This is the last installment on how to use each item in The Essential Grooming Box. And, honestly, it's probably the most important. Cleaning out your horse's feet before each ride is crucial to making sure your horse stays healthy and sound. Many times rocks will get stuck under their shoes and will cause a lot of pain, lameness and potentially a serious issue that requires time off. In order to avoid that, get to know your horses feet and pick them out regularly.
Start by running your hand down their leg. Give their tendons a gentle squeeze and your horse should understand what you are asking and pick up their leg for you. If they don't understand or if they are just refusing to listen, you can push your hip into their shoulder or hip while still squeezing their tendons. This will push your horse's weight off the leg you are trying to pick up and make it easier for you to lift the leg.
Depending on how dirty your horse's feet are depends on how much work is needed to get a clean hoof. A general rule though is to start by finding the V of the frog. Yes, I know that didn't sound like a real sentence, I will put together a horse anatomy post soon! Anyway, you can really see what I am referencing in the bottom gif. Be gentle as you pick around the frog! That part is like the sensitive part under your fingernails and it would really hurt if you dug too deep. After you find the frog I like to work around the edges of the shoe. This way you can remove the big clumps with minimal effort. Once you've knocked the big stuff loose, I will flip my hoof pick over and use the bristled side to brush out the debris. By using the brush I am confident I won't hurt my horse's hoof on accident.
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