two ways to pick hooves

Two methods for picking your horse’s hooves


Pick all hooves from one side, or go around to both sides.


  • What I mean by this is do you pick all of your horse’s feet from the left, crossing the right legs under? Or do you walk around to do each foot? Why does this matter? For most well-behaved, normal and sound horses, it doesn’t. But, there are some pros and cons to each method.


The one-sided method for hoof picking:


  • I first learned of this trick from the track. It’s great to use if you pick your horse’s feet when he’s still in the stall. This keeps a lot of muck and shavings out of the barn aisle. It’s also a great technique to use in the stall as you don’t have to move around your horse and risk getting squashed against a wall.


  • Same goes for the cross ties – if space is tight you can pick all four feet from the left side of your horse and avoid the potential squeezing. It’s also a bit safer if your horse is cross tied, compared to being loose in a stall.



picking hooves under the horse from the opposite side

The one-sided version of picking hooves. Some horses have medical issues (like arthritis) that may make this uncomfortable.


The two-sided method of picking hooves:


  • This is the way I learned to pick hooves, you stand at each shoulder and each hip and pick. No crossing over, no reaching under. This is great for the horse that has some arthritis, balance issues, or general aches that make crossing his legs a bit uncomfortable. This technique is also good for the horse that perhaps likes to wiggle and he maybe shouldn’t wiggle with one leg crossed under his belly.


  • Not so awesome in tight quarters or small grooming areas. But, if you ever have the feeling your horse wants to dance on your head, time to work on behavior. Picking feet can wait a minute!


horse leg crossed under for to pick out dirt


What’s your favorite way of picking feet?