Chapter Six

Fitting Hoof Boots

Chapter Seven

Booting Different Sized Horses

Chapter Eight

Using Hoof Boots for Rehabilitation

Challenges to Using Hoof Boots - Rubbing

If rubbing is an issue with your hoof boots, then you need to ask yourself a series of trouble-shooting questions to help ascertain what the issue is.

Firstly, is your horse being correctly and regularly trimmed by a farrier or trimmer who understands the trim required for a working barefoot horse? Boots are designed to fit this hoof shape, not a traditional ‘pasture’ trim for non-working horses at grass, so it is important to ensure you have at least had a ‘set up trim’ before you measure for your boots. Once you have selected a boot for your horse based on its measurements, fit the boot as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Does the hoof fill the inside of the boot nicely without bulging or ‘gapping’? Check that the fastenings are not too tight. When the boot is on the hoof, you shouldn’t be able to twist it sideways by any more than around five degrees.

Rubbing can occur if the boot is too small, too large or the wrong shape for the hoof. If rubbing occurs, you should check the measurements again, and if in doubt try the next size up or down to see if that fits better. A close fitting boot or unusual hoof angle or shape can cause a boot to be loose and move around; in which case a different style of boot may be required. The foot should sit snugly on the inner sole of the boot, but should not crush the heel.

Some hoof boots have special wraps or gaiters that act as ‘socks’ to help protect sensitive skin. These may help prevent rubbing, especially over longer rides.

Remember to choose a hoof boot that most closely fit’s the shape of your horse’s feet; this is the most important rule for successful booting of barefoot horses. If your horse’s hoof width fits into one preparatory size of hoof boot, and the length into the next size, you must go for the larger size - or ideally look to see if another hoof boot is more appropriate. If you go for the smaller boot, you risk rubbing or not being able to get the boot on at all.

If your horse’s feet ‘match’ in terms of width and length, but are ‘on the cusp’ of the sizes - e.g. your horse’s measurements are at the top of one preparatory size of hoof boot, go for the smaller size, as this will offer the closest fit. If however, your horse has fleshy heel bulbs, is big boned or has very under-run heels, you may find the larger size a better fit. If you have a longer than recommended trim interval (ideally you trim frequently enough to never need nippers) then again the larger size may be more appropriate.

USEFUL TIP

Choose a hoof boot that most closely fit’s the shape of your horse’s feet; this is the most important rule for successful booting of barefoot horses