Hoof Packing: A Horse-Health Product Spotlight

In many barns, hoof packing is a routine part of equine care. If you’ve never had occasion to use this helpful product, read on to find out when and if it might be applicable in your horse’s care.

Jumpers commonly use hoof packing if their horse has had consecutive days of jumping. Journal photo.

When and Why to Use

While it is common for a farrier to apply hoof packing to the sole under a pad when shoeing a horse, our focus in this article is on the temporary use of hoof packing by the horse owner.

There are several common reasons for a horse owner to use hoof packing. These include:

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  • To help toughen the sole when a horse transitions from being shod to going barefoot.
  • To help reduce hoof soreness after hard work or riding on hard or rocky ground, or if the hoof is bruised.
  • To help draw moisture out of the feet when hooves are too wet.
  • To help make excessively dry hooves pliable and healthy.

Trainers of hunters, jumpers and three-day eventers commonly use hoof packing after their horses have had consecutive days of jumping. It can also benefit performance horses that compete on hard ground and less-than-ideal surfaces. (Even if you don’t show your horse, hoof packing may be beneficial for any of the scenarios mentioned.)

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To find out more about the use of hoof packing, we visited with Travis Burns, an American Farriers Association certified journeyman farrier, who is a lecturer and chief of farrier services at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine located on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Travis emphasizes that while hoof packing is beneficial, if your horse’s hooves continually show signs of soreness, this is probably a red flag.

To read more about hoof packing, continue to AQHA Daily!