Horse’s feet; when you first handle a horse’s feet

A horse who lets you handle his feet shows a good level of acceptance of people and it is a good gauge of where he is in his relationship with people. When you first handle a horse’s feet, remember all you are looking for is to be able to cue the foot off the ground. So start with your hand up high on the horse’s body and slide it down the outside of the leg (not the inside like so many people are taught) until the foot comes off the ground. When it does, don’t try and hold on to it, simply allow the horse to put it down again, and repeat on the next leg and so on. Repeat this a few times on each leg until the horse is happy for you to go to each foot and cue it off the ground.
At first a young horse may snatch the foot away and that’s fine. Resist the urge to grab it, and instead repeat the process. After a few exposures, the horse should be relaxed and hold is foot in the air for you. Once he realises you mean hinm no harm, he’ll let you hold on to it and eventually position it to work on it. Take your time with this and make it easy on him.
Top tip
Make sure that you are calm yourself before you start. Horses are very good at picking up on tension, so if you’re not relaxed, wait until you are, or leave it to the experts.

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