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Franklin Levinson's

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Yielding His Foot

Hi Franklin,

My colt and I have progressed quite a bit in the last couple of months. He now walks nicely beside me and I use a plastic bag on the end of a stick to keep him out of my personal space, but not all the time so that he doesn't get too used to it. He is also getting used to the traffic as we take him and let him watch the vehicles that go by. He is not too keen on the bigger ones but stares at the cars as they drive past and doesn't seem too worried. He is a very fast learner and stands quietly tied up in the yard and is very keen to learn new things especially if he gets a scratch and he loves being groomed.

I have come across a continuing problem, which I am a little confused, how to overcome. He lets me stroke his back legs but he tries to kick me when I try and get him to lift them up off the ground. I don't try and hold his foot, just when I squeeze his leg do I want him to pick it up off the ground. Is this the right approach or should I be holding his foot as he struggles to keep his balance. I know that I am confusing him by asking this simple question so I was wondering if you had any tips for me to make it more obvious to him what I am trying to achieve.

Thanks, Anita


Hi Anita,

Is this an Arabian? If so, being very leg and skin sensitive is how they are. Just touching the legs of an Arab can prompt even a young horse, to drop to his knees. What I do with a very leg sensitive horse is to make my request to yield the leg as soft as I can do it. This means perhaps not even touching the leg. I just put my hand down in the direction of the leg and say "foot". I may tap the leg with my hand, maybe not, depending on the degree of sensitivity. I may also take a wand (3-4 foot whip) and touch the leg with that and say "foot". If the horse may cow kick or strike out, the wand will be very helpful. Getting a horse to yield his feet is a process that can take a few days for a horse to get. He will lift it for only a moment at first. Let him get used to lifting the leg before asking him to stand on three feet. Once he lifts the legs readily, then you can attempt to hold the foot by the front part of the toe. Horses seem to be most comfortable with the human holding the very front of that toe.

There is also a technique using a soft rope around the foot just above the hoof and lifting the foot with the rope. This should be done by someone who knows the technique. Anyway, thanks for your question. Keep me posted. I hope I have been able to help.

Aloha, Franklin

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