When you’re taking care of your horse, as an owner, it’s your job to look at everything from the top of their head down to the tips of their toes … erm, hooves. And there are a lot of reasons to pay attention to a horse’s hoof — to clean out caked on mud, look for bruises, and know when to do a trimming. For all of that, especially with trimming, you’ll need some essential hoof care items. These are what we keep on hand at all times, and we hope that this will especially help beginners who are wanting to care for their animals in the best way possible:
First things first — don’t ever try trimming a horse’s hooves without some kind of experience or training. Doing it wrong can be all kinds of bad for your animal. My family had horses for about five years before we started doing any trimming ourselves, and even today, we have a pro come in every so often to check our work. That said, this rasp is by far the best that we’ve used. It stays sharper longer than most others, and the style of the teeth doesn’t take the kind of strength that other rasps require. A trimmer once told us that trimming hooves is one of the worst part-time jobs you can have, because if you don’t do it every day like a pro does and develop the right muscles, you’ll get back and arm pain each and every time. The Heller rasp makes this chore a lot easier!
Also, be sure to buy yourself a rasp handle when you’re getting this, or any other, rasp.
We were just talking about helping to save your back, right? For that reason — and simply to do a decent job with the trim — this is the stand we use. The magnets on the side keep your rasp and knife and other tools right at your fingertips. This one adjusts to between 14 inches and 22 inches in height and is made of linear polyethylene. The Standard Hoofjack size is ideal for folks taller than 5-foot-10, whereas the Medium Hoofjack model is three inches shorter and more suited for a shorter person.
We’d be remiss not to mention a hoof knife as part of our essential hoof care cache. To be clear, there are lots of hoof knives on the market, and while there are a few shoddy ones, most will handle jobs just fine. I’ve actually been pretty keen on trying a Morakniv model, just because Mora has so many awesome fixed-blade knives at great prices — they’re truly one of the most respected knife brands out there. But we have tended to buy Weavers for our hoof-care needs. They’re comfortable in hand, and they last a good long while. Really, it’s unlikely you’ll go wrong buying a knife in the $8 to $15 range.
As with the hoof knife, there are lots of options for quality hoof nippers. Because these by Tough-1 are geared toward people with larger hands, I like them better than my wife does, but both of us appreciate how much leverage the design provides. They are drop forged from chrome vanadium steel and have a double-beveled cutting edge to eliminate nicking and bending.
We can only imagine how much the wet weather of the past year or more has led to an increase in thrush cases among horses. You do everything you can to keep their hooves clean and dry, but sometimes, the dampness is just too much. Thrush Off helps in healing damage to soft tissue — including abscesses — and kills thrush and white line on contact.
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