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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What are riding boots REALLY for?

I'm trying to decide whether or not to boot. The trails are 'sidewalks for horses" - as described by other trail riders. The trails are completely gravel. The gravel is smaller than "normal" but larger than pea; not sure what size that is...? There is also the paved road. My horse has really tough feet, according to my farrier(s). She is barefoot right now and not tender/gimpy. Since I am trying to get her fit, I am riding a few hours almost everyday. They say that movement is good for the feet and hard ground is (gernally) good for the feet, but too much of a good thing is... a thing. How do you know when to boot? In my situation, from what I understand, it's when the wear is too fast compared to the growth. I can't really tell if my horse's hooves are growing any faster. The farrier comes every four weeks, and there is still stuff to take off, so...? But he just re-balances it with the rasp - no nips.
 
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Depending on the size of the rocks in the gravel, I would be concerned about stone bruising. I probably would not boot if I was only going to ride at a walk. Anything faster and I would want to boot at least the front hooves. My mustang's rock solid, hardy hooves would get chipped up quite badly out on the rocky desert trails, so boots on the front (or shoes) were a necessity out there. They weren't needed on the back though.


I highly recommend Cavallo hoof boots. They are very easy to measure for, they allow a little wiggle room so they fit through the trim cycle, they stayed on up and down rocky mountains and through water. I was very jealous, because my mom had the Cavallo boots and I had Easyboots, and those "Easyboots" were the farthest thing from easy to get on and off. Hated those things.
 

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If your horse is going on gravel that has some large rocks in it - eg gravel road - he may need boots to protect from stone bruises. If it's 'manicured' type gravel &/or you're only walking on it, prob fine bare.

If your horse is at all tender, landing mostly toe first because of tender heels, he needs boots to be able to use his feet comfortably & well.

If your horse was wearing his feet down with the work you ask of him, into the sole, he needs boots at least part time to prevent this. And if you're always/usually riding on hard, flat surfaces such as paved, then he could benefit from rubber in between, to improve shock absorption es if you're trotting.
 

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Depending on the size of the rocks in the gravel, I would be concerned about stone bruising. I probably would not boot if I was only going to ride at a walk. Anything faster and I would want to boot at least the front hooves. My mustang's rock solid, hardy hooves would get chipped up quite badly out on the rocky desert trails, so boots on the front (or shoes) were a necessity out there. They weren't needed on the back though.


I highly recommend Cavallo hoof boots. They are very easy to measure for, they allow a little wiggle room so they fit through the trim cycle, they stayed on up and down rocky mountains and through water. I was very jealous, because my mom had the Cavallo boots and I had Easyboots, and those "Easyboots" were the farthest thing from easy to get on and off. Hated those things.
What model Cavallo boots is your mother using that she and you are so happy with?
 

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If memory serves, she got the old trek/trail boots that were being discontinued, so she got a good price. I see no reason why the "entry level" boots shouldn't work the same, as how the boot fits the horse doesn't change between versions. They just do little upgrades here and there and then charge you $50 more for it, lol.
If I ever need hoof boots again, I will definitely be getting Cavallos. They were recommended to me by a member here on HF, and so when my mom's horse needed hoof boots we tried those (as I'd already had my Easyboots for my horse and hated them, but wouldn't spend money on buying more hoof boots until needed).
 
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I only boot for a couple of reason. 1. My horse is actually tender in the rocks or 2. I'm going to ride with someone else and I know they will want to canter or trot through rocks and rough terrain. I do that so I can canter too and not worry about bruising up my horse. (Normally I only boot the front feet even then). Or maybe I am just going to go on a long ride and don't want to worry about the footing. So I might boot then as well.

Sometimes after a trim she will be tender in the rocks. So I'll ride in boots for a week or so. Or just being Arizona, the ground and dirt roads are hard as can be and strewn with larger gravel. So I will boot her.

But if my horse is moving well and feeling fine I don't boot.

I like the Easyboot Trails but I have never tried Cavallos. But the premise is the same. I used Easyboot Epics for YEARS, probably 15+ years, and I just go so tried of replacing cables and having to use a mallet to get the boots on and hoof-pick to get them off. So I tried the Easyboot Trails out of desperation and I am so happy I did! They are so easy and I've had no trouble with them coming off or anything like that. The Cavallos look almost the same so I would expect them to function similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sooo many booting options! It's overwhelming. lol How do you know which to use?

Why do horses usually only need front boots? Why are they more tender than the hinds?

Does anyone have opinions on the Renegades?
 
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Typical weight distribution of a horse is 57% front, 43% rear.

