a foot up and putting it down again BEFORE he begins to resist, even if it only a second at first. Slowly build up the time and repeat and repeat so it is no big deal. It may take a while but you will get there.

My pony would thrash around when I got him and I trimmed them myself as I didn't want the farrier to have to deal with him behaving like that so I worked with him a lot. I now just have to stand by him and say 'foot' and he lifts it for me and the first time the farrier did him he behaved perfectly and I was really proud of him.
 

daydreamer

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 January 2006
Messages
952
Location
Colchester, Essex
I would also be interested to know how often he goes to the area where he has his feet done. Is he used to just being held and waiting without food? Is he used to people other than you touching him? If he normally lives out 24/7 and then you bring him in to an unfamiliar place, and then make him wait without food and then have someone else touching him and then make him pick his feet up and hold them up - which he isn't great at at the best of times then it is probably overloading him. Obviously this might not be the case! Try and think about each step in the process and make sure he is happy and relaxed with each one as well as working on the holding the feet up part.
 

Caol Ila

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2012
Messages
4,624
Location
Glasgow
With my 3-year old PRE, once we achieved picking up her foot and letting me hold it without panicking, I started pretending to be the farrier. Every day that we handle the horses, I hold the foot, rasp it and bang it with the hoofpick, put it on a stand. It got her used to the idea of weird things happening with her feet and standing on three legs for a while.

I bought the horse in March, basically unhandled. First trim was messy. Farrier managed a quick job on the fronts but could not get near the hinds. Second trim eight or so weeks later required a whole tube of Domosedan, because the hinds desperately needed work. You do what you gotta do. She had a long gap between that and third trim because we had bigger problems, like her having a foal. Once we got her accepting catching and handling again, I started the routine stated above. Third trim did not require Domosedan, but we had to hang onto her for dear life and she sent me flying at one point. Better me than the farrier. But she'd definitely improved, so I kept up our little feet routine. Fourth trim was a significant improvement. We still kept a firm hold of her head, but she was almost civilized about letting the farrier do his thing. No panicking or trying to leap away.
 

GreyDot

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 December 2019
Messages
48
I would also be interested to know how often he goes to the area where he has his feet done. Is he used to just being held and waiting without food? Is he used to people other than you touching him? If he normally lives out 24/7 and then you bring him in to an unfamiliar place, and then make him wait without food and then have someone else touching him and then make him pick his feet up and hold them up - which he isn't great at at the best of times then it is probably overloading him. Obviously this might not be the case! Try and think about each step in the process and make sure he is happy and relaxed with each one as well as working on the holding the feet up part.
Good points! Yes, I am the only one handling him. He comes in briefly but every day for a good check over and for me to do his feet and for him to have a feed now that we are on the edge of changing fields, so grazing is not really sufficient. Sometimes he is in for a nap if he's been hanging by the gate. He does love his snoozes in the stable and is perfectly happy in there.
Today I brought him in an hour before the farrier came and he had a feed and was happily munching on a net - I had already picked his feet out prior to the farrier arriving.

He's recently had the vet out for vaccinations (a couple of weeks ago now) and he was not happy at all with them.

Perhaps it is a stranger-danger reaction and I need to get him introduced to a few other people? It's just as he is just 18 months, I was happy with just light handling and have him out with his pals in the field rather than doing a lot of people interactions. He's great with me overall and will come to a call in the field etc. but I guess today has made me realise we may need to do a little more one-on-one and not just with me, to get him used to others interacting with him.

Also worth mentioning, he's pushing 15.2 now, so even though he's a baby, he has some height (certainly when he's on two legs)
 

paddy555

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 December 2010
Messages
7,935
Am a bit at a loss as to what to do next. Farrier is not keen at all on sedation and has asked me to really work on picking up his hooves and tapping them and holding them as a farrier would (i.e. between the knees) in advance of our next meeting. It has just been such a sudden escalation of behaviour. Nothing compared to how he behaves with me, I know I said he had been impatient with me, but I can still manage to have him tied up and do all 4 feet, but today he was having none of it.
I would stop holding them between the knees. That is hard for a young horse. He is being held firmly so is stressed either our of fear or outrage. It also makes it difficult for him to balance especially if the leg is pulled sideways. Nothing to do with stranger danger just insecurity and or giving him the opportunity to object.

