How To Pick A Horse Hoof? (Perfect answer)

If the horse does not pick up its foot, move your hand down towards the fetlock and place your hand on the dorsal aspect. Ask the horse to pick up its foot (e.g. say ‘up’ or ‘pick up’). Leaning into the horse to shift weight off the limb may help. Hold the dorsal aspect of the hoof in the hand closest to the horse.

How often should I pick my horses hooves?

Take aim by: Picking feet out daily, if possible. This is especially important if your horse lives in a stall full time or has only daily turn-out. If daily picking isn’t practical (he lives in a pasture, say), at a minimum try to do a good visual inspection daily, and use a hoof pick two or three times a week.

Do you have to pick horses feet?

A horse that is being ridden on a regular basis should have its hooves picked and cleaned before and after each ride. Other horses should have their hooves picked daily, if possible, or at least a couple of times each week so any hoof problems are caught in the earliest stages.

Does hoof picking hurt?

It’s unlikely you’ll hurt a horse’s hoof when using a simple hoof pick to clean it. However, if you don’t learn how to properly ask for and hold the hoof, you could harm the leg or the horse could harm you. The old saying, “No hoof, no horse” holds true, so hoof cleaning should be part of your daily routine.

Do horses like to be ridden?

Most horses are okay with being ridden. As far as enjoying being ridden, it’s likely most horses simply tolerate it rather than liking it. However, many people argue that if horses wouldn’t want us to ride them, they could easily throw us off, which is exactly what some horses do.

Why is my horses frog peeling off?

Equine hooves typically get plenty of moisture in the spring. As a result, the horn that emerges is very pliant and relatively soft. In the summer, drier conditions stimulate the growth of much harder, denser horn. The zone between the soft and hard growth eventually causes the frogs and soles to crack and peel.

Do horses like their hooves cleaned?

No, horses don’t like being shod, they tolerate it. I have a brother who was a farrier for 40 years (farrier is what you call a person who shoes horses) most horses like having their feet cleaned and trimmed as the frog part of the hoof stone bruises easily.

Should I keep my horse barefoot?

Determine whether to shoe your horse or let him go barefoot based on his individual needs. Because domesticated horses do not wear down their feet naturally like wild horses do, a professional farrier must regularly trim their hooves and, if necessary, apply shoes.

Why do horses need shoes but not cows?

Unlike horses, oxen have cloven hooves meaning their hooves are split down the middle. This means that when an ox is shod it wears eight shoes instead of four like horses. Cattle do not like having their feet off the ground and will not stand on three legs like horses do during shoeing.

What happens to a horse with no shoes?

Increased risk of injury: If the horse is not well-shod or the farrier is inept, rogue or “hot” nails can harm the sensitive inner part of the hoof. If a horse “springs” (loses) a shoe during work, it may result in a tendon sprain or damage to the hoof wall.

What to do if a horse tries to kick you?

If your horse kicks you or bites you, you should punish him as soon as possible. Hesitating and only trying to do something in a minute is useless. Your reaction should be instant. Usually, its good to just use whatever you have in hand at the moment.

Does cleaning a horse’s hoof hurt?

Because the horse shoes are attached directly to the hoof, many people are concerned that applying and removing their shoes will be painful for the animal. However, this is a completely pain-free process as the tough part of a horses’ hoof doesn’t contain any nerve endings.

How To Pick a Horse’s Hoof – The Horse

Cleaning hooves is a crucial aspect of learning the fundamentals of horsemanship. If you want to avoid bruising from pebbles or debris, you should pick the horse’s feet before and after riding. Regular cleaning and inspection of the hooves may also aid in the detection of any anomalies, such as odor, bruising, cracking or loose shoes; if you do discover an issue, speak with your veterinarian or farrier to establish the best course of action for resolving the situation. First and foremost, though, is this: The following are the measures to follow in order to choose a horse’s foot properly and safely:

  • Ascertain that your horse is haltered and securely tethered, or that an aide is in charge of keeping him in check. Face your horse’s tail while you stand next to his shoulder (for his front feet) or hip (for his hind feet) while standing close to his shoulder or hip. Keeping your feet together and your feet turned away from your horse can help to prevent your toes from being accidently trodden on if he puts his foot down. By bending at the knees as you reach forward to pick up his foot, you can reduce the strain on your lower back. You want your horse to pick up his foot, therefore you should run your hand along his leg to express that. Your horse’s cooperation in lifting up his feet will determine whether or not you need to utilize your shoulder to put some weight against him to urge him to lift his foot. Just be careful not to lean too much. When you want him to lift his foot, give him a verbal signal such as “hoof up” or “pick up.” Maintain your grip on his leg at the pastern or coronary band (just above the foot), or place your hand beneath the hoof itself to provide support. Start by removing any pebbles, mud, or other debris from around the frog’s foot (the fleshy “triangle” on the bottom of his foot) using a hoof pick. If your horse is wearing shoes, trace around the inside of the shoe to check for and remove any stones. If your horse is not wearing shoes, trace around the outside of the shoe. For a barefoot horse, clean the region where the hoof sole (the bottom of the hoof) meets the hoof wall (the outer hoof capsule)
  • For a saddle horse, clean the area where the saddle meets the saddle. Once the foot has been thoroughly cleaned, carefully place your horse’s hoof on the ground. Refrain from allowing him to do the task on his own—his patience may spare your toes from being smashed! Instead, gently move his foot to the ground on the other side. When lowering the hoof of elderly, arthritic horses, exercise extreme caution since dropping a geriatric’s foot might give him pain or lead him to lose his balance. Then repeat the same on the remaining three hooves

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How to Pick a Horse Hoof

Article in PDF format Article in PDF format When you pick out a horse foot, you are removing dirt, bedding, and any stones that have become compacted in the underside of the hoof, among other things. This is accomplished with the use of an instrument known as a hoof pick. Picking out feet is a very vital skill, and it should be practiced on a regular basis before and after riding in order to maintain the horse healthy and prevent him from becoming lame. Should you fail to pick the hoof and a stone becomes stuck in it, it is conceivable that the horse’s weight may drive the stone all the way through the sole, which can have fatal implications.

