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How to (comfortably) remove thick, tough chestnuts

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  • How to (comfortably) remove thick, tough chestnuts

    Not the color...the kind that are on horse's legs! I have a draft cross and man, does he have thick, tough chestnuts! It's time to have a spring "spa day" soon and his chestnuts are one of the things I'll tackle. I usually stay on top of them but they've been neglected over the winter. Even when they're wet and soft, they're still difficult to remove cleanly and comfortably. I'm hesitant to use anything knife-like and sharp near his legs and I don't want to pick, pull and twist them b/c I'm sure it hurts.

    Any suggestions? Thanks!
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham

  • #2
    If they have grown out quite large, you can always nip them off with hoof nippers, leaving a little excess if you don't want to get too close to their legs. Then you can smear what's left with vaseline and they "should" peel pretty easy the rest of the way off.
    Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls


    • #3
      I put vaseline on my horses chestnuts for a few days to get them all softened up. Once soft, they peel right off. Or I do it while I am giving him a bath.
      Owned by an Oldenburg


      • Original Poster

        I forgot all about the Vaseline trick! I think I have a tub of the goo somewhere... I'll give it a try this weekend. Thanks!
        "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham


        • #5
          My draft cross mare has the TOUGHEST chestnuts, plus an aversion to having them handled. My farrier removes them with nippers when she is trimmed. Except this last time, we both forgot... I've been meaning to try the vaseline, though I don't think it will have any effect. I guess now is the time to try it out and see.
          Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Big Belgian View Post
            If they have grown out quite large, you can always nip them off with hoof nippers, leaving a little excess if you don't want to get too close to their legs. Then you can smear what's left with vaseline and they "should" peel pretty easy the rest of the way off.
            Yep...sometimes my husband will also use his hoof trimming knife to clean them up too.

            Thinking about it... removing chestnuts would be a great extra service for farriers to do -it is so easy to "remove" them up with all those great tools. Either offer it as a freebee or charge an extra fiver for all four.
            Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF


            • #7
              Do draft horses grow chestnuts faster than other types of horses?
              I owned my QH for 11 years and never peeled his chestnuts. Previous QH owned for 6 years and maybe peeled a flake or two that entire time. New arab x have had since late Oct and they are pretty flat.

              I just noticed that most/all people that responded to this thread had a draft or draft cross.
              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


              • #8
                I have a Clyde-X with Mt. Everest-sized chestnuts.

                I'll slap a glop of Corona on 'em (stays on longer than Vaseline). Let it sit for a week or so and then peeeeeel them off.

                Piece o'cake
                <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                • Original Poster

                  Bear in mind that I am not a veterinarian, nor am I an "expert", but since most drafties tend to be hairy critters and hair, hooves and chestnuts are all made of the same thing - keratin - I guess it would stand to reason that the body's proclivity toward an over-abundance of hair would also lend itself to an over-abundance of chestnuts. Perhaps a DVM will weigh-in but it makes sense to me! While we're on the subject, my guy also tends to grow a lot of hoof.
                  "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham


                  • #10
                    Ask your farrier to nip them off for you. I nip them off for people all the time. Those and ergots.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cielo Azure View Post
                      Yep...sometimes my husband will also use his hoof trimming knife to clean them up too.

                      Thinking about it... removing chestnuts would be a great extra service for farriers to do -it is so easy to "remove" them up with all those great tools. Either offer it as a freebee or charge an extra fiver for all four.
                      Yep - our farrier used to just automatically remove them.

                      We just use a hoof knife ourselves if necessary.


                      • #12
                        I'm the type of person who likes to pick at things, so I kind of enjoy removing the chestnuts. When trimming feet, I just ask the client if they'd like the chesnuts & ergots nipped off. Drafts can grow some huge mutant ones for sure.


                        • #13
                          Thank goodness all my horses have easily removable chestnuts, much to the delight of my dog! He figured out pretty darn quick what was coming if I fiddled around a horse leg for too long. Blech.
                          R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                          36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


                          • #14
                            I used to use dental floss on my draft cross's once they were softened up and it worked really well.


                            • #15
                              I use Vaseline. They peel off just fine.

                              Unfortunately, my KMSH mare grows the largest ergots that I have ever seen. My farrier always forgets to remove them, so I have been using the Vaseline trick on them, too.

                              If you don't keep after them, then shaving the feathers off of her fetlocks is almost impossible. This winter her "toe" (which is what we were taught in Pony Club) was almost an inch long.

                              I finally got them off last week and shaved off her feathers. I feel so much better!

                              BTW, I had a QH that had no ergots and very small chesnuts, too.
                              When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                              • #16
                                I just snip them off for my trim/shoeing clients whenever they are long.
                                Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                                Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.


                                • #17
                                  I had a stocky, fuzzy Appy pony when I was younger and he would grow huge chesnuts and ergots. I would try to remember to peel them after I'd given him a bath since they would usually soften up enough for me to get them off after they'd been wet for a while. If that didn't work, I would use some of that Mane&Tail hoof moisturizer and glob some of that on there to soften them up.

                                  It's funny because my current horse, although quite the fuzzy guy himself, has never grown much of a chesnut (they're kinda wide and flat) and has never grown ergots.
                                  "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                  Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Cielo Azure View Post
                                    Thinking about it... removing chestnuts would be a great extra service for farriers to do
                                    Dang, all these years I've been not charging extra for trimmin' 'em down slick, 'cuz I don't like getting my arms scraped by 'em . . .


                                    • #19
                                      Boy that's right Tom! Overgrown, sharp chestnuts have left some ugly abrasions and bruises on my arms when horses pull back.

                                      And I make sure the ergots are trimmed short on any horse going into hoof boots because they can interfere and rub on the gaiters otherwise.


                                      • #20
                                        I reached up inside the feathers of a big Clyde one day and cut off this ergot that was the size of my thumb and twice as long. I tossed it out in the yard the keep the underfoot Jack Russel "occupied' while I finished the job. The owner thought it was sweet of me to bring a rawhide chew toy for the dog. Yea, I brought 4 of 'em with me just to show you how much I love lil' Fido.