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Discussion Starter #1
My horse is barefoot (because I want him to be), but he gets bruised and his feet are pretty weak overall. I need him to wear hoof boots during turn out, I have tried the Cavallo Trek Boots, the were really awesome, but their sizes didn't fit my gelding.
Now I am in search of a replacement, a different brand. I would love to hear any options you might now, but PLEASE keep in mind that I'm using them for whole-day turn-out, and NOT for 1-2 hour trail ride. I need something the horse will feel comfortable wearing.
And yes, a 2-time check and clean of the hoof I will provide (means I take the boot off at night and put it back on in the morning).
And no, I will not ever shoe him, don't suggest that.
I will be happy to see if someone has an idea that might help me:pinkunicorn:
 

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I wore EasyCare's Boas for a few years on my foundered horse for daily turnout on five acres. I love them but but EasyCare stopped making them.

Right now he is in EasyCare's Rx boot. They come with pads but the pads are on the flimsy side, compared to the pads in the EasyCare Cloud boots --- I have those too. Don't ask it's complicated.

So my suggestion is to look at EasyCare's boots. Their absolute best service rep is Nancy.


EasyCare Inc. | The Leader in Hoof Boots and Natural Hoof Care. Click on the "Therapy" button at the top.

Once you talk to them, if you care to, you can buy the boots cheaper at Valley Vet and they will even suggest that.

You need pads in the boots for extra cushion and to keep the frog better pumping blood. You can buy 3/8" Golds Gym interlocking puzzle mats and cut your own much cheaper than buying additional pads from EasyCare, UNLESS you buy the Clouds, then certainly use the pads that come with those boots.

To reiterate, I have been turning my foundered horse on five acres, daily/365 days since 2012, in any of the boots I mentioned without issue.

I also wash Them out every night in hot water and Dawn dish soap, lol

Hope this helps:)
 

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Can I ask why you're against shoeing? Just curious as I keep my guy barefoot too!

When I had a bout of ouchiness I put two original easyboots on him. They're a pain to get on and off but he was comfy in them over everything- all day.
 

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Curious, are you doing your own trimming or do you have a trimmer? There are some things a trimmer can do inadvertently to cause ouchy feet in a barefoot horse. One is to apply a mustang roll over the pillar area. Another would be to apply a mustang roll that extended into the sole callus area.
 

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I'd consider something like Easycare RX's, which are designed for paddock rehab wear, or something like Epics, which are 'low profile' so should not rub. Both of these options are able to be used with pads, so you can provide extra cushioning for your boy's weak feet.

I'm assuming you're also looking closely into what is wrong with his feet an addressing that, so he won't need to be in boots for turnout long term. Any boot whatsoever can be problematic if left on long term.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Can I ask why you're against shoeing? Just curious as I keep my guy barefoot too!
Mother nature has thought of every single thing to work as intended on the horse, and horses are made to be barefoot originally. When someone asks me to shoe or not to shoe, I always think of those wild mustangs roaming around, at all terrain, mud, dirt, sand, wood chips, plants, water, snow, deep mud, slippery grass, gravel and all the other stuff.

And those fellows don't get sore feet and stuff, they don't even need trimming. Of course with our domestic horses you need to trim the hoof as it grows faster than it wears out. But if a horse gets a proper amount and type of feed hay vitamins and water he will be healthy. And a bare foot allows the hoof to have its natural movement and traction, which is limited to some extent with a shoe. Did you know that it is A LOT more dangerous for a horse to move on pavement when shod?

Plus the fact remains: a hoof serves the function of pumping blood thru the whole horse when he steps on the ground and lifts the foot. And just thinking of an idea of nailing metal into live tissue doesn't really bring me or my horse good thoughts :) A misplaced nail can cause forever lameness too, and this is not a rare case. Horses don't have good traction with shoes, because those are unnatural. And having a horse loose his shoe in the paddock and then accidentally step on it/step on a loose nail can and will lead to a very bad injury and maybe even a forever lameness.

