No hoof, no horse. We all know the saying, and we all know how maddeningly true it is. You walk into the barn, midway through a great training week, and your horse greets you with a naked hoof where there ought to be a shoe. Or worse, a half-naked hoof, with a shoe hanging on by a few loose nails.
Every equestrian needs a home hoofcare kit, something that can help you sort out minor hoof problems until your farrier can visit your farm. Whether it’s pulling off a loose shoe, or smoothing down a rough clinch, you can be better prepared for the thousand and one ways in which the average horse can go from four-legged to three-legged in two minutes flat.
Farrier Equipment: A basic farrier kit is very useful around the barn. Even if you don’t feel comfortable giving your horse a quick trim (and that’s what trained professionals are for, after all), having that rasp on hand is helpful for rough edges on loosening nail clinches, or trimming away a loose chip of hoof wall before it breaks away, potentially taking more hoof with it.
Nippers can cut off nail clinches on the hoof wall, an essential tool if you want to pull a loose shoe before it does more damage to the hoof. Nippers also provide the grip you need to get the shoe off the hoof.
A basic set of farrier tools will often set you back about $50 at your local feed store, although more high quality items will be priced much higher. If you’re only looking at tools for emergency usage, the basics will help you out in a pinch. If you foresee a lot of work (maybe it’s a muddy summer and you just know shoes are going to be sucked off all year!) ask your farrier for their favorite manufacturer.
First Aid: First aid essentials for hooves can overlap with the rest of your kit; just make sure you have the right equipment to keep the treatments on the hoof. Always have drawing agents like Epsom salts on hand for abscesses or other damage to the hoof sole, but also make sure you have gauze, cotton sheets, or baby diapers (some equestrians swear by them!) to pack the hoof, and duct tape to hold it all together. An emergency hoof boot is a great option if your horse lives outside and might get the hoof wet or splashed in the paddock.
You can also use that cotton and tape to wrap a recently unshod hoof while waiting for the farrier to come out and replace the shoe.