In the world of colt starting, once all the initial hard work is accomplished with ground work and under saddle work the accomplishments seem to dwindle. Life is more about refining training these days than learning new things. As such, I get really excited when I realize that Rose just did something for the first time, no matter what a simple little thing it might be.
Today, Rose let me pick her feet out with me standing entirely on one side! This happened entirely by accident amid my morning plans at the barn turning into a big fail. As I sauntered into our tack room and opened the lid to my steamer trunk, I exclaimed rather loudly "oh damn" as I gazed upon the rectangular hole in my trunk. I'd left my brush box at home. Fail #1. Luckily the barn was empty, so there was no one around to witness my profanity. Hubs had me bring it home the other night to make sure the divider in my new tack trunk was in the correct location before making it permanent.
Short on time and not wanting to spend 20 extra minutes running home for a brush box, I decided that Rose would just do without a grooming session today. I pulled her from the pasture and then remembered that I wanted to take hoof pictures. I stood her up nice and square and then reached into my pocket to pull out my camera. Upon pushing the power button it became clear that the battery was flat. Fail #2. That also meant that the video session of our ground work that I had planned wasn't going to happen either. Fail #3.
With a sigh, I looked down on the pavement and noticed a couple small crushed rocks the size of a quarter. I figured that would do for picking her feet. I reached down and cleaned out her near front foot, and then without thinking reached under her belly and asked her to pick up her far front. Then I realized what I just did. Hum...I thought. Better try that with the back feet too. Rose completely obliged. "Yea" I thought to myself "a new first. It's been a while since we had one of those".
Now about the whole picking feet out from one side:
In general I do believe it is not a good/safe practice, and I never let my students do it. However, sometimes it is necessary to be able to pick feet this way and it's good to know that your horse is willing/able to do it. I've tried in the past to get Rose to do this, but she never obliged, so I never pushed it. I think it just took her growing up more to have the balance to be able to do it.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!