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Guide to Hoof Picking

hoof-pickOne of the primary responsibilities of any horse owner or caretaker is the regular picking of the hooves. The task may seem daunting and at times may be seen as unnecessary but it’s crucial in making sure that the horses have healthy feet and better comfort says Equine America.

Contrary to popular belief, hoof picking isn’t as difficult nor is it only administered by professionals. However, it’s true that utmost care and caution should be practiced. To help you out, we’ve compiled the following guidelines. Read up and learn a thing or two.

  • Know the tools of the trade. – The primary goal here is to remove compacted mud, dirt, stone and similar debris. These can cause pain and discomfort when walking and in other instances make the horses prone to infection and injury. There are two primary tools to the task: a pick and a brush. Both must be cleaned before and after use.
  • Avoid taking them by surprise. – Prior to picking, horses must be readied otherwise they are likely to get a scare. You might get kicked. Make sure that they are calm and bring them to a secluded area where they are unlikely to get easily distracted. Carefully approach them and gently stroke their shoulders and neck. Give them a warning too such as running one hand down a leg and tapping the back of it.
  • Be gentle and don’t rush it. – Start with one side and slowly lift the leg. With practice and routine, the horse may get the hint and automatically lift it themselves otherwise you may gently squeeze above the fetlock.
  • Pick carefully. – The goal is to give the animal comfort not injury and to do this one has to be very careful. Use the tools properly. Start removing the compacted debris using the brush. One may also do so using the hands. Use the pick to loosen up the dirt and stones until the horn becomes visible. Never prod or puncture with the pick so as not to hurt the frog. It’s very sensitive and is attached to several nerve endings.
  • Repeat the next day. – Equine America and its experts advise owners and caretakers to practice hoof picking on a daily basis particularly before and after taking the animal for a ride. Yes, it’s a regular thing and not some task that you can do when you feel like it. Trust us, your equines will thank you for it.



Horse Stable Requirements

horse stableTaking care of horses takes more than what meets the eye. Although a little challenging, it’s got its merits and when one right can lead to fruitful results. One of the aspects that owners ought to give attention to is the stables says Formula 4 Feet. After all, where else do you expect your equines to stay and take shelter?

  • SIZE AND TYPE

There are two main types to choose from the box stalls and the tie stalls.

Box stalls for an average sized equine should measure at least 10×10 meters to 12×12 meters as per the Recommended Code of Practice for The Care and Handling of Farm Animals by the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council. Tie or standing stalls on the other hand are 1.5 meters wide by 2.4 meters long. In both cases, the horse should be able to lie down comfortably. Where possible, it is generally recommended to build bigger dimensions.

The walls should be at least 4.6 meters high and still allows the horses to see each other. They should be very solid and sturdy, often made of timber, with a grill or sturdy mesh that helps with good ventilation and adequate lighting.

  • DOORS

Owners can opt between two types either sliding or swinging. Regardless, owners should always install latches that although can be easily undone by caretakers cannot be tampered with by the horses. They should be at least 1.2 meters in width.

  • AISLES

The aisles between be stalls should measure at least 3 meters wide. It’s big enough but not too small to restrict motion. However, other factors must be taken account on whether to make the dimension wider such as the tie rope and width of themanger for the hay.

  • FLOORING

Concrete is a common choice among owners. For better traction and avoid slips, the surface may even be roughened to a degree. Pavers and stone floors are other options. Although easier to clean, they do not drain naturally and will therefore require a proper drainage system or at least have regular cleaning (hosing down) and disinfection.

Some owners opt for rubber flooring as they provide more comfort to the equines. But the presence of sandy earth soil may be left on its own says Formula 4 Feet. Like rubber, it’s easy on the horses’ legs and is quieter and warmer too. However they prove to be harder to clean for the most part.