After a few weeks of practise, Liz let me know that she thought she was ready to borrow my husband for a bit of 'fake farriery'. Spirit had been upset by a farrier a couple of months ago and this fed into her instinctive defensive behaviour which includes wanting to bite and kick the farrier as well as kneeling on him. With a new trimmer booked to come in a couple of weeks it was time to see how she would take to a man picking up her feet. It has to be said that she wasn't particularly impressed and kicked him quite hard catching the pins that hold the metal rod down the inside of his leg. The good thing about David is that he is very empathetic to horses. He approaches in a non-predatory way, is clear about what he wants, understands pressure and release, and has the timing to walk away when she's offering the desired behaviour. Bit by bit she got better and better and started to relax.
The plan is that Liz will hold Spirit with the lead rein but also with her fingers along the edges of the broad webbing of the headcollar in order to prevent Spirit from biting and that the trimmer will be asked to work with her least combative feet first. This means that he will trim her right feet before her left feet in the hope that the more co-operative side will help her to generalise her relaxed behaviour for the left hand side.
It's common for a pony to be more combative on their more confident feeling side - that's their 'guard' side; the side they would have presented to the world when feeding from their dam. The more wary side, the 'mother' side is generally less combative.
"Thank you so much for coming out today on your day off, It was much appreciated. We will continue with the techniques & see where we get when Mark comes over. Poor David & his metal pins....I do hope Spirit hasn't re-arranged a few. He was a star today as acting 'Farrier', with an equity card, he could go far." LE