There are horses, like mine, who were abused or negleted, who were not fed, grazed or given hay. And a straving horse (like mine was) cannot have a healthy hoof. When I first got my gelding you could see every single bone on him, and his hooves... He needed to grow a whole new, good looking, not-sore hoof, and that lasts for 6 to 8 months, with added hoof supplemets. 3 months have passed and I already see a good hoof growing, but it has to be the WHOLE new and healthy hoof. So until he re-grows, re-balances himself, and gets absolutelly super-healthy he needs some protection. As normal nail-in or glue-on shoes only cause damage, properly fitted hoof boots actually hep.

P.S. A horse needs extra protection of his hooves when he goes on rough terrains with a rider on him too, because a rider is unnatural.
 

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I see where you're coming from and you seem well educated on the matter! I have however shod for various reasons, one was hauling logs on icy trails in winter. We put cleats on our horses to prevent slipping on the ice, and there was no ill effects when the shoes came off.

I love the original easy boot. They're hard to get on and off but they're amazing. We took our appy mare on a 4 day trip through some very rugged terrain. She had very bad quarter cracks that were infected, splitting from the ground up on both fronts. No matter what we tried they would only get worse. We booted her with two original easy boots, pounded them on, and off we went. We went through knee deep mud, across rivers, through cuttings, they held up. They stayed on for four days straight and they didn't sore her or rub anywhere. Eventually however we did end up shoeing her. The farrier literally wired the crack together and supported the foot with a shoe until the cracks grew out. She never needed shoes again after that though.
 

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I both understand and agree with your sentiments. They were mine also not that long ago.

Problem is, horses were meant to travel 10 to 20 miles each and every day to properly maintain the foot. Especially as a colt when the foot is forming.

Horses such as mine that did not have that privilege, and who was likely shod as a 2YO and then back to back, does not have the internal parts of the foot properly formed.

He is 17 YO and needs and will likely always need help in the rough going. I used boots for two years in some very harsh terrain. I have seen him go to his knees twice when a boot came off in a bad location.

Boots are still fine in reasonable terrain. But the terrain where I am is far from reasonable. And it HURTS him to travel without protection.

So I have went to a super flexible nail or screw on shoe that has frog support for the all important function that you mentioned.

One big error that you did mention that I also had to get over is the idea that the shoe is being nailed into live tissue. It is not. When it is, the horse is referred to as hot nailed and is somewhat lame.

The part of the hoof that is nailed into is the same as your finger nail beyond the quick. The part you cut off. A hot nail into live tissue can be thought of as nailing into the quick of your finger nail.

One other problem with boots is holding moisture in which sets up thrush infection. I still use easycare gloves some when he is barefoot, which he is at the moment, but after I put the boot on I fill it with a weak solution of Lysol to kill any encroaching bacteria. And put him where his feet can dry as soon as the ride is over.

Yes, horses evolved without shoes and if left in the environment they evolved in with the original genetics, no reason for boot or shoes. There are some breeds that have a tendency toward thin soles because of breeding and that causes more problems.

So good for you for thinking of your horse. Just don't ask him to go places that will hurt his feet I request, although I have no right to ask that.

And one more note on shoes. They have gotten a worse reputation than they should have as most of the hoof problems from shod feet are from improper shoeing and improper trimming. Improper barefoot trimming can also cause almost as many problems as improper shoeing.
 

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I forgot to mention one other thing that resulted in me putting plastic shoes on Hondo.

After two years of trying to trim properly his hoof wall was still dished in the front. Just could not get enough pressure off of his toe to get his hoof wall to grow down tight against his coffin bone.

In desperation I finally decided that the only road to recovery was for Hondo to have a properly placed full breakover
24/7.

And it has made a world of difference. Wider heels and his hoof wall is tight 2/3 of the way down.

I still harbor hopes of him reforming enough to become a true barefoot rock crusher, but I have accepted the fact that that may never happen.

I really do understand.
 

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Oh I just can't help but to comment on this... I am not doing so to 'be picky', but to get you to further consider & question the hows & whys, the details of your opinions...

