The Colt Cam: Roping the Feet Part 1

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Ranch Life

I know that there are people reading this that have no experience in handling a rope, but I’m here to tell you it behooves you to get on board and learn to use one — even if you’ll never rope a live bovine.

We rope the feet of all our horses. There are several reasons to do this:

1. It’s helpful to have him thinking about giving to pressure should he find himself caught in a wire fence, which happens on occasion.

2. It gets the horse ready for ropes to be swinging around him,  and because I plan to rope on every horse I own, this adds to preparing them for their future as a ranch horse (and helps to get them gentle).

3. It educates the horse to search for the release, and to realize that we can control his feet.

4. It also gets them ready to be hobbled, and that’s a pretty handy tool to have in your belt.

Below is a video of Zach roping the feet on my coming 4 yo, Rival. I’m sharing my journey as I start this uncertain,  extremely sensitive colt (With Zach to help along the way!).

A couple things to note — you should never put the coils of your rope through your arm — always hold them to keep yourself from losing an appendage.  You’ll want to release when the foot of the horse gets soft. But you should realize that him kicking at the rope, is him trying,  it’s just not what will get him a release.  Rival is pretty certain that by looking to us for support, we can make the pressure go away, as that’s what happens when we catch him. While it is excellent that he’s looking to us to support him he needs to learn that we can control his feet whether he’s looking at us or not.

Roping your horse’s feet isn’t something that you do if you’re not experienced in handling a rope, but it is something that we should help all our horses through.  It’s also not a project you take on when you’ve only got 30 minutes to spend.  It can take quite a while to get a change in the horse.  This particular afternoon it took about 2 hours through three feet to help him realize all he needed to do was be soft, and give to pressure when asked.

I hope this information helps you in your horsemanship endeavors.

Happy Trails!


Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Ranch Life

About Jenn Zeller

Jenn Zeller is the creative mind and boss lady behind The South Dakota Cowgirl. She is an aspiring horsewoman, photographer, brilliant social media strategist and lover of all things western. After a brief career in the investment world to support her horse habit (and satisfy her...

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