Thursday, July 28, 2011

Possible Foot Problems on Jared's Roping Horse

I received the following question from a reader in Kentucky . ”My roping horse is getting much worse when handling his hooves. My farrier gets mad when the horse pulls his hoof away. Is this something that should happens when horses pull their hooves away like where I can discipline my horse? How should I do that? Thanks. Jared.

Jared, You and your farrier need to be on the same page when he is underneath a horse and that horse acts up and needs to be corrected. Nothing like driving some nails through a shoe then have that horse rip his foot away to piss of a shoer.

How old is the horse and how much do you use him? Your question reminds me of a couple young guys who were sharing a 25 year horse for Friday night ropings. Each would get 8 to 10 runs on this horse then put him away until the next Friday. One of the boys asked me to look at his horse since the horse was pulling away his back left leg when they handled his feet. When I saw the horse I saw that the horse obviously had an issue with his other foot (the back right). It appeared to be ringbone, which is a calcification around and above the coronet band that made that foot uncomfortable or even painful when the opposite foot was handled placing all the weight of the foot with ring bone.

If a horse, who previously, stands well for shoeing starts pulling his foot away, I would think first that it is problem with the weight bearing foot. There are so many things that can go wrong with a hoof, from a stone bruise to side bone, to a puncture in the hoof to a navicular problem, to a problem in the pastern or even the hock or stifle. I even had an old roping horse break of the wing of a coffin bone, essentially one of the only bone breaks a horse can have in the foot and have a chance of being healed. A great horseshoer and 12 months of egg bar shoes made this horse sound again.

Now if I have a horse pulling on his feet when I’m cleaning them I won’t let the horse pull his foot away and I’ll only give him his foot back when he relaxes,…think pressure and release – getting his foot back when he does the right thing is his release and how he learns. Sometimes, the horse needs an open handed smack on his butt and a command to “settle down”. There are some horses that will will only raise their anxiety level. So all horses are alittle different in what works for them. But making the horse stand for picking his feet up and all, needs to be done before the shoer arrives or in other words it the responsibility of the horse owner to train his horse to stand quietly for the farrier.

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