How To Wrap A Horse Hoof And Why You Need To Know!

How To Wrap A Horse Hoof And Why You Need To Know!

Owning a horse is an amazing experience that also requires a life long journey of learning how to care for your horse. There’s always something new to learn when it comes to caring for your horse. There are several reasons that wrapping a hoof might be necessary, below I’ve listed the most common. It should be noted that there are many levels of wrapping a hoof that range from basic, to post surgical procedure. For the sake of this article we are only going to cover and demonstrate basic hoof wrapping skills. Be sure to call your vet and/or farrier for a diagnosis before attempting to wrap your horses foot.

  1. Protection: Hoof wrapping can provide protection to the horse’s hoof after the loss of a shoe. If you lose a shoe out on the trail, or at home and need to wait for a farrier. A hoof wrap can help prevent bruising and damage caused by rocks, uneven terrain, or sharp objects that the horse may encounter while you navigate back to the barn or while your horse is in the pasture awaiting a farrier to replace the horseshoe. ( Always a good idea to try and find the shoe if lost in the pasture!)
  2. Injury or Wound Management: If a horse has suffered a hoof injury or has a wound to the heels or coronary band at the top of the hoof, wrapping can help in the healing process. It provides support to the affected area, and helps keep the wound clean and protected from dirt, debris, bugs, and infection.
  3. Hoof Abscess*: In the case of a hoof abscess, which is a painful infection that can occur within the hoof, soaking the foot in warm water with Epsom salt and following that with a medicated hoof wrap can offer relief and support. Using Epsom salt poultice, or an Animalintex Poultice Pad against the hoof while wrapped and restricting the horses movement ( stall rest) can help the abscess exit to the surface quicker than if left untreated. Always have this diagnosis confirmed by a vet or farrier before attempting to treat on your own.
  4. Hoof Diseases or Conditions*: Certain hoof diseases or conditions, such as laminitis or founder, can cause discomfort and inflammation. In these cases, wrapping the hoof can provide additional support and help alleviate pain by reducing pressure on the affected area.
  5. Hoof Support: Horses with weak or damaged hooves may require additional support through hoof wrapping. It can provide stability, distribute weight evenly, and reduce strain on the hoof.
  6. Preventative Measures: Some equestrians choose to wrap their horses’ hooves as a preventative measure overnight, after intense activities or competitions. This is done to draw out any soreness from the hooves that the horse may experience due to concussion.

Wrapping a hoof is an essential skill that comes in handy for horse owners primarily when dealing with a lost shoe or treating a hoof abcess. Over the years my short coupled ( short back, long legs) horses have mastered the art of pulling shoes, and depositing them into a camoflauged portal of lost shoes out in the pasture. Because of this, I’ve become very resourceful when it comes to wrapping hooves. There are many ways to wrap a horses foot, provided specific guidelines are followed, none of them are wrong. This is simply the easiest way I have found to do a basic lost shoe hoof wrap

You will need:
Hoof Pick
Stiff Brush
Scissors or yard knife/blade
Vetwrap/Coflex or similar bandage – standard width.
Pre cut strips of duct tape
Craft Sheet of Duct Tape ( A roll of duct tape will do, but trust me the pre cut sheets make life a lot easier!)
Cushion material – You will need sheet cotton, cast padding or gauze pads to cushion the bottom of the hoof from the ground.
Honestly, I prefer “Pampers Little Swimmers” because the exterior of this style is pretty tough and after wrapping I can usually turn them back out on grass for a day or two before needing to be re-wrapped if the farrier has not made it out to replace the shoe.

Pick your horses hooves and brush out any remaining dirt or debris, then sweep up the debris and discard. – We don’t want our horse to put the debris back in his foot right after we’ve cleaned it. Now set up your wrap materials nearby, preferably within arms reach. An upside down bucket or a mounting block can make a handy staging area for your materials. Cut those strips of duct tape now and tag them on your staging area.

Take the diaper and place it on your horses hoof, centering the padded area between the leg holes over the hoof to provide a cushion.

Take your vet wrap and lock the diaper in place. Starting at the inside quarter of the foot, wrap around the back off the hoof covering the bulbs of the heels and move toward the front of the hoof. As you cross the front of the hoof, keep the vetwrap about 1″ lower than the hair line.

Continue this circular procedure until the bottom of the hoof is covered, make a few more passes so that the vet wrap ends at the front of the hoof. The vetwrap should be snug enough that you can jam your pinky finger under the wrap. Beware of making your wrap too tight, the hoof needs room to expand contract as your horse moves about.

Put the hoof down, now using your scissors carefully trim off the excess diaper, making sure that the coronary band is open and not covered by the wrap. I try to tidy the diaper down to the vetwrap to avoid leaving anything that looks remotely entertaining sticking up for a curious muzzle to yank on.

Get out your favorite duct tape sheet ( avoid the “fabric” style duct tape sheets, they do not hold up that well for a hoof wrap.) Place the sheet adhesive side up on the ground near the hoof and slowly remove the backing. You want to try to keep the sheet from curling up as you remove the adhesive backing.

Once you’ve got the backing removed center the sticky part of the sheet on the bottom of hoof. Smooth it over the hoof bottom and then fold the rest of the sheet up the exterior of the hoof. I make “pleats” with the duct tape as I fold it around the exterior of the hoof wall to make it easier to follow the outline of the hoof.

I then take my strips of duct tape and reinforce the toe of the hoof and cup the bulbs of the heel to help keep the wrap from turning and encourage the materials to mold to the shape of the hoof.

Once your happy with the wrap, cut one small notch on either side of the bandage near the quarters of the hoof. The notches should be about a half inch each, the notches ensure you are not cutting off any circulation anywhere and again allow for the hoof to expand and contract.

Things to remember:
*Always call your vet or farrier if your horse is experiencing any kind of lameness before attempting to treat something on your own.
Avoid covering the coronary band with duct tape unless advised to do so by your vet or farrier.
Check the wrap daily for signs of wear and irritation.
Be sure to cut notches into the top of the wrap to allow the hoof to expand and contract as your horse moves around.

Pro Tip: If your horses toss shoes often, consider getting a hoof boot. Wraps are great, but hoof boots are so much easier and they are reusable! Keep in mind that using a boot for turn out may cause chaffing with extended use.

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