Mother nature has thought of every single thing to work as intended on the horse, and horses are made to be barefoot originally. When someone asks me to shoe or not to shoe, I always think of those wild mustangs roaming around, at all terrain, mud, dirt, sand, wood chips, plants, water, snow, deep mud, slippery grass, gravel and all the other stuff.

And those fellows don't get sore feet and stuff, they don't even need trimming.
I am very much an advocate of shoeless(as in conventional metal rim shoes), as well as barefoot *when possible*. IMHO there are many negative effects of this type of shoeing(innate to shoeing, not just badly applied), and there are 'cons' as well as 'pros' to other forms of 'hoof protection' too, that absolutely need to be better understood & considered. BUT there are also 'cons' to barefoot, and assumptions about ideals of 'wild' horses which are not accurate.

When you're talking 'wild horses', it very much depends on the environment they're in as to how wonderful or otherwise their feet are. I've seen some terribly 'ski footed' foundered ones, from soft/wet, cushy environments for eg, who would be very lame if made to walk on hard ground. Very many of 'those fellows' do indeed get sore & overgrown feet. Just that when they do in the wild, they don't tend to last very long, esp where there are big predators.

'Environment' of hard ground, many miles per day exercise & conditioning, from birth, and good diet will indeed promote strong, healthy hooves. But while horses CAN run on really rough ground, they tend to stick to slower paces on it, unless running in fear, when adrenaline takes over. And even tough footed feral horses can indeed become foot sore or injured running on rough ground.

And regardless of how ideal their lifestyle & environment may be, we also expect of/subject our horses to more than nature does. Not only do we want them to run on hard terrain, but to do it regularly, sustain it for long periods. We want them to be athletic to boot.

Even if our horses are later given a really healthy lifestyle & environ(of which most of us can only manage greatly compromised versions), if they have not had this 'hoof conditioning' since they were young, to build strong feet in the first place or if their hooves are already badly damaged long term before they've been given this ideal, should we even assume they're *able* to ever become a 'rock cruncher', at whatever pace??

By all means, I believe our horses have a LOT to gain from us learning about *healthy & strong* wild horses. Not discounting that at all. But it's not correct to assume that those horses are perfect, never suffering, able to leap tall buildings... or that in following a 'wild horse model' our domestics can naturally accomplish Superhorse status too.

Plus the fact remains: a hoof serves the function of pumping blood thru the whole horse when he steps on the ground and lifts the foot. And just thinking of an idea of nailing metal into live tissue doesn't really bring me or my horse good thoughts :)
On the first, the '5 hearts theory' of the hooves being an aid to circulation is not right. It has been shown, in *healthy, robust hooves* that blood leaves the foot at a reduced pressure, as it is forced through bazillions of tiny capilliaries in the back of the foot, which acts as a very effective 'shock absorber'. Blood flow around the hoof is of course vital though, and can indeed be restricted by conventional shoeing. You might like to study Dr Bowker's work(heavy but very worth it!), to better understand all that.

It is incorrect that shoes are nailed into live tissue(except accidentally, which shouldn't happen with a good, experienced farrier), and I believe the nails are one of the least problematic effects of conventional shoeing.

himself, and gets absolutelly super-healthy he needs some protection. As normal nail-in or glue-on shoes only cause damage, properly fitted hoof boots actually hep.

P.S. A horse needs extra protection of his hooves when he goes on rough terrains with a rider on him too, because a rider is unnatural.
Glad you appreciate that first bit - unfortunately some don't & fanatically force their horse to go bare regardless, in the name of barefoot idealogy. I'd just caution you against believing it's necessarily quite so 'rosy' a picture as that he WILL grow super healthy feet at all, be able to do all you want of him without protection, especially putting a time frame on it. Of course, he COULD, but it depends on so many factors.

As mentioned above, I do agree that conventional(as in rim shoes) do create too many problems. Whether nailed, glued or otherwise. Peripheral loading - forcing the walls into primary weightbearing function is the major issue. It is such an issue, IMO & E, that I think they're best avoided in all but rare situations. But to say they only cause problems is not correct - there are absolutely many 'pros' to shoes too, and some of which are worth the 'side effects'. Particularly if you understand those side effects & can minimise them. Eg. only working a (peripherally) shod horse on yielding footing, ensuring the horse is trimmed/reset frequently & well, to prevent excess length & distortion due to added mechanical strain.

