Neglecting your horse’s hooves can lead to serious health issues, from abscesses to lameness. That's why daily hoof picking is a crucial part of horse care that should never be overlooked. In this article, we'll explain why hoof picking is so important and how to do it properly.
Horse hooves are complex structures that protect the horse's feet and provide shock absorption during movement. The hoof is made up of several layers, including the outer horn, sensitive laminae, and the inner structures. The hoof also contains the digital cushion, a soft tissue structure that helps absorb shock and distributes weight across the hoof.
When horses spend time in their stalls or pastures, their hooves are exposed to dirt, mud, and manure. If the hooves are not cleaned regularly, dirt and debris can become packed inside the hoof, leading to thrush and other infections. Additionally, small stones or debris can get lodged in the hoof, causing pain and discomfort for the horse.
To prevent these problems, it's essential to pick your horse's hooves daily. Here's how to do it properly:
Start by standing next to your horse's shoulder and facing the rear of the horse.
Lift the horse's hoof and hold it steady.
Use a hoof pick to remove any dirt, debris, or stones from the hoof. Be sure to clean out the grooves and crevices around the frog, as this is where debris is most likely to become lodged.
Use a stiff brush to remove any remaining dirt or debris from the hoof.
Repeat the process with the other three hooves.
Hoof picking should be done daily, even when the horse is not being ridden. Regular hoof picking will help prevent infections, maintain proper hoof balance, and allow you to catch any problems early on.
In addition to daily hoof picking, it's also essential to have your horse's hooves trimmed regularly by a professional farrier. This will ensure that the hooves are balanced and healthy, which is essential for your horse's overall well-being.
In conclusion, daily hoof picking is a critical part of horse care that should never be overlooked. By taking the time to clean your horse's hooves every day, you can prevent infections, maintain proper hoof balance, and keep your horse healthy and happy.