Only an Abscess

It's just an abscess

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.

Magic Cushion is my “go to” hoof packing when my horse has an abscess.

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.

6 thoughts on “Only an Abscess

  1. My ex’es App/TB cross had a white left hind hoof that abscessed on at least three occasions. Our vet cleaned out the abscess and the moment he broke the ‘seal’ on it the horse went ‘ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’. You could see his relief was immediate. We did pretty much what you did, soak the foot then pack it…this was long ago, before “magic hoof’. Still, it worked.

    My goodness, even limping Freedom is lovely.

    1. He’s a very elegant horse. Even in his retirement he looks great. I just wish his body held up under more riding because he used to love hunting. He especially loved to whip as he figured out early on that this was all about the hounds.

  2. Funny, how some horses just take to it. My neighbors across the road are H/J’s. They had a drop dead red roan Appaloosa nicknamed “Tuffy”…I think his registered name was something something Tough, and he was Appaloosa world champion hunter in the 80’s. He looked like a warmblood with spots. Tuffy LOVED to hunt. LOVED it. One time he was so eager to be in at the end that he raced ahead of the Huntmaster (I think that’s bad?) and the Master said, ‘Only because I know how master Tuffy is do I forgive this”. Later one, his hocks got so bad they didn’t dare hunt him anymore. When they’d load their other horses to go hunt, Tuffy would literally have a tantrum. He could squeal like a pig! and did, literally hopping mad.

    1. I’ve had three hunt horses and they all loved it. Freedom was the most difficult to ease into the hunt field because as a successful racehorse, he strongly believed that he needed to be first. It took a couple of hard and long hunts before he decided that he could stay in the field. Then I blew it by allowing him to whip and by riding up front with the Master. Once he realized that he could be right with the hounds he started to throw a tantrum when I asked him to stay with the field.

      Zelda likes to be close to the front but I can strong arm her into staying back. A few times I’ve had to lead the second field and she hates seeing the first field take off without her.

      My trakehner, Kroni, was my first hunt horse. He was such a dream to hunt. Would go anywhere and could be ridden in a bitless bridle.

      However, I’ve seen horses that totally lose it out hunting and are never much fun to ride.

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