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yearling foot trim
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ilaria68
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 Posted: Thu Mar 11th, 2010 11:24 pm
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I am new to this board and I am thankful to have found it. Lot's of wonderful information! My question involves my new yearling filly.

While I have been involved in the horse world for 35 years, I am continually astounded at how much I don't know! I have adjusted my philosophy of training (and caring for, riding, being present with, everything...) many times over the years. I have started one horse before (she was 8 when I got her, but had no training) but  this is the first yearling I have owned. I do have a trainer who I trust and respect, though we sometimes disagree on the best course of action.

This new filly has been here for 6 days and she finally seems to have settled in. She had previously been in a small drylot with her dam and sire and several other mares. She was weaned naturally and has been eating free choice alfalfa. Her only 'training' appears to have been recieving peppermints for charging up to any human who called to her. She has never had her feet trimmed and, though she clearly has a lovely underlying temperment, the prepurchase exam required sedation (apparently peppermints were not enough).

She is now on 20 acres with another youngster, she gets free choice grass hay, some alfalfa, and a small amount of junior concentrate.

My question (finally...) is should I just sedate her this once and have those feet trimmed (terrible flares) or should I (as my trainer prefers) jump right in and teach her about feet trimming? Obviously this won't happen in a day and her toes will remain long in the meantime. I suppose my real question is how damaging is it for her to continue to walk on those long toes, and is it worth it to just get them taken care of immediately?

Thank you for any information.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Mar 12th, 2010 01:49 am
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Ilaria, welcome to the Forum. We're glad to meet you.

The choice about sedation depends upon the details of the sedation session. If your veterinarian is an experienced horse hand, a quiet man who has "been there, done that" many times with unbroken youngstock, you will benefit from having her sedated and trimmed. She learns nothing, because she is completely out of it, while she is drugged -- so while she is drugged, she learns nothing useful, but also nothing bad.

There is a tremendous amount of learning for her, however, in the hour preceding the moment when the drugs begin to take effect. In other words: are you having to rope her, hog-tie her, and throw her down in order to get the needle in the old jugular vein? Or is your vet enough of a hand to be able to get the needle in there without quite so much restraint, and without getting himself struck or kicked in the process?

A very great deal for the success of the second sedation session is going to depend upon exactly what went on, and what the filly learned, in the first session. If the first session in any manner showed her that she was better off cooperating, then the second session will not be too bad. If, however, she learned the first time that there was nothing in it for her, that cooperating only got her hurt or worse off, then the second session you're going to need a tranquilizer gun or a couple of guys on experienced horses who can rope the neck and a hind foot, and stretch her.

Now, this in turn would determine for me whether I would go for sedation the second time or not. If the sedation can be done, as I said, in such a manner that the vet can step in there and get the drugs in without too much fuss, then certainly you should take advantage of that opportunity to get rid of the overgrown hoofs.

However, if it's going to have to be a rodeo, on balance you will be better off to get the feet trained. Obviously this is going to have to be done anyway, and that process need not take more than a couple of days.

The secret is in yourself knowing how to use the rope. The first rope that you have to use is on the filly's head: before anything else, she has to understand manners. The whole life with peppermints before is certainly, as you observe, not helping; the filly is mixed up about who is running the show, and there must be absolutely zero doubt in her mind about that. So between you and your trainer, I wouldn't lose a single day in getting that lesson installed.

Part and parcel of this is to teach the filly the rules of mannering, which are:

1. She is to go to her 'room' and stay there whenever you ask her to.

2. She is to stay in her 'room' until you give her permission to leave.

3. You can enter her 'room', so long as you do so with kind intentions and respect, at any time; and while in her 'room', you can handle any part of her body.

4. She is not permitted to enter your 'room' at any time whatsoever, unless you have first explicitly invited her to enter.

You may or may not understand what I mean about 'her room' and 'your room'; it's a way of speaking about what some people call 'your space' or 'your personal space.' I go into this protocol in detail in the 2-CD audio "lessons and wisdom" set entitled "Mannering Your Horse" -- get it from our Membership section for $25.

