A horse’s hooves must be maintained in a clean and careful manner for your beloved steed to enjoy optimum health and avoid the risk of infection. With a simple hoof pick and some dedication you can ensure nothing remains in the hoof that shouldn’t be there and your horse can avoid the risk of painful infection and costly surgery. To help you keep things in order, Living Years has compiled the following checklist so you’ll always put your best hoof forward.
How to clean a horse hoof:
Stand beside the horse facing his tail, carefully run your hand down his leg gently squeezing right above his fetlock (looks like a human ankle) and lean into the horse. Gently pick up his hoof, slowly and carefully, or you could cause him to lose his balance. Most horses will instinctively lift his foot as you reach for his hoof.
Take the hoof pick and use it to dig out any wet mud, manure, grass, stones or any other dirt or object you see present. Use the pick from the top of the hoof toward the back, do not pick in the opposite direction as you can accidentally push something in further and therefore cause an injury. When you are done slowly put the horse’s hoof back on the ground.
Below are some general tips for keeping your horse’s hooves healthy and clean.
When cleaning the rear hoofs, do not pull his leg to the side but pull it backwards gently, this is generally more comfortable for the horse therefore making your job easier!
A healthy horse will not require any special treatments or supplies daily. In fact, washing the hoof with water too often can dry them out.
It is essential to keep your horse’s stall dry and clean to eliminate any infections. Keeping your horse in a wet area could result in a disease known as Thrush. When a horse does have thrush present, a strong odor will be present. There are many products available to treat thrush but simply keeping his area dry will help eliminate the risk.
To maintain the cleanliness and healthiness of your horse’s hooves it is imperative to clean his hooves before and after every ride or walk. If you do not ride regularly, it is still a good idea to check his hooves weekly to make sure they are clean of any dirt and objects.
Please remember this article is meant only to inform Living Years readers; for professional advice, contact your local veterinarian.