One of the most important tasks in maintaining your horse’s health is hoof trimming. Horses that don’t have their hoofs trimmed regularly can start suffering from lameness, a condition that can greatly affect their health. Horses who suffer from lameness have a distinctive unusual walk which is caused by the pain they feel in their legs. Such horses are unable to compete properly in both races and shows simply because their movement ends up being impaired due to the pain caused by this condition.
If you want to prevent your horse from suffering from this condition, you must regularly take care of their hoofs by trimming them adequately.
Why do you need to trim the hoofs?
Horse hoofs are very similar to human fingernails and hair. They grow constantly and they have to be trimmed every now and then. Some horse owners prefer to do the trimming by themselves, while others like to take their horse to a professional horse hoof trimmer. That person is called a farrier and they possess a couple of specialized tools with which they can trim hoofs.
Horse hoof trimmers
Maintaining and taking care of a horse is no easy task at all. One of the most difficult parts of it is proper hoof trimming. In order to adequately trim a horse’s hoof, one must have the necessary tools and considerable skills. Back in the day, everything had to be done with plain tools. Luckily, today there are plenty of tools that help make this job a lot easier. Whether they are automatic or manual, high quality horse hoof trimmers enable horse owners and farriers to trim the horse’s hoofs quickly and effectively. They also reduce the strain on the hands of the person doing the trimming.
Goat hoof trimmers
Goat herd owners should always try to have the best possible hoof trimming tools at their disposal. With low quality tools, this process can become very time consuming and exhausting. When you have a lot of goats this can become troublesome. High quality manual and automatic tools like electric hoof trimmers can make this task much easier and faster, as well as less time consuming.
Sheep hoof trimmers
Usually, sheep owners have large herds and a lot of heads to deal with. Each sheep needs hoof trimming at least once per year, which means they have to go through a lot of hooves. With high quality trimming tools they can complete this task much faster and easier. Owners with some extra room in their budget can buy a special electric hoof knife that reduce the strain on their hands even further and are ideal for taking care of large herds efficiently.
Cattle hoof trimmers
Cattle herds are hard to take care of, despite the fact that most cows tend to be docile and cooperative. If you wish to keep their hoofs in proper condition, you need to have some quality tools in your arsenal. As long as they’re high quality, both manual and electric hoof cutters will help make this task a whole lot easier. You’ll be able to finish faster without feeling much fatigue.
Pig hoof trimmers
Even though they are a bit messy, pigs also need a pedicure every once in a while. With their hooves in the right condition, they wont have troubles walking or standing. High quality manual or electric tools can allow you to trim their hooves well and to do so fast, even if you have a lot of pigs in your barn.
Types of hoof trimming tools
Whether you are a professional farrier or if you just like to trim your horse’s hoofs on your own, you will need to know which tools you should own and what each of them is used for.
First hoof trimming tools we will be mentioning are the chaps. Chaps are used to cover the farrier’s legs and protect them. Sometimes the horse will pull its leg away during hoof trimming and by doing so, deflect the tools back towards the farrier. Since the tools are usually very sharp, they can easily penetrate the farrier’s pants and injure their legs. But with chaps on, their legs will be safe. They come in two sizes, short which go over the calf up to the knees, and long which cover the entire leg. Chaps also help by providing good grip when the farrier holds the horse’s leg between their own to have better access to hoofs.
Another tool that can be found in most farriers’ arsenal is a hoof jack. This is not an essential tool because one can trim the hoofs without it as well, but it is a useful tool to have nonetheless. Its purpose is to hold the horse’s leg and hoof in position so that the farrier doesn’t have to do that on their own. With the hoof jack, a farrier’s job is much easier and less exhausting.
Hoof stand is a tool that is very similar to the hoof jack since it also holds the leg of the horse in position during hoof trimming. However, this tool holds the leg in a different way so that the farrier can work on the outside of the hoof more easily. Just like the hoof jack, this is not an essential tool, but it makes the task of hoof trimming much simpler and less exhausting.
Next up is one of the essential tools a farrier or a horse owner who likes to trim their horse’s hoofs on their own should have. Hoof pick is a pointed and curved tool that is used for clearing up dirt, stones and other filth from the bottom of the horse’s hoof to gain better access to the hoof itself. Once the hoof has been cleaned from such filth, the farrier can easily notice what needs to be trimmed. Also, if they don’t use a hoof pick first to prepare and clean the hoof, the farrier can easily dull their sharp blades once they get in contact with those hard objects.
Second essential tool we will be mentioning is the hoof knife. There’s not much to talk about here, it’s a simple knife with a sharp curved blade bent backwards. This tool is used to cut off the dried sole tissue from the hoof. That is the bottom of the very hoof which touched the ground.
Next tool could be considered both essential or non essential, but the fact is that most farriers own it. It is called a rasp and it is a flat metal bar with sharp protrusions on its surface. This tool is basically a file that allows you to scrape off small amounts of material from the hoof. With it a farrier can shape the hoof properly and remove any sharp points from it.
The following tool is the most important tool in a farrier’s possession. Nippers are pretty much a large version of fingernail clippers designed for horses. They are used to clip off excess material from the hoofs quickly and relatively easily. Without them, proper hoof trimming is impossible.
Lastly, a tool that should find its way into a farrier’s arsenal are protective gloves. They are usually made of leather and they have rubber reinforcements on each fingertip. Not only do they provide protection to the farrier’s hands, but they also improve their grip and help them hold on to the tools firmly.
Horses, goats, cows, pigs or sheep, all need to have their hooves trimmed regularly. With properly trimmed hooves, their life quality will improve and the possibility of certain health issues developing will decrease. Adequate high quality tools can help farriers and owners to do hoof trimming well in a short amount of time.
I hope you found this article helpful and that you enjoyed reading it. Best of luck with hoof trimming!