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Tuesday, May 14 2019

   One trait that is very important in a horse is that he ben easy for the farrier to handle, whether you intend to go with natural hoof trimming, or put shoes on him. Here in the country between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park, all our horses will need to be shod at some point because the ground here is a little harder, and in some places rockier, than many of the sandy areas where horses remain wild.

   The key think to remeber when handling a horse's feet (or in anything you do with a horse for that matter) is to remain patient. Your horse really does want to please you, so if he is acting up it's most likely because you are moving too fast for him and asking him to do things that he does not yet understand. For example, you may be lifting the horse's foot higher than he has learned to be comfortable with. Rather than get into a fight with him, things will go a lot smoother (and a lot faster really) if you take your time and teach the horse to be comfortable.

   The first step in teaching a horse to have his feet handled is simply to rub him all over his legs. You can pet his legs with your hand, starting at his shoulder where he is more used to being touched, and work your way down his legs. Any time the horse reacts with nervousness, simply backtrack by going closer to his shoulder again for a while and then try again, this time keeping in mind where exactly on his leg he was nervous about being handled and just go to almost that point, then retreat. After a few times of this, you can go back to that "touchy" area for just a few seconds, then again retreat back to his shoulder.

   You will use this method until you are all the way down to handling the horse's pastern, not only with one hand, but with both. You want your horse to be used to you handling him all over his legs, getting him used to being held or "trapped" and yet still trusting you. The trust is built over time because every time you "trap" him with your hands around his leg, you only hold it for a few seconds before you give it back and "free" him again.

   Not only will your horse have to get used to you handling him in diferrent, touchier places, but you will also need him to get used to you handling him or holding him for increasingly lengthier periods of time. This will be accomplished by your gauging his patience's time limit and releasing him a little while before he reaches it.

   With this kind of patient handling, even a wild horse will soon be safe to handle, and will be comfortable with you handling him in any way you need to.

Posted by: Klay Klemic AT 06:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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    Rising K Ranch is a Horseback Trail Ride and Riding School in Utah, located perfectly between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

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