Oddly shaped and always dirty, a horse's hoof may be the most difficult part of the body to wrap. Any bandage not securely applied is likely to come loose and accumulate the dirt and debris it is supposed to keep out.
A figure-eight technique is the key to applying a stable, sturdy hoof bandage in minutes. Practice makes perfect: A few dry runs on a healthy hoof will prepare you for dealing with a wound.
1. Cover the clean and dried wound with a nonstick dressing (with or without medication). Cover the dressing with self-adhesive veterinary wrap, holding the end in place on the hoof wall with your thumb.
2. Secure the edges of the first layer by winding the wrap around the coronary band and heels two or three times. Use a moderate amount of tension as you wind, taking about half the stretch out of the wrap.
3. Wind the wrap in a figure eight, covering the bottom of the hoof. Bring the wrap down over one heel, around the front of the toe and then up and over the opposite heel. Continue until nearly all the wrap has been used, then make two final passes around the edge of the hoof wall. There will be a small gap in the bandage near the toe. It will allow moisture to drain.
4. For added durability, cover the bearing surface of the hoof with duct tape. You can also place an appropriately sized hoof boot over the entire wrap.
This article originally appeared in the September 2005 issue of EQUUS magazine.