I use Renegades and like them, although Bandit is finally starting to develop enough sole to get away without them. Most of our riding is in rocky ground.



 

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I like the Easyboot Trails but I have never tried Cavallos. But the premise is the same. I used Easyboot Epics for YEARS, probably 15+ years, and I just go so tried of replacing cables and having to use a mallet to get the boots on and hoof-pick to get them off. So I tried the Easyboot Trails out of desperation and I am so happy I did! They are so easy and I've had no trouble with them coming off or anything like that. The Cavallos look almost the same so I would expect them to function similar.

The boots I had/have (still have them, just never use them) were the old version of easyboot trails. Got them on sale. I doubt the new version is much different. My understanding is that easyboots are supposed to fit like a perfectly fitted glove or pair of jeans. Cavallos allow for more wiggle room, yet had no problem staying on. No slipping issues either for the horse even up rocky mountains. Honestly, that was a surprise to me - them being designed to be looser fitting, I expected them to both come off and cause slipping issues. I was wrong on both accounts.
Anyway, going from my memory, I'm sure that I had my horse's Easyboots measured right, as the next size up would have been too large. Maybe the new design is better? Do yours fit through the trim cycle and are easy to get on and off? Is it a glove-like fit, or more of a wiggly fit?
One thing I will say for Easyboots - they do last a very long time, and so long as you can get them on, they won't come off! :rofl:
 

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Sooo many booting options! It's overwhelming. lol How do you know which to use?

Why do horses usually only need front boots? Why are they more tender than the hinds?

Does anyone have opinions on the Renegades?

Which to use: the ones that fit yours and your horse's lifestyle, and also your budget. It helps when research (talking to people on forums, etc) shows that other people like them.


I think @bsms explained the reasoning well. My horse always chipped up bad on the front, but naught on the hind, so I just logically thought to boot only the front.


I've never used Renegades but have heard great things about them. They were definitely the boot I wanted to try years ago, but ended up trying Cavallos due not in small part to how easy they are to measure for, and ended up liking them so much.
Besides bsms, I know @gottatrot also uses Renegades.
 
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I'd like a boot to fit a four week cycle. Other people who used EasyBoots said that they had to become part farrier - rasping every week or two due to the tight fit. So, tight fit pros and cons, besides on/off and slippage? Too loose is obviously not good but tight seems like a pain, especially since I'll probably use them every day.

How does the hoof function with boots? From my understanding, boots are like a medium from barefoot to shod. Do they still allow the "normal" function (flexing, shock obsorbtion, etc.) as barefoot? Are they like our shoes (not metal)? Some shoes aid in function. Some make things worse. And some are literally just protection (barefoot/minimalist shoes I think they are called).

My horse's frogs and heels are not perfect, but they are way better and stronger than when she was shod. It took a while (years) for her to heel-first land comfortably (which she does now on all terrian), and I don't want to backslide with boots (if that can happen).
 
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How does the hoof function with boots? From my understanding, boots are like a medium from barefoot to shod. Do they still allow the "normal" function (flexing, shock obsorbtion, etc.) as barefoot? Are they like our shoes (not metal)? Some shoes aid in function. Some make things worse. And some are literally just protection (barefoot/minimalist shoes I think they are called).

My horse's frogs and heels are not perfect, but they are way better and stronger than when she was shod. It took a while (years) for her to heel-first land comfortably (which she does now on all terrian), and I don't want to backslide with boots (if that can happen).

YES! They do allow the hoof to function normally. The majority of hoof boots are specifically designed to help, not hinder, normal barefoot hoof function. Whereas a metal shoe typically only allows weight to bear on the horse's hoof wall, a boot covers the entire hoof and provides a platform for the entire hoof to contact. There's a billion different styles even within a brand, so you'll just have to look around and decide what you want/need. It sounds to me like you just need a basic hoof boot though.


There's no chance that a properly fitted hoof boot will harm your horse, especially since it comes off at the end of your ride and your horse gets to go back to hoof life as normal.


I will forewarn you: your horse may try to spanish walk the first time in the boots, taking long, exaggerated steps. It's very funny to watch. Just take it slow until she gets used to them.
 

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There are lots of things to consider about boots. I've been using hoof boots since EasyBoot was first introduced and have seen all the changes they've gone through to survive in a more and more competitive market. I know the rubber disintegrates a lot faster than it used to, they used to be shelf stable for decades and the sidewalls of the newer ones shatter in a few years. They keep trying to redesign the gaiters. They've made the cables so cheap you're lucky to get a season out of them. However, you can go to the hardware store and get a hundred feet of stainless steel cable and the little ferrules for the price of a replacement kit from Easycare and they'll last forever. That doesn't make them any less of a pain in the neck to use than they already are.


