Tag: hoof

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.

Formula 4 Feet: Taking Care of Your Horse’s Hooves

formule 4 feetHoof care is one of the most important subjects in equine care. After all, horses cannot function at best with injured feet. Who does right? Now to give everyone some handy tips, the team at Formula 4 Feet has dished out their expert advice on the matter. Check out what they had to say below.

  • Choose the right shoe. This is by far one of the most important tasks of any horse owner. Picking the right shoe and attaching it is necessary as it helps protect the hooves from wear and tear. If you’re not familiar with this then it would be best to call in a farrier.
  • Have the hooves trimmed. This is done depending on the horse’s needs and the intensity of their activities. As a rule of thumb, this must be done once every 10-12 weeks at the least.
  • Remove any debris. Before going in for a ride and when bringing the animal in for the night, make sure to check the hooves for any debris such as dirt, manure, grass or stones that may have gotten stuck on their foot. Carefully remove them using a pick and be sure to focus on the frog, the V-shaped part of the hoof. Do this carefully so as to avoid poking through and causing injury. To take care of the finer debris, use a stiff bristled brush to finish the job off.
  • Clean the stall regularly. Sanitation is very important for equine health in general and this applies not only for the hooves. This is particularly crucial as dirty stalls make for great bacterial breeding grounds that can cause health hazards.
  • Inspect for signs of thrush. When horses stand in wet and dirty surfaces for prolonged periods of time, they can develop a bacterial infection that causes foul smell, cheesy frog texture and dark liquid secretion on the hooves. This is called a thrush and it must be tended to quickly. An over the counter medication and treatment is available for this.
  • Provide for proper nutrition. Adequate nutrients will help in ensuring maximum hoof care for horses. Animals that are in a bad state are a magnet for various diseases and injuries so the better fed and the more properly nourished they are then there is less likelihood for worries. Aside from feeds, adequate roughage and supplements must be given for a well balanced and sufficient diet says the Formula 4 Feet team.

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