The first time you clean your horse’s hooves, you may feel a bit overwhelmed, confused or even nervous or scared. By having a clear idea of what to expect and what needs to be removed from the hoof when you clean it, however, you can feel a bit more confident as you head in to handle this task for the first time.
After you have safely secured your horse and prompted it to raise its foot so you can access the hoof, you should then use your hoof pick to begin clearing out any dirt, manure, matted hay or straw and any other debris that you encounter in the hoof. As you remove this debris, you should work from the heal to the toe, being careful to pay close attention to the cleft around the frog so you do not damage it in the process.
Once you have cleared the debris from the hoof, you can then take a stiff brush to brush away the bits of dirt and chaff that have been left behind. You may even want to use an illuminated hoof pick in order to get a better look at all of the nooks and crannies within the hoof.
Finally, you can clean off of the sole of the hoof by picking gently around the area of the hoof that is just inside of the hoof wall. This area is characterized by looking simply like a white line. Be sure that you do not jab the area while also looking for any grit or small stones that may need to be removed.
Cleaning horse hooves is an essential part of keeping your horse happy and healthy. Luckily, cleaning the hooves of your horse is a relatively simple task. To guarantee the greatest amount of success when cleaning your horse’s hooves, be sure to keep these two tips in mind.
Tip #1: Tie Your Horse Securely
Before you begin the cleaning process, you must first ensure your horse it tied safely and securely. Keep in mind that crossties may be safer because they will help to keep you away from posts and walls if your horse decides to act up.
Tip #2: Establish a Cue
When cleaning your horse’s hooves, you need to be consistent about the process while also establishing a cue to let your horse know to lift its foot willingly. Most people start on the front, near side of the horse and then work their way around. There are several options that you may want to consider in terms of the cue that you use to signal when to lift the foot. Some common cues include:
- Tap on the horse’s chestnut
- Pinch lightly above the pastern joint and along the tendon at the back
The horse should then pick up the foot and allow you to support it with one hand. If you are right-handed, you will support the hoof with your left hand and pick with the right. With the hoof properly in place, you can now begin to clear the hoof as needed.
Keeping your horse and its living area clean are important steps toward keeping your horse healthy. From grooming your horse to keeping its stable clean, here are a few cleaning tips to keep in mind as a responsible horse owner.
Scrubbing Water Buckets
In addition to giving your horse fresh water every day, you need to also be sure to keep its water buckets clean. Regular scrubbing of the buckets will help to prevent bacteria from forming. Warm water and a hard brush will help with cleaning. White vinegar can also be used to help remove stains.
After doing your routine cleaning of your horse’s stall, you should also finish off your routine cleaning chores by sweeping the stable entrance, feed room, store room and any walkways.
You should also routinely clean your horse’s tack in order to keep it in good shape. To do this, wipe down leather items with a clean, damp cloth and then add leather conditioner and polish if needed.
Of course, you can’t forget about the actual horse! Every day, you should give your horse a good grooming in order to remove mud and dust. You should also pick your horse’s feet and give it a quick brush down before taking it out on a ride, as this will help to stop dirt and mud from rubbing against its skin as you ride.