Now, as to the part about being able to handle any part of her body: once she has learned what you might say "whole-body manners", then if she has trouble with any given body part (i.e., ears, muzzle, flanks, feet, tail), then the procedure there is subsumed in the concept of the overfly-zone. This image works especially well for ear-shy, head-shy, flank-shy: think of the horse's skin as a map or a quilt. You have to be able to access any part of that quilt, and the idea is to teach the horse instead of defending any patch instead to enjoy you rubbing them there. Mannering the whole body goes a giant way toward reducing their defensiveness toward any one patch, but may not eliminate it entirely. So you make with your hand like you're a spy plane; you are flying around in the part of her skin where it doesn't matter to her if you're there; then you overfly an edge of the patch where you know she does care. You fly slow enough to take spy photos but then you leave, and you be sure you leave -- without hurry, but you're leaving -- BEFORE she kind of notices and has to say something. The main key is B-E-F-O-R-E.

Then you keep flying around there grooming her, but then you do it again. And each time you do it, you overfly a little deeper but you always leave BEFORE she tenses up.

Now with the feet, what you will need is the lead-rope. So that during one of your mannering sessions when you are in her room stroking and petting on her and/or elbowing her in the snout for trying to bite you (the elbow is in there BEFORE she opens her lips to bite -- remember about it being B-E-F-O-R-E): so while you are engaged upon these twin lessons "do and don't do", then you have an extra lead rope on you, and you flop it around her leg so that the rope goes above her knee. And then you pull on both ends of the rope, like it's a U-shape, and rub her leg with it. You rub back and forth and up and down. Then you take the rope off -- you know when -- BEFORE.

Then you go do something else, and then set her up again by backing her into her room, and have her stand there, and you walk in there with respect and pet on her, and rope that first front leg again. And you do this numerous times, but pretty soon you will be able to have the rope below her knee. When it gets to the point where you can have it around her ankle, put one twist in the rope (still very easy to release it if she does something big or violent), and pull upward and backward on the foot while at the same time you use the hand that's holding the halter rope and poke her with a finger lightly in the same shoulder, to get her to take the weight off her shoulder. This is more important than the pulling up. You teach her, "shift your weight away from this foot". But you are also pulling up with the rope, which says, "I need to take ahold of your foot".

You must never put more emphasis on picking up the foot -- because YOU are never going to pick up her foot. SHE is going to pick it up. So you teach her only: 1. Shift your weight off of the left front foot so that it will be easy for her to pick up, and 2. When you feel me touch or tap your ankle, that means I want you to pick it up.

When you have taught her this, and you see she's OK about it, then the last step is you teach her, OK when you pick your foot up I want you to hand it to me. To do this you be bent over there so that it will be easy for your to receive it. NEVER PICK HER FOOT UP.

This is especially important with the front feet. No horse at liberty ever stands on three feet, the cocked foot being a forefoot -- unless the horse is seriously lame. They stand on three feet, but the cocked foot will always be a hind foot. When the human comes along and picks up the horse's front foot FOR the horse, it scares the horse; it is as if you are trying to take their feet out from under them. So you never pick up a horse's foot; you insist that they do that work, and that they hand you the foot.

And again -- how long you cradle that foot is you set it down B-E-F-O-R-E it gets scary for them. You have them pick it up, you catch or receive it, you pet it and joggle it some, but BEFORE they tense up or there is any feeling coming from the horse that it would have to take its foot away, you have long before that already set it down. Each time you may get to keep it up a little longer, and also pull it out to the side a little farther, without the horse tensing up, until you can have it way out to the side as for a hot shoe job and for minutes on end. But in the beginning, your goal is to get it up to a count of 8 heartbeats, beginning with 1 heartbeat.

You will find the back feet easier than the front feet. Rope the hind foot and wrap the ankle once, then bump-bump with the rope and the horse will lift it immediately if they have already had the front foot lesson. They may lift it kind of big at first, almost like a cow-kick, but there will be no force in it and no intention to clobber you if the whole-body mannering has first been done -- the whole object of that being to remove the horse's entire desire and need to either defend himself or hurt you. When he has no desire to hurt you, he will not hurt you except by accident.

So if he picks up the foot kind of big just don't be where the foot is. He may wave it around some, he may even kick out backwards with it some; this is due to the stimulation of the rope. So you just let him kick a while if he needs to, but if he does that (wear a pair of gloves) you make sure there's some pressure in that rope the whole time he is kicking. When he relaxes and quits kicking, you slack up immediately and walk in there and pet the horse. Then you take the rope off the leg and walk off and do something else a while before you come back for another bout.

