July 16, 2015

July 7, 2015 -- Playing Footsie

This is going to be two updates in one, since I didn't get a chance to write on July first. Both days were working on the same thing, so it fits together....

The lesson mirrored some advice I read on the forum recently. It had to do with picking up feet on an un-handled youngster. And what was suggested is exactly what we did... foot up... foot down... foot up... foot up... foot down... rinse and repeat until the horse seems bored, adding a few seconds of foot up time every now and then when pony seems chill with the time. As I think I mentioned, Gossip wasn't great for the farrier last time she was out, so it needed to be worked on. I'm teaching her a pre-cue, which is something I did with Squeaker as well. Before I go to pick up a foot, I tap the outside of that knee/hock as a warning as I'm running my hand down the leg. It lets them know to get their weight and balance in order before I ask for the foot, and Squeaker learned it well enough that the tap was enough... she'd pick the foot up for me. Of course Gossip isn't at that level yet.

We've gone from Gossip being very worried and trying to yank her foot away the instant it lifted an inch above the ground, to me being able to pick out her front feet properly and lift her hinds for a few moments. She is more worried about me handling her hinds, so I'm going a bit slower with them. Of course she's getting lots of praise, and I'm making sure to set down the foot before she starts to really worry. She's learning.

Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned before that she somehow managed to cut herself on her right foreleg, a vertical slice (not deep) on the inside of her cannon bone. Happy to say that it's almost healed and looking good. No sign of infection or anything like that, and she was never lame on it. She's actually a bit nicked up all over since she and one of the older mares have been jockeying for position in the herd. Nothing serious, but I'm still hoping that they get their stuff sorted out soon!

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