Helping Sore Feet with Packing

Consider what you use and how much to use prior to applying hoof packing on a sore-footed horse

In less than severe cases, hoof packing used with a pad may be your best option to keep a horse in activity. In more detrimental cases, you may need to present a case to an owner that the two aren’t a suitable alternative to rest.

It’s not uncommon for clients to apply pressuse on their farriers to keep sore-footed horses going. The reasons for the soreness range in severity. Certainly the more severe, the more likely the hoof-care team will limit a horse’s return to active riding. However, if the cause is minor, and the goal is to deliver relief to the horse, hoof packing is the popular choice. But before you pack the sore foot, consider whehter your plan addresses the immediate goal. D

Do What Is Necessary

When addressing soreness, Travis Burns, farrier for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, isn’t against using hoof packing, but he finds too often the treatment of rest and allowing a horse to heal is overlooked.  

“I think giving the horse time to rest and heal, then finding a way to protect the feet from becoming sore again often creates a less stressful situation for the farrier to ‘fix’ a sore horse immediately,” he says.

However, when hoof packing is considered, he reminds farriers to consider perception. While the hoof-care professional applies it, with the goal of protection and support, the horse instead can perceive it as pressure, which can be painful.

Steve Kraus, head of the farrier program at Cornell…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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