Most of you will know that I have been using hoof boots intermittently for quite a while, with mostly good success. I have learned a lot from booting my two horses, and from using several different models and brands of boots.
I began booting with the original Old Mac boots, and they were easy to use but big, clunky, and unwieldy for the horse (at least while doing distance competition). In fact, Red and I took a tumble once while riding out in Medora, ND which I think was mostly caused by the boots. We were trotting lightly down a slight grade, on a narrow path which was somewhat freshly graveled. The fresh footing was a little deep, and Red was gazing out across the huge vista, I think looking at some cows in the distance (side note: my horses live in the forest. They are not used to being able to see for miles and miles! They do seem distracted by the change of environment.) He tripped over his own feet / the boots and we went end-over-end. Luckily, neither of us was hurt but my stirrup was smashed beyond repair. You would think, having squished a stirrup, that I would have been able to find a sore or swollen area on Red's side after that, but, nope!
|Aluminum stirrup squished by horse landing on it.|
Rhio started in boots when he had his hoof injury which precluded shoes. He has been a problem to fit to boots, with very round feet, and also with sensitive skin, he has been developing rubs on and off from the gaiters. Last year I eventually shod him when I just couldn't boot him due to some tenacious 'scratches' on three pasterns (dermatitis). He tends to interfere occasionally in his hinds when booted, which I never notice when barefoot or shod. We began with Renegade boots on his fronts, which are really easy to use and fit his round hoof shape better than the Easyboot line (at the time). I loved the fact that they were so easy to use and never gave him any rubs on his pasterns. I didn't like the lack of traction that I found on any type of wet grass, slick mud, or slushy/icy type footing, and the boots didn't hold up for as many miles as I felt they should have (some of which was likely operator error). The Renegades are also quite a bit more expensive than the Easyboots. He has worn Easyboot Gloves on his hinds, with some rubbing issues but no boot issues. The traction seems good on the Gloves.
Today was measuring day! After fresh trims this morning, I measured all 8 feet (plus Paco's 4!) twice, and Gesa and I poured over the fitting charts for the various boot versions from Easyboot. They have released a "wide" version of the Glove, and as I suspected, it looks like it'll be a great fit for almost all our horses' hooves (Paco and Red each have one hoof that is a bit out of whack, so to speak, and may or may not work well in the boot). We've ordered the "fit kit" from Easyboot, where they send the size we think we need plus one half size up and one half size down, of just the boot shell. To cover all the sizes per the measuring chart that we thought we might need, we ordered two fit kits, covering nearly all the sizes offered.
We can't wait to start trying boots on! Stay tuned for the results.