Routine hoof care: What, how and why
Basic hoof care is easy, requires just a few low cost tools, and may prevent hoof disease. New window.
Keeping your horse's hooves in the best condition possible is up to you as the owner.
Here are 10 things you can do to maintain healthy horse's hooves:
- Know the anatomy of your horse's hooves. As one of the most important parts of your horse, the hooves can give you valuable information about the state of the health of your horse. In addition, knowledge of the hooves' anatomy will enable you to maintain clean, well-picked hooves.
- Handle your horse's hooves on a regular basis so your horse is comfortable with having its hooves picked up and worked on. Gaining the horse's trust when having its hooves worked on can be invaluable in an emergency situation.
- When lifting the horse's foot, bend the leg back at its natural angle and not off to the side, making the position comfortable for both the horse and yourself. Some horses are trained to pick up their feet when the horny growth on the inside of the elbow or hock is gently squeezed.
- Right before you ride and right after you ride, pick your horse's hooves. Look for rocks, nails, twigs, and other debris that may be lodged in the underside of the hoof.
- Be sure to clean out the areas around the frog, but don't scrape the frog itself.
- After picking the hoof, use a hoof brush to wipe away any excess dirt in the foot. This will help you see any rocks, debris, or objects that might be lodged inside.
- Examine the hooves for any signs of thrush (a fungal disease), hoof cracks, stone bruises, abscesses, laminitis, or other conditions that might affect your horse's hoof health on a daily or regular basis.
- Keep your horse's bedding clean and dry to discourage bacterial growth. Don't let your horse stand in urine-soaked bedding or accumulated manure and avoid keeping your horse in a muddy pasture or paddock.
- Feed your horse a balanced diet that isn't too rich in carbohydrates to maintain good, inner-hoof health.
- Ride and stable your horse on good footing to prevent injury and keep hooves healthy.
Bacteria thrives in wet piles of manure and bedding. Routine cleaning reduces the chances of thrush and other horse hoof conditions. New window.
As the owner of one or many horses, taking hoof care seriously is an important aspect of being a good horseman. Keeping an eye out for developing hoof problems and treating them promptly can prevent serious conditions from developing that may lead to lameness or more serious consequences.
Keeping stables, pastures, barns and stalls clean, free of wet or dirty bedding material, and clear of obstacles that might cause injury are other important obligations of the horse owner.
Always contact your veterinarian or farrier when problems arise with your horse's hooves. They have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat any problems your horse might have.
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the rider was lost.... -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, June 1758.
This well-written and illustrated Horse Hoof Care book covers what every horse owner needs to know about this critical key to a horse's overall health and performance. The authors explain the anatomy of the hoof, the role of the farrier, and all the principles of proper hoof care and daily routines including how consistent treatment can prevent future problems.
Finally, an Illuminated Hoof Pick! Not only does it light up so you can see what your picking after a late ride,you can also see that mysterious mark on your horse's frog. the bristles on the brush are nice and stiff and the pick itself is strong, straight and all business.
This Poly Wheelbarrow with Dual Pneumatic Air Filled Tires and Cushion Grip Handle works well in removing wet, soiled bedding from horse stalls to help keep hooves dry and healthy. With a well-emgineered center of gravity, large capacity, and tires that go over any terrain with ease, it will save time and energy when doing barn chores.
This Wahl Professional Hoof Pick with ergonomic design is easy to grip and use. Made of reinforced steel for a stronger hook the comfort rubber grip fits perfectly into any size hand and easily picks packed dirt and mud from the hoof.