It’s almost inevitable that at some point, your horse will need his hooves soaked or iced. Common reasons for soaking a horse’s hoof include an abscess, white line treatment, or even icing for hoof bruises or laminitis. The best way to get this done is also the easiest way - with a Soaker Sack. Feed bins are for feed - and are easily tipped over and stepped out of. On some level, your horse might also realize that he’s standing in his feed bin - and shouldn’t there be feed in it?
When you are preparing your horse’s hoof for soaking, clean the hoof wall and underside of the hoof as best you can. Hoof picks with brushes are ideal for this. Have your horse on a clean and level surface where he’s comfortable and safe.
Before you fill the Soaker Sack with your soaking solution, make sure your horse is comfortable with the Sack over his hoof and leg. You might consider using a hay net so he can munch as his treatment progresses.
Then you can carefully fill the Soaker Sack with your hoof solution of choice. Typically your Veterinarian will have a formula for your horse’s particular situation, and can tell you how long your horse should remain soaking. For a simple hoof soaking, you will likely just need to cover the bottom portion of the hoof. For icing, you will also want to ice the lower part of your horse's leg to get as much coverage as possible.
As with any hoof related issue, your Veterinarian is the one to consult about a diagnosis and treatment plan. Because hoof issues can be critical, talk to your Vet first! And don't forget, lots of positive reinforcement as your horse soaks!
The horse’s hoof is an amazing structure, with layers and layers of tissue and function. The hoof wall is the barrier between the bones inside, as well as the soft tissue structures that hold your horse up!
The hoof wall is a changing structure, as is grows about 6 to 9mm a month. In a year’s time, most horses will have totally regrown their hoof wall. The majority of tissue in the hoof wall is keratin, and it’s about 25% water. If your horse is shod, the horse shoe nails go through the hoof wall.
In some parts of the county, the frozen ground is a welcome occurrence! Bugs are gone, snow might be coming, and the earth gets a time to rest. BUT - you horse’s hooves might not appreciate it so much.
Frozen ground is wickedly hard - harder than any concrete or asphalt road. It also likes to freeze rocks into place, creating little spikes in the ground. Your horse won’t be able to kick them out of the way, so tripping is a risk, as are nasty bruises from landing on one of those - even at the walk.
There are many medical words that you might here from your Farrier and Vet - here's an introduction into the terms describing hooves!