Are boots worth the cost/Why would you use them? - Page 2

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Are boots worth the cost/Why would you use them?

This is a discussion on Are boots worth the cost/Why would you use them? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Fix for hoof boot toe wear
  • Are horse boot worth the cost

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    12-08-2011, 07:55 PM
Hoof boots seem to go hand in hand with the Barefoot crowd. Some folks just think their horses are better off bare. I kept my horses barfoot for the past 5 years. I gave up and put shoes back on them for the summer and fall. I still believe in keeping my horses bare as much of the year as possible.

My horses can go ANYWHERE for a day. What they can't do is travel extremely rocky trails 2-3-4 days in a row. So the solutions is stay bare as much as possible and wear hoof boots when the horses need the extra protection.

For me boots are just a PITA. With 4 to 5 horses on most rides. I end up spending 30 minutes putting the boots on and again taking them off after the ride. It seems my daughters and their friends, just never learned to put the boots on. With 4 horses on rough rides, I WILL loose or destroy a boot almost every time I use them. So I found the boots to be more expensive than the shoes.

Keeping a horse barefoot, Especially if you want your boots to fit properly, requires frequent and consistant trimming. So you will TRIM more often that you would if you were shoeing a horse. In my case I tried to trim every 3 weeks vs shoeing every 6 weeks. So if you are not doing the triming, You will pay for twice as many farrier visits for the trims.

Trimming for the avg horses is not difficult and you can learn it. You may or may not have the strength to work under a horse. Trim a couple horses and you will know that your farrier earns his paycheck.
But if your horse has special needs. Let a professional farrier do the work.

$50 per boot and loose one boot per ride,Means it cost me $50 to take four horse out. Even if I don't loose the boots, I always tear gaiters, destroy the screws etc. The picture below is after a 3 day weekend at Bryce Canyon

Rocks just tear the boots apart.

There are endurance riders who complete 50 miles races with boots. Easyboot gives awards out to rendurance riders who compete in races with their boots. So they do work, But I'm not willing to spend the time and effort to Tape, Glue, Foam boots onto my horses.
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    12-08-2011, 07:59 PM
Green Broke
I beg to differ with Corporal!

I keep my horses barefoot and use Easyboot Epics if the trails get rocky. I ride A LOT in the summer. Like 5 hours a day, 5 days a week (alternating two horses). So I think I put in more miles than average. The Easyboot Epics have never rubbed my horses. They stay on well.

The only real disadvantage I've found is that it does take a bit of effort to take them on and off. Especially if you use them on all 4 feet. Normally my guys only need them on the fronts though. And some rides I don't need them at all (although I usually carry them with me if I am trailered out and don't know what the terrain will be like).

Yes, they do wear out eventually. But so do horse shoes. The last MUCH longer than horse shoes as a matter of fact. I get 6-12 months of use out of each set.

The reason I use them is because I used to shoe my horses myself but decided to try barefoot. I don't mind trimming or touching up their feet whenever they need it. Since I do my own hoofcare it works well for me. And I DO believe horses have healthier feet when barefoot. It use to be an old adage that "shoeing was a necessary evil." Well, now shoeing is truly optional (if you don't mind taking the time to use the boots).

I think the right way to look at boots is that they are removable horseshoes. Like our own shoes, the horse only has to wear them if he needs them. They don't have to be nailed to his feet 24/7.

So yes, they DO function as horseshoes and work well for trail riding in rough terrain. If not, the endurance people wouldn't be using them.
    12-08-2011, 08:29 PM
Green Broke
They work for me and my riding buddies. We like that we can use them in rocky areas or if we have a chipped hoof and not use them if they aren't needed. We all invested in professional rasps, knives and I bought a pair of pro nippers. The barn already had a hoof stand and rolling stool so we are good to go.

The more time goes on the better I get at trimming feet. It is hard work but I can take hard work - and I like not paying $70 every 5 weeks. I generally work on Biscuit's feet every 2 or 3 weeks and Sarge's every 3 or 4. Biscuit's feet at this time require more time than Sarges.

We don't live in a rocky area - more sand and mud. Our horses are turned out in the pasture and Biscuit gets rode on a regular basis to the tune of 450 miles this year. Their hooves grow at a good rate but some is wear!
    12-09-2011, 12:40 AM
Our horses are barefoot. We (mostly the Mrs) do our own trimming. My big gelding spent 5 days wandering around in the Gospel Hump Wilderness Area this past summer on extremely rocky trails. I did put boots on him for about a day and a half, but other than that he handled the rocks barefoot.

