By: Brittany Bevis
Applying hoof black is always a tricky proposition, but it’s often the finishing touch on a horse’s show ring presentation. Recently, we asked our Equine Chronicle readers about their tips and tricks for hoof black application and removal.
Do you powder white legs before, or wait until the hoof black dries and powder after? Do you hoof black once for the whole show, or do repeat applications?
We received some great responses! Scroll below to see what our EC readers had to say.
Amy Fortner Richmond– “Wear gloves, apron, eye glasses, and a mask… It never fails it explodes on me!”
Michelle Terpening– “Always wear gloves and put the bottle in a coffee cup and set it away from your horse. I never hold the bottle when applying as I learned a nasty lesson by getting bumped. Hoof black splashed all over my face, hair, and hands.”
Tina Krichbaum- “I use a can of Shapely’s touch up black and then immediately spray Schneiders hoof polish enhancer over. Voila! The accuracy of the spray can is amazing and this wears off after the class, so it doesn’t continue to dry out the hoof wall, not to mention you’re not chancing a baptism in hoof black and this is shotgun quick to do!”
Kris McDonald Bonfer- “I put the hoof black in a coffee cup, [because] there is less chance of it falling over [while] sitting on the ground and [it’s] easier to hold.”
Jessica Parris– “After applying, I have a spray bottle with water, and I mist the hoof. Voila. It’s dry. The water beads up on the polish, and it’s dry almost instantly. It’s an old school Halter horse trick. I can’t take credit. I learned it from my youth days from a Halter trainer.”
Jess Haines- “Dump a bottle of black hoof polish into a can of Fiebing’s hoof oil. You get the wet look of the oil and the jet black of the hoof black with no long lasting effects to the hoof from the hoof black. I do it about 10 minutes before we go up, and it dries pretty well. The bottom of the toe may rub off some from the footing, but it keeps a nice shine.”
Morgan Currier– “I sand the hoof with sanding blocks, apply boot cream, not polish, and then wipe with a towel. Then, I apply a light coat of hoof black and finish with the spray. I do my white first. Keep baby wipes on hand and wear gloves.”
Jasmine B Pumphrey– “I lightly sand the rough edges out and then apply powder or spray to white legs. Brush off the hoof and then it’s ready for black. Leave the bottle well away from the horse and just take the dauber to the horse. Swipe the coronary band first slowly and then fill in to the bottom of the hoof. Go [back to] the bottle and go back to the horse. I do this so it’s less likely for the horse, or me, to knock over or drop the bottle if the horse starts to fuss. Rarely do I get hoof black on me.”
Judy Zimmerman Harrison– “Dollar Store black boot polish! It’s cheap and will not spill if the horse bumps you. It has the dauber on the end and, if you’re handy, you can refill with your hoof polish.”
Colleen Conrad– “Always wear gloves. Put Vaseline around the rim before putting the lid on. [It makes it] easier to take off the next time.”
Courtney Hostuttler– “I always do legs first in case I over spray it and get powder on the hoof. Also, make sure the coronary band hairs are neatly clipped. Then, I sand the rough spots and grooves out with a sanding block. This gives the hoof black a smoother application. Then, I spray with a finishing spray. Although I was once told by a friend that they use mop n glow on their Morgans and Saddlebreds, I’ve never tried that myself. Depending on the show and footing, I touch up daily. Then, I just scrub it off during regular baths and apply a hoof conditioner periodically.”
Misty Pierce– “I always do my white legs first. Plus, I have put my hoof black in a coffee cup so I have a handle to hold while I’m using it. Then, I put the cup with the bottle in a Zip Lock bag just in case it spills.”
Glenn Faulk– “You can put the hoof black bottle in a small Pringles can. Take the plastic lid off the can and then the cap on the hoof black bottle. This keeps you from getting hoof black that runs down the side of the bottle. It fits just right inside the Pringles can.”
Joan Ames– “Slip it in a red solo cup. If it spills a bit, it will not get on you.”
Erin Dreyer-Baumgartner– “I do my whites first, because I use Shapley’s and always get overspray on the hooves. I wear gloves when I put it on, because I WILL get it on me. My biggest must have is the Absorbine brand though. All brand’s daubers are not the same, and I love theirs. I start at the coronary band, do a pass all the way around, and let it run down the hoof. Then, I do another pass lower, let it run down, and then fill in any areas that need coverage. I do reapply daily as needed and usually, by the end [of the show], I don’t have much left that would need to be removed. I don’t think there is a science to it; that’s just what works for me.”
Denise Thompson– “Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle takes hoof black off anything! Hands, white legs… Yes, this may have happened a time or two!”
Carol Kuchera– “If [you get hoof black] on your hands, Cool Lube for the clippers gets off spills.”
Toni Johnson- “If you have white legs and have washed them, make SURE they’re dry before applying hoof black. It will bleed upward on wet/damp hair.”
Jamie Binegar– “I’m married to a farrier…none of us want his lectures. I use aerosol black cattle spray and then Shapely’s high gloss shine. It does require touch ups, but the coverage is easy to apply and comes off easily.”
Dillon Ryan Holden– “Shapley’s black spray with hairspray over the top of it keeps it shiny!”
Aimee Hall– “Always wear gloves, but it’s bound to get on me or the horse, so I keep hand sanitizer and hairspray on hand to get it off.”
Gail Triden– “Clip, bathe, dry, and apply from the top of the coronary band down. Cover completely and then dry and use hoof enhancer for the finishing touch. Use rubber gloves and have hand sanitizer on hand incase of an oops.”
Amy Holcomb- “Use baby wipes to get it off skin! And it does a decent job getting it off hair, though it can leave a smudge look.”
Pepper Proffit– “In my opinion, it’s easier and looks better to apply black kiwi and then clear polish. Same look. Less mess.”
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