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The decision to pack a foot begins with a reason — the farrier has a goal in mind. Application needs range from protection to addressing moisture to therapeutic to support.
“Know what you’re going to do, whether you want to moisturize it, whether you want to try to dry it out,” says equine veterinarian Ron Riegel. “Horses’ feet change all year round, so your packing’s going to change all year round, too, if you want to do it.”
As Riegel explained in his presentation at the 2013 International Hoof-Care Summit, understanding what you are using is critical before you first attempt to apply.
Riegel, the developer former owner of Magic Cushion, finds this understanding begins with the basic of what you can put on feet. Oakum and pine tar have been packing material longer than anyone can remember and other applicants like Venice turpentine and iodine also have stood the test of time.
Other companies have introduced compounds that are effective in various needs for packing by providing some protection, support and treatment of the area. Often the farrier can ease a burden in more ways than one.
“We have therapeutic packing that you can put in there so the owner doesn’t have to do anything, he says. “The farrier can apply copper sulfate for thrush, and the owner doesn’t have to change them every day.”
Getting more into various uses, Riegel points out that poultices are still used often at racetracks and other events to relieve inflammation when…