Discover the Secrets of Hoof Packing Level Up in Horse Care!
We have all heard the phrases “no hoof, no horse,” “good hooves are the foundation required for a good horse,” and other variations. Some of us have also experienced the need to pack our horses’ feet or consider putting pads on more sensitive soles.
With varying opinions out there, we decide to chat with our featured professional, farrier Mitch Taylor, founder of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School, to learn his thoughts and ask whether he could provide some insight.
“Overall, no matter if you’re a high-level competitor or love a long day out on the trail—it’s great to pack horses’ feet overnight. Not only for sore horses, but it’s great in general for a horse’s frog and sole to be supported with the packing overnight,” he says. “Consider the atmosphere you live in, you don’t want to over-hydrate or over dry the hoof. Horses’ feet should be hard, but not too hard. It’s definitely a balancing game and hoof packing can play a helpful role.”
“These days, a lot more horses are wearing pads, from sport horses to Western Performance horses,” Taylor continues. “Now, if you are at the point where your horse needs the support of a pad under his shoe, there are two types: one to provide protection and one to provide structural support. You would never want to put a full pad or a treatment plate on and have a void in there. We, farriers, would fill it with something to provide protection and a little bit of cushioning.
“For a pad that is providing protection, I want something that is going to fill the entire area and every little crack,” he explains. “The last think you want for any pad is to have debris, dirt, fungus—you name it—find a way in. If it can be anti-fungal, even better! One of my favorite go-tos for this is Magic Cushion. I also like it for overnight packing. My students and I have had a lot of success in using it.
“For a pad that is intended to provide more structural support, the material that would be used to fill the void would be made out of an elastomeric material or something like silicone putty/impression material,” Taylor adds. “You want to be able to squeeze it and have it come back into shape. We tend to use this material a lot in laminitis cases for when the coffin bone is coming down.”
“Overall, my favorite type of pad to use on horses is leather. It’s fibrous, somewhat breathable and has a little more give than plastic pads. It’s easier to manipulate and customize for horses who need it—for example, those with flat feet and a prolapsed frog. It allows the sole/frog to have some room and not get sore,” Taylor concludes.
What’s so Magic about this Cushion?
Well for starters, farriers love it—or at least hold it in high regard. So high, it is one of the top 5 products that they recommend. It starts to work within an hour to reduce hoof heat, has natural ingredients, and calms the sole and frog soreness. Additionally, it has multiple uses to relieve soreness and provide protection, for overnight packing and as a filler for horses with pads. Its made of the stuff that just works! But there is plenty of research from a thermal imaging study on Absorbine’s Magic Cushion to support this.
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