Hock sores – help your horse heal!
Hock sores are a tricky thing to manage. The hock is one area of your horse that moves a lot, and when he lays down and gets up, his hocks are always on the ground. Ideally, you will manage your horse’s environment so these buggers never happen. Easier said than done, right?
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Once hock sores happen, what do you do?
- First, let’s talk about the prevention of hock sores. Good, deep, non-abrasive bedding does the trick – usually. What works for one may not work for all. If your horse has options about where to sleep, chances are he will sleep where you least expect it. A nice fluffy stall? No, he would rather sleep in the outdoor run on the hard ground.
The beginnings of a hock sore – notice the crumpled hairs.
If your horse develops hock sores, there are some things you can do.
- The first thing is to think about the bedding your horse rests on. Often, you will see the hair on the point of the hock get shorter and roughed up by bedding before you see a sore. Heed that warning!
- Change the bedding if you think you need to, or add more if you can. I have seen hock sores start to develop from rice hull bedding, and I’ve also seen hock sores develop from regular shavings.
- If your horse prefers to sleep outside on seemingly questionable footing, you could add a sleeping patch. Some bedding types do better outside than others. A good place to start is with cedar bedding or the wood pellets that expand when they get wet. They can handle some rain.
- Strangely enough, I have also known horses that live outside and sleep/roll/play in the sandy dirt and never have a scratch.
- Here’s a good trick for the evening if you do see your horse starting to get a sore. A very sticky piece of medical tape, like Elastikon, will hold to your horse’s hock at night quite well. Use a cotton ball or folded gauze with some medicine to cover the sore, then add the medical tape.
Magic tape. Expensive magic tape.
- You can also use horse socks (!!!) to help ward off hock sores, and help shields stay put. It’s no biggie if these silver magic horse socks get wet or muddy. The texture of the fabric on the lower legs helps keep the bottom of the hock boot from slipping down.
Silver Whinnys from Sox for Horses work wonders for lower legs and hocks!
- If your horse has very slick hair, like after applying a shine product, this will not work so well. You should probably skip the slickery treatments until after the sore is healed.
- You should also use an ointment or cream that your vet would suggest. Keep in mind – ointments based on petroleum will limit oxygen to the sore and delay hair growth. So – use sparingly. You may opt to let the sore air out during the day.
- Hock boots are also an option if your horse will tolerate wearing them. The Hock Shield is a highly adjustable and elasticized hook boot that’s lined with soft fluffy fleece.
- If you have an open sore, you must cover the sore with bandaging so the fleece doesn’t irritate the sore. This bandaging also helps the Hock Shield stay in place.
Hock shields have lots of soft fluff inside.
Fluff on the inside, too.
Sores elsewhere on your horse’s legs
- Some horses like to get pastern, fetlock, or knee sores, usually from the same action when they lie down. There are fetlock shields available, or you can use a comfortable bell boot upside down to protect the fetlock or pastern.
- For knees that get sores, you can also find knee shields, but I have yet to figure out a way to barn hack a makeshift knee covering.
- One more tip about the super sticky elasticized medical tape – it gets stickier when you let it hang out in some warm temps (like your car), which will help it stay on overnight.
If you want more information about hock health on the inside, read this article about taking care of hocks!
How to treat and wrap a hock sore.
Preventing hock sores video.
If you want to do some shopping, you can pick up hock sore supplies here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support!
Intrepid International Hock Shield Protector, Horse – for hock sore prevention and healing
The best Elastikon tape – so sticky!
Sox for Horses – for any skin funk, fly problems, summer sore, stomping, etc.
Fetlock Shield Cordura material. One size fits up to a large warmblood.
Another option for protecting fetlocks and patterns from rubs and interference
These are neoprene knee boots, I don’t love the neoprene but they may work for you.