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Hoof packing for dummies (advice needed)

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  • Hoof packing for dummies (advice needed)

    I have never used hoof packing before. However, when a thermal scan was done on my horse, it showed that she has some heat (soreness) in her front feet. Talked to my farrier and we are going to wait until her next regular shoeing to put shoes on (she is barefoot right now.) She is not lame so I think this is a reasonable plan.

    However, in the meantime, I want to make her as comfortable as possible, especially at shows. So, I thought I would do hoof packing on her front feet each night at the show next weekend.

    What is the easiest way to wrap the hoof so the hoof packing stays in place?

  • #2
    I've used the old plastic woven grain bags as "boots" over the feet, secured with electrical tape when I groomed at the track. Nowadays, if I pack my own horses' feet I cut a hoof sized piece of a paper bag (similar to what some use for poultice) and place it over the foot.

    You could probably do the paper bag with some vet wrap over it if you really want it to stay in for a long time.


    • #3
      Cut a roll of Saran Wrap in half, put poultice in foot, wrap foot with Saran Wrap, no need for tape. FWIW my new to me favorite product is magic cushion


      • #4
        Magic Cushion is awesome. I just apply the magic cushion and press shavings into the surface of the packing.


        • #5
          Originally posted by inca View Post

          it showed that she has some heat (soreness) in her front feet.

          She is not lame

          So, I thought I would do hoof packing on her front feet each night at the show next weekend.
          I might consider skipping a show if my horse was 'sore' but not 'lame'

          Where I come from, those two things are the same and means the horse needs something before being expected to work.


          • #6
            Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
            Magic Cushion is awesome. I just apply the magic cushion and press shavings into the surface of the packing.
            I use it (use gloves) and have them stand in sawdust. Will easily stay in.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks - I bought some Magic Cushion today and also ordered Hawthorne's form SmartPak (sounded easy to use at a show with pre made "patties.")

              If you saw the horse on the longe today or being ridden earlier this week, you would not think anything was wrong with her. The only reason the front feet came up as an issue is from the thermal scan. No indication of soreness in the front feet under saddle but the thermal scan did show a difference between the front feet and hind feet. It's summer so the ground is getting a bit hard here. Shoes will be a big help and had been considered the past couple of months anyway. Basically trying to PREVENT a problem. Obviously, we will skip the show if that is best for the horse. She got a MagnaWave treatment yesterday and is getting additional treatments tomorrow, Wed. and Fri. We will evaluate things after that.

              In the meantime, I am trying to think of every preventative/maintenance thing we can do for her to keep her happy and sound. I ordered a Back on Track mesh sheet which I have been wanting for a while anyway and saddle fit is being evaluated tomorrow. Already found 3 jumping saddles with wool flocking instead of foam panels (which are not easy to find) that we will discuss tomorrow as alternative to my current saddle.


              • Original Poster

                Oh, any difference doing the packing on a barefoot horse vs. one with shoes? I can see how it would be easy to do with shoes but she is currently barefoot.


                • #9
                  Why wouldn't you just have the shoes put on right away? That's pretty darn basic and inexpensive compared to some of the other stuff you are talking about. It's easy to get caught up in all the hi-tech, new wave, therapeutic, blahblahblah, but you've got to see to the basics first. Plus it will be difficult to accurately judge how effective those other treatments are with such a fundamental underlying problem. Kudos to you for your commitment to caring for your horse, but I'd suggest putting a higher priority on getting those feet the support they need. No hoof, no horse
                  "Sometimes the fear won't go away... so you just have to do it afraid."

                  Trolls be trollin'! -DH


                  • Original Poster

                    :-( She is in the middle of our regular shoeing cycle and I am trying to work with my farrier without upsetting the apple cart. I love my farrier and you can set your watch by him - he calls ME to set the appointment when my horses are due. Mare will be on summer vacation (swimming, trail rides, time at home in my pasture that has been resting) VERY soon so trying to manage the whole situation the best I can. :-(


                    • #11
                      Why did you do a thermal scan on your horse's feet if she looked just fine?

