One of the vital tasks that any horse owner must be able to master is the cleaning or picking of the hooves. This is important to ensure not only sanitation but also the avoidance of injury, infection and certain ailments like laminitis. Today, we will be discussing a basic tutorial on how to do this.
Cleaning is done using a tool called a hoof pick. The main goal is to remove compacted debris like mud, dirt, stone and similar other items that may have found its way in. These can eventually cause pain and injury which can lead to injury or even lameness. Experts suggest that picking must be done on a daily basis, before and after the horse is taken out for a ride.
#1: Ready the animal. See to it that they are calm, not panicky, anxious or irritable. Bring them to a secluded or quiet area. Tie them up but make sure that it isn’t too tight so in case they panic they won’t get hurt or strangled.
#2: Begin with one side. Carefully approach one side and stroke the neck and shoulders gently. Stand by the shoulder and turn your body to face the tail. Put one leg slightly in front of the other for better balance.
#3: Give warning. Run your hand down its leg and tap the back of it. This will introduce the horse to what you are able to do allowing him time to square up.
#4: Life the leg. You can squeeze above the fetlock if the horse doesn’t automatically do so itself. This will take some getting used to. After which, provide support. With the hand closest to the body, support the hoof allowing the other hand to take hold of the pick.
#5: Start picking. With the hoof on hand, begin by removing any debris from the frog using your fingers or a brush. This part is very sensitive so pay extra caution. Once done, use the pick to loosen up the packed debris, dirt and stones. Continue until the horn becomes visible. When everything has been removed and cleaned, examine the foot for any injury, crack, abnormal heat or sore spots. If any, call the doctor immediately.
Caring for your horse’s hooves is very important.Remember the old adage, no hooves means no horse.