How to apply a poultice to your horse

With Expert Vet Gil Riley, we learn how to apply a poultice to your horse's foot. 


Q I had to poultice my horse recently but it kept coming off have you got any tips for keeping a poultice on? 

A The best way to keep a poultice on is to keep it as minimalist as possible and to restrict the movement of your horse as much as possible.

As you can imagine this is difficult but one way to do this is to keep him on strict box rest for the time he needs a poultice on.

More often than not, I’ll use the poultice material alone and secure with some sticky black (duct) tape.

An even more effective way to help them stay on when dealing with a foot abscess is to bathe your horse’s foot (using warm water in a tub) for five minutes.

When done, towel dry and then simply apply a dry pad, you can use gamgee for this, and secure with duct tape. I’ve found that using a dry dressing will mean it’s more likely to stay on.  

How to apply a poultice


To hot poultice a foot you’ll need:

A poultice (these come in a wadding strip that you cut to size or in a ready-made hoof-shape)

  • Scissors
  • A roll of cotton wool
  • Tape (such as Duck tape)
  • Clean warm water and a plastic container

Here’s how to apply it in four simple steps.

Step 1
Clean your horse’s hoof thoroughly, as the sole of the foot must come into contact with the poultice, then cut the poultice to size.

Step 2
Soak the poultice in warm water, squeeze out any excess, and press it into the sole of the foot. Keep the medicated side next to the foot, plastic on the outside.

Step 3
Wrap some cotton wool around the poultice, hoof and pastern area so it’s well protected, then wrap with an adhesive bandage so all the cotton wool’s covered and the poultice is held securely.

Step 4
Trim any excess cotton wool from around the bandage and secure it with some tape for extra security.

Be guided by your vet, but as a general rule poultice twice a day and make sure the bandage is clean, secure and comfortable at all times.