If I had your problem I would get a female barefoot trimmer out to do them. Female because he has just learnt to fight a man. Many also do horse training so will have experience with young horses. I trim my own horses and have had lots of youngsters and never had a problem. I keep the feet low, as low a possible to make it easier for the horse and keep it straight not pulled out sideways. I also teach the horse to put his foot in the cradle and just stand and rest.
A barefoot trimmer should have a cradle on their stand .A farrier who deals with barefoot horses may also have. That means the foot rests in the cradle and the horse is completely balanced. . No one is restraining his foot so he has nothing to fight.
 

Equi

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 October 2010
Messages
11,965
Location
Mini land
I’m not a fan of holding on until they give in cause frankly the horse will physically win and youll just get a back ache. It’s much more mentally draining but with mine I would just lift it 600 times, every time it gets stamped or put down it comes straight back up. When they let you have it for 5 seconds that’s the session done. Eventually add in a voice que for lift so they don’t just see it as you snatching their leg with no communication. I have had to do this method in reverse now for my boy who is very happy to snatch his feet up for you which is nice not having to force them up, but a pain when I’m trying to clip or hoof polish lol he has learned very quickly now along with voice cue lift or down.
 

JJS

Well-Known Member
Joined
10 September 2013
Messages
1,943
It’s usually a balance issue at that age. Give him something to lean against when the farrier is around (either a stable wall or fence). Also, practise keeping his feet up for longer when it’s just you and him so he can learn how to coordinate himself when he’s on three legs.

Rightly or wrongly, I used to treat Flower too when she was having her feet done. She soon learned to love her pedicures and is an absolute dream for the farrier now, but she did go through a tricky period as a youngster. I think a lot of them do!
 

Lyle

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 October 2010
Messages
890
The youngsters can be like that... they are 'ok' for one or two goes then realise it's actually not a lot of fun to stand with a leg up at weird angles. If they are being snatchy when you are simply picking them up, there's no way they are going to stand for the farrier. I;d make sure there are no holes in the ground work- they should be respectful when being led (not pushing through you) stand patiently, stand relaxed when you rub their legs up and down. There's lots of great horsemanship/groundwork stuff on the internet/youtube that can be used as a guide to teaching horses to be great at handling legs. Practice, every day. You could start at the beginning, before you even pick up a leg, as a problem can have taken root further down the foundations (i.e if they are being bolshy/rude/anxious, he's not going to suddenly be totally fine with standing on three legs)
 

SEL

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 February 2016
Messages
7,287
Location
Buckinghamshire
I bribe my difficult one and now she associates the farrier with a likit - it's the only time she gets it. I warned him when he first came that she struggled to bring her back legs forward but with a v low stand and sugar it's all done quickly and safely.
 

Polos Mum

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 September 2012
Messages
5,341
Location
West Yorkshire
I think when you / we pick their feet out we do it pretty quickly and in a routine so we think they are better than they are.
Farrier will want up down up down and held for longer than they are used to and with weird vibrations from rasp. All of which can be practiced.

I have 4 that are 5 or under - the yearling had lots of training as a foal so will stand for a scratch (constant scratching so I get grim greasy fingers) the 3 y/o has a lickit (as above absolutely only time he has it) and acts like he's sedated, the 5 y/o from Ireland is terrified often I do them and trimmer checks them or I pick up his foot and hand it to trimmer (if the trimmer approached him to pick up the pony is off !) the one I've had the longest and only one ridden is (embarrassingly) the snatchiest - bit of a stroppy teenage phase but for him we do hang on.

I also found that one is sensitive to thrush and is much more snatchy when there's a slight wiff to his feet so I am extra careful to use paste very regularly when the weather requires it.

It is a bit of trial and error to find what works for yours and practice doing farrier type stuff - if your concerned about your farrier buy a rasp and under his supervision have a bit of a go yourself
 

I'm Dun

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 May 2021
Messages
486
My trimmer used to bring a non mollased lick. It works. They obviosuly want to lick it which focuses them on something else, and licking itself relaxes them, and then they look forward to their feet being done. I'm very strict with feed and dont allow anything like that, so it made it an even bigger treat. My youngster used to go into an almost blissful state!
 

milliepops

Wears headscarf aggressively
Joined
26 July 2008
Messages
24,916
I bribe mine with scratches only ;) probably cause a marital breakdown if I treated the tiddlers while they were meant to be concentrating for OH but then I have the luxury of being able to get their feet done as & when and the homebred one is generally brilliant now.

i think the point about needing more patience for a farrier visit than for daily hoof care is a good one, and definitely something that is easy to practice regularly.
 

