Chapter Six

Fitting Hoof Boots

Chapter Seven

Booting Different Sized Horses

Chapter Eight

Using Hoof Boots for Rehabilitation

Trail riding and hacking

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.

Hoof boots are perfect for trail riding and hacking, ‘hunter paces’ competitions (predominantly seen in America), or any leisure riding or pleasure rides.

Most of us who enjoy hacking or trail riding - call us happy hackers if you will! - enjoy the varied terrain that the countryside brings. In one ride you can easily see flinty woodland tracks, tarmac roads, wet hillsides and muddy fields. But this does represent an issue for the barefoot horse that is not fully transitioned, has more sensitive soles, or for whatever reason does not have ‘rock crunching’ bare feet.

If you are undertaking rides of under 25 miles duration but like to enjoy faster rides over varying terrain, then a leisure boot such as the Easyboot Transition or the Old Mac G2 would be ideal - these are a hybrid of a leisure boot and a performance boot. For longer rides, a more form fitting boot like the Easyboot Glove would be a good choice.

Here are some of the factors to consider when looking for a hoof boot for hacking or trail riding:

  • Due to the differing terrains you may encounter, look for a high-tech performance outer sole with good grip
  • Utilise specialist comfort pads inside the boots - these replicate the support and feedback that the horse would receive when worked barefoot on good going. For general use, a 12mm comfort pad is recommended. Comfort pads are advocated by us for use in any hoof boot, for the most natural and beneficial experience for your horse
  • Remember that your hoof boot will help to absorb shock and aid recovery from concussion related injuries, as well as helping to prevent them. Like running shoes for humans, the more advanced hoof boots often have better shock absorption properties than their more basic cousins
  • If you are hacking frequently, look for a hoof boot that is easy put on, and ideally can be fastened whilst the hoof is on the ground. Something that opens right out to allow entry of the foot (like the New Mac is useful.)
  • Utilise gaiters for longer rides - they may be recommended by the boots’ manufacturers if the horse is covering more than 25 miles a week or has sensitive skin.
  • For muddier situations, don’t discount Velcro (hook and loop) systems. Whilst it is fair to say that a simple leisure hoof boot may become over-faced in mud, something like the Easyboot Transition may fair better, as its Velcro fastenings are industrial strength, and more complex.
  • Remember that the bare hoof has proprioception, and can feel the ground - the booted horse cannot. Therefore he may tackle faster rides on wet grass more safely when barefoot. It is therefore important for the rider to be careful when undertaking fast hacking or trail riding, especially in wetter conditions, to prevent slipping on wet grass.

USEFUL TIP

Due to the differing terrains you may encounter, look for a high-tech performance outer sole with good grip