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How to Soak and Wrap a Hoof

Step 1.

Gather the following items: low rubber feed tub or other shallow container, Epsom salts, duct tape, disposable baby diaper (size 3 or 4 for average horses, size 5 if you have a draft horse), ichthammol, magnapaste, or other drawing agent such as poultice.

Step 2.

Before you begin soaking, create a criss-crossed duct tape bandage using 2” or wider duct tape. Place overlapping strips of tape in alternating vertical and horizontal rows to form a sheet that is 12” across in both directions. The bottom of a dishpan works well as a form.




Step 3.

Stand the horse on mats or another clean, level surface. Have a towel available to set the hoof on after soaking. Place the horse’s foot in the tub and fill with enough warm water to cover the hoof to just above the coronary band.

Step 4.

Add one cup Epsom salts per gallon of water. This should be slightly more than will readily dissolve in the water. Stir vigorously.

Step 5.

Young or inexperienced horses may require reassurance or treats to keep them still during the 15-20 minute soak period. If your horse refuses to keep his hoof in a tub, you may need to use a soaking boot. Empty fluid bags, which can often be obtained at GVEC, work well. Place the horse’s foot in the bag and fill with enough water and Epsom salts to cover the top of the hoof. Secure the top of the bag with duct tape.

Step 6.

Remove the hoof from the tub or boot and gently towel dry. Try to dry the pastern thoroughly so that the bandage will stay in place.

Step 7.

Apply the drawing agent to the sole of the hoof, filling any pared out area. (The shoe will usually be pulled.)

When you give your horse a series of shots, such as a course of antibiotics, rotate the area where you give the shot in order to prevent sore spots. If you always think “right (side) at night”, no matter whether you give the shot in the neck or rump, you will avoid giving it in the same spot in the morning and at night.

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