The Best Practices for Cleaning Your Horse’s Hoof
Routine hoof care is best when provided by a professional Ferrier. As a horse owner, knowing the anatomy of the hoof will present you with a methodical understanding of thorough cleaning practices.
• Cleaning should be performed every 6 to 8 weeks; repeat simple maintenance once or twice a week as needed.
• Be certain you have hardened toed boots; be tentative to the movement of the horse’s legs while cleaning and the demeanor of the horse.
• Be certain the horse is aware of you. Accomplish this by touching the horse’s shoulders, legs, back and sides while talking to the horse and moving into your starting position.
• Begin your assessment with the front hoof; again, touch the horse as you move into position to the cannon bone which is a customary starting point.
• Stand to the side of the horse while you work on the front hooves. This allows you to respond and move away from danger if the horse becomes irritated or strikes out with the leg.
• Coming up with a phrase like “pick-up” or “leg-up, combined with slight but firm pressure with your hand on the cannon bone will help your horse respond.
• Repeating the same steps consistently will create an accepted routine that your horse will respond to with the same consistency each time you clean the hooves.
• Once you have the hoof up, hold the leg firmly. Being cleaning with the hoof pick, scraping out all debris until you see the hoof wall. Be tentative to the frog and heal area.
• Note any odor or discharge from the frog. Determine if the hoof needs a trim. Examine the dexterity of the frog, looking for cracks in the hoof wall or signs of puncture wounds.
• After releasing the front leg, move to the hind leg on the same side of the horse. Touch the shoulder, back and hind as you get into position.
• Be certain you are standing to the side of the horse while working on the hind leg. Do not stand too far forward of the leg or too far back, keeping yourself out of line with the likely kick.
• Again, start by touching the cannon bone, allowing the horse to willingly offer its leg. Once firmly gripped, begin the cleaning procedure.
• When you have completed your first side, remember to never walk behind the horse.
• Return to the front of the horse. Constantly make your presence known while keeping in mind that repetition will make the job easier for both you and the horse.
• Repeat the same steps while cleaning the other side.
Once completed, feel free to reward your horse with some carrots or apple slices with a touch of molasses.