If you've recently entered into the world of horse riding and ownership, you'll find yourself constantly buying gear for riding and taking care of your horse. This shopping list should always include a tool for cleaning the horse's hoofs (from an outlet such as Pick Brush). This tool is available in different styles, but typically has a durable pick that you use to remove caked-on mud. Many riders perform this task before and after they ride their horse, which means that you'll soon be fully acquainted with the process. As you get more comfortable with this common task, it's important to be careful to avoid getting hurt — and possibly even hurting the horse. Here are some safety tips to remember.
Make Yourself Visible Before The Job
As you've probably learned, it doesn't take much to spook a horse. If the horse is resting, the last thing you want to do is approach it from behind and quickly grab one of its hooves. You may find yourself getting kicked as a result of startling the animal. Before you start the job, approach the horse from the front. Speak to the animal in a gentle tone and give it a pat on the neck. Taking a moment for this simple interaction clearly shows the horse that you're there and reduces the risk of it being startled when you begin the job.
Pick Up The Hooves Gently
One of the things you'll learn about caring for a horse is that you should never be in a rush. Remember, the horse outweighs you considerably and if it doesn't want to lift its hoof, for example, it simply won't. Don't try to jerk the hoof that you wish to clean upward; you could strain your muscles or upset the horse. Instead, gently and firmly hold the horse around the ankle and apply steady pressure; this should prompt the horse to lift its hoof so that you can perform the cleaning.
Clean Slowly And Carefully
Even if you're anxious to get the job done, don't be abrupt with the cleaning process. Working too quickly could cause pain to the horse, especially if it has a pre-existing condition such as thrush or an acute injury to one of its hooves — and the horse could jump and further hurt itself or hurt you. Scrape gently and let the tool do the work for you. Repeated passes will allow you to easily remove the dirt, and this approach is preferable to digging in deeply in an effort to lift out all the dirt at once. When you're done, gently guide the horse's foot back to the ground and continue with the other hooves.