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There's No One Way to Pack a Hoof

Many products and materials can be used for this job, so it makes sense for farriers to learn what’s best for which purpose


PACKING OPTIONS. A wide variety of hoof packing materials are available to the farrier and can be applied in a variety of ways, from placing it by hand to injecting it beneath a mesh screen.

Packing a hoof is something farriers do regularly — perhaps too regularly, according to some people who provide hoof packing.

“A lot of farriers are very set in their ways,” says Ron Riegel, an equine veterinarian with Premier Equine Health Products in Maryville, Ohio. “They use the same material for every situation.”

Before you reach for that pine tar and oakum mixture, that packing material you picked up at the farrier supply store or the top-secret concoction you learned from your grandfather, there are three things you need to think about.

  1. Why are you packing this particular hoof?
  2. What environment is the horse living in?
  3. Are you sure you know how to apply the packing correctly?

Goal And Environment

“What you want to pack a hoof with is dependant on what your goal is and the environment the horse is in,” Riegel points out. “There are many products or materials that can be used and all are good in their own way. They all serve a function, but you have to keep your goal in mind.”

A product that’s being used to condition dry feet is not going to be the same product to use for feet that are falling apart because of too much moisture, or when you’re treating an infection, he says. There…

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Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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