Chapter Six

Fitting Hoof Boots

Chapter Seven

Booting Different Sized Horses

Chapter Eight

Using Hoof Boots for Rehabilitation

All about comfort pads

Comfort pads are used within hoof boots to aid shock absorption

They are also ideal for the ‘rehabbing’ hoofs, as the combination of hoof boots and pads provides the perfect ‘new growth mechanics’ for a healing hoof, while at the same time offering protection

To summarise their benefits, comfort pads increase heel comfort so that all horses - sound or unsound - are encouraged to move correctly. Pads are especially beneficial for any horse that is ridden that is slightly ‘tender-footed’ or ‘footy’. They offer cushioning, additional protection and frog support to the hoof. Comfort pads are an excellent way to help your horse successfully transition from shod to barefoot - transitioning being the phase after de-shoeing while the foot rehabilitates.

Types of pad

Regular Comfort Pads are the plain, flat pads that come in 6mm and 12mm thickness and soft, medium or firm density. Easycare manufactures these. They are available in shapes that fit most Easycare boots, and can be trimmed to suit different styles. They come in small and large sizing.

Other manufacturers also produce pads to fit their own boots such as the gel pads for the Cavallo range, and the Equine fusion dampening pads. It is always best to talk to a specialist retailer or your vet or farrier to ascertain what the best pad combination is for your horse and the boots you want to are going to use.

Pads for laminitis

A horse diagnosed with laminitis requires sole support; many hoofcare professionals would advocate the removal of metal horse shoes and using a barefoot boot with a comfort pad inside. A soft density, 12mm pad in a suitable barefoot boot allows the horse to benefit from controlled exercise once the hoof has stabilised, while the increased circulation aids healing.

When used within hoof boots for horses without shoes, comfort pads have been proven to stimulate the hoof to remove waste and heal much quicker than if the horse is shod. American farrier Pete Ramey, a lameness rehabilitation expert, says using hoof boots are “By far the most effective means of maximising both current protection and healing mechanics [of laminitis] that I can imagine.”

Providing boots for a laminitic offers comfort and protection to the sensitive feet while veterinary medicine or laminitis management techniques are being administered. As the laminae heal, the horse is able to stimulate blood flow through turn out, and regain soundness without the impingement of metal shoes.