Hoof packing is an incredibly useful tool in farriery. If only the application wasn’t so messy.

Farriers have come up with a variety of ways to apply it in a cleaner, efficient way, whether it’s using a putty knife or a bilge cloth. As a long-time farrier and owner of Horseshoes Unlimited farriery supply shop in Gill, Mass., Ray Steele experiments with ways to improve the use of a number of products. Packing is no exception.

“I fool around with lots of hoof packing, looking for a way to keep it cleaner,” he says. “I use a paper soufflé cup with one of my concoctions in it — rosin, oil, leather dust and zinc. I can control the 3 oz. portion (Figure 1) while applying it (Figure 2) and provide a biodegradable cover for the packing (Figure 3).”

Steele’s method also is an easy way for the farrier or horse owner to keep track of expenses.

“That soufflé cup is 3 oz.,” he says, noting that he uses 2, 3 and 4 oz. cups. “When applying packing for two front hooves, that’s 6 oz. If you’re paying $8 to $15 per pound for packing and charging $5 to pack the two front hooves, well, you do the math.”

Try Steele’s hoof packing method and tell us about your experience in the comment section below.

RS Hoof Packing 1

Figure 1

RS Hoof Packing 2

Figure 2

RS Hoof Packing 3

Figure 3