TPO

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 November 2008
Messages
6,788
Location
A ray of sunshine 🌞
Possibly going through a growing stage and a bit sore in places. Might not be a bad shout to get a physio, or similar, to have a look over.

Pretty hard to train a horse that's in pain or uncomfortable without creating bad associations.

ETA and/or warm the horses muscles up a bit and do some gentle stretching prior to the farrier visits. Agree with the farrier to give thr horse lots of breaks rather than aim to do a hoof in one go.
 

GreyDot

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 December 2019
Messages
48
Thank you everyone! This has been so reassuring to read and lot to think about. I think I have just been a little too hands off with him under the guise of just letting him be a youngster and not fiddling about with him too much till next year, but on closer inspection, I can't exactly expect him to deal with interactions with other humans maturely, when I am not making sure he's as foot perfect (no pun intended) as he can be with me.
A lot more consistent groundwork needed from my part I think.

Interesting post earlier re. soreness - he is exceptionally bum high again all of a sudden, so is going through another growth spurt and has also been wanting to snooze in his stable more the last couple of weeks. So probably this is all coinciding at a difficult time for the little man.
 

hock

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 November 2018
Messages
124
I’ve had 7 in the last 12 months to get farrier proofed so I feel your pain, and it’s so stressful worrying they’re going to lame the farrier. I don’t pick their feet out everyday but I am the “dominant mare” in the herd.
It took me too long to work out a horse needs to find their own balance to be able to lift their feet. I knew this in theory but in practise it was like fog lifting. I will push them about on their shoulder or bum to make sure they know to take the weight off and then let them think and then pick up the foot.
They are trimmed in the field now every 5 weeks. I think the most important thing is that they are properly halter broken. They are really good with leading and backing up and standing and are respectful.

I do have a mare that’s a flipping nightmare (if you can catch her)so she has treats. She stands like a rock if she has treats so why make her miserable and potentially have an issue if that works?
 

tristar

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 August 2010
Messages
4,944
the autumn grass is making one of ours is er.... balistic in the field and in hand is coming through as bolshy

could be he will be more settled in the winter or as the grass goes off

persistance is the key, i find picking up the hooves and keeping them low to the ground and keeping the leg towards the horse is less unbalancing,

i must say though i believe in not letting them get the better so that involves lots of thought and small victories
 

Sprig

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 June 2012
Messages
1,507
Mine arrived as a scaredy pony. She was especially worried about other people, even once we were at the point that I could do anything with her. I would really recommend inviting as many people as possible to come and interact with him. I have used friends, neighbours, the vet when he was visiting my other horse and also random horsey people I have met out and about. I started really slowly and just had my visitors chatting to me while I dealt with my youngster, then progressed to them touching her/giving her a treat. She has come on in leaps and bounds. I think if they are genuinely worried then you make faster progress by going slowly, building their confidence and not pushing them too far out of their comfort zone. I would say also be confident to ask your farrier to help with this. We agreed that mine would not try and hang on to a snatched leg, he would let it go, pick it up again and reward by putting it straight back down again. V quickly she was confident to let him keep it held up but it was her decision and she wasn't being forced. I always have in the back of my mind that the horse is not being naughty, it is frightened and everything we do is a stepping stone to having a confident horse in the future that trusts you.
 
Joined
29 October 2020
Messages
3
1 had a whw pony who was very nervous of even being brushed and having his feet picked out my me
(even after two years!)
The last time the farrier came I used a bit of sedation and a lickit and that worked a treat
He had been very bargy and would swing round with little notice , though he never threatened to kick , thank goodness
 

Birker2020

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2021
Messages
1,616
My trimmer used to bring a non mollased lick. It works. They obviosuly want to lick it which focuses them on something else, and licking itself relaxes them, and then they look forward to their feet being done. I'm very strict with feed and dont allow anything like that, so it made it an even bigger treat. My youngster used to go into an almost blissful state!
My friend did that with her youngster who proved to be problematic at times.

But she later found out he had collateral ligament damage inside the foot and it was hurting his foot when his leg was stretched forward.
 
Top