Chapter Six

Fitting Hoof Boots

Chapter Seven

Booting Different Sized Horses

Chapter Eight

Using Hoof Boots for Rehabilitation

Jumping and horse trials

Hoof boots not only give total protection to the sole of the barefoot horse

But with the use of specialist pads inside the boots, replicate the support and feedback that the horse would receive when worked barefoot on good going, such as soft turf, sand or any other surface that offers solar support. Lots of barefoot horses benefit from the use of modern hoof boots, especially through the transitionary phase [after de shoeing] and sometimes beyond.

Many people ask us, ‘Can I jump in hoof boots?’, and the answer is not a simple one. The answer is certainly not ‘no’, however each case must be taken as a separate entity with its own set of circumstances. You are putting into the ‘mix’ the horse’s age, the length and ‘wetness’ of the grass, his jumping ability and confidence, the time he’s been barefoot and his soundness, and the type of boots you ride in!

But we believe that if the below circumstances are in place, then you can jump in your boots:

  • The boots have been properly measured and are a good fit - they do not twist or rub
  • They are secure boots designed for performance - e.g something like a Renegade or Easyboot Glove with a secure, close fit is preferable. (The Glove, for example, ‘stretches’ over the hoof and clings to the wall like a second skin - it has no external fixings to come undone or get clogged up with grass and mud. In comparison, a more basic ‘leisure’ boot suited to slower work that only has Velcro closures is more likely to twist or loosen if you jump.)
  • Your horse is confident to jump in the hoof boots, and is forward-going - if he were to hesitate on take-off and then jump awkwardly, this could be dangerous.

Please do bear in mind...

The bare hoof has proprioception, and can feel the ground - the booted horse cannot. Therefore he may jump more safely when barefoot, as he can adjust his take-off and speed according to his assessment of the ground. It is therefore conceivable that a booted horse would rely more on his rider to make decisions about speed over a course of fences, so it is important for the rider to be careful, especially in wetter conditions, to prevent slipping on wet grass when using hoof boots.

Booting for eventers

American horse owner David Wilson, owner of Flying High Stables, told eventingnation.com that while eventing competitors may use hoof boots for the jumping or cross country (XC) phases of competition, some barefoot eventing competitors are at an unfair disadvantage when faced with riding their dressage test on hard ground or slippery grass, because they’re currently prohibited from using hoof boots in this element (this also applies to UK affiliated competitions). “Extra protection or traction may be needed [on hard ground or slippery grass when riding a dressage test within an eventing competition], and in such cases, a distinct advantage goes to shod horses,” says David, a fan of Renegade hoof boots for fast work.

American horse owner David Wilson, owner of Flying High Stables, told eventingnation.com that while eventing competitors may use hoof boots for the jumping or cross country (XC) phases of competition, some barefoot eventing competitors are at an unfair disadvantage when faced with riding their dressage test on hard ground or slippery grass, because they’re currently prohibited from using hoof boots in this element (this also applies to UK affiliated competitions). “Extra protection or traction may be needed [on hard ground or slippery grass when riding a dressage test within an eventing competition], and in such cases, a distinct advantage goes to shod horses,” says David, a fan of Renegade hoof boots for fast work.