I’m writing this in mid-winter, and I am sick of MUD! I never knew mud existed like this until I came to England. Along with the mud comes all sorts of health problems, such as abscesses and mud fever, which can cause real issues with handling your horse’s legs safely.
There are certain points on a horse’s body that are particularly sensitive, and relate back to their natural “prey animal” instincts. For example, the belly as that is the softest area of the skin and therefore the area that predators attack, and their legs, as they are the horse’s flight and fight mechanism.
Horses do not naturally like their feet being held up because it takes away their power of flight, and their ability to kick out at a predator. However, with training and repetition, the majority of horses fully accept us lifting, holding and handling their legs and feet, much like we train them to accept us riding them. However, even the most laid-back horse can become agitated and unwilling to have their legs and feet handled when they are painful to touch due to injury, infection or inflammation.
This video is an overview of the six leg handling video lessons within Your Horsemanship Online. These lessons expand on the themes in this video. They give examples of difficult horses and the techniques to solve issues at each stage, in addition to a live demonstration with a horse that was in training. If you are having trouble with any of these issues, check out these tips, good luck!