Friday, January 27, 2023

Mud vs Me

Charlie has endeavored to instruct me on many aspects of horse care. Sadly... despite, uh, extensive repetition, I'm still somewhat hilariously shitty at wrapping hooves. 

spare shoe for maximum precision in duct tape reinforcement
But ya know. I'm a gambling woman, so let's review my latest effort and take bets on whether or not it'll survive the big test: Charlie is returning to turn out today (yay!), but will have to cross significant mud to get to his lovely grassy pasture. 

betadine + animalintex worm shoved in there with a hoof pick 
And ya know. There's still a friggin hole in the bottom of his foot. The options, as I understood them, were to either.... 
- Keep him in
- Let him out, and not even bother wrapping
- Or make an attempt at a boot that's at least slightly mud-impervious 

relatively loosely wrapped gauze to hopefully protect heel bulbs
The trickiest thing is that the mud is wet (duh) and deep. And it's literally the first obstacle in Charlie's path. Which means that if he fills his boot up with mud within the first few steps out, he'll be standing in a mud-filled boot all day long... A distinct, but not ideal, possibility.

lol... feedbag layer for actual shits 'n giggles
I added a layer of cotton gauze hoping it'll be loose enough padding as a base layer that I'd reduce any risk of making the wrap too tight or having any pressure points on the heel bulbs or coronet band. Tho... if mud DOES get into the wrap, this layer will likely hold a lot of moisture. 

vet wrap... again, relatively loosely
I also added a cut out piece of feedbag to reinforce the weight-bearing surface. Someone told me about this hack years ago, but it's never really worked for me before. In the past, I used it under the duct tape layer. Hopefully slipping it under the vet wrap will work better? I dunno!

Anyway. Last step was the duct tape. And yea, I know, someone always tells me "GoRiLlA tApE iS bEtTeR" and... sure sure, agreed, it is. Tho ya know what's good enough? What I have on hand, haha. Sometimes the best tool is what you already have. So. Duct Tape is good 'nuff. 

duct tape bottom patch applied and taped on
As you saw earlier, I like to make a reinforced lattice patch, with lots of extra tape layers where the shoe sits, and a couple lengthier overhangs to fold up over the walls of the hoof. Plop that on the sole, then do a couple loops around the edge to solidly secure. 

pressure-relief snip, more duct tape.... and (lol...) some elastikon as a last ditch effort to keep the mud out.....
From there, I just build the duct tape up the wall and over the heel bulb, attempting to make a shape that can't easily be ripped off, while also not being too tight. My plan was to make an extra sort of "collar" out of elastikon as a final resistance against mud filling up the wrap... but naturally only had a literal scrap of the stuff left. So I sealed up the space behind Charlie's pastern...

place your bet, ladies and gentlemen!
And I guess we will hope for the best lol. There are a couple possible outcomes as far as I can tell.... The wrap could fill with mud, or rub Charlie raw, or blow out on the bottom, or fall off entirely... Or maybe it'll still be there doing its job when I get there tonight? 

What do you think? Do you do it differently? See any critical weaknesses in this wrap? (And please don't say "Gorilla Tape" lol...). Is it worth the bother? Overkill? Or do you figure, eh, that hole will probably seal up and what's a little mud anyway? 


  1. I really, really want elastikon to work the way it does in small animals (ie stay attached so well you yank out hair with it when you take it off 3 days later). But I dunno if it's our FL sand or what, but it never works like I want it to on duct tape boots. And it is stupidly expensive. So I don't bother with that part.

    My bet is actually gonna be some mud/dirt but still mostly on and cleaner than without.

    1. Hm I’ve had good luck with elastikon on actual bandaging material like vet wrap etc, but have honestly never tried on duct tape before. Didn’t really think of it…. I guess I’ll find out tonight if that little scrap is still hanging on or not LOL

    2. I think the Florida sugar sand may just weasel between the bits of sticky and turn it completely useless. Let me know how it turns out and I'll add to my anecdata on elastikon lol.

    3. ooooooh "anecdata" !!! as a data scientist in a decidedly non-scientific industry, i'm always on the look out for fun new jargon lol, i love it! also, will do. my biggest worry is the literal river of deep wet mud the horse will have to traverse (and also the actual literal stream he might wade into for drinking)... we shall see i guess!

  2. That's a pretty solid-looking wrap! I think it'll hold on!

  3. Wow! When I had a horse I had to wrap his feet a lot because of his bad TB feet. Never thought of the feed bag reinforcement! I bet it stays on. At least I hope so!

    1. it's kinda funny bc i've had to wrap charlie's feet a lot too... but most of my wraps fail fantastically LOL... the feedbag thing has never really worked for me before when i've tried to layer it in with the duct tape... it just makes the duct tape not stick any more (duh, emma). we'll see if this does any better. the more i think of it, tho, the more convinced i am that the horse probably went immediately into the stream to drink when he got turned out this morning, rendering the whole thing pointless anyway lol*sob*

  4. Looks great!! We also struggle with sand ruining the stickiness of almost everything... Spare shoe duct tape template is genius. You're fighting the good fight my friend. (anxiously pre-treating persistent cracks + applying sole hardener ahead of possibly ten straight days of rain :( )

    1. oh man... yea i try to give myself a season off from the obsessive hoof painting, since charlie's feet go a little dormant in the winter.... but yea we've already started with the anxious pre-treating of cracks and chips around these parts too, sigh. i'm hoping those leather rim pads will help even more with getting a head start on the season's chipping but ugh... stay strong!!

  5. That is one seriously impressive boot! Hope he is finally on the mend for you!

    1. he's gonna take his sweet time about getting better, i think, womp womp

  6. I would do this and then put a Cavallo turn out boot over top of it.

  7. I've wrapped A LOT of feet in my lifetime... and I haven't really figured out one that fully survives mud yet. May the force be with you!

  8. Gorilla Tape! It's amazing and it's super hard to come off!


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