It's also important to understand the 'cons' of hoof boots too, for eg. that they(and even a bare hoof) can indeed be as 'peripherally loading' & unsupportive of good hoof function as a rim shoe, depending on the situation/footing. There are also quite a few other options out there these days, nailed on or otherwise, which negate many/most of the 'side effects' of conventional rims. Such as Easyshoes or Eponas. The new Megasus Horse Runners look very interesting...


Harold wrote
And one more note on shoes. They have gotten a worse reputation than they should have as most of the hoof problems from shod feet are from improper shoeing and improper trimming. Improper barefoot trimming can also cause almost as many problems as improper shoeing.
Absolutely very important consideration, but due to the unavoidable excess peripheral loading and added jarring of metal against a hard surface, I fully believe that *conventional rims* do have innate damaging effects that aren't just due to improper trimming/application.
 

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I want to add a bit to loosies post, which I agree with 100%.

Wild horses do become foot sore, and become lame. The reason we don't think they do is because we never see it. The reason being is that they die. Simple as that. If a horse genetically has bad feet, or some other environmental factor, that line of horses or particular horse dies out very very quickly. Thus giving the illusion that every wild horse has amazing, strong, healthy rock hard feet. I'll try to find a link to a study done that involved 150+ (i think) wild horse hoof specimens. The study showed that a vast majority of those wild horses were mild to moderately laminitic.
 

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Wild horses do become foot sore, and become lame. The reason we don't think they do is because we never see it. The reason being is that they die.
Yeah, that happens, but esp in places like Aus where there are no large predators to kill them, unless they're in harsh(desert/drought) environs that they NEED to travel many miles daily between feed & water, they often don't die, and ARE seen, hobbling around. But people who have seen a bit about the virtues of wild mustang's feet often don't see it - it's not publicised, while tough, 'rock crunching' hooves are.

I'll try to find a link to a study done that involved 150+ (i think) wild horse hoof specimens. The study showed that a vast majority of those wild horses were mild to moderately laminitic.
I meant to link to that. Not that I fully agree with all they say, but... If you look up Brian Hampson of University of Queensland you'll find it - wild horse or brumby study.... among others.
 

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I'm not in Aus, but they do have wild horses here in North America, where they also did a study on the mustangs. Same results but I suppose in Aus there are less predators. Out here there are LOTS of predators so visually, you don't see lame wild horses much.
 

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Yes, I found that Brumby study, very interesting
Many of those desert feral horses, showed chronic low grade laminitis,( mechanical cause)
The theory that explained them moving sound,was that their hooves (internal structures) are better developed, thus able to withstand the effects of laminitis more then our domestic horses-ie not progress to founder
There is natural selection in the wild, at least here. Winter kill can happen, both from extremely harsh conditions, as the winter, two years ago, when snow was several feet deep, with a crust on top. Almost impossible to forage, plus wolves could run on top of that crust, while hroses, and game animals floundered

While most domestic hoof problems are more environmental/management,caused, there is also a genetic component.At times, horses having poor feet ,that would have caused then to die in the wild, and thus not pass on their genetics, are kept going by special shoing, and being allowed to breed, because they are first selected for some discipline they might excel in, versus for conformation , including feet, conducive for longevity of soundness
Nature uses a different criteria, as to what animal gets to pass on their genetics
 

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Speaking of feral horses, this spring, I saw a poor foal, three legged lame, and wondered how long until he became dinner
Last year, we also came across a lone feral stud. At first I thought he was hanging around, not leaving, because I was riding a mare. I then saw his one back leg and hind end. He had survived an attempted predation, but his chances of survival were slim, with a possible slow death.
Hubby did not have his rife, or I would have asked him to shoot that poor horse, legal or not
Just note of interest, and not related to hoof issues,but just the fact that neither of those horses had much of a chance of survival
 
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