We are so proud of Miss Fleur….finally we can pick up and handle all 4 of Fleur’s feet. Ever since Fleur has been with us she has had some serious issues with having her back feet handled. As soon as a back foot is lifted off the ground, she panics, violently kicks out and does her best to remove herself from her handler. Nothing we did seemed to alleviate Fleur’s fears and eventually we were forced to changed tactics. If only we had had changed tactics earlier as within a month you would have though Fleur had been having her back feet picked up all her life!!
Instead of focusing on the process of “picking up” Fleur’s back feet we switched our attention to strengthening her hind legs through a series of exercises. By teaching Fleur to take weight on her hind legs, she not only strengthened them but she also became aware of them. Part of Fleur’s problem seemed to be that she was not convinced she wouldn’t fall over if one leg was picked up. Once she realised that she had two back legs that were strong enough to support her weight if one was picked up her confidence grew enormously and she just gave us her hoof – it was like magic!
All the philosophies and principals used in Fleur’s exercises are from Marijke De Jong’s Strightness Training courses. These courses can not be recommended highly enough for anyone with a young, old, stiff or so called “problem” horse. For six months we have been struggling with Fleur’s hind feet, the only way we could trim them was to have her under anesthetic and even then it took 4 people. Yet within 4 weeks of slowly strengthening her legs and teaching her some body awareness the problem just disappeared. Just goes to show the obvious is not always the obvious when it comes to horses!!!
The next part of Fleur’s journey is going to be teaching her to load onto a float so stay tuned.
Whilst Fleur has been with us she has taught us a lot, if you are interested in reading about the ups and downs of her journey then you can find it here. https://eaq.org.au//our-horses/fleur-2