Looking into boots to transition to barefoot*opinions*
I have a Quarter Horse mare that has had shoes on for the last couple of years and am transitioning her to barefoot. I had her shoes removed last week and she is tender on gravel to the point of me not riding her, I have ridden her on grass and she is ok with that. I do want to be able to do arena work and trail ride her but do not want to hurt her feet while they are "toughening up". So, it looks like the boot is the alternative. I have been looking into the different boots available and reading reviews etc. I have looked at Easyboots, Boa, Old Macs, Cavallo and have come accross these --> Equine Jogging Shoe - Now available in Canada and the US
Just wondering if anyone has tried them or if you have heard anything (good or bad) about them? Or have an opinion on them at all?
Thank you in advance for any and all help :D
Cavallos are clunky, come too high on the hoof and cause rubs. For ring riding I use Renegades. They ride lower of the hoof and have a two piece mechanism so the foot has full flexibility. Very good for getting your horse through the transition while still allowing you to ride.
Thank you MyBoyPuck, that is one brand I had not looked into, will check them out. She has no lameness issues other than being a "tenderfoot" on gravel. I am hopeing to find a good fitting/no rubbing/user friendly boot that will make her comfortable for riding. Also wondering if taking her for a short walk on hard surface (driveway with minimal stones) every other day while leading her, not riding might help her hooves through the process?
Yes! Hand walking on hard surface for about 10 to 20 minutes a day will help tons. I had to dangle carrots in front of my horse's nose to get him to move the first few times, but he quickly found out that walking on hard surface was very easy and he seemed to enjoy out little walks.
Yes, IME hoof boots are a great solution for the vast majority of situations & horses. As with everything tho, they don't suit everything. There are a heap of different options out there & Easycare site has a lot of info on fitting & choosing the most appropriate type for your situation/requirements.
Re light regualr work on hard surfaces, yes, this is necessary if you want to condition them to hard ground, if they don't live on it. BUT if your horse is 'ouchy' because it has weak/thin soles or some such, I think it's vital not to force them onto surfaces they're uncomfortable on, as this can lead to further damage & lack of good function/growth because they won't use their feet properly. So I think that protecting their feet where necessary so they can exercise *comfortably* is important.
Thank you very much for the advice, will be ordering boots for her and very slowly working her on gravel (just leading trying to to toughen her hooves up) I feel she has good hooves, our farrier says they are excellent so I believe it is just a matter of her having shoes on for so long and not having contact with the surface. I have never had any problems with soundness with her prior to removing her shoes. So, I guess for the time being it's boots for arena and trail riding, and very light in hand walking till she toughens up.
...why are you riding on gravel? Who rides on gravel?
Very few horses can march across gravel without feeling uncomfortable. The sharp and uneven surface of the rocks digs at the sole and can pit it, plus it can bruise the sole. Even a shod horse will bruise if it steps on a big enough piece of gravel.
Avoid gravel for riding...
Anywho, have your farrier stop taking off so much sole, slap Venice Turpentine on after a trim and once a week if you need it. If her hooves continue to be sore, spray with iodine daily to help toughen them.
The boots available for riding are: Easyboots, Boas, Old Macs, Cavellos, and Renegades. Any other boots are not widely used and may or may not be useful to you.
I'd suggest Easyboot Epics for you. They're fine to ride in. Most horses only need the fronts booted anyway. If you need the backs booted, I'd suggest Easyboot Gloves. They're cheap and there aren't any metal parts.
If you need something for turnout, go with Easyboot Gloves. Make sure you fit them properly.
Stay away from Boas. They cause bruising to the front of the hoof wall for most people.
Cavellos and Old Macs are fine to ride in.
Just a follow-up, went out and rode Abby today. Her feet look wonderful and she is not tender anymore. She moved out without hesitation and no stumbling or "picking". We did arena work and also went out on the gravel driveway for a short walk, I have been taking it slow and will continue to do so but it looks like she may not need the boots after all.
OP, take good notice of how strong & robust - or otherwise - her heels are & whether she's landing toe or heel first/wearing more toe. She may not be obviously 'ouchy' to you but may be using herself badly to protect her heels.
will check on that loosie, thank you for mentioning it. Will that show as short toes? I have been cleaning her feet and noticed that her toes are growing really fast, looks like she could actually use a trim already. Heels look fine, have not noticed any abnormal wear. Or, maybe I should just ask, what should I be looking for? Thank you again for your help.
Also a side note (op), not ride on gravel? really?? I thought a horse with good hooves should have no problem walking on a gravel road. I am confused as to why you are telling me not to?
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