Cleaning Your Horse’s Hooves: What Do I Remove?
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.