Teaching a Horse to Pick Up His Feet
How can I teach my horse to pick his feet up?
While there are lots of methods out there to teach a horse to pick his feet up, I encourage you to try using a simple positive reinforcement technique, Laurel. Begin by first teaching your horse that a particular sound or word means that food is about to come. I like to use a short whistle sound that I can make with my mouth. Make the sound (let’s call it a “tweet”) and then give him a small tasty treat. Once he is anticipating the treat when he hears the sound, he is ready to learn!
Start with a front foot. Place your hand low to the cannon bone until he shifts his weight off of that leg (be patient!). When he does shift his weight, tweet and treat!
When he has figured out that moving that leg gets the treat, you are ready to hold the leg. Start by holding just for 1/4 second; tweet and treat. Slowly increase the time. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can train him to lift his legs on cueand with no anxiety for either you or your horse!