An essential part of daily care!
How do I clean my horse’s hooves?
‘Picking out’ of the horse’s hooves is the process of removing dirt from their hooves. A hoof pick is used for this purpose. Some of the best hoof picks have a small stiff brush attached, which can be used to brush away loose dust and dirt after the majority of the mud or dirt has been removed.
- Start by facing your horse’s tail.
- Run your hand nearest the horse down the back of the leg, and gently squeeze just above the fetlock to signal to the horse to lift the hoof. If the horse doesn’t respond, try adding a little extra pressure from your thumbnail.
- Holding the hoof with the hand closest to the horse, use a hoof pick in the other hand to start scraping away any dirt. If it is a hind foot, make sure your arm is positioned in front of the leg, so if the horse kicks out backwards your arm will not be in danger. For a front foot your arm should be behind the leg.
- Start where the horse shoe ends, beside the bulbs of the heel and scrape any debris out, moving your hoof pick away from you towards the toe of the hoof.
- Scrape firmly over the sole and along the inside of hoof wall and shoe line until all remaining dirt, rocks and debris are gone.
- Take care when removing dirt from the triangular frog, including the central cleft. The frog is a softer tissue than the sole and it should be firm without any discharge.
- Check there are no foreign bodies penetrating either the frog or the sole of the hoof. If there is a nail or similar in the hoof, do not pull it out – this is a potential emergency situation so call your vet immediately as it may be necessary to X-ray the hoof with the object in place to see whether any internal structures have been damaged.
- If the horse is shod, check the shoe is secure and there are no risen clenches, or loose or missing nails.
- Once you are done, gently replace your horse’s foot onto the ground.
- Move onto the next leg and hoof, and repeat this process.