My first horse of the day was a cutie pie. There were a few things I didn't particularly like about him, and I told the young girl showing him about them. He wasn't real willing to pick up a hind foot, and wouldn't take his right canter lead. An unfortunate deal-breaker, unless they can figure out what's going on there.
I hadn't planned on "outing" the barn where this next incident occurred. However, they've made zero effort to update their listing of the horse in question, and someone could get hurt worse than I did. So, here goes. If you're from that barn, and you'd like to respond to this incident, contact me.
We arrived at the farm, and found it much drier than the previous visit. Horse in question, Sport, was standing in the working round pen, waiting for us. He was caught with minimal effort, and brought to the truck to be saddled. I hadn't messed with his hooves on the first trip, but Mrs.M had rightly pointed out some problems, so I looked much closer.
I picked up front hooves with no problem. I walked to his left rear, and tried lifting it. He walked away. Reasonable enough, sometimes Romeo does that, Harley as well, depending what kind of mood they're in. I tried again, and again, and Sport kept walking off. The handler boasted, "We've never had a problem with his back feet. He must be sore or off today." I ran my hand down his rump, and down the leg. No flinch, no fuss. I repeated trying to pick up the hoof. Sport kicked out. I managed to get away before he connected. Handler didn't react, other than to repeat his claim "We've never had a problem picking up his feet. I don't know what the heck his problem is today."
I tried a few more times, a little slower. Finally, Sport got his way, and kicked me. Nothing serious, but his hoof connected with the back of my left arm, and the back of my left thigh. I sprung away from him quickly, and decided to call it "done". NO horse kicks me and gets away with it. The handler, did nothing. Absolutely nothing. He didn't whack the halter, he didn't back the horse up, he just made more excuses, blaming the weather, a sore day, anything he could think of.
He asked if I wanted to saddle him anyways. "No thanks. I'm done. I won't tolerate a horse at the house that won't lift feet. I don't care how sore he is. My senior horse at home is always stiff on his left hind, and while he's slow about it, he'll pick up all four feet without incident. I will NOT put my farrier through this much pissy attitude."
We left, furious. I'm still fuming about it. After contacting the handler who originally introduced me to Sport, I found out the second handler lied to me, and knew the barn had always had problems lifting hind feet. The original handler apologized to me for the incident, and explained, "The owner of the barn has suspended second handler without pay until further notice. Lying is not tolerated at our farm, and again, we are very sorry this happened to you."
Be on guard, ladies and gents. If you're looking to buy, I'd say give it two tries to pick feet up. If horse refuses, be on your way. Don't get little bit bruises like I got, because it could've been much worse.