How to Clean a Horse Hoof for Riding

Any fine rider will know the importance of clean and healthy horse hooves. Regular cleaning of hooves prevents your horse from mud and debris building up.  The cleaning also gets rid of any sharp objects like wood shafts, rods or glass shards stuck in the hooves which can cause pain to him and even make him limp if not cleaned in time. It also allows you the chance for examining the health of the hooves and preempt any possible problem. A responsible rider should ideally clean his horse’s hooves before and after each ride to get the maximum performance and also to keep the horse healthy. Hoof pick is a popular tool used for picking out debris effectively from the hooves of the animal.


  • 1

    Come close to your horse. Pat him warmly on the shoulder and lean on to him. Stroke his shoulder with one hand and make him lift his one leg with the other end. Hold up the hoof for access so that you can work on it comfortably. If you do it regularly, your horse will recognize the notion when you want it to lift his leg. It will take some time and convincing in the beginning.

  • 2

    Use the hoof pick to dig out all the particles caught in the hoof. Work slowly, removing all the deposit. However, you must avoid the V area of the hoof. This area has soft and sensitive skin that will be irritated due to the hoof pick and can upset the horse. Normally, this area does not hold much debris.

  • 3

    Drop the leg when you have cleaned the hoof. Repeat the process with all the four hooves until you are sure that your horse is totally free of any hoof build up. Cleaning is your best chance to judge the health of your horse. Check particularly for any wound or swelling that can cause problems for you. If you notice any such thing, treat it immediately because the smallest of infections can totally paralyze your beast. Clean the hooves of your horse every time you return from a ride. Do not leave any sharp objects lying in there which can develop an infection.

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