We tried the Hoofjack, a plastic-based hoof stand to see if it made a difference in both our effort in picking out feet and for our horses’ comfort.
The Hoofjack hoof stand allows you to place your horse’s foot on the stand and hold it up for you so you are free to work on the hoof without trying to hold the leg at the same time. We found that our horses liked it, and our testers found it easy to use.
It comes with two inserts for holding the hoof: 1) a web cradle, and 2) a straight metal post with a rubber cap. The cradle is used when picking up the hoof in a traditional manner for picking, while the straight post is used when you pull the horse’s foot out in front of him, for tasks like applying hoof dressing. Both adjust in height to accommodate smaller and larger horses.
Unlike some hoof stands, which are usually all metal and sometimes wobbly, this device is steady, secure and user-friendly. It took a minimal amount of training to get our horses comfortable using it. (Note: Our test horses were all well-trained horses, used to having their hooves worked with. If your horse doesn’t easily allow you to pick up his feet, you need to train him to do so before you use a hoof stand.)
The Hoofjack’s large, round base makes the device easy to use on uneven surfaces and helps keep it steady. As instructed by the accompanying DVD, we kept one foot on the stand while we were working on our horse. There are magnets on the Hoofjack to keep hoof picks, rasps and nail clinchers within easy reach, especially nice if you’re trying to pull a loose shoe.
The only learning curve we found was exactly where to set the stand for putting the foot on it, especially in front. However, we had our farrier with us and, with some experimentation and his advice, we learned the most comfortable spot for the horse.
Although it’s pricey, it’s worth it. We recommend it for anyone with a bad back, a geriatric horse that leans heavily while you work on his hoof, and lengthy tasks like removing snowballs. It’s especially helpful for smaller horseowners (especially with larger horses), and for easily teaching kids to properly pick out hooves. The child can work on the technique without holding a leg up. $175. www.hoofjack.com, 877-455-5100.