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Hoof Care Basics: Horse Hoof Trimming

Your horse’s hoof is like a much larger nail, and like your toenails and finger nails, it too needs to be trimmed. And if you don’t, it just becomes uncomfortable for your horse – and can even lead to splitting or chipping!

Therefore, if your horse’s health and comfort are foremost for you, then make horse hoof trimming an integral part of hoof care.

Photo Credit: Nottingham Vet School via Compfightcc

So when trimming your horse’s hooves, here are the things you should keep in mind:

  • Keep them clean.
  • Trim once in every 4-8 weeks.
  • Check for hoof injuries or problems – cracks, splits, thrush – and treat them immediately.
  • If you are not sure of yourself, get a farrier to show you the first time around.

But, if the D-I-Y attitude has worked for you and your horse so far, then rest assured – because hoof trimming isn’t all that difficult, so long as you know how…

How to trim horse hooves

Trimming horse’s hooves is actually a job that requires a good relationship with the horse – because it takes a bit of time and you will need your horse to stay calm during this time. In addition, here are a few tips that can make the job easier:

  1. Wet or soak the hoof to soften it. Just make your horse stand in mud or a puddle for 3-5mins before you start.
  2. Get a magnetic hoof stand – your horse can rest his foot on it and the magnet can hold the tools within reach.
  3. Pick the hoof first – this exposes the different parts of the hoof, decreasing the chances of you inadvertently hurting the horse.
  4. Make sure your horse is calm before you start.
  5. Place the horse in cross ties or get a helper to hold the horse in place.

As for how it is done, this video clearly shows you the method:

Be very careful when you do this though – especially if you are a beginner. Just underneath the dead skin of the sole and the dead part of the hoof lies live tissues, and any injury to these parts will not just cause the horse pain, but also may bring on bleeding. In case of any injury, clean the wound, put on a poultice and get your horse to the vet.

However, with practice and caution, you should be able to carry out horse hoof trimming yourself – thereby, keeping your horse’s hooves healthy!

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