  1. 1 Calm down the horse’s nerves. You must first ensure that your horse is in a relaxed state before proceeding. You should also make certain that he does not intend to leave the group. If you want your horse to stand on three legs, you must begin in a quiet environment because if there is a lot of excitement around him, it will be impossible to do this.
  • You should tether your horse to a fence. Check to see that the rope that is holding them isn’t too tightly wound. The reason for this is to ensure that if the horse panics, he will not injure his neck by jarring it against the bridle
  • Furthermore, make sure that the rope is not too short, as this might create discomfort or panic in the horse. Also, make sure the rope isn’t too long, since the horse’s grazing instinct may take over and cause him to lose his balance if he lowers his head.
  • 2 Begin on one side of the body. You should introduce yourself and let the horse know you are approaching with positive intentions while approaching the animal. Massage his neck and shoulders gently, and talk in hushed tones with a kind voice. Take a position near the shoulder of one side and turn your body so that you are facing his tail. For a horse that has the potential to kick, ensure that your body is positioned comfortably and safely
  • Place your outer leg slightly in advance of the other as you are planting yourself next to your horse in order to maintain greater balance and maneuverability. Establish a routine with the horse so that he becomes accustomed to what you are about to do to him. The fact that he will be more inclined to collaborate will make your life easier in the long run. You should start with the front leg so that you may get a better sense of the horse’s temperament while staying further away from the potentially hazardous hind end.
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  • s3 Make the horse aware of your presence. Run your hand down your horse’s leg and then tap it at the rear of his leg after you have established a secure position alongside him. This should give the horse notice of what you are about to do, giving him enough time to prepare himself. When your horse does this, you want to make sure the other three legs of the horse are properly aligned so that you can choose his foot
  • Otherwise, you will have difficulty picking his hoof.
  • If he is feeling unstable, he will not pick up a leg, so give him a time to regain his equilibrium.
  • 4 Raise one of his legs. Allow your horse enough time to raise his foot when he has calmed. If the horse does not instinctively pick up the leg when you instruct it to do so, you can pressure the leg above the fetlock, which is the hinge joint above the hoof, until it does. If the horse is not reacting, be patient and nice with him
  • It may take some coaxing to get him to respond.
  • Continue to gently lean on his shoulder if he still won’t pick up his leg. This can occasionally assist him in shifting his balance to the opposite side. Carefully move his weight from one leg to the other
  • If all other attempts to lift his leg fail, gently squeeze his chestnut, which is a firm, oval growth above the knee on the inside of the leg
  • If all other attempts to lift his leg fail, gently compress his chestnut. Be careful, and give the leg a split second before lifting it. As soon as you receive a reaction, you should release it
  • If nothing else works, talk to him while making clicking noises with your tongue to ensure that he is paying listening. If a typically attentive horse will not extend a leg, it is likely that the horse is lame.
  • 5 Provide support for the hoof. Once you’ve gotten him to elevate his hoof, grab hold of it with one hand. Take hold of the heel of his foot and elevate it towards his elbow if he attempts to pull away or place his foot down on the ground. Hands nearest the horse’s body should support the hoof, with the hand furthest from the horse’s body being used to pick up the hoof with the pick. As a result, you will be in the optimum position to place your body against the horse and feel the motions the horse is making.
  • This also helps the horse to feel more confident since he knows exactly where you are and so feels more comfortable
  • And Some horses are considerably happy if you do not hold the pastern, which is the area below the fetlock and above the hoof
  • However, this is not the case for all horses.
  • 6 Take a deep breath and relax your pull. Once you have successfully supported the horse’s hoof in your palm and the horse has begun to relax, you may begin to lessen the force of your grasp on the leg. Once he gets comfortable in the position, you won’t have to exert as much effort. Because the grip demands very little strength, you will only need to exert minimum effort as soon as he does.
  • If you remain calm, he will be less inclined to stamp his hoof down on you. It is possible to begin selecting the horse’s foot after the animal is standing peacefully on three legs. Make sure you don’t drag the horse’s leg out toward you. You’d like to maintain it in its native environment. Using an improper method of pulling the horse will result in severe discomfort for both of you.
  1. 1 Take the stuff out of the frog’s mouth. As soon as you have the horse foot in your hand, you may begin the process of plucking it. Use your fingers or a brush to remove any material from the frog, which is the V or triangular wedge form that protrudes from the horse’s heel towards his head, rather than the pick, to begin working on the horse’s frog. There is a blood supply and nerve endings in the frog, which makes it a particularly sensitive portion of the hoof. When handling this delicate area of the horse, it should be treated as if it were any other sensitive part of the animal.
  • Occasionally, the frog shreds. Gentle tugging with your fingers will help it look less worn and ragged. If it does not come away on its own, it is most likely pieces of the frog, and you should wait for it to do so on its own
  • If this is not possible, contact a qualified farrier or hoof trimmer to trim it for you. If the frog appears to be flaky, resist the temptation to trim it yourself. You can rapidly go too deep and cut into live tissue, which might subsequently cause your horse to get lame
  • 2 Remove the hoof from the shoe. When cleaning, carefully loosen any stones using the point of the hoof pick and pry them out with the other end. Never drive the point of the pointer into the sole or hoof. To generate leverage on stones, the point should only be used in this manner. Make use of the edge of the hoof pick to dislodge dirt, mud, and other debris from the hoof. Make continuous strokes until you can see the horn that creates the horse’s hoof
  • Then stop painting.
  • The hoof pick should always be worked away from the frog, in order to avoid accidently hurting the heel area or stabbing oneself with the hoof pick. It is recommended to work from heel to toe. This implies that you should start with the hoof pick close to the frog and gradually move it away from it. This protects the frog from being accidently pierced with the pick. Use a wiping or swiping motion, parallel to the hoof, rather than applying pressure down towards it to avoid the chance of entering it
  • Never apply pressure down towards the hoof
  • 3 Take a close look at the horn. While you are plucking the heel, you should take note of the condition of the horn, which is the strong skin that covers the interior of the hoof wall and protects it from injury. In order to be considered dry, the horn of the hoof should not have fractures or damp discharges.
  • Do not hesitate to call your veterinarian if you see any signs of cracking or fissures as well as any discharge, whether it is pus or a white, foul-smelling discharge.
  • 4 Pay close attention to the sensitive parts of the body. These spots are located along the cleft of the frog and surrounding the area shown with a white line. Small stones may become lodged in these crevices, causing irritation and, if left unattended, catastrophic harm to the surrounding region. Examine the horse’s foot or frog for signs of thrush, which is distinguished by a flaky white powder on the hoof or frog. When the hoof pick is scratched over it, it will flake. It is a common and possibly fatal hoof illness caused by damp or muddy circumstances in a pasture or stall
  • It affects horses and cattle.
  • In the same way that you inspect the horn, you should make sure that the frog seems dry and that there is no discharge or foul-smelling stuff escaping from it. Make sure the frog is not too hot by placing your palm over it. A warm, sensitive frog is a symptom of an internal illness that needs immediate veterinarian intervention.
  • 5 Inspect the condition of the hoof. Once you have removed all of the dirt from the hoof and examined the horn and frog, you must inspect the hoof to ensure that it is in good condition before moving on. Check the sole of the hoof for hardness and concavity
  • It should be firm. In addition, you must make certain that the hoof is balanced and does not require trimming. When the horse stands firmly on its hind legs with all four feet in touch with the ground, it is considered to be in good condition.
  • Examine the inside of the hoof for bruising and fractures. If a horse is reluctant to put one hoof down, this might indicate that he or she is in pain or uncomfortable. As soon as you discover this, pay close attention to that leg when inspecting the hoof.
  • 6 Take a look at the clenches. If your horse is wearing shoes, check to see that the clenches, which are the nails that keep the shoe on, haven’t risen over the shoe. You will most likely know whether they have risen when the clenches slash your palm open with their teeth. Make an attempt to shake the shoe to ensure that it is not loose. Gently place the hoof on the ground
  • If the shoe is loose, make an appointment with a certified farrier to get it replaced as soon as possible. Make use of a hoof boot or a bandage to hold a loose shoe in place until the farrier can arrive
  • Some horses do better with shoes, while others perform better barefoot. Consult with an experienced farrier to determine which option is best for your horse.
  • 7 If a salve or conditioner is required, apply it. If your horse’s foot is really dried out, feels excessively harsh, or is in desperate need of conditioning, you can use a hoof conditioner to help it out. Various kinds of hoof conditioner or salve, such as Equine Squire Drawing Salve or Hoof Maker, can be used to renew your horse’s hoof, and there are many other options available.
  • Coconut oil may be used to create a homemade hoof conditioner for your horse’s feet. Alternatively, you may combine one part aloe vera and one part glycerin with two parts coconut oil to create a more intensive conditioner for your horse’s hooves. There are a variety of ointments available for horses suffering from infections or other bacteria infections in their hooves, including ichthammol, which may be used to help ease discomfort, reduce inflammation, and kill germs.
  • 8 Attend to the last three legs. Once you have done the whole inspection of one leg, you must repeat the same technique for the other legs in the same manner. Hold your position squarely against the side of the horse’s rump, with your back to the horse’s head and your back looking towards his tail, when selecting the rear hooves. Never get in the way of the horse’s progress. It is possible that you might be gravely wounded if he kicked you out.
  • Take cautious not to catch the horse off guard. You should run your hand down his back, across his rump, and all the way down his hind leg to his fetlock until you reach his femur. Instruct the horse to elevate the hind leg in the same manner that you lifted the front leg a moment ago. If the horse kicks out when you are standing to the side, simply release go of the foot and you will not be injured
  • You should strive to examine the legs in the same order each time
  • And
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  • Question So, what does it imply if your horse kicks you in the ribs when you are doing nothing? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian It’s possible that the horse has been shocked in the past by someone approaching from behind him, and that he is now reacting aggressively because he perceives anyone in close proximity to him as a threat. It’s possible that he’s discovered that when he kicks out, people tend to maintain their distance. As a result, he avoids having to do things that he doesn’t want to do. Given that this is a potentially dangerous issue, seek expert help on how to retrain the horse from a professional behaviorist or horseman
  • Question My pony rears when I attempt to wipe out his foot, and I’m not sure why. A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian It’s possible that the pony has learned that by rearing, you get others to back off. As a result, he employs it as an effective tactic to avoid having to do anything he does not want to do. It’s also possible that he’s suffering from a pain in the hoof and is adamant about you not touching it since it will be sore. If the pony appears to be lame in any way, consult a veterinarian or a skilled farrier. Otherwise, if he’s in good health, begin to slowly train him to accept having his feet stroked.

