A farrier uses a rasp to help shape, round and balance hooves. If you watch, you’ll see that the farrier rasps the hoof a few times then holds the hoof so he (or she) can judge its overall balance, checking that the heels and hoof are level, before rasping again. This takes skill and practice.
The newly released Riders Rasp was designed with the belief that if a user-friendly rasp was available more horse owners would be able to help maintain a balanced hoof between farrier visits, possibly even extending the time period.
The designers note that a traditional farrier’s rasp can be awkward to use. In addition, a mistake or mis-stroke can easily remove too much hoof wall at once, leaving a mess for the farrier.
The Riders Rasp can remove flares, smooth out chips and, if the horse happens to pull his shoe, with a few swipes, the hoof can be cleaned up well enough so the damage doesn’t worsen — all without over rasping the hoof wall. It’s got a comfortable, shaped plastic back that’s easy to hold, with two short rasp blades in its interior.
Our testers found the Riders Rasp a godsend compared to a traditional 12” rasp, and they could easily remove chips or round the hoof. However, our results showed that actually balancing a hoof takes a trained eye.
Bottom Line. Using a traditional rasp takes practice. The cost is about $25, plus another $4 for a handle. At $44.95, the Riders Rasp costs about a third more, but it easily allows the user to keep chips and flares from worsening, stopping more serious damage. Nearly anyone should also be able to halt further destruction after a pulled shoe by using this tool.
We recommend the Riders Rasp for first-aid to hooves. We do not believe anyone should consider it a way to save farrier fees or attempt do-it-yourself trims unless they have the proper training. (www.ridersrasp.com, 877-377-9195)