A hoof pick is one of the must-haves in your horse grooming kit and picking of the hoof an integral part of your hoof care regimen.
You may be asking why… let’s try and answer that first:
- Hooves can have small stones and pebbles stuck in along with mud and dirt. These hurt your horse when you are riding.
- Not cleaning your horse’s hooves regularly can leave the dirt, grime and moisture in and lead to issues like thrush which can cause the hoof to stink!
Besides, cleanliness is always imperative for keeping your horse healthy. So, now, let’s take a look at…
How to pick a horse hoof
Here are a few tips to give you a fair idea of how you should pick your horse’s hoof.
- Firstly, picking the hooves should be a daily task, and one your horse is carefully prepared for. This will ensure he isn’t very jittery – which can make picking hooves next to impossible. Calm your horse before you start. And also it is a good idea to train him to raise his hooves when you touch it and give him an order of ‘Hoof’.
- Always do it one side at a time. Take the trouble to get him acquainted to you, and make him feel secure so that he knows you won’t hurt him. Also stay very close to him, and keep touching him with your hand.
- Ideally, start with the front hoof on either side, then the rear hoof on the same side, next the rear hoof on the other side, and finally the front hoof on that side.
- At each hoof, run your hand down his leg and then tap the back of his leg – this prepares him to raise his foot by making him shift his weight to the other three legs.
- Slowly touch the front of the hoof and give him the order to lift up his hoof – at the beginning, you may give him the order and squeeze the place above the fetlock – this will teach him to follow the order.
- Once you’ve raised the foot, pick the hoof carefully. Make sure you do not use the scraper on the soft triangular frog and cleft – as the horse is sensitive in these areas and you will hurt him.
- Here’s how you should pick the hoof:
The above video gives you a fair idea of how you should take care of your horse’s hooves – but picking it properly is impossible without the right picks at your disposal. And so, here are the best on the market, brought to you right here:
First up, there’s the Normal Pick with brush: Hoof PickWith Brush Assorted Colors
These brushes are a good fit in your hand so they can be used conveniently. Also they’re pretty durable and will last you a while.
Also one great thing about these picks is that they’re not very highly priced and if you lose one you don’t feel too bad – and besides you could always order more than one and keep the other one on standby!
These picks are definitely what you need to have handy for your horse.
Next up, we have the Special curved pick for stubborn stones or a particularly stubborn patch: Oster Equine Care Series Hoof Pick, Pink
These picks are ergonomically made so you can easily hold and use them. In addition, these are just the right size to fit in your pocket.
Also, the curvature ensures that you can reach all that mud caked around the shoe.
The handles are slightly padded, decreasing chances of hand fatigue. These picks are also very durable and the metal is unlikely to break off with repeated use.
And finally, as the video showed you, after picking the hoof you should always follow it up with a coating of hoof oil – this protects and moisturizes the horse hoof. A product you may like to give a shot is the Fiebing’s Hoof Dressing. It has been in use for years now, and those who’ve used it once, haven’t ever tried out any other hoof oil!
The Fiebing’s oil also comes with the right brush which makes applying it a breeze!
The importance of a hoof pick should be impressed on all horse-owners, because it not only keeps your horse’s hooves healthy and hygienic, it also ensures that every ride is comfortable for your horse! So get the right picks and oil and get started today.
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