Wrapping a Horse Hoof
If your horse is dealing with a medical condition in its foot, experiencing tenderness in the hoof, or threw a shoe, then the horse may have its hoof wrapped by an owner or handler. If you’re an equestrian, being able to wrap a horse hoof is part of basic first aid that you can administer to your horse. Many horse owners will wrap the horse’s hoof until the veterinarian or farrier can come out and assess the issue.
So, how do you wrap a horse’s hoof? Follow these steps to properly and securely wrap a horse’s foot:
- Before you get started with your horse, first make a duct tape outer bandage to go over your horse’s hoof. Hold onto this for later.
- Start by packing your horse’s hoof with any medication or ointment that the horse will need when their hoof is wrapped.
- Apply a base thick base layer that will come into contact with your horse’s sole. You can use a diaper or thick gauze. This layer can hold medication against the bottom of the horse’s hoof and apply a cushion when walking.
- Use vet wrap to secure the base layer. Wrap around the bottom of the hoof and over the hoof wall and heel so that the wrap won’t fall off.
- Next, take your duct tape outer bandage and put it on over the vet wrap. This will help to keep moisture out of the bandage. Secure the tape to the hoof and cut away any excess duct tape.
- Wrap a few strands of duct tape around the bandage to secure it.
- Replace the bandage every 24 hours to let the hoof breathe.
Bandaging your horse’s hoof can keep it clean of any debris that may cause further issues. If you don’t know how to correctly wrap the horse’s hoof, the bandage can cause further damage by not keeping the hoof clean or falling off. Making sure you have the knowledge and the proper materials on hand to wrap your horse’s hoof can go a long way when it comes to abscesses, thrown shoes, and any other hoof problem your horse may face.
Keep reading to get an in-depth look at all the points mentioned above!
Materials You’ll Need to Wrap Your Horse’s Hoof
Materials needed to wrap your horse’s hoof should be kept in your equine first aid kit. There can be random instances where a horse’s hoof will need to be bandaged, so always have a stack of the supplies ready.
Here’s what you’ll need to wrap your horse’s hoof:
- duct tape – used to make an outer waterproof bandage and to secure the bandage to the foot.
- hoof medication – whatever medication your horse may need to be applied to their hoof.
- diaper/thick gauze – used to create a base layer for cushion and holding medication to the horse’s hoof.
- vet wrap – to secure the base layer bandage
- scissors – used to cut away excess vet wrap and duct tape
Make sure you have enough of these materials on hand to rewrap the hoof a few times in case the veterinarian can’t get out or if the horse takes longer to heal.
How to Wrap a Horse Hoof
Step #1: Create a Duct Tape Bandage
The first thing you’ll need to do when wrapping your horse’s hoof is to make a duct tape cast that will be the outer layer of your bandage. You’ll need to make this big enough to cover the bottom of the horse’s hoof and grip up onto the hoof wall. The best thing to do is to make it too big since you can always cut away the excess duct tape.
Start by cutting multiple strips of duct tape at the same length. Slightly overlap each duct tape strip so that they stick together. Next, add another duct tape layer by laying strips the perpendicularly over the existing duct tape layer.
Having two layers of duct tape in your outer bandage will help keep the hoof safe from having the bandage fall off or getting unwanted bacteria inside.
When you’re done making your duct tape cast, set it aside, as it’s one of the last things you’ll need when bandaging your horse’s hoof.
Step #2: Pack Your Horse’s Hoof With Medication
To get started with wrapping your horse’s hoof, first pack the hoof with any medication the hoof may need. If the horse has an abscess, you’ll use an ointment to draw it out. If your horse threw a shoe, you should pack the hoof with soft gauze or cotton.
Place the ointment directly on the bottom of the horse’s foot to achieve the best results.
One reason to wrap a horse’s hoof is that the horse’s foot will be able to stand in the medication it needs and allow for the medication to do its work. The bandage will hold the medication to the hoof and keep debris from getting in the way.
Step #3: Create Your Base Layer
Once you’ve packed your horse’s hoof with ointment, you’ll want to add your base layer. This layer should be made from a thick material that will hold the medicine to the horse’s hoof and offer some cushion when the horse walks. This layer will go directly over the bottom of the horse’s hoof.
Many horse owners like to use diapers as their base layer for wrapping a horse’s hoof. Diapers are thick and provide cushion; the straps on either side of the diaper also make it easy to wrap and secure it around the foot.
Open the diaper and place it directly over the bottom of the horse’s hoof. The diaper should wrap up over the heel and over the toe. Attach the diaper straps so that the diaper hugs the foot.
Step #4: Secure The Base Layer With Vet Wrap
In the next step, use vet wrap to secure the diaper base layer. Due to its grip, vet wrap is perfect for creating a secure bandage to hold your base layer in place. It will also help to provide some durability to the wrap.
The easiest way to apply the vet wrap is by picking up your horse’s hoof and start at the heel of the hoof. You’ll want to wrap the vet wrap around the toe and the heel of the hoof, covering the bottom of the hoof.
Try not to wrap the vet wrap too tightly, or else you may cut off circulation. Wrapping it too tightly can also cause the bandage to slip off when the horse walks.
Step #5: Apply Outer Duct Tape Bandage
Now that you have the bandage secured with vet wrap, it’s time to apply your outer duct tape bandage. This bandage should cover the vet wrap layer you’ve just created. The duct tape will make the bandage waterproof and will help to keep any bacteria from getting to the sole of the hoof.
Pick up your horse’s hoof and lay the sticky side of the duct tape on the bottom of the hoof. You can press it down firmly to make sure it sticks to the vet wrap. Next, take your hand and stick it around the toes and the heel of the hoof.
You can fold the duct tape up around the horse’s hoof until it’s covering the hoof wall. Place the horse’s foot on the ground and press the duct tape firmly around the hoof. Try to avoid pressing the duct tape over the hairline, as you’ll trim this section of duct tape away.
Step #6: Cut Away Excess Duct Tape
Take a pair of scissors and cut away any loose duct tape or any tape that may stick to your horse’s hair. You’ll want to make sure you leave enough duct tape so that the hoof sole is completely covered and the bandage folds up and over the heel and the toe of the hoof.
Step #7: Secure Bandage With A Few Strips of Duct Tape
Once you’ve trimmed away the excess duct tape, tear a few more strips of tape in order to secure your bandage. Put these strips along the edge of your duct tape bandage to make sure that it’s secure and durable.
How Often to Change a Hoof Wrap
You should change a hoof wrap every 24 hours unless instructed otherwise by a veterinarian. By this time, your waterproof bandage can become compromised and allow in bacteria and other nasty things.
It’s a good idea to change the wrap in order to allow the hoof to breathe, especially if there is a wound. If you’ve applied medication to your horse’s hoof and then wrapped it, the medication will cause many things to be drawn from the hoof. If you leave the wrap on for too long, this may encourage these things to be absorbed back into the hoof.
I hope this article was able to shine some light on wrapping your horse’s hooves. This is just a tidbit of basic first aid that horse owners will need to know to properly care for their horse. If you’re more of a visual learning, check out the video below:
If you want to know more about caring for your horse, check out our article Common Horse Injuries and How to Treat Them.
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