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  • When riding, you should always keep your head out of the way in case your horse tries to kick at you. Try utilizing a medium bristles grooming brush at first on a green horse or a horse that has had a terrible experience with hoof handling before gradually incorporating the use of a pick into the routine. It may take a few hoof cleanings before you become accustomed to it. Keep the chestnut from being squeezed too forcefully. This has the potential to cause it to pop and bleed. The horse may experience considerable discomfort as a result of this. You may also use peroxide to completely clean the hoof region by pouring a small amount of it within. If he began off peacefully but then grows agitated, always conclude on a good note and in your favor by saying something kind. Horses have a fantastic memory, which is very useful when they are stressed. As soon as he discovers that prancing around a bit can cause you to halt, he will do so on a regular basis. If he becomes agitated throughout this procedure, speak to him in a low, quiet, and relaxing tone of voice to help him relax. This will demonstrate to him that you are not terrified, and as a result, he should not be as well
  • If he is not prepared to stand quietly, there is no use in attempting to reason with him. This can be quite risky
  • If the horse is not accustomed to having his feet and legs handled, seek the assistance of a more competent individual to complete the task. A horse that is anxious might be a deadly horse. Being large creatures, they experience fear in the same way that people do.


About This Article

The following is an outline of the procedure for picking a horse’s hoof: first wait until the animal is quiet, then stand close to one of the horse’s front shoulders. Make a downward motion with your hand along the horse’s leg, tapping it at the rear of the leg to encourage it to elevate its foot. Use the hand that is closest to the horse to grab the hoof and keep it stable. Use the fingers of your free hand to brush material out of the V-shaped indentation in the horse’s foot, then gently loosen any dirt or stones with the point of the hoof pick and pry them free with the other hand.

Continue reading for advice from our veterinarian reviewer on how to examine your horse’s hoof after it has been cleaned. Did you find this overview to be helpful? The writers of this page have together authored a page that has been read 203,868 times.

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AnnaElizabeth Photography/Shutterstock provided the image. Knowing how to carefully select out and care for a horse’s feet and hooves is essential for keeping them in excellent health. Read on for more information. In fact, the horse’s foot is formed of the same substance as your fingernails; it’s constantly developing and needs to bear the entire weight of the horse on its back. If something is wrong with your horse’s foot, he may become lame or limp. You’ll want to take your pony to a farrier every four to eight weeks so that he may be trimmed or shoed.

In the event that your horse is ridden frequently, particularly on hard ground, he may require front shoes or shoes on all four feet.

If these are required, your veterinarian and farrier will tell you.

Daily Care

Every day, the feet of your horse or pony should be picked out and trimmed. This is necessary in order to avoid the development of an illness known as thrush. Another possibility is that a horse will pick up a stone in his foot or tread on a nail, which can result in major damage and disability. For this session, you will need a hoof pick, which is the most critical grooming equipment you will ever own! To accurately identify a foot, follow the steps outlined below: Position yourself next to the horse’s front left leg, with your back to his tail.

