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.
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.
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.
Add one cup Epsom salts per gallon of water. This should be slightly more than will readily dissolve in the water. Stir vigorously.
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.
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.
Apply the drawing agent to the sole of the hoof, filling any pared out area. (The shoe will usually be pulled.)
Place the disposable diaper over the bottom of the hoof with the tabbed edge coming from the back of the pastern so that it fastens around the front of the pastern.
Remove the duct tape bandage from the dishpan or other form and apply the center of the bandage to the bottom of the hoof. Fold the duct tape up and over the hoof wall to the pastern. You will have to overlap the corners.
Gently secure the bandage around the pastern with 2-4 strips of duct tape. Do not wrap tightly, and only use enough pressure to hold the bandage in place.
The entire bandage should extend about 1-2 inches above the coronary band.
Repeat this process daily until two days after the horse returns to soundness. If an abscess ruptures through the sole leaving an open hole in the hoof, the foot should be protected with a dry wrap (one without a drawing agent) until the hole has hardened and begins to fill.