If you are a horse owner or enjoy working with horses and grooming your horse, then you may have entertained the idea of learning how to maintain a horse’s hoofs. It can seem like quite an intimidating task, especially since the health of the hoof is imperative to the overall soundness of the animal.
With the right farrier tools, any task can be accomplished with relative ease. The first step is collecting a number of suitable supplies that will help you perform basic maintenance tasks.
Experienced farriers have a veritable arsenal of expensive tools and accessories at their disposal. There is no need for you to develop a similar collection unless you are planning to take on all shoeing and hoof maintenance tasks yourself. You also might need to expand your collection if you plan to become a professional farrier.
The list we have compiled here is meant to guide you through the process of acquiring the basic tools of the trade. Each item has been carefully reviewed for its durability, functionality and effectiveness.
Most items on the list are economically priced. We went this direction with the understanding that these tools would be used by the horse owner who will only be responsible for incidental maintenance or for those who are simply wanting to learn more about being a farrier.
Accordingly, you can pick up all five of these tools without breaking the bank. What you’ll have in the end is a basic tool kit that will let you take care of routine hoof maintenance. The result is a healthier, happier horse. You also may find that many of these tools can be used on other hoofed animals like goats and pigs.
Farrier Tools to Care for Your Horse
Farrier Rasps:Nicholson Farrier Rasp File, American Pattern, Rasp Cut, Rectangular, 14″ Length
This sturdy, extra-large rasp is tough enough to take on any job. It’s suitable for use on draft horses, but it can be just as useful when dealing with Shetlands, pigs and goats.
You may feel that it’s a bit heavy, but that weight is actually to the benefit of this rasp. You won’t have to use a great deal of force to get the job done.
The Nicholson Farrier Rasp File is designed to slough away excess hoof material. With the American pattern on the rasp, it’s built to work with aggression. On one side of the tool are rasp-cut teeth. A density of six teeth per row instead of the usual five makes every job quicker and cleaner. On the other side of the tool, you’ll find coarse grade American-pattern teeth for filing. This will produce a rough finish that may need to be polished with a finer grit file.
This rasp is fitted with a cushion grip on the tip and handle for maximum comfort and utility. Given the roughness of the rasp and the size of the overall tool, even large jobs can be finished quickly and with ease.
As farrier tools go, this one is essential. You may find that it helps you with other tasks around the house too. People have used this particular rasp with woodworking projects and for making bows. Chances are good that you’ll find inventive ways to use this durable tool.
Farrier StandHoofjack Standard Hoof Jack Stand
Anyone who has ever tried to shoe a horse or simply maintain their horse’s hoofs between visits from the farrier knows what a challenge this chore can be. Skilled farriers can often go about their tasks without using a hoof stand, but one of these useful tools always comes in handy eventually.
The Hoofjack Standard Hoof Jack Stand is in many ways the best such appliance on the market today. Hoofjack is a brand from the Equine Innovations, Inc. company. They’ve been around since 2000 when a longtime farrier by the name of Kevin Keeler decided that there must be a better, safer, more comfortable way to work with horses.
In fact, his innovation came about as a result of an injury he received while working with a horse one day. The horse collapsed, and Keeler was injured in the fall. He devoted himself to developing a way to safely support a horse’s hoof while it was being worked on.
The result was the Hoofjack Jack Stand. Over years of development, Keeler refined his design until he had a system that supported the horse’s front and hind legs. The farrier no longer had to assume the weight of the horse, and the horse was more comfortable overall.
Several versions of the Hoofjack are now on the market, but the Standard is the one that is most often recommended. Priced at about $200, this hoof stand accommodates anything from a pony up to a small draft horse.
The sturdy base is constructed of linear polyethylene, and it is covered by a three-year warranty against horse damage. Two strong magnets are attached to the base so that tools like the rasp and nippers will always be within reach.
The comfortable cradle safely holds the horse’s leg, keeping him calm and comfortable. For just a slight expenditure, it can be vastly easier for anyone to maintain their horse’s hoofs.
Farrier NippersDiamond 14D 14-Inch Hoof Nipper
The hoof nipper is an essential part of any farrier’s tool kit. Of course, you don’t have to be a farrier in order to safely and effectively trim your horse’s hoofs. That’s exactly what this offering from Diamond Farrier Co. is all about.
This powerful yet economical set of nippers is designed to do the heavy work for you. It’s likely that you’ll need to use both hands to wield this tool. It’s weight and 14-inch length ensure that. You will definitely want to use your Hoofjack Jack Stand while using the nipper on your horse.
The main use for the nipper is for the removal of excess wall. Most farriers will start at the heel, working their way toward the toe. Then, they begin at the other side of the heel, once again working their way around to the toe.
If your horse is showing signs of overgrown bars, exfoliating sole or shedding frog, then these nippers may be used for these tasks as well. One word of caution: Always nip away slightly less than you believe is necessary. You can go back over the area with a rasp to smooth it later.
The Diamond 14D 14-Inch Hoof Nipper is made using only high-quality steel for maximum strength and durability. Both the jaws and handles are heat treated, and cutting edges are hardened, honed and ground to produce the most effective cutting tool for the price. The plastic-coated handles provide excellent grip.
These nippers are built to withstand regular use over the course of several years.
Hoof KnifeSwiss Hoof Knife 8″ Farrier Tools Wooden Handle Premium Instruments UPGRADED PATTERN
This hoof knife manufactured by Premium Instruments features quality craftsmanship that will help this tool survive for a long life. AISI 420 German stainless steel is used to fashion the blade, and the tool has been built to comply with the CE-Quality mark, ISO 9001 and other recognized standards of quality.
The finish is highly polished so that the blade more easily resists corrosion for even better durability and performance. With a carefully shaped wooden handle, this knife is comfortable and ergonomic. The oval-shaped cutting surface guarantees a precision trim of sole tissue every time.
Those who are confident and comfortable with the use of the hoof knife will be able to use it to sculpt the bars, trim frog that is shedding and for exfoliating the sole. The quality and durability of the Swiss Hoof Knife will serve you well, and become an indispensable part of your collection of tools.
Farrier ApronTough-1 Deluxe Farrier Apron
Priced at about $50, this entry-level farrier apron is the perfect addition to your tool kit. It’s tough enough to protect your legs from a recalcitrant horse, but still lightweight enough to be comfortable to wear.
The waist and both legs on the Tough-1 apron are adjustable, so it is possible for men and women of virtually all sizes to wear them. A sturdy knife pocket on the right leg keeps important tools always within easy reach.
On the left leg is a magnet for holding horseshoe nails and other small, metal accessories. The material is mainly thick suede leather, and the knees are reinforced with fleece. Leg adjusters are heavy-duty, chrome-plated clasps.
This apron is of adequate quality and durability for anyone who plans occasional maintenance of their horse’s hoofs. It also works for people who have an interest in becoming a farrier and aren’t ready to invest in a more costly or even customized apron yet.
Doing anything with your horse’s hoofs without protecting at least your lower body is not recommended. This Tough-1 apron is definitely up to the task of ensuring that your foray into horse hoof care does not result in an injury.