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How to Wrap a Hoof 

Master this skill before you need it.

Placing guaze over the sole
Wrapping with gauze to protect the whole foot
Applying duct tape

   Every horse owner should know how to make an emergency bandage for the hooves. Supplies you'll need include (at the very basic):

  • Gauze
  • Saline solution or water hose
  • cohesive bandage like vetwrap
  • duct tape

   Hoof wraps can be used for emergency purposes as well as for more mild medical problems or even if you loose a shoe to prevent injury. If you are simply trying to protect the foot that lost a shoe or to apply a poultice to a bruise, the steps are pretty much the same, minus the rinsing and gauze.

  1.  If there is blood or obvious wound, rinse with saline solution or low pressure water hose to flush debris. Do not use high pressure as this can force debris further into the flesh. Once the wound is rinsed...
  2. Apply gauze or cotton padding. Maxi pads and diapers work really well for bloody wounds or poultices.
  3. Next, use the cohesive bandage to wrap a few times around the absorbent material to hold it in place, then...
  4. Continue to wrap around the toe, heel bulbs, up over the coronary band and across the sole with the bandage. Use more than one roll if needed.
  5. Finally, use duct tape to protect the bottom of the bandage from wear. Tear off about 4-5 8-10 inch strips and lay them across your leg, slightly overlapping, then another 4-5 stirps cross-wise in the middle of these stips. Then, take the whole duct tape pad, and place centered over the sole of the hoof. The ends will come up over the hoof wall at the toe, heels and both sides. Press these down, then get the duct tape again, and make several wraps around the hoof wall to hold the tabs in place.

     If your horse is bleeding profusely, wrap tight and do not attmept to remove the bandage once it is on. The blood will clot to the bandage and to remove it will encourage more bleeding. I was told this from a vet. Also, don't over wash the wound, a gentle rinsing is all that is needed, your vet will be able to more thoroughly examine and clean it when he arrives. Overwashing causes the tissues to swell from water gain and makes it harder to assess damage and could actually push dirt futher into the wound.  Also, do not give bute or other painkillers unless your vet directs you to. They can interfere with your vets' ability to diagnose the extent of the damage.

    If you find a nail in your horse's hoof, try not to remove it, especially if it is in the frog. The flexible nature of the frog makes the wound nearly impossible to relocate later and is more apt to have penetrated important structures and your vet needs to be able to examine the hole. This area is hard to drain, and requires vet attention. If you can't avoid the nail coming out, or before it falls out, use a permanant marker (after cleaning the hoof with a brush and water, if possible and drying) to circle the hole, then bandage to avoid the marker getting rubbed off.

Finished hoof bandage
* Note added July 2010: A new, easy way to avoid using duct tape is to try a Hoof Wrap bandage. It's a nylon, reusable bandage that simply velcros around the hoof and does not come off. I'm not being paid to say it, but I think it's a GREAT product and will be carrying in my product list. Just toss one of these in your first aid kit for a quicker, easier wrap. But, ...keep the duct tape in there-you never know when that will be useful. For more information on the Hoof Wrap, follow this link: