Do Horses Like Their Hooves Cleaned? | Expert Insights!

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  • Post last modified:May 19, 2023
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Without healthy hooves, it is impossible for horses to survive. To keep your horse hooves healthy, they need to be cleaned on a regular basis. But do horses like their hooves cleaned? 

Hooves are also one of the considerably complicated parts of horse anatomy, which helps them run with unlimited stamina. The scariest part is what will happen to your horse if you don’t clean their hooves on time. Let’s find out:

Do horses like their hooves cleaned? 

Do horses like their hooves cleaned? Man Removing a Horse Shoe.

Do your horses enjoy hooves trimming, or do they hate it with passion, just like any girl hates detangling their hair knots? 

The answer completely depends on your horse. Whether your horse is trained or not, if they are trained, they will definitely enjoy everything from hair trimming, brushing, patting, and even hooves trimming. 

Being an animal, they are not intellectual and are not aware of what is best for them. Try a different approach, and start training them early. 

So later in life, you don’t see them struggling while getting hooves cleaned and trimmed. They are like a toddler, and you need to treat them the same way that you deal with your toddler. 

How to relax your horse during hooves trimming? 

Be gentle and careful and try to get them to stay in one place. Don’t lose your patience. I know sometimes it is easy to lose your temper when they refuse to listen to you. 

Even though you only want what is best for them, they will still act like a child who is restless and full of energy. It is your job to show them compassion and love and make trimming sessions fun for them. 

Later on, you get to see how eager they are going to be. Whenever they are getting their hooves done, just like girls are always excited to get manicures and pedicures. 

Do horses get hurt when their hooves are cleaned?

The best thing you can do for your horses is to always keep them active. An inactive horse is likely to find the hooves’ cleaning process painful, and they will start hating the trimming session. 

Horse feet are sensitive, and they do feel the pain if they are not getting leg exercise every day. It is your job to let them out of the stable and allow them to run and take a walk for a while. 

This will ensure that your horse doesn’t feel discomfort during hooves cleaning, even if your horse is resistant and refuses to get their feet cleaned. 

Find a way to make them stay still; otherwise, be prepared for stinky hooves odor that comes out from their feet. Not to forget how much pain they are going to be in if you are not doing your job right. 

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Do horses have much feeling in their hooves?

Do horses like their hooves clean? Woman Checking Horse Hoof.

Due to nerve endings in their hooves, horses do feel pain and all the pressure they put on their feet when you are not cleaning their feet on time and letting them rot for a long time. 

Due to your negligence, your horse can face dire consequences. Their health would be affected in the worst way that one could imagine. 

Always be attentive towards your horse’s feet and groom them if you want to divert your horse’s attention from hooves cleaning and trimming. 

Try following these few tips that will go a long way in helping you. Give your horse their favorite treat, and later on, pat their head, and scratch their ears, followed by hair brushing. 

Only in the end when they are relaxed, happy, and in a playful mood. Slowly and lovingly start cleaning their hooves, and you are going to be amazed to see how much they are enjoying it. 

What happens if you don’t clean horse hooves?

Careless behavior on your part can prove to be dangerous to your horse. As a horse owner, you need to stop slacking. You are not doing anyone any good. 

Get your act together if your horse hooves emit the worst kind of odor. It’s time to prepare your cleaning tools. 

If your horse’s feet are not clean, it will slow them down. They won’t be able to run with the same energy and stamina they used to with cleaned feet. 

Put yourself in your horse’s shoes. Would you be able to walk, let alone run, if your feet are hurt? Let me reply on your behalf; the answer is a big fat No. 

The same goes for your horse; dirt on their hooves always gets stuck in their nails. Later on, this dirt begins causing them trouble, and they start feeling the worst kind of pain that one could imagine. 

How can horses get hurt if you don’t clean their hooves on time? 

Let me give you an example of a worst-case scenario. What will happen if you fail to do your job as a horse owner? 

Since hooves are sensitive, one wrong move on your part. Later down the road, don’t be surprised if you witness that their hooves are bleeding badly that they cannot even stand on their feet. 

If you want your horse to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cleaning of hooves is a must; you should trim their nails first and then remove the dirt that is stuck on their feet. 

Why don’t wild horses need their hooves cleaned?

Do horses like their hooves cleaned? Horse foot on the rasp.

Wild horses are not kept in one place. They live their life however they see fit and on their terms. Nature is always there to take care of their health, hygiene and to protect them. 

Since they live in the wild and are always roaming and running, their feet get cleaned naturally, and even their nails break before they get too big. 

A wild horse’s life is better than a kept horse’s life because they are not dependent on anyone to take care of them. 

How to approach different tactics if you have a stable horse? 

But, if your horse lives and works in a stable or barn where everything is muddy. Then their hooves would pay the price whenever they were walking and running on such grounds. 

With mud and waste stuck on their feet, they are going to require regular cleaning. Always schedule weekly hooves cleaning for your horse if that’s the case. 

If your horse gets injured somehow, you should assess their injury and schedule their hooves cleaning based on it. Be careful while handling their injured feet because, just like us, they also feel pain. 

Also, you don’t want to injure them further than they already are and be the cause of their misery. If you see that the injury and wounds are not healing quickly as you expected, then you should take them to the vet and let professionals handle it. 

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How To Clean A Horse’s Hoof? 

Follow some of these most common and popular methods to clean your horse hooves: –

As a horse owner, you need to invest in a hoof pick or Dremel tool. With the help of these tools, you can easily withdraw the debris which is stuck between your horse’s toes. 

Whenever you are going for this method of cleaning, make sure you have a bucket of water. Also, you need time and patience on your hand to perform this task. 

You can always switch to a hoof knife if you don’t have access to a Dremel tool. A lot of people think that it would be better if they used their fingers and nails to perform the task. 

However, based on multiple research by experts, they always advise against it. You should always avoid doing that and instead use a Dremel tool or hoof knife. 

 If there isn’t enough room between the back of the foot and the ground surface for this procedure, then try using something like sandpaper instead; just make sure not too much gets into those sensitive areas!

Frequently asked questions: Do horses like their hooves cleaned?

Q1. How often should my horse see the farrier?

Ans: The answer entirely depends upon the factor of what sort of horse you own. Generally, horses should see a farrier every 6-8 weeks. Horses that are used for regular work or competitions may require more frequent visits, while those that live on soft ground and have slower hoof growth could go for longer periods.

Q2. Do Horse Hooves Smell Bad?

Ans: Yes, horse hooves do emit one of the worst kinds of smell in history. If you smell it for too long, then you might end up puking your guts out. Now that’s not a pretty picture that I have painted in your head. It may have grossed you out already that you are already running toward the toilet. Jokes apart, if you delay hooves cleaning for a long time, then you would be able to smell their feet’ odor from a distance. 

Q3. What should you do if you own a performance horse? 

Ans: Let’s say your horse performs in a circus; then you only have to worry about cleaning their hooves only in a month or two. Just keep on checking if their feet require the cleaning within a month, or it can wait a little longer. Schedule their cleaning after studying and reviewing all the options that work best for your horse. 


If you are afraid that you will end up hurting your horse during the hooves cleaning session. Even if you are not sure, do horses like their hooves cleaned?

Then it’s time to get an expert opinion; you shouldn’t be hesitant in reaching out to a farrier. They can always assist you extremely and teach you how to clean horse hooves without hurting them.