Horse Hoof and Tail Trimming

Your horse’s hoof is like a much larger nail, and like your toenails and fingernails, it too needs to be trimmed. And if you don’t, it just becomes uncomfortable for your horse – and can even lead to splitting or chipping!

Therefore, if your horse’s health and comfort are foremost for you, then make horse hoof and tail trimming an integral part of hoof care.

So when trimming your horse’s hooves, here are the things you should keep in mind:

  • Keep them clean.
  • Trim once in every 4-8 weeks.
  • Check for hoof injuries or problems – cracks, splits, thrush – and treat them immediately.
  • If you are not sure of yourself, get a farrier to show you the first time around.

But, if the D-I-Y attitude has worked for you and your horse so far, then rest assured – because hoof trimming isn’t all that difficult, so long as you know how…

How to trim horse hooves

Trimming horse’s hooves is actually a job that requires a good relationship with the horse – because it takes a bit of time and you will need your horse to stay calm during this time. It won’t be long till spring is here again so be sure to know all about it when winter is over. In addition, here are a few tips that can make the job easier:

  1. Wet or soak the hoof to soften it. Just make your horse stand in mud or a puddle for 3-5mins before you start.
  2. Get a magnetic hoof stand – your horse can rest his foot on it and the magnet can hold the tools within reach.
  3. Pick the hoof first – this exposes the different parts of the hoof, decreasing the chances of you inadvertently hurting the horse.
  4. Make sure your horse is calm before you start.
  5. Place the horse in cross ties or get a helper to hold the horse in place.

Be very careful when you do this though – especially if you are a beginner. Just underneath the dead skin of the sole and the dead part of the hoof lies live tissues, and any injury to these parts will not just cause the horse pain, but also may bring on bleeding. When you plan to go out on the trail and have all the tack you need, the last thing you want is to be your horse in pain. In case of any injury, clean the wound, put on a poultice and get your horse to the vet.

However, with practice and caution, you should be able to carry out horse hoof trimming yourself – thereby, keeping your horse’s hooves healthy!

Neatly Bang Your Horse’s Tail – And Show Him Off!

In case you’re wondering how to neatly bang your horse’s tail…it is not just about cutting it off at the bottom. The cut should be blunt and should be proportionate to your horse’s full height. Also, not all horses look good with bangs – Arabians, Peruvian Paso, and Welsh Ponies and cobs look best with their natural tails intact and groomed. We’re never done learning, aren’t we?

So first you need to know if bangs will look good on your horse and only then can you go ahead with ‘banging’ your horse’s tail.
Bangs are typically for those horses which participate in dressings and events. And then too, bangs can vary in length –

  • It could from the fetlock joint to just the bottom of the hock.
  • It could be just a few inches off the ground.

So what will you need to bang your horse’s tail?

  • A mane comb to comb through the hair and get rid of the tangles so you have a tangle-free length to work with.
  • Sharp shears or scissors.
  • An assistant to hold the tail so you can cut through. See also this post about natural horsemanship.

Now for the steps of banging your horse’s tail:

  1. Brush the tail thoroughly but don’t be tempted to use detangler sprays; they will make the hair sleek but also difficult to cut in a straight line.
  2. Have your assistant hold up the horse’s tail at the height where it usually holds its tail while in motion.
  3. Hold the bottom part of the tail and use a clipper to ensure it stays tight and in place when you use the scissors.
  4. Now cut across the tail end in a straight line.

These are the steps to ensure that you bang your horse’s tail neatly, also when you’re considering the right tack and equipment. Plus, be sure to get your horse used to grooming beforehand – it is easy if your horse is calm and already used to standing still for his grooming sessions with you.