Cavallos are a good boot, that seem to fit a rounder foot. Their slim models come with half the tread, something to think about. The difference between cavallos and some boots like Old Mac or EB Trails is that they open in front, which I find a whole lot easier to operate than the rear opening EasyCare models. The Cavallos can rub, especially the hinds. I liked using them with Easy Care Old Mac gaiters.


I'm currently using Flex hoof boots which have been the least trouble, but they're made of a softer material that may not hold up to really hard riding.



The one big drawback to hoof boots is that they will set the breakover further forward than may be desirable. With EasyCare and Cavallo, you can grind a bevel back on the sole if you like. Don't know about others.


The primary reason I use boots on my current horse is not so much out of concern for stone bruising, etc., but because I feel the backs of her hooves are poorly developed and probably not robust enough for serious concussion dissipation. She has felt pads in her front boots. We don't ride often on hard or gravelly surfaces, but I don't think she'd stay sound long without boots if we did. And I can feel just that little extra bit of forward when she has the boots on even on softer surfaces. Basically, her hooves are just not optimal to go without protection. If I thought she could, I'd love to get away from boots, but realistically, although her hooves are much healthier than they were when I got her two years ago, I think they are about what they're going to be, going forward.
 

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I have only used Renegades and so far so good. They really do NOT come off; that's a big complaint with a number of brands. They do not rub either. My trails are ultra rocky and where they aren't rocky they are generally muddy. My horse will trot quickly over my trails with little hesitation except for the worst spots where she has to pick her way. She cold never do that without boots. My only complaint is that now that I'm in the land of granite my boots only last three years before she is wearing them through.
 

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My only complaint is that now that I'm in the land of granite my boots only last three years before she is wearing them through.

"Only 3 years?" Wow, I would be beyond thrilled with that!!! My Easyboot Trails had a hole in the toe and 3 months and at 5 months I'm pretty close to considering them trash. The thing is, I don't know if it's our terrain or actually shoddy boot material.


I hope you don't mind I didn't want to put my face on the internet, but if you can excuse that, this is what some of our trails are like. Of course there are softer areas too, but this is what is wearing out my boots. This and the gravel roads I have to ride to (about a mile each way) to get to the forest. Should my boots be lasting a lot longer even in this sort of terrain I wonder??? Because if so, I need to switch boots!
 

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I'd like a boot to fit a four week cycle. Other people who used EasyBoots said that they had to become part farrier - rasping every week or two due to the tight fit.
Depends what boot type, what level of work you want to do. Eg 'peeformance' boots like Gloves & Epics need to fit tightly, and if you're doing athletic stuff, or difficult footing like deep mud, then you'd do better with tight boots. But for 'normal' trail riding or 'flat work', if you're doing less than many hrs daily, then Trails or Back Countries, or Scoots or such, and a looser fit are likely fine. The former fit the better generally, but in many cases you can get by with loose enough after a fresh trim that they last at least 3-4 weeks before too tight to fit.

How does the hoof function with boots? From my understanding, boots are like a medium from barefoot to shod. Do they still allow the "normal" function (flexing, shock obsorbtion, etc.) as barefoot? Are they like our shoes (not metal)? Some shoes aid in function. Some make things worse. And some are literally just protection (barefoot/minimalist shoes I think they are called).
Yes, generally speaking, they don't inhibit function, shock absorption or anything, but enhance it, by allowing the horse to use his feet comfortably & properly. But depends a bit on type, as to how flexible, whether they have pads for extra sole/frog support if needed - depending how horse is trimmed, how much work on hard, flat(such as roads) as to whether/how much the horse may be peripherally loaded for eg.
 

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"Only 3 years?" Wow, I would be beyond thrilled with that!!! My Easyboot Trails had a hole in the toe and 3 months and at 5 months I'm pretty close to considering them trash. The thing is, I don't know if it's our terrain or actually shoddy boot material.


I hope you don't mind I didn't want to put my face on the internet, but if you can excuse that, this is what some of our trails are like. Of course there are softer areas too, but this is what is wearing out my boots. This and the gravel roads I have to ride to (about a mile each way) to get to the forest. Should my boots be lasting a lot longer even in this sort of terrain I wonder??? Because if so, I need to switch boots!
Boots don't last any longer riding trails I ride. Rocks ,gravel reason I choose to have them shod. Trails here are similar terrain boots don't last long enough for the cost.
 
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