The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time to Trim

With shaley ground and a long drought, you can get away with avoiding your trimming duties for a while. But eventually, the hoofs cry out for attention.

Today, George was conveniently out with my daughter and a friend, so I tied Bridget up to the fence inside the pasture with a pile of hay in front of her.

I tied her up as a sort of signal that we were taking care of business rather than recreating. Because I don't generally insist on things with Bridget, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. If she wasn't going to give me her feet, I wasn't going to make her. But she was very helpful and picked each foot up with alacrity when asked. I couldn't hold on for all that long, but I kept circulating from one foot to the other and got quite a lot accomplished. I keep my ex-rasp to use on dirty feet - that way I don't have to spend ages cleaning the foot if I'm trying to act fast, and I don't worry about ruining my new rasp.  I finally unclipped her from the fence and finished up at liberty.

Chloe wandered up, and I asked her if I could do her hind feet, as they are starting to get way too long. The last couple of times I've tried to trim her she was tied up in the barn in Mississippi, and she was very uncomfortable/unwilling. Today I just went up to her in the field with the rasp, and she was perfectly lovely and let me do her hind feet.

The way I was trained to do feet involves measuring, marking, exfoliating, nippering, rasping - all in a very  systematic way. You can only really do this if you have a horse who stands nice and still with its foot in the hoof stand. The way I'm trimming our horses - "borrowing" a foot for a few moments at a time - makes it difficult to stick rigidly to the method. I just have to keep to a few basic principles and try to make some quick improvements.  I think eventually George, Bridget, and Rose will become more placid about standing for longer periods of time for trimming. Meanwhile, I'm doing the best I can.


  1. Your way sounds good! I am having trouble with Olgas feet, she does not like to give me her feet and if she does, she won't even let me finish cleaning before she takes it away. I am pretty sure I've accomplished to teach that to her by giving a piece of carrot immediately after she puts her feet down after cleaning. So now I will probably have to ask someone to help me by giving her tiny slices of carrot all the time her leg is up and stop giving them when the leg goes down. Or maybe I will have to stop using carrots because she is quite manic in earning them, I'd rather she'd take a nap or something while I trim her feet...

  2. With the baby minis I trimmed recently, I had their owner scratch them as long as the foot was up, and then stop scratching as soon as the foot was down. Maybe you could get someone to do that for you.

    Also, when you feel her starting to take her foot away, hold on to it for a little moment, and then put the foot down slowly, with you controlling the speed at which it's placed. That way, she knows she can still ask to put her foot down, but she learns not to snatch.

  3. It is interesting. I find with Ben, that while previously he was easy to manage, quick pick out of dirt from shoes, now I spend longer and he is less patient. What is fascinating is that when I centre myself, visualise him lifting his hoof, he usually does so at the lightest touch.

  4. Yes, isn't it amazing how they know you want their foot, and all you have to do is ask - sometimes even just by pointing!