Twistur has had Spring grass induced ‘sore foot’ episodes. Last year we got him a pair of Cavallo Simple Hoof Boots Size 1, which were intended as a therapy boot. They can be a therapeutic, as well as a protective boot. As advertised, they are easy to get on and off for the horse and the human. After he appeared normal we took him out on various walks and some rides with the boots. He didn’t particularly like wearing them. He seemed to tromp along and had a few stumbles. If his mind wasn’t busy and just standing, then he would cross his front legs and rub the boots or bite at them trying to scratch. He might prefer a hoof boot that doesn’t go up onto the pastern. I think they would just take a little getting used to for him.
He was definitely more comfortable on rocks wearing the hoof boots. If it is a trade-off between comfort on rocks vs itching or clomping, then definitely wearing them is worth it. Two of the nearby trail heads have large white granite rocks. He didn’t want to back out of the trailer and went sideways to stand on the ramp to avoid the rocks. I put on the hoof boots prior to loading next time, so he could have them on when he backed out. The hoof boots definitely helped him with standing on and travelling over rocks.
This Spring the hoof boots wouldn’t go on Twistur anymore. We need to go up a size. The hoof boots were too snug. After a trim they just squeezed on, if I made him stand to push them on. This is too tight. His front hooves are now more slightly oval in shape due to a longer toe. The difference is probably only 1/4 inch or so, but the fit was already on the snug side. The need for a new set of hoof boots has given me the chance to re-evaluate the options.
*** Update: November 10, 2012 – Twistur has grown out a flare on his front hooves that were no doubt from the laminitic episodes. The original hoof boots started fitting again. In between trims they are still getting snug, but I can get pre-set onto his hoof and his weight standing on the hoof boots pushes them on all the way. He is not clunking in the hoof boots and less tripping, which may indicate some of those issues were also from the laminitic feeling feet. We have been making several diet and management changes to try to resolve the laminitic episodes. There has been no evident hoof soreness in over a couple of months. We were still having some minor soreness during summer with weight shifting and not wanting to run around. He has been happy to move and no weight shifting. We are now getting out again wearing the hoof boots including rocks and concrete. Twistur hasn’t been tested with blood work, but he sure seems to have IR (insulin resistant syndrome). The Cavallo hoof boots continue to be a good choice for us. ***
During the last year Easyboot has come out with “The Trail”, which is similar in ease of putting on to the Cavallo hoof boots. It is recommended for “medium-distance riding of up to 25 miles per week (usually an average of 1 – 1 1/2 hours a day)”. Easycare says they are 20% lighter weight than the Simple Boot. The Easyboot Trail has the same tread as the Old Mac’s G2.
The Delta Hoof Boot looks like the same tread as the Cavallo Simple Boot, plus similar design overall. Turns out they are both made by Cavallo.
“Delta Horseshoes merged with the Mustad Group as of January 1, 2009 to become Delta/Mustad Hoofcare. They are now including the Delta Boot, developed and manufactured by Cavallo Horse and Rider Inc., in their range of hoofcare products. The Delta Boot will be offered in Delta/Mustad’s farrier supply channel throughout their worldwide distribution chain.” – Southwest Horse Trader July 23, 2009
I have been unsure about the treads on the hoof boots interfering with ‘gaiting’. The Icelandic tolt is a single foot racking gait. I’m not sure how much of a tread is really necessary or if too much tread could interfere with movement. I have been unable to find weights listed for the various boots. The weight of a hoof boot could affect the gait.
A couple of the hoof boots have an option to add studs for snow / ice, such as the Marquis and Renegades. This isn’t a concern where we live.
If you use hoof boots, then what type do you use or recommend? Pros / Cons? How does the traction of the tread affect your horse? Please leave a comment with your experience or opinion.
I couldn’t find a single place that showed the various treads of the horse hoof boots, so have put together this gallery. Clicking on a photo will open up a new tab for the website of the hoof boot.