By Patty Wilber
Indy’s been here for two months. I wrote about Halter Training Jan. 16, and now we are moving on to (finally) her first trim.
She was probably ready a little sooner, but it is nice to have the whole barn on the same schedule so, I waited.
My shoer, Kelly Robinson, caught her for her trim with no fuss from her and no help from me.
He tied her (looped the lead rope around the tie post rather than a hard and fast tie).
She did not fidget. Her half sister, LT, is a fidgetter, so Indy’s “i’m just standing here” is nice to see. (But LT is so fine on cows I don’t really care if she fidgets….Okay. I care a little.)
He started trimming her feet.
First front foot. Ho hum.
Hind foot. Ho hum.
About this time I thought, “Hey! I could write about this! I should take some pictures!”
Second front foot. She said, “i think I have been allowing all this foot holding long enough!”, and she yanked it right out of his hand.
He picked up her foot and she did it again, so her spoke to her sternly, but without anger.
Kelly has been super with my young horses this way. He gets his point across so that the horses understand and feel he is fair. They learn to behave AND gain confidence.
He picked that leg up a third time and held on. She tried to pull a bit but figured out she was a) caught and b) fine. Ho hum.
The last foot was the hardest. Her right hind was where she was most uncomfortable when I started asking her to accept touch on her legs (she didn’t tell me why) but she really responded to having her legs brushed with a body brush.
Kelly started trimming and Indy got very uncomfortable and snatched that foot away.
Oh that is such a bad habit for them to form because when they get bigger, they actually can simply out muscle you if they want. If we do this right, they have no reason to want to pull and away and they will also think they CANNOT.
So, the little bugger got that hind foot away twice and then was worried. There was no big drama, just an onset of the fidgets. She didn’t want the shoer to touch her leg.
Got out the brush and brushed her li,bs a few times. I really do not understand why the brush is always an instant hit and the hand, which holds on to that brush, can be a suspicion-inducing, interloping alien. With just a few strokes on this day, she let out a big breath* and stood still.
Then, I asked her to pick up her foot with my hand, and she did. Let her put it down. Did that again. The shoer repeated the up and down with the foot three or four more times. Then he finished the trim job while she licked her lips*.
*Release of breath and lip licking are both signs of compliance in horses and thus when seen give the handler a clue that things are moving in a direction where the horse is increasingly comfortable and is beginning to understand.