Patrick has always loved being groomed and when I go to pick out his hooves he practically lifts his foot before I’ve even picked up the hoof pick, bottom line I’ve never had a problem. Recently however he won’t pick up his feet, when he does he tries to back up or put his foot back down. My first reaction was annoyance and after determining that he wasn’t, sore, lame or had anything stuck in his hooves I’m ashamed to say I thought he was just being naughty and misbehaving. So because it was annoying and I wanted know how to deal with the situation the next time I rode so when I got home I turned to trusted Google. After surfing around on the Internet for awhile I realised my mistake, I was thinking like a person and not like a horse.
“Understanding the problem from the horse’s viewpoint: The feet are the horse’s means of escape. When we lift a hoof and hold it up, we compromise the horse’s ability to flee. From the horse’s point of view, anything that endangers its feet also endangers its life. The horse’s eyes are out on the sides of its head, but when we bend over to pick up a hoof, we generally block the horse’s view of its own hoof. When a horse refuses to pick up its feet, it is not being “stubborn”, it is feeling insecure. Trying to force it or frighten it will make things worse, so don’t shout at it or prod it around as this will probably make it even less likely to cooperate. If there is just one hoof the horse won’t lift, it’s probably the right hind. The right hind is usually the one the horse is most insecure about.”
We put so much of our trust on our horses who as I’m constantly reminded of by my non horsey relatives are perfectly capable of killing us sometimes it’s easy to forget how much trust they put in us. Something so simple as picking hooves, we do it multiple times a day and I for one never thought about how it goes against their nature as prey animals.