The average wild horse lives in an arid environment where they are likely to travel 30 miles on any given day to find adequate food and water. Because of that, evolution required their feet to withstand lots of wear and tear, the hooves never stop growing. But once the Bureau of Land Management rips them from the wild and forces them into the domesticated horse world through its adoption program, it becomes humans’ responsibility to provide hoof care.
And to get a wild horse to lift its hooves for a farrier, training is necessary. Such training is underway for Comanche and Bindi, the two wild horses we welcomed to our Primarily Primates sanctuary in Texas last fall. Stay tuned for our article in fall Action Line, which will offer bits of wisdom from John Lyons certified trainer Keith Hosman from Utopia, Texas, on the realities of adopting a wild horse.
Sacking out: Wild horses are prey animals who haven’t survived by being “trusting.” Sacking out is a method being used in this photo by Keith Hosman to desensitize Comanche to potentially frightening situations or objects—the ultimate goal being to teach him to trust humans and not react with fright to an unknown stimuli. By teaching the horse that certain situations will not cause it harm, such as being rubbed by a rope, from front to rear and around his legs, he also learns that humans can be trusted and are even a source of safety and security.
Yawn: Comanche yawns during a training session, a good sign he is relaxed and calm.
Hoofpick: The trainer explains that picking up its feet is that last thing a horse thinks he or she should do. Why? Because attaching any single part of their body to something, means they can’t run away, a vulnerable position to be in as a prey animal.