Farriers' Roundtable

I sometimes hear farriers talking about using Venice turpentine with specific hoof problems. Can someone explain how it works and when and where to use it?

Q: I sometimes hear farriers talking about using Venice turpentine with specific hoof problems. Can someone explain how it works and when and where to use it?

— South Dakota farrier

A: I use Venice turpentine when I need an astringent, which causes the sole to exfoliate and get tougher. It’s used for sore-sole issues, thin soles, etc. Most of the products on the market that offer sole relief have Venice turpentine in them.

There are several types of turpentine products on the market. Pure Venice turpentine is produced from Western larch tree rosin. Venice turpentine is an age-old product that’s been used as an astringent in both the medical and farrier fields.

An astringent causes biological or exposed tissues to contract, shrink or draw together. Used on sore-soled horses, thin-soled horses or when you need a tougher sole, Venice turpentine is very effective.

— Esco Buff, Ph.D., Webster, N.Y.

A: Ventice turpetine is great for getting soreness out of feet, effectively treating sole and heel bruises. It should not be used for poultice or packing an abcess because it doesn’t draw the way a poultice would.

Venice turpentine is often used on performance horses that get sore feet from a heavy workload. Many racehorse trainers will have a farrier pack Venice turpentine and oakum under full pads on tender-footed racehorses. It can also be painted on the bottom of the hoof with a stiff brush. If the weather is cold, it needs to be warmed up because it’s so…

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