  1. Follow the horse’s leg with your left hand (the hand that is closest to the animal).
  2. Squeeze his ankle immediately above it with your fingers, and then push the horse away with your shoulder to release him.
  3. Grasp the horse’s hoof rather than simply the pastern as he lifts his foot.
  4. Start from the heel (the back of the hoof) and work your way toward the toe of the horse’s foot.
  5. Once you’ve removed all of the dirt from the hoof, turn the hoof pick over and use the brush to remove any remaining dirt.
  6. courtesy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Things to Look For

Look for any black oozy substance or unpleasant odor that may suggest that your horse has thrush, as well as any other symptoms. Look for any bruised or damaged areas on the sole of the shoe. If there are shoes, gently grip one side of the shoe with two fingers and attempt to move it to see if it is too tight or not. This indicates that the shoe is loose and that an appointment with a farrier should be made. When you are finished, place your foot lightly on the ground. If you suspect thrush, visit your local tack store and purchase a thrush treatment to use on a regular basis.

When picking out your horse’s feet, never sit or bend down since an unexpected noise or fly might surprise him or force him to kick, and you would be unable to get away quickly enough to prevent getting wounded.

JNIX/Shutterstock When choosing the horse’s hind feet, it’s best to be as near to the animal as possible.

This program is brought to you in collaboration with the Pony Clubs of the United States.

Pony Club is a great place to learn more about horsemanship. You can read the full version of this article on how to select hooves in the September/October 2019 edition of Young Ridermagazine. To subscribe, please visit this page.

The Basics of Hoof Picking

  • If you pick up your feet in the stall before you come out, you may keep the aisle in the barn cleaner. Hanging from the stall door with a hoof pick on a baling string loop is an attractive option.
  • Just before your horse departs for exercise or turnout, you have the opportunity to feel all of his legs and tendons, looking for heat and swelling along the way. The dog will not be walked or allowed to go about on a damaged leg if you discover an injury, swelling, or something strange in his body.

In this condition, the thrush becomes stuck in the hooves, which can act as a glue for stones and pebbles to become lodged in.

  • Ensure that there is no thrush developing by doing the following tests: Thrush is a very straightforward infection to recognize. You will smell it, and you will see black sludge in the grooves and on the frog. It can also move to the sole of the foot in severe situations. Put a stop to it right now.
  • Before you leave the house, inspect your shoes for scuffed or loose heels, as well as your nails for missing or loose nails. Here’s how you pull a shoe if you ever find yourself in this situation:
  • Make a visual inspection for stones, twigs, mulch, and other debris that tends to become lodged in the drain. A nail, screw, or other sharp item lodged in your horse’s hoof should cause you to become extremely concerned. This is a life-threatening situation owing to the strong infection and difficult-to-treat location, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately. It is explained in depth in this post what happens and what you may do to improve your chances of survival.

Before you take your horse out for a ride, attach a hoof pick to the halter hook so you can easily access it.

And here are the HOW’s of picking hooves.

  • A truly nice hoof pick with a long triangular pick is something I enjoy using. This form makes it simpler to get into the bulb, groove, or shoe crevice, which are all places where many things prefer to hide. I like a pick that has a brush attached to it
  • This is fantastic for sweeping up all of the gunk, dust, and other debris. This also gives you the flexibility to choose, sweep, and pick again if necessary.
  • Work in a well-lit environment. This is an absolute must. It happened to me once that I accidentally removed some bark from an obscure groove that I couldn’t see when picking in the stall but discovered a few minutes later when working in better light. Some hoof picks are equipped with LED lights. Handy
  • Keep your wits about you. Pick hooves first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, and last thing at night. Repeat the process before and after riding, as well as before and after turnout. There is no such thing as too much of a good thing. The benefit of practicing it all the time is that your horse will become fairly adept at it, and you will not have to teach it again when you travel with your horse to a different location.

Some other thoughts on hoof picking.

  • An extra hoof pick can be hung from the halter hook if necessary.
  • When in doubt, choose another selection. If you are in any doubt, see your Farrier or Veterinary surgeon.
  • Don’t wait too long after a ride to make your selection. If you don’t have time and have to put your horse away until later, be sure you pluck the feet before you do this. It just takes a minute, but it might be the difference between being crippled for weeks due to bruises or a stone and being healthy.
  • Pick barefoot horses just as frequently as you would shod horses, and vice versa. Yes, the grooves are unlikely to be as deep as those of a shod horse, but they can still become clogged with debris and other debris.

Did you know that magnets may be used to hold hoof picks? They are adamantine to your metal barn and posts! The ones with brushes are my favorites since they are fantastic for getting out every last bit of gunk. Make this your one-stop store for all of your equine necessities. As an Amazon Associate, I get commissions on qualifying transactions, which means you pay no more for your purchases. You have no idea how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me. Thank you very much!

How to Pick your Horse’s Feet

  • This traditional aphorism perfectly encapsulates the need of proper equestrian foot care. Horse owners who take good care of their horses’ feet had fewer lamenesses and generally healthier animals than their counterparts.

Your toolbox

  • The fundamental tools are really affordable. A excellent quality hoof-pick is all that is required at the bare minimum. Many people feel that using a variety of brushes to clean the exterior of the hoof as well as the nooks and crannies between the frog and sole is beneficial. If your horse is suffering from thrush (as indicated by a detectable odor), you may want to consider treating him with thrush treatment medication. If you have thrush, consult with your veterinarian or farrier for treatment options

Life stages

  • Equines require foot care at all phases of their development. Young horses should have their coats clipped on a regular basis. It is crucial to learn how to handle a young horse’s feet since your farrier will appreciate your efforts. The farrier should be seen every 6 to 8 weeks on all working horses, shod or unshod. Working horses should be picked clean daily. Instead of cleaning everyday, make it a habit to clean before and after each riding session instead. It is important not to overlook older or pastured horses. The health of horses on pasture should be monitored on a regular basis and addressed to by a skilled farrier.

Step 1 – Secure your horse

  • Begin by securing your horse to a stable or other immovable object with a strong rope or ropes. Ties should be placed above the height of the horse’s withers and should be tight enough to prevent the horse from moving. It may be preferable to have someone hold the horse for younger or untrained horses in order to lessen the horse’s nervousness and the likelihood of a pull-back mishap. Check to see that the horse is standing comfortably and that its feet are equally spaced.

Step 2 – Pick up the foot

  • Start with the front left foot and work your way back. Standing with your back to the horse and your left shoulder almost touching the horse’s right shoulder, face the horse toward the rear. Pat the horse on the shoulder with your left hand, then glide your left hand down the shoulder and onto the leg of the horse while still maintaining touch with it. Stop slightly above the fetlock joint on the right side. With a slight pressure above the fetlock joint, the majority of horses will elevate their foot. Younger or untrained horses may require you to softly press on their shoulder in order to unweight the target foot
  • However, this is not always necessary.
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Step 2 – Pick up the foot (continued)

  • For more support and control, reach beneath and around the horse’s ankle joint as the animal elevates its foot. Maintain control of the hoof and, if at all possible, do not allow the horse to take the foot away from your control. The horse must be taught to stand peacefully with one foot lifted off the ground
  • This will take time.