Never let the horse get to thinking there will be no end to a lesson. You peck at it. But if you do two or three sessions a day on this for two or three days, that should be the entire end of the difficulty. Then your farrier, who undoubtedly knows all about situations like this, can step in there and do his job. You will probably need to pay him to come twice  for a green filly -- once with no real intention of trimming at all, but rather to just let her get a smell and a feel of him, realize he isn't there to either hurt her or neither to let her bully him; she should begin realizing that ALL humans expect the same manners, all the time. On that first session, he will clank around with his tools on the feet, tap on the feet with the hammer and the side of the nippers, and maybe let her get a little feel of the rasp. He'll help her get to where she can put her foot up on the hoof-stand too. And if that's what happens the first day, that's plenty.

Then the next day or a couple of days later, he can come back and actually do the trim. You might get it done all the first day, and what will determine that will entirely be the quality and completeness of your own work with your filly before he arrives.

Let us know how it all goes....should go just fine. -- Dr. Deb

ilaria68
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 Posted: Fri Mar 12th, 2010 09:07 pm
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Dr. Deb,

Thank you for the details regarding 'Mannering.' I've ordered the CD. I also read in an older thread the specifics about teaching a horse to 'go to their room' and focus. I did a bit of that, but I have a long way to go and really just wanted to get those toes to a respectable place and then begin the process of teaching manners. My vet was able to sedate the filly with minimal fuss and her feet are now looking much better. I am confident that there will be no need to sedate a second time, and I will be working with her regularly so that this can be accomplished.

There is a world of knowledge on this board, and reading through older threads I continue to recognize areas that I need to work on that I never realized I had problems with before! Thank you for providing a forum where trustworthy information is available.

Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 03:10 am
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Lets get practical,

 Many years ago .. about 30 .. I was lucky enough to have a very pragmatic veterinarian who asked me,

 "How many horses do you think should a person own before they build a set of stocks?"

 The answer is 1.. 

 I will attach a picture of a simple set of stocks that can be fabricated out of 40 ft of 3" steel pipe and four 90 degree weld on corners for less than $200.

 I have followed a couple of message threads on this group  that could have easily been resolved if the horse owners would just bite the bullet, spend the money and get a set of simple stocks fabricated.and use them !

Instead we have to listen to all this hand wringing about 'problems' that could easily and safely be resolved..

 Think about it.. Does your vet have stocks??   duh!!

 If you feel your horse is not worth the investment to build a set of stocks so that you can resolve simple procedures safely then maybe you should reassess horse ownership.

Allen Pogue

Dripping Springs, Texas

Attachment: stocks sm.JPG (Downloaded 176 times)

AdamTill
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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 04:48 am
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Hi Allen,

Since training isn't really much of an option for vets, I can see why they have stocks, but I'm not really sure I see where the value is for owners. Why do you see them as essential?

Also, your cost is a bit thin there. I'd be willing to bet that fabricating the pad that those stocks are sitting on/in cost a good sight more then $200 :)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 09:16 am
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Yes, Allen, I understand what you're saying about stocks. They are handy to have, and sometimes necessary. But the only time they are necessary is when the human is in a hurry.

Now when the human is in a hurry can be two kinds of times: one, because the horse is hurt and the situation is an emergency. Then, no matter what the training or mannering on the horse is, or what the lack of it is, the treatment or handling must happen right now no matter what. Of course, the more educated and well-handled the horse is, the more he will pay you back when you need that hurry. In fact that's a major reason to work with the horse in the way we advocate.

The other kind of time when the human is in a hurry is when the human is just in a hurry, because they are angry or impatient or because they can't consider the animal as much as their need to get to town for their appointment at the beauty salon. There is no justification for this whatsoever, although it's common.

Stocks compel the horse, and they are not in and of themselves harmful or unsafe, but they also do not cause or help him to understand, acquiesce, and submit to what we want to be doing or what we want him to help us get done. Only handling that has as its object the education of the horse can do that.

It is the obligation of every horse owner to get the feet of their horse so that the horse will permit the feet to be handled, indeed, so that the horse will hand the feet to the person when the person asks for them, so that the person never picks the feet up. How many farriers and veterinarians would be grateful if owners would fulfill this responsibility!

