To most people, a horse’s hoof may look like a solid object that is tough and hard all the way through. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The hoof is made up of several different layers and structures, each with a specific function which makes horse hoof care extremely important. Domestic horses require daily foot care to stay healthy. It is important to clean dirt and manure from the underside of the hooves as well as lodge rocks, sticks or even pine cones that can cause discomfort and bruising. Hoof handling is an integral part of daily life for you and your horse, both of you will benefit if the task is made simple and pleasurable.

Most horses are not being disobedient when they refuse to lift their feet. They simply have not been taught the skill. Some horses have had bad experiences with people handling them or their feet, and they need to be shown the activity can be fun.It is best to begin training a horse while it is still young but older horse can be taught as well.Scientific studies have shown that a well-timed reward can serve as positive reinforcement and is the most effective way to teach any new behavior or to improve on an existing one. The rewards can be anything your horse enjoys. Food such as bits of grain, horse cookies, hay, carrot chunks or apple pieces work great. You can also try patting their neck for physical reinforcement. Teaching your horse this skill will keep their hooves healthy and strong with the best quality of life.