Step 2 – Pick up the foot (continued)

  • Grip the horse’s toe with your right hand and adjust your left hand to cradle the horse’s hoof with your left hand. Maintain a healthy height for the hoof and avoid pulling the leg to one side. To have a horse that is simple to manage, it is critical to ensure that your horse is comfortable at all times.

Step 3 – Pick the hoof

  • Take the hoof pick in your right hand, with the pick protruding from the bottom of your clenched fist, and strike it. Begin at the heel of the horse’s foot and work your way up to the groove between the frog and the sole. Don’t be concerned about injuring the horse. The sole of the shoe and the frog are not responsive to contact. Make certain that any pebbles or organic debris that has become lodged in the groove is dislodged as well. Make use of the pick to thoroughly clean the sole. A pick with a built-in brush makes it easier to clean the sole of the shoe, which improves visibility. After cleaning the bottom of the foot, look for bruising or other damage on the bottom of the foot’s sole. When you’re finished, softly rest your foot back on the floor. Do not drop your foot since this may cause the horse to get startled or injured.

Step 4 – Repeat

  • After that, repeat the procedure with the horse’s hind left rear leg. Then, as seen in the illustration above, go to the horse’s right rear leg. Remember that experienced riders and ladies would cradle their rear leg on top of their thigh upon mounting. Because of this, it is simpler to support the leg and frees up the hands for improved control.

Treating thrush

  • A foul oder from the horses hoof may indicate a thrush infection. After cleaning, your farrier or veterinarian may recommend that you apply a product designed to treat thrush. We find that using a large syringe is helpful in administering some popular thrush products. Follow the directions on the bottle or as recommended by your healthcare partner

The finished product

  1. Thrrush infections in horses can be identified by a foul odor coming from the horse’s hoof. Following the cleaning, your farrier or veterinarian may prescribe that you use a treatment formulated to treat thrush on the affected area. When giving certain popular thrush medications, we have found that using a big syringe is really useful. Follow the recommendations on the label of the bottle or those prescribed by your healthcare professional.

The Importance of Picking

Whether a horse is out on the trail, in a pasture, or in a paddock, the hooves of his or her feet are susceptible to taking up gravel, dirt, and other foreign objects on a daily basis. If these particles of gravel or debris are not removed from the hoof, they can cause pain, infection, and lameness in the horse. Picking hoofs using a specialized tool Picking is the process of removing dirt, pebbles, nails, and other detritus that has been stuck around the frog with the help of a specialized instrument.

Prior to and after each ride, the hooves of a horse that is ridden on a regular basis should be picked and cleaned thoroughly.

Picking is the process of removing dirt, pebbles, nails, and other detritus that has been stuck around the frog with the help of a specialized instrument.

For a complete cleaning of your horse’s hooves, you should follow these three essential steps:

  1. Pick up the horse’s foot and hold it up so that the bottom can be easily seen. Stand near the horse’s left front leg, with your back to the horse and your left hand running down the horse’s leg, toward the pastern, is a good technique. Some horses will naturally take up the foot, while others will require a bit more physical effort on their part. Encourage the horse to transfer its weight to the other leg by leaning forward with your left shoulder against his shoulder. Squeeze the back of the leg in a gentle manner. Most horses will take up the foot if you apply just a little pressure to it, allowing you to hold the foot comfortably in your palm. When cleaning out the inside of the hoof, grab the pick in your right hand and, with the pick facing away from you, scrape out any dirt or manure with its tip, giving specific attention to the sole and frog
  2. To keep the angle of the leg normal and avoid bending it off to the side Remove debris from the area surrounding the frog, but avoid scraping it. Pay close attention for any trash, tiny pebbles, or other things that may need to be removed. Pick the hoof and examine it well for any punctures, injuries, or symptoms of infection as you do so. After the left front foot has been picked and cleaned, go on to the rear leg on the left side and continue the picking, cleaning, inspecting, and brushing procedures until the hoof is completely clean. Traditionally, the picking and cleaning cycle would begin with the front left foot, go to the hind left hoof, then to the right hind hoof, and finally conclude with the front right hoof. When working on the horse’s right side, it is normally best to hold the hoof with your right hand while selecting and cleaning with your left hand
  3. However, this is not always the case.

When a horse is unwilling to comply, it may refuse to elevate its feet or even turn around. The horse should be evaluated to ensure that it is in good health and does not have any soreness in one or more of its legs. If no physical abnormalities are discovered, it will be essential to educate the horse to be hoisted and worked on while its feet are lifted. A farrier or trainer will be able to guide you through the process of working with the horse so that lifting the hooves becomes a normal part of the brushing and cleaning routine.

Picking up a Horse’s Hoof Safely (even if you’ve never done it before)

Discover the most effective ways for picking up a Horse’s hoof. For both the front and back legs, there are two options. I was watching Rob try to pick up the foot of a horse the other day when I thought of you. To him, the simple job of “picking clean” the hoof was all that was required. And in order to do so, he had to do the “easy” job of raising his foot off the ground. You’re right. You’ve gotten your foot back up. In an ideal world, it is correct. As I’m sure you’ve learned the hard way.

Horse owners and minders frequently struggle to make it the straightforward activity that one would expect it to be, which I find to be a shame.

The horse is significantly larger and stronger than you.

This is, of course, especially true for the feet in the forefoot. You then observe the unlucky individual who has been assigned this assignment using different laborious techniques to persuade this uncooperative horse to simply pick up its foot.

And that was just the case here.

I stood there watching Rob struggle for a few minutes before deciding that I should walk over and offer him some tips on how to complete the task. And how to teach the horse so that she would allow him to perform the task whenever he desires. In fact, it is precisely what I intend to teach you today.

We’ll chat a bit about both.

  • The traps that individuals fall into when they first put their feet on the ground
  • And a more convenient method of doing the assignment

Let me state right now that I will not be participating in this discussion. Horses with risky tendencies that need a much greater degree of ability to deal with in order to avoid injury. That horse has you fully wrapped around its little finger, and I’m talking about how to get him to come around. Simply said, this is the horse that makes it as difficult as possible for you to even get up one foot.

Let’s Start With the Front Feet:

I’m going to tell you three methods that you could employ, with the third way being my personal favorite. But first, let’s get to the point. When I observe individuals doing this, the first problem I see is that they grab the leg at the fetlock and attempt to lift the horse’s foot with brute power. Essentially, they are trying to pick up the foot while also attempting to shift the horse’s weight onto the other front foot by pressing their shoulder into the horse’s shoulder in an effort to force the horse to shift its weight onto the other leg, thus making it possible to lift the foot on their side.

