Today I took my hoof pick and nippers with me when during evening feeding, planning to do a follow up session with Sunny and get that right front foot rebalanced if he’d let me…
Talking with him the entire time I approached with the halter, I explain that I really think I can help him feel better if he’ll just give me a chance. He let’s me place the halter on his head and lead him to a flat spot that’s clear of the other horses. It’s important to both of us that he doesn’t feel crowded.
He always looks so leary as I approach. I’m learning to rest a hand on his pectoral muscle and just breathe. I don’t know why this is so comfoting to him but it is. So I hang out there and breathe until he’s breathing with me and not leaning away with one foot out the door.
AJ does this cool thing where he just persistently massages their fetlock until they lift their leg. No squeezing or pulling or prying so I do the same in hopes to provide some consistency in handling. It takes him a minute to sort out his balance, organize himself so he can lift the foot. Once again he lets me pick it out with no fuss. I set it down and praise and thank him for working with me on this.
We breathe together and I ask again, this time with nippers in hand. The nippers make him a bit nervous but I remind him I’ll listen and I won’t hold his leg up long. I really think he’ll feel better if I can take a little bit of that outside wall. He gives me his foot - albeit guardedly - and I explain that I’m going to have to hook his leg in the crook of my knee so I have both hands to nip with. I promise I will not squeeze his leg between my knees as I know that can feel a bit too trapped. This way, I explain, he can take it back if he needs to without any problem.
He stands quietly, lead rope looped over one arm, while I nip the outside, high spot. Done.
This is the first time since he’s been here that he has been able to allow me to trim his foot without someone holding him for me. It’s the first time he felt comfortable about having the foot handled.