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Overcoming Sensitive Back Feet

November 19, 2012

Having a horse that willingly picks up his back feet is important. Here’s how you get to that point.

Ask an ExpertQuestion:

How do you teach a horse not to kick when rubbing his back legs as training for picking up his feet?

— Cindy

For the answer, we consulted AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship: Step 1.


Generally, you want to rub your horse all over to get him used to you touching him and asking him to pick up his feet. For especially sensitive areas, do not put yourself in a dangerous position.

Start with rubbing your horse with a stick. If he reacts, stay calm and relaxed, and keep rubbing. If necessary, lighten your touch a little, but try not to stop altogether, and do not let the horse make you move your feet. Do not try and stop your horse from moving, but teach him to stand still by making it more comfortable to be still and quiet and less comfortable to choose another option.

Leave the really sensitive zones, such as the head, ears, sheath, and stifle, until you have obtained a very good result with the rest of the body.

To learn more, purchase AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship series at Quarter Horse Outfitters.

*AQHA and the provider of this information are not liable for the inherent risks of equine activities. We always recommend consulting an AQHA Professional Horseman.