  • By nature, horses are “into-pressure” animals, as follows: If you press it, it will instinctively respond by pushing back. If you are attempting to pick up the foot using the approach indicated above, you will not be pleased with the outcome. Even if you are successful in convincing the horse to transfer its weight to the other side: It can still act as a deterrent by making it harder to flex the knee
  • Nevertheless,

Before giving some alternative approaches to make it easier for you to complete the task at hand. Consider the following scenario: You are attempting to deal with the horse’s right front foot. (When working with the other leg, simply swap the tips in the section below.)


The first approach is comprised of. Extending your hand to the inside of the horse’s front leg, just above the knee, and squeezing a little chestnut-sized piece of “what seems to be a patch of dry skin.” It is likely that the horse will bend its leg in order to move away from a certain level of painful discomfort that will be caused by pinching this area of skin. (Please keep in mind that this small bit of dried-out flesh is truly a vestige of a human finger.) If one can capture the fetlock when the horse takes up the foot as it bends the leg to move, one has a good chance of catching the horse.

2)Bend your body forwards slightly to allow your right hand to glide along the rear of the horse’s right hind leg.

In order to grip the chestnut between thumb and forefinger, move it inside the leg until you can do so.

5) And then there’s this.


The second way would need the assistance and application of a tool such as the Hoof Pick. 1)Stand with your back to the horse’s shoulder. You should be a few feet further away from the horse, at a distance that permits you to place your head close to the horse’s shoulder as you lean down. 2)Grab the handle end of the hoof pick with your right hand so that the handle protrudes from your right hand. In the case of a hoof knife, grab it by the flat of the blade, with the handle projecting from your right hand, like you would with a regular knife.

To move the leg, touch the horse on the front of the cannon bone (the long bone that links the knee to the fetlock) with the flat side (or flat side of both) of either of the handles just firmly enough to cause it to move the leg.

5)As previously said, cup the fetlock as the animal moves its leg. It will only take a few attempts before you will be able to flick the horse’s forefinger on the front of the cannon bone with your right hand, and it will pick up its foot on the first attempt.

The difficulty of using this method is.

For starters, the horse will frequently be taken by surprise and respond with panic the first time you do something like this to him. For the first few times, it will frequently simply pull the foot away and stamp it back onto the ground. However, one might ease the tap until the horse realizes that you want it to just pick up the foot and walk away. Take precautions to avoid being stamped on by anticipating the situation and keeping your feet clear. Continue to touch the bone more lightly each time, and the horse will respond in a more subdued manner, allowing you more opportunity to capture the fetlock in the process.

It is often helpful to.

  • Get hold of the fetlock
  • Take a few seconds to lift your foot off the ground, and then set it down again. Repeat this technique as many times as necessary until

In response to a light touch on the bone, the horse will lift its foot softly, and then respond only to a touch of your left hand on the fetlock, rather than to the first tap on the bone, as seen in the video.

The downside of using these two methods.

The difference between the two is that they both cause the horse some discomfort. It therefore links lifting up the foot with agony all of the time. This will always make it more resistive to taking up its foot, even if just in a minor amount.

Method3 – MY METHOD of CHOICE:

The following is the strategy I use to pick up the front feet when I am walking. Standing immediately in front of the horse’s shoulder, facing backwards, in a posture that allows you to lean slightly forward, lay your right hand on the horse’s shoulder or chest, and secure the horse with your left hand 2)Cup your hand in such a way that your four fingers protrude slightly from the palm of your hand. The horse will begin to move backwards if you press hard enough on his chest. As it takes a stride backwards, it will instinctively bend its knee and pick up its foot in order to take another step backwards.

To stabilize the foot in mid-air, slide your left hand down the leg, around the bent knee and cup the cannon bone with your right hand.

A Few More IdeasTips That You Might Find Helpful:

As soon as you lift a foot off the ground, horses will often test you by dragging the foot forwards in an attempt to free it from your hold, so that they may place it back on the ground themselves. If you let this to continue, you are instructing the horse to make things tough for you going forward. You should position your bent right leg in front of the horse’s leg, with your knee against the horse’s knee, and keep your foot back and out of the way if this is the case. Use your leg to restrict the horse in this manner until it un-learns the negative behavior of attempting to snag its foot from under your control.

Tip 2: Frequently put the Foot Back Down.

Keep in mind to place the foot back on the ground at regular intervals to allow the horse to rest and gain some relief from standing on one leg for long periods.

This should be done before the horse begins to attack you. Because if you wait until the horse is fighting you before putting your foot down, you are teaching it to do so, and it will eventually begin to do so on a regular basis and become accustomed to it.

Tip 3: Check for Pain.

A horse that resists you to pick up a certain foot may be suffering from discomfort in the opposite foot, shoulder, or leg, according to the horse’s breeder. It might also be caused by a little out-of-place back or neck that is producing discomfort. Take a look at it!

Tip 4: Get More Assertive.

If everything has been checked. After that, you can be a little more pushy in picking up the foot. During this process, it will assist if you lift up the foot and return it back on the ground nearly immediately, before the horse responds to the situation. Continue to perform this for a number of repetitions, increasing the length of time the foot is in the air with each repetition. When you approach the cure in this manner, they are frequently able to break the habit rather rapidly.

Tip 5: Make sure it’s not you.

Last but not least, make certain that the problem is not your fault. Horses are quite intuitive: If you have had a disagreement with a family member, friend, or colleague, and you are cranky and in a poor mood, your horse will sense this. If you are pressed for time and impatient. ETC, ETC, and so forth. You will notice that horses appear to respond negatively to this, and they will exhibit undesirable behaviors in whatever activity you are performing with them. I use it as a fantastic gauge for how I am going about my day, and I try to fix myself first before attempting to cure my horse’s problems.

Right, Now To The Back Legs:

To begin, let’s go over some safety precautions that you should take when working with your back foot. Again, we’ll presume we’re dealing with the horse’s right hind leg when we talk about this. Firstly. In addition, let’s imagine that you are unfamiliar with the horse and are unsure of whether it is accustomed to having its rear feet handled. If this is a young horse that hasn’t been handled much, this is a good idea. The handler will next use something like a whip to touch and massage the horse’s rear all over, as you can see in the video.

This is done prior to utilizing the strategy that I will detail later.

Tip 1:

My recommendation is that you begin by bending forward and stroking the horse all over its buttocks, gradually working your way down until you are at the level of the hocks. If the horse exhibits any type of negative behavior at that point.

See also:  How Much Does It Cost To Ride A Horse? (Best solution)

Tip 2:

Get a lead rope from a head collar and then do the following: In this position, you should be facing backwards and sufficiently in front of the back leg that the horse cannot reach you with its foot. You should place your right hand against the horse’s hip bone in this position so that if the horse attempts to swivel its butt toward you, you will be able to push it away or yourself away from the horse. 3. Now, using your left hand, grasp one end of the lead rope and stretch towards the back of the horse.

