Cleaning Horse Hooves

The importance of cleaning your horses’ hooves is two-fold: The first is that they need to be cleaned and the second is that by cleaning your horses’ hooves when they need it is a proactive way to spot potential problems that may develop there. Here are some ideas from Jayne Pedigo of on effectively cleaning your horse’s hooves:

-Make sure the horse is not going anywhere by tethering him by his halter.

-Position yourself to where you can’t get kicked. Ideally this position will be with your shoulder against the horse’s shoulder with you facing his tail. Do not lean your face in front of his hoof

-Let the horse know your expectations. Run your hand down his leg and grab him by the fetlock (ankle). Apply a little pressure and lift up his foot.

-Once you have his foot up with your left hand, use your right to clean out the hoof with your hoof pick. After you have removed all the debris from the hoof, make sure that it is healthy. The frog should be firm with no discharge and if he has shoes, be sure that they are not loose or have missing nails.

-The final step that you should take when you’re done cleaning is applying a hoof conditioner/sealant.

The most important thing in this process, again, is making sure that you do not lean over the hoof. Even well-trained horses might have an impulse to do a strong, compact kick that could leave you with a broken jaw or worse.

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