Teaching the horse to give to the rope with the legs is incredibly important for their safety and well-being. It teaches them to give their feet to pressure should they ever get caught in something – wire, a fence, you name it. Instead of struggling and injuring themselves (a fearful horse can really cause themselves great harm), they can learn to relax their leg. Doing this has literally saved my life, and probably my horse’s, several times while stepping into barbed wire by accident on the trail.
Roping the legs is important, but can be done poorly or well. Quite often it is done in ways that are brutal and cause harm and fear to the horse. Before ever putting a rope around their legs, I work to prepare them extensively, so that by the time I have a rope on them, they are not worried. Like everything else, this work should be done slowly, carefully, and giving the horse plenty of time to think it through.
This little 3 year old isn’t worried and gives his foot softly.