  • Keeping your legs out of the way of danger
  • Taking a step forward from the hips
  • Likewise, stretch your left arm towards the rear of the horse
  • And

In order to get the free end of the rope to lie near your feet, attempt to flick it around the horse’s leg just above the hocks. In this case, the rope is passed between the horse’s legs. 5)Lean down and take hold of the rope’s other end with your right hand in a quiet manner. then move it to the other end of the tube with your left hand so that both ends are now clutched in your left hand. 6)Return your right hand to its original position on your hip bone. 7)Now, slowly wiggle the rope down the rear of the leg until it is in the hollow below the fetlock and above the hoof, then tie it off.

In order to keep the horse away from you, maintain your right hand on your hip and pull gently back and up towards your belt buckle.

9)If the horse is able to lift its leg with ease, gradually release the tension from the rope so that the horse may place its foot back on the ground. 10)Repeat the process several times.

If the horse will do this easily.

Afterwards, you can advance to lifting up the foot with your own two hands. However, if the horse is fearful, it may take a bit more patience to persuade it to do what has to be done.

Last tip (3):

If the horse lashes out, simply release one end of the rope and begin the process all over again. They quickly grasp the concept. To demonstrate how to pick up the rear feet, please watch the video below.

Picking up the Back Feet:

2)Stand near the horse’s tummy during the first several strides. Lie down on the floor with your left foot slightly in front of your right foot and run your hand forwards with your left hand.

  • Starting from its buttocks and continuing down its leg, starting from the rump and moving past its hock

Then, as you get to the fetlock, cup it in your palm and draw it towards you, raising the foot slightly as you do so. Maintain the position of your right hand on your hip bone while also bringing your right foot back. This will allow you to escape out of harm’s way the quickest by throwing yourself backwards onto your extended right leg, which will save your life. To put it another way, by pushing with the right arm, you are moving the horse’s front end forward. 3)If everything is calm and under control at this point, and the horse is not protesting, proceed.

  1. 4)Grab the fetlock with your right hand from the rear of the leg, working your way around the inside of the leg.
  2. Now, with your left hand, position the palm of your hand in front of the horse’s foot and bend the hoof backwards.
  3. Start going towards the back of the horse by lifting the foot a little bit more than normal.
  4. If there is a problem with the horse, you will be able to swivel your right hip backwards swiftly, taking you away from the horse and out of harm’s path.
  5. Continue to move your feet forward in the manner indicated above until your right leg reaches your hands.
  6. As a result, you will be the most protected since you will be able to maintain control of the foot for that fraction of a second, giving you enough time to rotate out of the way if the horse does lash out.

The above is not to try to frighten you.

It is only a precautionary measure that you may employ to keep yourself safe from injury, but there are many horses with whom you will not need to practice this level of caution. Hopefully, you already have one of these.

Here’s a Video Example of How to do This.

Tip 1: Allow the horse to rest frequently by re-planting its foot on solid ground. Prevent the horse from attempting to escape by placing your foot down first. Tip 3: If it tries to take its foot from your hand in a half-hearted manner straight away, keep a firm grip on it and keep the foot on your right thigh until it stops struggling. After that, put your foot down and begin again after about a half-minute or so.

Consequently, the horse never feels confined and is therefore more likely to allow you to maintain control of its foot. Tip 4: Check for injuries in the other leg, as well as the back, neck, and other areas, if the other leg is having difficulty keeping a foot off the ground.

And that’s the how-to of picking up a horse’s hoof.

After all of that, it’s time to put the ball back in your court. Could you please respond to the following two questions in the comments section below.

  1. What is the most important thing you took away from the recommendations above? IE. Which of the points above was the most helpful to you
  2. And what is it that you find the most difficult while handling your horse

Ten Hoof Care Tips to Help Keep Your Horse’s Hooves Healthy and Strong

1. Determine the color of your horse’s feet. Even though it seems obvious, choosing out his feet is the single most essential thing you can do for his hooves-and I come across a surprising amount of owners who believe that picking out the feet is the farrier’s duty, which is incorrect. If you select out your horse’s feet, he will have a good start on having healthy hooves, and you will have a better chance of catching many common hoof problems early on (as I will describe). Thoroughbred with sprung shoe on the ground.

  • Before each ride, remove any stones or small objects that may have become lodged in his feet before you add your weight to the situation, and inspect the condition of his shoes (more on that later)
  • Before each ride, remove any stones or small objects that may have become lodged in his feet before you add your weight to the situation
  • Before each ride, remove any stones or small objects that may have become lodged If something has become lodged in his feet while riding, you should untack him once you untack him. when you bring him in at night to check for items in his feet or turnout injuries
  • When you bring him in during the day , check for objects in his feet or turnout injuries
  • Checking for heat and pulse (see below), removing dung, and looking for indications of thrush (see below for more information) should be done the night before turnout the next morning.

As an Amazon Associate, Practical Horseman may get a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our affiliate links. Product links are hand-picked by the editors of Practical Horseman. If possible, spend an extra couple of minutes after you’ve pried out any packed dirt to carefully clear the crevice of the frog and scrape any leftover pieces of matter off the sole with the tip of the pick each time you clean your horse’s feet. Finish the task with a hard brush to ensure that you can see the full sole’s surface when walking on it.

