Hoof Picking Drama Llama

This is a post from my horseforum.com thread that I started when I got Max. I’m so lucky the forum is still around and I was able to go back and add it to Lipizzan Life.

Maximas had his fourth lunge line lesson today. He’s changed a lot since his first lesson; he is much more relaxed, and actually listens now. 

As for our relationship… He’s started testing me when it comes time to pick his hooves. He started it two days ago, with his front left hoof. He picks it up just fine, but then he wants to put it right down. He’ll put all his weight on it, like he is trying to kneel down on the ground. My trainer gave him the bad horse lecture, which didn’t phase him at all. She put the lead chain over his nose (still didn’t phase him). At the end of it he just looked ****ed off. It was part my fault because I wasn’t holding his hoof directly under him (I’m still not sure why sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not but whatever) When we came back in from his lesson, I decided to try picking up his hoof and holding it for just a second before putting it down myself, ahead of mister stampy stamp. Then I did it again and held it a little longer. I didn’t want to spend a long time on this, so I just did it five or so times until I felt him relaxing and accepting it instead of tensing up to get ready to stamp it down. Of course I only held it for a whole ten second that time, but I felt like his energy was in a “oh OKAY mom, if I have to…” place. I gave him a huge hug and lots of rubbing and good horseys. 

I don’t know much about horses. Just from watching him though, I’m getting the impression that he doesn’t respond to negative anything well. I could be reading some of myself in to him, because when someone starts yelling at me I just square up and… it’s on. But he loves to hear what a good boy he is. I think he will work harder to get the good boys than to avoid the bad boys. 

I also understand that he is a huge and powerful animal, so I know he has to be put in his place sometimes. 

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