After you teach your horse to ground-tie (see below), test his patience and his newfound “statue” skills. Ask him to pick up each foot while he’s standing in a ground-tie command. Pick up his left front foot, hold it for a count of 10, then put it down in the same spot. Then do the same thing with his left hind hoof, right hind hoof, and right front hoof.
If your horse starts to move or steps away at any point, pick up the lead line, and correct him, then move him back to his original spot. Continue to work with him until you can walk all the way around him, picking up and replacing each hoof.
Your training time will come in handy on the trail. You never know when you’ll need to stop and dismount to check a hoof. Plus, this skill is required during the trail division of National Versatility Ranch Horse Association (www.nvrha.com) shows. You might just be ready for a trail competition!
–Julie Goodnight;www.juliegoodnight.com. For Julie Goodnight’s step-by-step ground-tying method, see “Ground-Tied and Respectful,” Natural Horsemanship, Part I, The Trail Rider, January/February ’09.