  • 2.
  • While feeling your horse’s feet to identify them, take note of their warmth; if everything is in working order, they will feel somewhat warm to the touch (more soon on what the variations can mean).
  • When the frog is healthy, it should have the texture and hardness of a fresh rubber eraser, which is roughly the same as a new rubber eraser.
  • It’s possible that your farrier’s routine cutting of the frog stopped you from detecting this normal process earlier.
  • When selecting the feet, look for evidence of wear and tear.
  • Thrush. Typically, a foul odor and dark ooze from the cleft of the frog indicate the presence of a bacterial infection (which is usually caused by prolonged standing in manure, mud, or other wet, filthy conditions, or even by the use of pads for an extended period of time). Later on, the texture of the frog becomes cheesy. Although thrush can eventually cause lameness and serious hoof damage, its early stage is straightforward to cure. Use an over-the-counter remedyrecommended by your farrier or veterinarian-follow directions carefully-and make sure your horse’s stall is clean and dry. If you regularly bed with straw, try a shift to considerably more absorbent shavings. Some horses-especially those with upright, narrow feet with deep clefts that tend to trap more dirt, debris, and manure-are predisposed to thrush even when well cared for. If you think your horse has an early case, ask your farrier to check
  • Puncture. If a nail or other object pierces your horse’s sole and then falls out, the entry wound will probably be invisible by the time you pick his feet and you’ll be unaware of it until it causes an abscess (below) (below). But in some cases the object remains in place, to be discovered when you brush the last bits of dirt from the sole. DON’T PULL IT OUT. Put your horse in his stall (protect the punctured foot, and help the foreign object stay put, with wrapping andduct tape, or with aslip-on medication boot), and call your veterinarian right away. An X-ray of the foot can show how far the object has penetrated and which structures are involved. (If you pick your horse’s feet out regularly, you’ll find the problem within a few hours of its occurrence.) Then your veterinarian can remove the object and advise a course of treatment
  • sCracks. Some cracks are superficial
  • Others can worsen, involving sensitive hoof structures, without appropriate shoeing. (One cause of a crack is a hoof abscess-see below-which breaks out through the coronet band at the top of the hoof, creating a weak spot in the hoof wall that must be attended to as it grows out.) If you notice a crack in your horse’s hoof, call your farrier and describe its location and size so he can decide whether it needs attention now or can wait until the next regular shoeing
  • Abscess. If your horse’s digital pulse feels stronger than usual and/or is foot is warmer than normal to the touch, the cause could be an abscess inside the hoof from a badly placed shoeing nail, a bruise, or an overlooked sole puncture. Your routine check can alert you to the problem and get your veterinarian or farrier involved before your horse-probably at least slightly lame already on the abscessed foot, which throbs from the pressure of increased blood flow to the infected area-is in even greater pain. (If you find increased heat and a stronger-than-usual digital pulse in both front feet, and if he’s shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot, call your veterinarian immediately. These are signs of laminitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause severe hoof damage-and, if not treated promptly, can even be fatal.)

4. Arrange for frequent farrier appointments that are tailored to your horse’s specific requirements. Despite the fact that the usual period between trimming and shoeing is six to eight weeks, there is no standard interval for either. A shorter interval may be beneficial if your farrier is fixing a problem with your horse’s hoof wall, such as under-run heels, a club foot, or flare in the hoof wall. Ask your farrier whether a shorter shoeing schedule (four to five weeks in the summer, slightly longer in the winter) might help avoid the problem if everything appears fine but he begins forging-striking the back of a front hoof with the toe of a back hoof (you will hear a metallic sound)-in the last few days before his next shoeing.

In the summer, a shorter schedule might help avoid the problem. 5. If your horse is shod, make sure to inspect his shoes each time you pick out one of his legs. 6. Look for the following:

  • The risen clinches the deal. Nail ends that were cut and bent flush with the outer hoof wall by a farrier during your horse’s last shoeing are now protruding from the hoof. What should you do? Because it’s been in place for several weeks, this is an indication that the shoe is loosening. He may have an injury if the raised clinches on one foot brush up against the inside of the opposite leg
  • He may even suffer a concussion. A shoe that has been sprung or displaced. Springing occurs when a horse’s shoe is lifted away from the hoof and maybe even twisted, rather than remaining flat on the foot. It has shifted if it has been moved to one side or the other. The nails in the problematic shoe might push against sensitive hoof structures when the horse puts weight on the foot in either situation.

6. Learn how to take a shoe off—yes, even you! Many farriers are delighted to instruct their clients on how to accomplish this (and may even have used tools you can buy inexpensively). If you are able to remove a sprung or shifted shoe, you may be able to prevent your horse from undue discomfort and hoof injury, as well as making things simpler for your farrier and doctor. 7. Assist your horse in developing the healthiest possible hooves. Some horses are born with inherently superior hooves than others.

  • Make little adjustments to his diet. Consult your veterinarian to see whether your horse’s nutritional requirements are being met by your feeding regimen. Include a biotin vitamin in his daily diet (ask your farrier for a recommendation). Some hooves respond positively to these vitamins, while others show no improvement. Allow six to a year for the supplement to show results in fresh hoof growth
  • Provide him with frequent activity during this time period as well. Good surfaces, especially at the walk and trot, stimulate circulation to your horse’s hooves and encourage development.

8. Avoid the “summer cycle,” in which the hooves are alternately soaked and dried. Your horse’s feet may adapt effectively over time to situations that are constantly dry or persistently moist; but, when the environment swings between wet and dry, the horse’s hooves are compromised. In the unfortunate majority of cases, this is true during the same months in which you want to employ him the most: the late spring/early summer/early fall months. Evening turnout, a summer method to keep biting insects at bay, exposes hooves to dew-soaked grass for an extended period of time, causing them to expand and soften as they absorb the moisture, much like your fingernails do after hours in water.

When this cycle is repeated over and over again, horseshoe nails loosen as their holes through the hoof wall widen a little bit.


  • Reduce the amount of time spent on the field throughout the summer. Reduce the amount of time your horse spends standing in a damp overnight pasture or trampling flies outside during the day by a few hours. Before nighttime turnout, apply Tuff Stuff to the lowest two-thirds of his feet to reduce moisture absorption and keep his hooves dry. But avoid conditioners that leave the hoof feeling greasy
  • If used regularly, they can actually soften the hoof wall, and if applied before your farrier’s appointment, they can make the hoof more difficult for him to work with. Avoid taking baths that aren’t absolutely required. After schooling, sponging the sweat off your horse works just as well as allowing him to stand in a puddle for 30 minutes or more at a time. The full-scale bath should be saved till right before the show. Reduce the length of time he spends shoeing throughout the summer. A misplaced shoe is frequently followed by hoof injury, which intensifies the cycle of summer shoeing issues. It is possible to avoid emergency calls by spacing your farrier’s normal appointments a week or two closer together. Make his soles more durable by applying Venetian turpentine to them on a daily basis.

9 Attempt not to turn out in a puddle of mud or thick snow. Standing in mud for long periods of time may result in thrush or scrapes (a skin infection in the fetlock area that can cause lameness). Mud is also difficult for shoes: the suction of thick mud may pull a shoe from its feet that has previously been loosened by alternating wet and dry circumstances. Mud also makes it more difficult to pick up your horse’s feet; if your horse is hesitant to move his front feet out of the way, he may wind up treading on the heels of his front shoes, causing the heels to come loose and fall off.

Keep the hooves of your horse protected when transporting.

Another region that is particularly susceptible is the coronet band, which is a rim of tissue at the top of each hoof that stimulates fresh hoof-wall development.

Traditional shipping bandages and bell boots (which should be large enough to cover the bulbs of your horse’s heels and the backs of his shoes) or top quality full-coverage boots are the solution.

In addition, the following articles in Practical Horseman provide more information on the subject: “Only a bruise?” (just a bruise?

Journeyman Farrier of the American Farriers Association (AFA).

He works as a team farrier for the Canadian Equestrian Team, and he has gone with the team to the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, and the 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, among other competitions.

In the August 2000 issue of Practical Horsemanmagazine, this piece was published for the first time.

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