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Using hoof boots with arena work?
My 6 year old gelding has been barefoot all of his life. I do his maintenance and the farrier comes every 12 weeks or so. Anyway, since I got him nearly 3 years ago, my trainer has been after me to put shoes on him. I am against doing that for all the well-known reasons. I have Renegades for the front and Easyboot trails for the back. Without boots he is "ouchy" on the trail. He has a ton of turnout but on pasture with some larger rocks. His hooves are very healthy. The trainer says she can feel that he is "ouchy" in the arena on occasion and he is "suffering". I have not noticed this personally and if I thought for 1 second that he was suffering he would already have shoes on. The arena he's ridden in is used to train reined cowhorses so the footing is plenty deep with hard pack under and there are some smooth stones here and there, up to 1.5 inches. My question is: does anyone use hoof boots for arena work? If so, which brand do you like and why? I have 2 concerns: 1) does dirt and rocks get in there and 2) will the boots interfere with reining work like turn-arounds, two tracking, etc. I am looking at the Easyboot Backcountry which uses the "Glove" sole and "Trail" wraps. I am tired of justifying why I want my horse barefoot. I'm thinking if the boots are easy enough to put on and don't interfere with performance she may be willing to use them. I am waiting to hear back from my farrier to discuss and would like some input from anyone who has experience with barefoot horses. Thanks.
Right now I use the easy boot gloves with the gator on my horse and in the arena. I did have her get one off yesterday when she was doing some quick stops and fast galloping. This is the third time she has lost one. For the most part they do stay on good. Dirt does get inside them. I also use the back country gloves as well and if your horse has enough heel I think they stay on pretty well. Do you use them with the pads?
Unless the stones are on a hard surfaces and individual, they shouldn't be "ouchy" for healthy bare hooves. In the UK people hunt over all terrain including stones and are not ouchy (I hack over flint and some of mine are fine and some with diet issues feel them so I use boots). Sole sensitivity is often down to diet and excess sugar / starch and the is is what I would be looking at. I would not expect a few stones in an arena to cause a problem.
I am just curious as to what other people do and their experiences with boots. I have to use the pads with my horse as she has very bad feet right now. You are fortunate to have a horse with good feet.
No, I do not use boots in an arena w a soft (thick dirt) "medium". If it were a hard surface and I was going to be pushing it - I would boot up just to limit impact on the joints.
hoof boots in arena
good feet were a requirement when i was looking for a horse and i think genetics play a large part in that, plus keeping the horse barefoot whenever possible. and it is hard work but so worth it. in the summer, i have to trim him every 10-14 days because they grow so fast. but i am dedicated to keep him barefoot, thus this thread!
anyway, what i am really asking is...will hoof boots WORK in the arena without causing a problem? will the horse injure himself crossing over in front because of the bulkiness?
if boots will work, i will get them to make the trainer happy. i do have front renegades now but my trainer would have trouble with them because she has glaucoma and poor vision. that's why i'm looking at getting the easyboot backcountrys. they look easy to put on! but if they won't work in the arena i won't spend the money.
anyone use the equisocks? they look very promising but kind of spendy.
you can use boots to transition your horse to barefoot. they can be left on for days at a time, once broken in. it would take up to a year to transition. i am assuming you are using pads with shoes? or is your horse barefoot now?
shoes limit the natural function of the hoof which is to expand and contract with pressure, like ringing out a sponge. the hoof is actually supposed to help pump the blood around the body!
so far, my favorite boot has been the renegades but there are some new boots out there. i also have the easyboot "trail" boot for the back hooves and they are very easy to put on. i like them a lot too. the newer easyboot "backcountry is a combo of the "glove" and the "trail" and it looks great!
the feet need to be trimmed frequently for the boots to fit right. otherwise you need them larger to allow for growth.
the best thing about boots, next to hoof health, is the cost savings. i only have the farrier trim every 12 weeks and i do it in between. no $100-$125 sets of shoes!
you can educate yourself on the web. there is tons of info out there. the main thing is to find a qualified farrier who does barefoot trims. (has studied the barefoot physiology and trimming methods) not just a shoer who will pull the shoes and come back in 8 weeks.
on the other hand, some horses need shoes. but not too many if the owners are willing to work at keeping them barefoot.
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