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How to care for a horses hooves with a horse rasp?

How to care for a horse’s hooves
with a horse rasp

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Image indicating that you should file your horse's hooves biweekly Every one to two weeks, a domestic horse will need its hooves groomed to keep them from growing out of control.
A horse with infected hooves. This could have been avoided by trimming the hoof every one to two weeks with a horse rasp. If left ungroomed, hooves can deform or become infected. Aside from being painful for the horse, this can lead to problems with their legs.
Wonkee Donkee laments a life with two backwards legs

What are the basic parts of a horse’s hoof?

 Diagram to show the basic areas of a horse's hoof referred to in this guide
Wonkee Donkee reading a DIY guide on the uses of specific files The map above will help you to identify the areas of the hoof that are discussed in the grooming guide.

How to keep your horse’s hooves neat

Hooves that have been well taken care of with a horse rasp The general aim of the hoof grooming process is to make sure that the bottoms of your horse’s hooves are flat so that it can stand up comfortably.
Image showing a horse rasp and a hoof jack, the essential tools for grooming a horse's hooves You will need a horse rasp, and a hoof jack.
A hoof jack, which is used to keep a horse's foot comfortable when grooming it with a horse rasp A hoof jack is a frame with a suspended strap that allows the horse to rest its hoof comfortably while it is being groomed.

What is a mustang roll?

Image of a hoof that has had a mustang roll applied A mustang roll is the term used to describe the way that a horse’s hoof should be angled (bevelled) while it is barefoot, i.e. not wearing horse shoes.
A horse keeper lifting up their horse's hoof to put onto a hoof jack

Step 1 – Bevel hoof wall

Get your horse to lift up its foot and position it on the hoof jack.

A horsekeeper filing a part of their horse's hoof with a horse rasp Angle your horse rasp at 45° to the edge of the hoof and use the side with the double cut file teeth until you can see the hoof wall meeting the lamina.
Diagram to show the location of the lamina, inner wall and outer wall on a horse's hoof, which is essential knowledge for hoof trimming with a horse rasp The lamina is an off-white colour, in contrast to the stronger white of the inner hoof wall. The outer hoof wall will be a darker colour, which will vary depending on the horse.
Image to show the fibres that can come off the hoof when filing As you’re filing, you may notice fibres sticking out from the outer hoof wall. Don’t worry about this! It’s normal and can be tidied up later.
Image of a horse keeper filing the bottom of their horse's hoof using a horse rasp When filing, make sure you keep the file at 45° and the handle of the file pointing towards the frog. This will help to prevent any damage to the sole of the foot.
Image showing a horse keeper who has taken keeping their horse comfortable to the extreme If your horse gets tired or wants to pick up its foot, give it a break. You should make sure your horse is comfortable throughout the entire hoof grooming process.
Image of a horse keeper putting their horse's hoof on the hoof jack as if they were standing on a raised piece of ground

Step 2 –  Apply upper bevel

For this step, your horse’s hoof should be flat on the stand as if it was standing on solid ground.

Image of a horse keeper filing the outside of their horse's hoof with a horse rasp File around the bottom of the hoof at 45° once again.
Diagram to explain flare in a horse's hoof, which should be fixed with a horse rasp

Step 3 – Check for flare

If it looks like there is any distortion to the natural curve in the bottom third of the horse’s hoof (referred to as flare), use your file to correct the shape.

Image of a flared hoof that was left for too long before being filed down with a horse rasp and has therefore cracked If a hoof is left flared then it can eventually crack.
Image of a horse keeper lifting their horse's foot so that their heels can be trimmed

Step 4 – Groom heels

Your horse will need to rest its hoof upside down on the hoof stand once again.

A horse keeper filing a horse's heel with a horse rasp Keeping your file flat and the handle pointing towards the frog, file the heels so that they are level with the rest of the hoof wall.
A horse keeper checking that both sides of their horse's heel are level Check to make sure both sides of the heel are level by looking along the flat surface of the bottom of the hoof. If they aren’t, file them so that they are.
Repeat the process

Step 5 – Repeat

Repeat this process from step 1 to make sure your horse has four perfectly groomed feet.

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