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!
How Do Epsom Salts Work?
Epsom salts, available at most tack shops, feed stores, and pharmacies, is magnesium sulfate. It’s chunkier than regular salt, and dissolves easily in water. In the horse world, epsom salts are commonly used for helping to treat a hoof abscess. When epsom salts get wet, the absorb moisture, which is the “drawing out” part of treating an abscess.
Ichthammol is a dark and sticky black salve that draws out infections. It’s made of a base ingredient, like beeswax or paraffin, mixed with sulfur rich shale. The shale starts as sedimentary rock, and through a series of steps becomes an oil of which ichthammol is made.
Horse Hoof Anatomy - The Frog
When you look at the horse’s hoof in great detail, there’s a lot more going on than just the sole, wall, and what’s inside. The frog has some critical functions in the hoof as well as the rest of the horse.
The frog is the spongy triangular shaped tissue on the hoof bottom. The apex, or pointy part, points to the front of the hoof. The base is wider and extends out the back of the hoof. The hoof’s center of gravity is at the approximate apex of the frog.