Cleaning out your horse’s hooves is important for several reasons. It is an essential part of a good horse care routine. It’s a step that needs to be done frequently and when done properly will keep your horse healthy and happy and free to trot along without any pain or risk of thrush!
A horse’s hoof has a concave shape along with two clefts alongside the frog, and can therefore, easily pick up debris that may hurt it. While pine cones and twigs are common to find in your horse’s hoof, they aren’t really of much concern. However, if your horse is picking up large rocks or debris like wire or trash that may be littered around, this can cause anything from a mild bruise to a sole puncture and cause tremendous pain.
If your horse suddenly goes lame or has trouble walking, the first thing you should do is check the hooves and clean them out before consulting the veterinarian.
Why hoof cleaning is even more important during wet seasons
When the temperatures drop and the soil turns soft and muddy thanks to rain, snow and sludge, cleaning your horse’s hooves becomes even more important.
Soil and manure left in the hoof creates a moist, dirty environment; the ideal setting for thrush to start and thrive. Keeping the hoof clean may help prevent thrush from even starting. If, however, you aren’t able to avoid it and thrush does set in, be sure to clean it frequently to prevent it from getting worse.
Simple steps for regular hoof cleaning
The first step is to make sure your horse is tied safely before you start cleaning out the hooves. Position yourself on the front near side to avoid getting kicked if your horse gets rowdy. Hold your horses hoof in your less dominant hand and get to work with the hoof pick. Teaching your horse to lift its foot willingly will make the job a whole lot easier and place less stress on the animal.
Working from heel to toe, use your hoof pick to gently but firmly clear any manure, matted hay, mud, and other debris. Use a stiff brush to brush away any bits of dirt. Spray Kiss A Frog Foot Wash over the whole under hoof area and and into the area around the frog. Allow to dry for 2-3 minutes before returning your horse back to the stall.
Along with a healthy diet, and clean living space, hoof cleaning should be part of your daily routine to protect and prevent fungal infections. Especially for horses prone to thrush.
To help strengthen your horses hooves, use Jojoba Hoof Moisturizing Mist a few times per week. This effective conditioner contains hydrating and protecting oils, proteins, and essential oils for darker, stronger, healthier hooves that will be less prone to chipping!