Ok. He’s standing. Ready – set – GO! Grab the hoof, in one smooth motion, scoop the poultice out of the bucket, while holding up the foot, don’t let it touch anything, slap the piece of paper feed bag onto the hoof, cup the paper around the hoof and quickly reach for the plastic wrap – careful now – pull the end piece and stretch it around the hoof, two wraps quickly and let’r go!
Well, that’s how it’s supposed to go. In reality, it’s like this.
Wrestle with the Paragon bucket lid (some where in my life I’d like to meet someone from the Paragon company and bean them for making such a difficult lid for poultice buckets). Scoop poultice out with something, get poultice on your hand, your hair, your pant leg and the wash rack floor. Sort of in that order. (But it won’t be all the places you will find poultice by the end of this procedure. Trust me.)
Feed bag pieces usually mean feed to a horse. Beware. They will move to get a better look and get their mouth closer. Just in case there’s feed in the feed bag piece you might get on their foot eventually.
Wrap of any kind takes two hands. Just a note to self. It takes at least one hand to pick up a hoof. Resting a poulticed hoof on your knee is …. well …. imagine poultice everywhere. Literally everywhere. Your car steering wheel. Your dog’s head. Your kitchen counter. Your coffee cup tomorrow morning….
So have the wrapping material ready and at hand. Then the horse moves and leaves you stranded! Help, help! pass me that wrap please! You stretch in your best yoga imitation, while holding the hoof, spreading your legs and reaching with your fingertips to the wrap just outside your range – careful now – balance, stretch – eeek (that ripping sound is yes a piece of clothing or could be your ACL – and….either the hoof has to be abandoned or you have to use something else closer to hand….just sayin’…..from experience…underwear doesn’t work.
Having a solid plan for horse movement is critical so double all of your supplies and put one set on the right and one set on the left and you should have it covered. (In case he backs up – sorry, you’re out of luck.)
Once you’ve made some sort of wrap on the poulticed foot you can put it down and then the fun really begins. The horse will then squish most of the poultice out from under the sole and it’ll pretty much cover the rest of the aisle or wash rack in poultice that was not already attacked. The horse will step around a bit and move a little more, just to make sure most of the poultice continues to be spread in the environment. Do nothing. This is a natural evolution of the Poultice War and any action at this point is futile.
Let the horse settle and go in for your last mop-up action. This involves covering the hoof with a boot or sturdy bag and Vetrap. This requires a professional with experience so make sure you are well prepared for this final procedure. Lift the hoof, and with both hands work the boot over the toe. More poultice will squish out and towards the heel of the hoof, usually getting on your arms and chest at this point, so all parts of your body should now be covered. This is very important. You cannot miss any part or you’ll lose.
At the end, when you put the hoof down, and step back to admire your work, the poultice should be just about everywhere you view, and if you’re lucky, a few spots should be left on the hoof. This is the true enjoyment of winning a poultice war, the complete covering of your world in the white clay. I understand it now. It is all coming clear to me (as soon as I wipe my glasses off). Let the healing begin.

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