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Firstly when choosing boots, you need to establish the right size.
You should measure your horses hooves within seven days of a fresh trim, taking the width and length in mm. Width is taken at the widest point of the horse’s hoof (normally approximately halfway or slightly over halfway towards the heel from the toe). The length is taken to be the weight bearing surface of the hoof; do not include the frog/fleshy part of the heel.
It is helpful for accuracy to hold a straight edge (like a short ruler) across the back of the heel buttresses and also across the toe area, bisecting the frog to the line you have formed. If you horse has very upright or under run heels, you will need to envisage where the heel should be if the hoof were more normal conformation, and take your measurements to that point, and not the actual termination of the horny heel.
Once you have determined the width and length of the hooves you wish to boot, contact your retailer for advice, as they will know what type of boots would suit your horse’s feet. You are aiming for a close a fit as possible, with both the width and length of the hooves fitting into the measurements for the same size of boot.
The longer than wide hoof
It is common for hooves to be slightly longer than wide (approx 5-10mm longer than width measurement) and these feet are well catered for in the hoof boot market, generally.
However the much longer than wide hoof (approx over 10mm longer than width measurement) is less common. The front feet of a navicular or lamanitic horse can often be very much longer than wide, however with the support of a good hoofcare professional these hoof shapes can be corrected over time.
This conformation is more commonly seen in hind feet, where the hoof is more concave and ‘shovel’ shaped. The ‘diamond’ shaped hind foot tends to be longer than wide. With these hoof shapes, do make sure the width is as tight and close as possible (within the measurement guide) to grip the hoof. This can be especially important with hind feet which may twist with the animal’s natural action, which can cause the boots to twist undesirably.
For longer than wide fore feet, work closely with your hoof care professional as well as the retailer or manufacturer, to ensure you choose the best hoof boot. The Old Mac G2 or the New Mac may be a boot worth considering!