We have a horse with an injury who will limp on gravel and rocks. He has been vet checked and was given the ok for riding, but obviously we want to keep his tender foot cushioned from the rough ground. I purchased some velcro on boots from Tractor Supply just to try because they were cheap. They only lasted two rides, but it did the trick. Basically it was a fabric square with a cushion on the bottom, you folded all these velcro tabs over the top of the hoof to fasten it together. Not the sturdiest of things.
So I want a boot that will last a long time and that still has cushion and I do not want to spend $100/boot. I was looking at Easy Boots, they seem simple to put on and the site says you can get 500-1000 miles out of them. Has anyone used these? Or are there other boots I should check out? I really don't want anything with velcro.
There are several on here who do a lot of riding exclusively in boots who will be able to give you some great suggestions. I use easy boots as "flat tire fixers" so have not done very much riding in them (thank goodness!).
Easyboots have a good following in the endurance community so they certainly can hold up to the miles. Finding the boot with the best/right fit for your horse is a very important part of the equation though.
I took my horses barefoot for 5 years. During that period, I used a lot of easyboots for the rockier rides. I gave up and have shoes on this summer because, I wanted my horses to be Barefoot. I don't want to have to use Easyboots each ride. I just don't see boots as an Every Ride solutions.
The boots work. I'd probably look at the Easyboot Glove or some of the newer models ( which came after I'd made my decision to stop using boots.) The Gloves are much easier to put on than say the standard Easyboot, the EPIC or the BARE.
I found the boots worked well on straight line kinda trails at walk/trot speeds. But if we got doing lateral work, ( such as chasing cows) they had a tendency to come off as the horses were twisting and turning under power. Also brush popping was hard on boots. That's where my horses were dragging their legs through thick brush or rocks. You know, the off the beaten path kind of riding. The brush ripped and tore the gaiters and the rough rocks were very abrasive to gaiters and hardware. (The rubber seemed to hold up great)
My biggest concern with the boots was my cost to maintain them. I used them on 4 horse and it was common to tear a gaiter or bust a buckle/cable almost each ride. I was always spending $20=$30 each time I used them to fix one of the boots. I just decided it was cheaper to buy steel shoes and put them on myself.
I can't tell you how many times, I've lost or broke a boot 10 miles into a wilderness ride. Then I'm having to baby a horse back to the trailer. With 4 horses, each having different size boots, (Often different sizes between feet) I just could not (afford or space wise) carry enough spare boots. I'm lucky, but I've never lost a steel shoe in the back country.
I also seemed to be the only one to put them on and take them off, My daughters and their friends never learned. So each ride, it was me spending 20 minutes going around and putting boots on all the horses. And spending 10 minutes after the ride pulling boots. I decided I was spending less time if I just put shoes on every 8 weeks. And for me, I can buy the 16 shoes needed for my 4 horses for about $30. Which is cheaper than one lost boot.
Have used Classics (originals) first - but they do have a tendency of coming off depending on the shape of the rear of the hoof. Also if you have a horse who's stride has rear hoof come real close to the front hoof, will increase chance of dropping one. However still have them and just recently used a pair that are probably 8-10 years old.
Have a pair of Rx for rehab of injuries - real soft but not for riding.
Have a pair of Epics for our mare, that have gator straps to hold them on. Much better than the originals.
Just recently (last month) bought a pair of the new Trail boots to replace the classics, due to our geldings stride pulling the right boot off ocassionally. These use velcro on all closures and are very easy to put on and take off. The likelihood of losing one of these appears to be very unlikely as they come up further on rear so they cannot be pulled off by rear hoof contact. So far they appear to be very promising. They claim to be good for 25 miles per week. We never do that, so distance shouldn't be an issue. Interesting thing - they will now 'rent' you a set of fitting boots for $12 to make sure you get the proper size(s) if you go directly to the EasyBoot site.
I would probably recommend this on your first purchase, as the sizing charts aren't easy to guess which one to choose when length and width aren't exact. They should help get exact fit for left and right - which mine are different. Although the new Trail boots appear to have more adjustment capability than the others.
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Going by the size charts he should be a size 2. But his injury causes his hoof to wear very unevenly so it's quite pointy on one side. I noticed that they'll do the fit kit and I think I might end up going that route. There are a few pair on ebay that I'm bidding on that are quite cheap to try out.
We're basically going to be doing very light riding. Walking only, I highly doubt we'll ever trot. We ride on a dirt road, so nothing too rocky or taxing.
I use Easy Boot Gloves on my boy Biscuit. He is tender footed and so I bought these so I didn't have to shoe him. I don't use them on every single ride and they have saved rides before. We got 100 miles away and my hubby's horse was uncharacteristically tender on one hoof. Plopped the hoof boots on and away we went. Saved a ride for my cousin's hubby - again 100 miles away. Her hubby's horse is tenderfooted like Biscuit. If I am riding where it is rocky I will put them on him.
They are around $60 each so while they aren't cheap - they are no where near the cost of shoeing him. They fit him well. I have had them come off a few times. Thank God he doesn't act like an idiot when that happens. I have a set for both of my horses. They stay in the trailer so I have them no matter what!
I love my easyboot gloves. Bloo's gotten rather tender in his old age and there was no way I was shoeing him so I tried a few different brands before settling on the gloves. Fit is super important though. If they're too big or small they're going to rub his bulbs raw so I'd fit them before you go on bidding too much. I've put close to 300 miles on mine w/t/c through mud, muck, sand, water, rocks, brush, brambles, and roads without ever having one fall off, tear, or bother him in the least bit. But I've got power straps on them to keep them super snug oh his hoof. They don't look super worn out and are easy to keep clean if you just rinse them after each use.
Well I lost the boot auction by 50 cents. I'm so bummed!
But the more I'm reading about Easy boots the more it seems like the style I was looking at (the original Easy boot, without the gaiters) is going to be really hard to put on. So now I'm exploring the easy boot bare or epic. I just don't understand why these things are so expensive! Does anyone have experience with boots that are cheaper? All we're doing is riding around the dirt roads surrounding the house. He will never be capable of doing anything high stress... we're taking him out mostly for his sanity because he just hates being left behind. Spending a couple hundred dollars on boots wasn't really what I wanted to do.
ETA: Good point on muddy ground. We're in hot, dry, northern California so I don't foresee a problem there.