Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trimming Kachina

Phew!  This trying to keep balance thing is already getting difficult!  We are now in the thick of our semester and our first round of exams and already getting overloaded!  BUT, last weekend, I still managed to keep up with trimming and did 2 more horses (no time to ride or work with Griffin though).  I did Pumpkin first.  She hadn't been done in about a year.  Her feet just don't grow all that fast, although they were definitely in need of a trim.  Pumpkin was an absolutely perfect angel for her trim.  She stood quietly, didn't try to walk off (like the last time I'd trimmed her) and politely accepted her treat rewards for standing after each searching for more like she always does in the pasture.  Since I finished her so quickly due to her cooperativeness, I decided to get Kachina out and try her...if nothing else, I could just trim her fronts, since they were in greater need (fronts always seem to grow faster than their hinds).  I really didnt' think I'd be all that successful at trimming Kachina at the hitching post (since I'd never tied her before and she hadn't been outside the pasture very often), but it was so muddy in the pasture that I decided to try it.  I just didn't have any other good place to try to trim her.  She lead right onto the mat in front of the hitching post with no issues and was quite relaxed, so I looped the rope around the post a couple times without tying her tight.  She was actually really good and I trimmed both her front hooves without too much difficulty.  She stood nicely, knew she was "tied", and was overall very relaxed.  So then I decided to try to do her hinds.  I got her left hind done pretty easily, but she gave me quite a bit of trouble on her right hind.  It took me over an hour on just that one hoof, but I did get it done!  When she became nervous about my insistence on handling that hoof, after already having let me start working on it a little bit, her inexperience with tying came through.  She just wasn't cooperative and would take her foot away and step away from me.  When I tried to ask her to step back onto the mat and get back into position, she would feel a little trapped and try to back up out of the situation.   Since she was tied, she pulled back to the end of the rope, but then just stood and would not move over at all, so I had to take her out in the yard and lunge her a bit and re-teach her what I meant when I asked her to step over with her hinds or her fronts.  She decided to "forget" how to do that on one side and was really huffy and tossing her head when I asked her to move her shoulder away from me.  She would toss her head up and over my hands that I was holding up by her face, and go the opposite direction I was asking.  It took a lot of "discussion" but she did not get away with her evasion and did figure out what I was trying to ask her to do.  And she also remembered how to calmly move her feet away from me when asked and not just leap into lunging mindlessly around me.   After our refresher lesson, I tied her back up and tried to work to her right hind again.  The problem with her right hind was she would step over away from me to evade having to pick it up for me.  Since she was tied, that meant she would move over till her hip was next to the hitching rail.  I would stand with her and ask her to stand still and relax and not pick up her back hoof until she was standing with her weight off it, almost offering it to me.  When asked, she'd pick it up, but as soon as I got settled to do something to it, she would take it away and walk forward, since that was the only way she could go to "get away" from me.  As she walked forward, she'd come to the end of the tie rope, it would pull her head toward the hitching post, which caused her to swing her hip out away from the hitching post...and directly into me.  At first, not wanting to cause her to freak out being tied (or kick me which she's never done), I got out of her way, but I quickly got sick of that and realized it wasn't getting the message across to her what I needed her to do.  So I started to step with her as she walked forward and vigorously bump her side to prevent her from swinging her hip into me. She did end up pulling back a few times rather violently when I did this, but she's a small horse and it was like "a fish fighting at the end of a line" to quote a friend. I just stayed out of her way and she did have enough sense to only fight for a couple of tugs and then quit and come forward and stand nice again.   Pulling back unnerved her...she was breathing more quickly and shallowly but was standing okay.   I ended up having to tied her rope rather short to prevent her from walking forward very far when I was picking her hoof up.  That combined with bumping her side vigorously before she even had a chance to step forward seemed to work!  Once she figured out that pulling back didn't work, walking forward didn't work, and she couldnt' avoid me, she suddenly stood very still and let me work on her hoof!  She stood really really well, didn't take the hoof away, let me completely finish and I chose to set her hoof down when I was done.  And at the end of it, she was calm and relaxed!  It was a struggle, but it ended really well!  I really pushed her asking her to stand and be trimmed while tied, but it is time I quit babying her and expect to act like a real horse.


Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Sounds like a tough job. Glad she got the picture and decided to cooperate, and I'm glad you had the time to get her through it.

Did you have to study up on mule hooves before trimming Pumpkin or did you find the same trimming principles apply? I've seen a donkey hoof trimmed and it was very different (her hooves were overgrown so I was glad I wasn't the one who had to decide how much to trim) but I've never watched a mule being trimmed.

Kara said...

Pumpkin definitely has different hooves than a horse. I've never seen a donkey's hooves, but I'm sure they are more similar to a donkey than a horse (or maybe they are exactly in between :) While they are different, I don't find them that difficult. I use the same principles when trimming a horse...use the sole and all that. The biggest different that I see in her hooves are that they are more deeply concave than a horse and the heels seem to be longer and more forward than the positon of a horse's heels. I trim the way her hoof seems to want to be and they look nice afterward and she isn't I think they are okay. But again, I don't trim the heel back and really down like you do for a horse...but since I'm following the sole line, I think that is the way it should be.