                      Shoes can be put on or taken off at any time in the 'shoeing' cycle. If the horse needs shoes, put them on. When you no longer need them, simply have them removed.
                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
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                      • #12
                        How about using hoof boots until your next shoeing cycle? You can also put them over the hoof packing. I use Magic Cushion, cover it with paper or similar, and then put a hoof boot over it.

                        Does your horse react to hoof testers?
                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
                          Why did you do a thermal scan on your horse's feet if she looked just fine?

                          Shoes can be put on or taken off at any time in the 'shoeing' cycle. If the horse needs shoes, put them on. When you no longer need them, simply have them removed.
                          I also wonder why the thermal scan if they didn't suspect any problems.

                          I think she doesn't want to bother the farrier between when he is supposed to come out (maybe it's a long way for him to go or something). I have no problem yanking my farrier out any time as needed, he always obliges.


                          • Original Poster

                            *sigh* In a perfect world, my farrier and I could drop everything and get shoes on the mare. However, he is on vacation next week and the following week I am flying out of state to visit my parents that I have not seen for 7 months. Neither thing can be rearranged at the last minute. A farrier appointment for this mare involves me driving 45 minutes to the trainer's, picking her up, driving 45 minutes home and then repeating this after the farrier is done. My trainer's farrier is extremely unreliable and I am not a big fan of his work so I choose to have my farrier (who does my 3 horses that are at my house) do this mare. Unfortunately, I do not live in a perfect world and do my best to deal with things within the constraints of reality.

                            Without going into a long history of this mare, she has a stifle problem so I am hyper-vigilant of the slightest change in her. I know we have to do maintenance at the first sign of anything. At last show, she got a little too tired and I felt she was a little sore. I assumed stifles. I scheduled the MagnaWave session and as part of it a thermal scan from head to toe was done. I guess good news/bad news is that her stifles showed no increased heat at all. She is a bit sore in the croup area (showed heat and reaction to palpation.) Then her front feet showed a LITTLE increased heat, which was surprising because she never gave any indication of foot soreness. She won the hack at the show and was reserve champion of our division.

                            I was thinking of shoes anyway because the ground gets hard during the summer and after her "summer vacation" we are going to start jumping a little higher. So, this kind of pushed that timeline up.


                            • #15
                              *zips up flame suit*

                              Um. If the thermal scan showed increased "heat" in the front feet but the horse is not foot-sore, couldn't that just be an increase in blood flow? And since when is a good amount of blood flow to the hoof a bad thing? Is she lame, reactive to hoof testers, tender-footed, or have a strong/bounding digital pulse? Is there concern about laminitis? If not, I would personally not be too concerned--I mean, the horse bears more weight in the front feet than the hinds, so I would think they would have more/stronger blood flow than the hinds, yes?
                              Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!


                              • #16
                                increased hoof heat, stifles, sacrum

                                metabolic issues.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by inca View Post
                                  :-( She is in the middle of our regular shoeing cycle and I am trying to work with my farrier without upsetting the apple cart. I love my farrier and you can set your watch by him - he calls ME to set the appointment when my horses are due.
                                  I hate to say this, but unless the farrier is looking at your horse on a weekly basis, he does not know when your horse is due. "Setting your watch" by him means he's looking at the calendar, which is not necessarily in synch with what the feet need. If you're in the "middle" of the cycle, then there should be plenty of foot onto which to nail shoes. Truly.
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                  • #18
                                    I like magic cushion for packing,even barefoot horses (but yes, it stays in better with shoes).

                                    I have one who has shoes, that I pack at the shows if the ground is particularly hard.

                                    I also wouldnt put too much trust into the thermal scan - it picks up heat/bloodflow and front feet will have more than the hind feet in most horses. If one was significantly more "red" than the other, than that is trigger for you that there may be an issue. Equal readings on both front feet on a sound horse wouldnt worry me too much.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Yes, there is plenty of foot to nail shoes to - see post #14 as to why it just isn't possible right now.

                                      This thread has gotten very off topic - LOL To bring it back on topic, I have another mare that DID suddenly get lame on her left front - thinking possible abscess but lameness isn't quite as dramatic as an abscess usually is. Anyway, she has shoes and I put Magic Cushion on both her front feet this morning. Perhaps it is because I have never packed a foot before but I found it to be a giant PITA. Maybe it will get easier with practice.