Picking up Rhona’s feet: an update

I wish I could say that picking up Rhona’s feet is no problem now, but unfortunately I haven’t made great progress in that area. I stopped using the rope trick I referred to before because she started kicking her feet instead of lifting them. Lately I’ve been using another rope trick– for several minutes a day, I lightly slap her feet and legs with a soft rope. Once she stops reacting to that, I run my hands up and down her legs a couple of times. She still won’t voluntarily pick up her feet, but she’ll at least let me touch them now. It’s a start… 🙂



  1. Hi Melissa,
    We are dealing with a PMU filly right now (not been on the production line). She is also touchy about her back legs. My husband (a trainer) got her front legs desensitized very quickly but is spending more time with the back legs. I will be posting about her progress very soon. Her biggest issue is trust. Well done for the rescue. Those are some big feet! I’ll look forward to some more posts about your mare.

  2. Taylor said

    Hi Melissa,

    I just adopted my first PMU mare this spring and she was delivered 2 weeks ago. She’s a Percheron/Paint – so another solid girl like your Rhona. She was too nervous to even have a person within 20 feet of her the first few days…and as of yesterday she stood (relatively) quietly for her first trimming. I’m a big fan of natural horsemanship…and after playing ‘friendly’ with her legs (rubbing them in a feel-good sort of way), I ask her to pick up her feet by pinching/twisting her chestnuts (front legs) and hock-caps (back legs). This method has worked amazingly well. At first you reward just the slightest shifting of weight, and then eventually you demand longer and longer pick up times. Just thought I’d share the technique (it’s Parelli) in case it might be of any use to you. Great job adopting…I also look forward to more posts!

  3. lovepmus said

    Hi Melissa, I actually have a PMU mare training blog here as well! This will be great for comparing notes as both of our girls are about the same age/level.. I have a post about how I got Berlin, my Percheron/QH, to pick up her feet. I spent ALOT of time rubbing her legs then “see sawing” the rope up and down the inside of her legs. Eventually I started adding the cue “foot” while I pinched near her ankle. When she lifted her hoof, even out of irritation, I praised her and told her good girl. Although, alot of it was me I think, in the beginning. I was being such a wuss about her back feet I believe she was clearly picking up on my apprehension. My barefoot farrier said I need to make my intention clear through my mind and body signals. Apparently my body language was saying “maybe can I have you pick you back foot up for a second?” and I had to get over the fear of getting kicked etc and say “Pick up your hoof for a second.” Honestly, once I wasn’t scared of her possible reaction, she calmed down and eventually was doing what I asked.

    I CAN however tell you one thing. This hoof training part is one of the most frustrating and difficult to train these big older gals! So far, the rest of my experience has been much more of a breeze! Good luck!

  4. There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here.

    I’m Out! 🙂

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