shoes vs boots - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-13-2009, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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shoes vs boots

Hi all Iv got one more question its really rocky here where I ride my horses and they currently have shoes on the their front feet one horse is alittle tender footed and the other horse is flat footed they live in sand at a stable I realize that shoes are not bad but is using boots a viable alternative vs having the horses shod? and what are the pros and cons of using boots vs shoes? just something I thought about and seeing if this could be a viable alternative to shoes.
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-14-2009, 09:03 AM
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Catch the discussion below about "Serious Discussion on Hoof Boots".

My mare if flat soled and fine barefooted on grassy pasture. I have taken her to a playday and ridden her over asfault and gravel in the Renegade Hoof Boots. They are great!

I after loosing shoes at four weeks due to her feet growing, I need something that would be a cheaper solution for when I ride. Now I am not spending money on shoes every 4 - 5 weeks. I have made an investment on the Renegade Boots, which will out last a couple pairs of shoes by miles!
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-14-2009, 08:19 PM
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Yes, they work very well for tended/thin soled horses, and many folks that I ride with use them when we're going to be around lots of gravel even on their tough horses. Just make sure you measure the hoofs carefully and read about all the makes and models to insure a good match/fit to the hoof size and shape.

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post #4 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by nate1 View Post
I realize that shoes are not bad
I don't believe shoes are necessarily bad. But I do believe hoofboots or such alternatives are generally a better option. Especially when talking about unhealthy feet.

They are more than a viable alternative. They protect and support the whole hoof - rather than protecting just the ground surface of the wall. They allow for comfortable frog/sole pressure, allowing those areas to strengthen, and allow them to take a supporting role, rather than the hoof walls taking the entire load.

The horse doesn't wear them when not necessary, such as in the pasture, exercising in an arena or on soft or smooth trails. Depending on the horse, management, what you ask of him, etc, you may find you need the boots little or a lot at first, but may also find that you need to continue using them in certain circumstances or end up never needing them once the horse is healthy. They are generally pretty easy to put on & off & can be carried on the saddle for Justin Case. The rest of the time, the horse is bare, using his feet as they were designed. When on, they don't restrict the foot or its capacity for shock absorbtion as metal can either.

Being used only when necessary means they generally last far longer than a set of shoes, even if used all the time. That equates to $$ too. Horses generally don't require back boots either - they can stay bare. It also means you can trim or touch up the hooves whenever necessary without hassle. Especially handy for hooves which are rehabbing & needing frequent care. You can also add pads if necessary, say to provide further comfort & protection to a foundered horse, or more gentle frog pressure to one with high or sensitive heels.

Cons of boots are that they don't suit some horses. Tho this is infrequent & becoming rarer as various new designs become available. They are often an expensive outlay, over here mostly over $200 a pair. In some situations some may come off, or may not provide enough grip as shoes with studs. But again, the newer designs & accessories have those issues mostly covered. With an unhealthy hoof that's changing shape, boots may be difficult to fit, or the hoof may radically change size, meaning it's likely what fits the horse now won't later. It's a good thing there are buy/swap/sell classifieds for hoof boots. Some designs can cause rubbing & while it doesn't affect the majority of horses & there are 'socks' to combat the problem, I tend to prefer the boots which fit below the hairline, to avoid the possibility. Easy boots are my choice. Esp with the new Gloves, which are also quite affordable.
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 09:24 AM
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Have you ever heard of Sole-guard? I've never used it, but I'm keeping it in mind whenever I start doing parades. I don't care for shoes, so I will want sometime that would be used once or twice every couple of months. It's a protective coating the lasts about 3 weeks. I would love to hear from someone that has used it, but haven't found anyone yet.
Here's the websit
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 01:13 PM
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I live where it is snow and ice for about 4 months and I need the traction devices that a shoe offers. A barefoot horse is at risk of a serious fall without the traction devices. Wear is another factor and even steel shoes last only one or two shoing cycles and while boots might last longer I don't feel they can outwear steel. Aluminum shoes last a week.
The expense of having a farrier out every 8 weeks is a big factor in wear boots but I do my own horses so cost is not an issue.
Also if you ride almost daily putting boots on and taking them off becomes a chore. Cleaning the boots, storage, the constant off and on are just one more thing to do in a busy day.
Some horses also travel very close so just the thickness of the boots and buckles could lead to interference.
I have never used boots, bought an easy boot 25 years ago as a spare tire but never needed it so my opinion of boots could be way off.
Again I need winter traction, ice slick laneways to and from the field make leading a barefoot horse a diaster.
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 01:18 PM
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Hmm strange that you mention that RiosDad.
My guy has never had a problem with traction in the snow and ice in the time that I have had him.
I have never tried any sort of shoe with extra "grip" as I prefer barefoot. But I wonder if other people have had this experience with snow and ice.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RiosDad View Post
I live where it is snow and ice for about 4 months and I need the traction devices that a shoe offers. A barefoot horse is at risk of a serious fall without the traction devices.
NOT slipping on ice BECAUSE they have shoes on? I've only seen the opposite. Before I had my horses go barefoot they slipped all the time with shoes on, I have yet to see one fall or lose traction with a barefoot hoof.


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post #9 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dashygirl View Post
NOT slipping on ice BECAUSE they have shoes on? I've only seen the opposite. Before I had my horses go barefoot they slipped all the time with shoes on, I have yet to see one fall or lose traction with a barefoot hoof.
Guys you are just kidding yourself if you think a barefoot horse can match a properly shod horse on ice. Could you honestly take your barefoot horse out on a skating rink and lope circles?? A good part of my winter riding in loping along the shoulder of busy highways with most ice for footing. Yes I sometimes hold my breath because of the mirror finish of the ice but my guys seem to handle it without a single slip.
Flat shod and no borium is a disaster but with borium , drill tec or
press in studs there is no way barefoot can match any of those.

Again how many of you barefoot beleivers would care to lope a circle on a skating rink???
I live in Amish country and they are out regardless of weather and not one, not one runs without borium, not one barefoot among thousands of horses.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 10:01 PM
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No need to get all high on your specially shod horse, RiosDad. I was asking a question, not acting like barefoot is better.

I ride outdoors all winter long in ice, snow, etc. I lope around just fine and have yet to have a slipping or sliding problem. Part of my question is if you were talking about flat shod horses or a gripping shoe. Now I see you are speaking of the second which I have never personally tried so I can't attest to.
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