Picking up horse’s hooves safely and easily is an absolute essential for all of us, writes CHARLIE BRISTER.
Nearly every working horse I know has its hooves manicured more often than their owner’s toes get any attention.
So making foot work a happy and relaxed time with the farrier will improve your quality of horse-life immensely.
Some horses will pick up their feet well, but misbehave when the farrier needs to hold them up for a longer period of time to trim the hooves. If the horse is being shod, the pressure of nails being hammered in can also cause issues for ‘hammer shy’ horses.
Every rider should pick out their horse’s hooves each day – even for barefoot horses. This essential grooming habit is easy to overlook in a rush, but quite often riders actively avoid picking out hooves if the horse behaves badly each time.
Vets also appreciate checking hooves that can be calmly picked up and held. Some horses need a needle to handle their feet, which is expensive and unwelcome and could have been avoided by having better training, consistent practice and positive experiences early.
Starting your foal early on the road to good hoof manners can set up a great life habit, but there is plenty you can do to older horses to make leg work safer for you and more comfortable for the horse.
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