If you’re an equine owner, you know how important routine grooming is. Yet, grooming is more than just bathing and brushing. An essential part to grooming is cleaning your horse’s hooves. Lack of maintenance and hygiene will affect its ability to run, jump, work and just lead an overall healthy life. However, many things can impact equine hoof health such as weather, environment, heredity, etc. Thankfully, cleaning is the best way to help keep your horse healthy and happy. Here is what you need to know about cleaning your horse’s hooves:
All about the hooves
Horse’s hooves are concave in shape. The two clefts beside the frog easily pick up debris, dirt and other things that can injure your horse. Most people realize too late that something has punctured their horse’s hoof. If these objects are left in there for too long, bruising and even infection can occur down the road. In addition, manure and soil left in the hoof create a damp environment, which is prone to thrush. To ensure that your horse’s hooves are in the best shape possible, you should clean them daily. You’ll be preventing material from rotting the hoof or causing lameness.
“Hoof cleaning is a necessary part of caring for your horse.”
Cleaning your horse’s hoof
Even equine owners with years of experience know that grooming and cleaning a horse should be done carefully. You’re going to need a hoof pick to best complete this process. Here is how to clean your horse’s hoof:
- Start by facing your horse’s tail.
- Run your hand down the leg, and grasp the tuft of the hair at your horse’s ankle.
- Most horses take this as a cue to lift their leg. However, if your horse does not, apply gentle pressure with your thumb and forefinger to either side of the ankle to encourage it to lift its foot.
- You can use a rope to hold the lifted ankle in place or simply can use your hands.
- Start at the heel of the hoof and dig, pick and scrape debris out.
- Continue along the inside of hoof wall and shoe line until all remaining dirt, rocks and debris are gone.
- Be sure to check the condition of the frog. It should be firm without any discharge.
- While you’re down there, check out your horse’s toes to make sure there are no loose or missing nails.
- Once you are done, gently place your horse’s foot onto the ground. Abruptly doing so could potentially scare your horse.
- Move onto the next leg and hoof, and repeat this process.
- Be sure to scrape diligently. This will not cause harm to the horse.
- Stand close to the horse. This will lessen your chances of getting kicked.
- Do not rush this process. Abrupt movements could potentially scare your horse.
Hoof cleaning is a necessary part of caring for your horse. A clean environment, healthy diet and enough rest support an overall healthy hoof. Feed supplement products like Feet First, Coat 2nd promote healthy hoof growth rates, and hoof packings like Easy Pack also promote healthy frog and sole tissue.