For years, a hoof pick was a simple piece of metal, twisted so it formed a handle and a head. We remember buying them for a quarter apiece — or less. They also can be found with a plastic covering over the handle, which makes it more grippy — and 75??. These plain-Jane picks will get the job done and if you lose one, well, you’re probably not going to give it a thought if you have a replacement on hand.
Plastic picks often have a hoof brush on the opposite side of the pick. Although the thicker handle and plastic feel might be more comfortable for some, we don’t recommend them, especially if they have a plastic pick instead of metal on them. If you like the brush, just toss a worn-out hard brush in your grooming box. It’ll do a better, faster job brushing out your horse’s feet. These picks cost $1.50 to $2.
Several manufacturers now make a soft-handle hoof pick. We found them similar in design, with a stainless steel pick, a string at the opposite end and a soft rubbery plastic handle. The three we had were Dover Saddlery’s Vale (www.doversaddlery.com, 800-406-8204, $6.50), Oster (www.osterpro.com, 800-830-3678,$4.29), and Equestria Sport Series (www.nunnfiner.com, 800-342-1723 $4.99). We could feel maybe a slight difference in softness, but not much. The Equestria had finger grips. Overall, these picks worked extremely well and were comfortable.
If you really want finger grips, the Easy-Grip Hoof Pick (Schneider’s Saddlery, www.sstack.com, 800-365-1311) has them. However, it has a hard plastic handle. 69??.
The Thrush Eliminator caught our attention for obvious reasons (eliminate thrush). It’s designed to go under shoes to try to get debris out from there, but in order to do that, its pick end is flattened differently than most picks, so it can easily slide under shoes. Overall, this pick was more difficult to use than others for normal picking (www.jacksmfg.com, 877-335-5121, $10).
The most expensive choice in the pack was The Ultimate Hoof Pick (www.ultimatehoofpick.com, 303-666-6364, $16.95). It’s a sturdy, balanced hoof pick with a comfortable rubber grip and a strong pick end. It cleans out hooves with ease, and it should be the best choice by far for packed-in snowballs. It’s expensive, but it gets the job done quickly. For hard-packed hooves, you can’t beat this choice. The only drawback may be for smaller-handed individuals, who may not like its slightly thicker handle.
For us, The Ultimate Hoof Pick is by far the top choice. However, if the price is more than you’re willing to pay or you have smaller hands, we liked the Oster pick. Best Buy is the 75?? plain-Jane pick.