When your horse hobbles up the hill for breakfast absolutely dead lame, the first thought that goes through your mind is, I hope it’s only an abscess. I can still remember the first time I had a horse with an abscess. I arrived to find him standing on three legs, refusing to put weight on the fourth. I assumed it was broken and went into a full-scale panic. Four hundred dollars and a vet visit later, I learned that many times your farrier can help you with an abscess and that most of the time, soaking, treating with Epsom salts, and time can take the place of x-rays.
However, the good thing about an abscess is that it is easy to identify and mostly easy to treat (there are some abscesses that move around the hoof and take forever to resolve, but at least you know what you’re dealing with.)
Freedom has had his fair share of abscesses — especially while barefoot, and most often when the ground is rock hard and he’s stamping at flies. My farrier had noticed some bruising on the right front when she’d been out and a small pocket of pus. Since then, it got worse. So, when he came hobbling up the hill I put panic on hold and pulled out my abscess kit: Magic Cushion, vet wrap and a hoof boot.
My experience is that the Magic Cushion is effective at drawing soreness out of the hoof. It also has antibacterial properties so can help prevent recurring infections. My preferred treatment is to put Magic Cushion on the sole, then wrap the hoof, put a plastic bag over it and slip a hoof boot over the whole thing. The extra cushioning made him walk off more comfortably. I left it on for a couple of hours and then reapplied the poultice. Be careful not to leave the plastic bag on too long as it holds too much moisture in, but it’s a good way to keep the hoof packing contained. I put my hand into the bag when I’m removing it from the container (or wear gloves). Once you get it on your hands and/or clothing, it can be difficult to get off.
The video below goes through the steps on how to apply Magic Cushion.
It took a few days, but he’s back to normal now and we’ve even had some rain so the ground is softer.