Don Hobson, who founded Hawthorne Products as part of his own attempts at developing better hoof-care products, including packing, had his own list of reasons for a farrier to pack a hoof.
1. To take the fever out of feet.
2. To relieve the pain from stone bruises or excessive trauma to a foot.
3. To draw abscesses, gravels or corns out of a foot.
4. To control, stop or prevent infections.
5. To support a hoof and keep it healthy by filling the cavity beneath a pad.
6. To make a foot easier to trim — something Hobson says he first learned from English farrier Simon Curtis.
Hobson says a problem can arise when farriers put hoof packing over an infection or fail to ensure that debris can’t work in underneath it.
“If there is any chance that a horse is going to have something going on underneath that hoof packing you should never cover it up with a shoe and pad. If you think there’s going to be an infection in there, set it up so you can take that cover off of it in a couple of days and smell it.
If it doesn’t smell good, you’re not on the right track.” Hobson says it’s better in these situations to treat the foot for from a couple of days to a week, and nail a shoe and pad on after it’s clear that you’re on the right track.
“Don’t cover something up when you aren’t sure what’s going on in there,” he says. “You’re asking for trouble.”