"Rocks" don't bother him. Gravel is what he doesn't like. I think the sharpness of gravel and the fact that individual pieces can point into his soles and frogs is the problem. Big rocks, or solid rock, isn't the issue.

So, I try to stay off of gravel roads. Gee. If I wanted to travel on a gravel road I'd probably rather just take my truck anyway.

But when I do have to ride on gravel, I put on a set of EasyBoot Epics. If I don't know the trail I carry them with me, just in case.
    12-09-2011, 10:27 AM
Green Broke
My horses hate gravel too but that is fine by me. I'm with Griz, I got into horses to get off the gravel.
    12-09-2011, 10:50 AM
Green Broke
I prefer not to ride over gravel but I am sure glad I had my boots with me last Memorial Day. We went riding in Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. It is basically a sandy area. We went with a fellow that was staying where we were and he knew all the trails. He took us down old logging roads that were FULL of rocks/gravel etc. Biscuit chipped a huge chunk out of his "bad" spot on his front hoof so the hoof boots went on and we continued our ride and his hoof was protected. Sometimes you just don't know what you are going to run into unless you know the trails you are on. In this case, it saved my weekend! The trails were gorgeous he took us on and Sarge (hubby's hard hoofed gelding) was just fine walking there. Biscuit probably would be now too but back then no. My riding buddy carries her hoof boots in her cantle bag just in case she needs them. Better to have and not need than need and not have!!!
    12-09-2011, 08:33 PM
Gravel doesn't neccessarly mean gravel roads. Many of the trails I ride are gravel

Bryce Canyon Area

Look at the horses getting off the edge of the trail, Because they don't like the gravel on the hard packed trail

Climbing out of a Slot Canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante

You have to ride in the bottom of canyons in the San Rafael, Gravel rolls down hill and makes up the dry stream beds in the bottom of canyons

Even our summer rides at elevation, we just find rocky gravelly trails

And of course fall hunting season is no better.

Bottom line is: boots will work in place of shoes. If you are willing to put them on when needed. If you don't mind paying to repair damaged parts like the gaiters, and if you are willing to replace them when you loose them.

I loose at least one boot of the four horse on almost every ride. You just can't bushwack through sagebrush and grease wood and not have a boot get pulled off. If you ride roads or stay on good trails. You probably won't loose as many. But that's not where I ride.
    12-09-2011, 09:40 PM
Green Broke
Wow wee Painted Horse - those are some GORGEOUS pictures! Biscuit would definitely be in his hoof boots. I can say that keeping up with one horse and one set of boots if a far cry from doing it for 5 horses. OMG that would be a full time job!!
    12-10-2011, 02:05 PM
The type of ground makes a big difference.

Around here, there's mud. A lot of mud. I'm talking about inches-deep mud for long sections of trail. And if there's not mud, there's standing water. And sometimes standing water with mud underneath.

Unless we're lucky, and there's a drought. There may be a couple of months (late summer through autumn) where it is somewhat dry and pleasant and the horses (gasp) actually kick up a bit of dust.

Otherwise, if we want to get out of mud, we usually have to cross state lines to go to Indiana, because they maintain their trails and put gravel down.

But, I digress. I've tried boots and didn't care for them. Much more time-consuming to put on and take off. They're just not well-suited for riding in wet conditions, and the mud WILL suck a boot off much faster than a nailed-on shoe.

The horses stay barefoot at least half the year, and wear shoes the other half. I still have a few EasyBoots around, but only in case of an emergency.
    12-10-2011, 05:28 PM
Green Broke
If I had to boot 4 horses (especially on all 4 feet) or lost a boot a ride, I wouldn't be using them either! I guess I have been pretty lucky in that I have never lost a boot. I even had one boot that was extremely wore out and the gaiter ripped off. I used it anyway figuring I might as well use it until I lost it. I STILL have that boot! I finally retired it.

Here are some of my "spent" boots. (Last photo shows our typical terrain) I declare them dead when they wear big holes in the toes. (Boot on right is still usable). We ride over all sorts of terrain and rocks, definitely not manicured trails. Mostly we ride off-trail. It Arizona so it's mostly dry and rocky most of the time.

I do have to replace cables once in a while (I hate that, what a pain-in-the-butt). The gaiters are prone to tearing on the corners. I don't know why the company can't reinforce that area. It's very predictable that they will tear there. I patch mine with either soft sofa leather, or nylon dog-leash material. So I haven't had to cough up the money for a gaiter yet! It does take some time to patch them, but once they are patched the boot normally wears out before the gaiter does.

So yeah, my boots go through the gauntlet!
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