When you go to the veterinarian's place, Allen, you're going into a world of hurry and coercion. I am not saying that, in the context of the veterinarian's life and job, these things are wrong. He is a busy man, there are many calls upon his time; and it is not the veterinarian's responsibility to train anyone's horse. It is his responsibility, however, to see to it that horses he is called upon to treat and that he has agreed to treat get efficiently treated. So he coerces them: he puts them in the stocks, or he drugs them, or he ties up a foot, or he uses a twitch, or whatever other 'restraint techniques' seem needed so that he can get the job done in a short time. The coercion is as gentle and as humane as he can make it, but it is still coercion. 

For my part, however, I like to have it to where by the time veterinary attention is called for, the horse knows all about everything that will possibly be needed, and willingly and with knowledge cooperates. I view this as being no different than your own intelligent horses who consciously perform so many actions that are called 'tricks'. Would you put them in stocks, Allen, to teach any of the actions you value in performance? When you work with a horse who pulls back when tied, do you tie him up so strong that when he spooks back, it proves to him that all resistance is futile? Anyone who does this is declaring that he believes in 'resistance' that comes from the horse. But in reality, there is no resistance at any time that ever comes from the horse; all of it there is, comes from the human, from the anger and unenlightenment that is down inside of the person. To the degree that any horse is restrained, his ability to learn is in equal measure diminished; aye, it becomes a reflection of the very dullness that is in the person who tied him up so as to be able to work on him. I have mentioned to you before that this is why, even within the circus, liberty acts done entirely without harness are esteemed more highly than those done with harness.

I am fortunate in my veterinarian Dan Sweet, DVM, because he's a horseman himself, an experienced packer and elk-hunter with his dad up in the mountains; and for recreation he has cutting horses. He is kind, has good hands, takes his time each and every time. My horses enjoy him, he enjoys them, and we get everything done faster than if we used the stocks. Of course there is a set of stocks on the farm where I am, and there was at the last farm too, because when it isn't my horse he is treating, then Dan is certainly going to avail himself of the stocks -- of course he is. But if the person whose horse he has to stock in order to get the job done had submitted to proper instruction, that would not need to happen; because even though the stocks are not a bad thing, especially in my vet's hands, they're not nearly as good as the horse himself helping us do it.

Recently I've had to have Dan out to do XRays of Ollie's front feet. Dan came with the portable machine and this involves a lot of stepping up on little blocks and standing there, or standing on the block with a fore foot or a hind foot and so forth. Anybody think this might have been any trouble for Ollie after all the years of drum work?

The XRays revealed that Ollie has a mild case of ringbone, so we've started him on IM glucosamine, much as I had old Painty on it for the same reason. It took me about four or five injections to get Painty to where I could put the needle in his butt and not have him even raise his head, not to even have to put the halter on him, just walk in the stall and tell him I've got a needle here old man, and he knows ahead of time and so I go put it in his butt or his shoulder or his neck. Ollie took one time. This makes me feel that I may be getting better at this. Or, of course, it could just be because of Ollie's being quite a good-minded horse in general.

Today I was thinking about this very thread (before I saw your post about the stocks, Allen) -- thinking about the person who wrote in about her yearling's feet not being able to be picked up. I was thinking about this while I was cleaning Ollie's feet. One thing I noticed was, it takes Ollie probably a count of four heartbeats, after you touch him on the leg, to get himself together to get the foot picked up and handed to you. So I touch him and I say, 'pick up your foot please', and four or five seconds later, he picks it up and hands it to me. And my thought to myself out there today was, 'so if everybody could allow just that four seconds without rapping on him or pulling the foot up, in other words without hurrying him faster than he offers, I wonder how many horses besides Ollie would gladly hand them their foot.'

I'd rather do that than stocks, anytime. Save the stocks for when there is no other choice. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

ilaria
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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 03:32 pm
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Thank you for your comments, Allen, I understand I have a lot to learn and that is why I am here. Clearly, the best case scenerio would have been to work on mannering so that no form of restrain (chemical or physical) was necessary, but I made a judgement call (and I am open to discussion on this, which is why I posted the question in the first place). Is it your opinion that the use of stocks is a better choice than sedation?

I worked on touching her everywhere and a 'sharp object near the jugular' prior to trimming so that sedation itself was an easy process. As I mentioned, I am confident that a second sedation will not be necessary. In the days following the trimming she is now offering each foot when I ask (though we are still working on duration). 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 08:34 pm
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So just keep going the way you are, Ilaria. Give her time and space to adjust in, and duration will fix itself all by itself. -- Dr. Deb


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