Picking out a horse’s hooves can be a daunting task when you’re new to riding. It has been said that unless you’ve cleaned over 100 hooves than you are still a beginner. Many experienced equestrians could even struggle with the task and become unsafe. Find out the proper way to get a clean hoof every time!

PC: Mill Creek Veterinary School.

Steps for Picking Out A Hoof:

1. Tie your horse or have someone hold him.

2. Stand by your horse’s shoulder, for his front hooves, or hip, for his back hooves.

3. Run your hand down the back of his leg and gently pull up. If he doesn’t lift his hoof, then you can push your body into his to shift his weight. Another option is to softly pinch the chestnut on his leg.

4. Hold the hoof with your less dominant hand. You can hold the actual hoof or just above it.

5. Use your hoof pick to remove dirt, bedding, and stones. Do not pick the frog area, but clean next to it by getting in the bars. You should always pick downward, toward the ground.

6. For barefoot horses, you must clean the sole very good. And for those with shoes, trace the pick on the inside of the shoe to dislodge anything.

7. Gently set the hoof down.

You should be cleaning your horse’s hooves everyday. It is your chance to check for bacteria, bruises, and any other issues. Watch the video below for a demonstration.