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As far as I can tell, the Scoot boots are a size too big. I am hoping the next size down will fit.
I could really wiggle them around, the front slit closed up completely, and there was extra "floor" space inside the boot. That being said, I rode in them for an hour and a half and they didn't turn or come off.

We went out again with Mikey and his rider yesterday. It didn't really go better than the last time, but I thought it was a good ride. We went all around the trails on the properties surrounding my boarding place.

Mikey's rider rents pasture from the feed store, and there is a nursery with property we ride on and they also board horses. So three boarding places in the area.

Hero is so different and funny. When we go into the woods his eyes are big and he sidles close to Mikey. Any hill or change in the surface and he was snorting and throwing in hops, a buck or jiggy steps.

One thing is that we kept going down the roads and up in the woods, but we were looping around and never more than 3/4 mile from home. Which means if Amore called, we could hear her faintly and then Hero would cry back to her.

But Hero is different because the nursery had a huge excavator working in the road, a bulldozer and also a quad running around. These things made Mikey hesitate but Hero is not worried about trucks or equipment. I think those things are used all over at racetracks.

So Mikey led us through the woods, and Hero led past all the big equipment without blinking, only to spook at a swaying branch on the other side.

Then we went by some cows, and Mikey went close to show Hero it was OK. Hero still did not want to pass the monsters so I had to get off and lead him.

That was one issue, Hero did not want to leave the barn area, and also got stuck at various points when we ran into obstacles. The first several times I tried to push him on with legs and crop, but he is a "no means no" horse. Not sure why I don't have that in my head yet. You will not budge him no matter what.

After several long waits and endless patience from Mikey's rider, I began hopping off and leading Hero past things and that was a good strategy. Plus probably much less irritating for Mikey's rider.

Hero was the same with Nala. He doesn't just trust that it's probably fine if another horse does it. Oh no, he only trusts his own judgment. He's more like a mustang or mule that way. It is getting to where I can lead him by things though, so he seems to be trusting that I won't lead him into danger more and more. That's progress.
 

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"He doesn't just trust that it's probably fine if another horse does it. Oh no, he only trusts his own judgment." - @gottatrot

That describes Bandit to a T. Bandit figures the other horses have made a deal with the Devil and are just trying to lure him into a trap. Not Likely! Bandit plans on living forever....
 

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Haha that is great.
Or sometimes I think Hero is doing math in his head. He learned about odds at the racetrack. "If one in four horses get eaten by cows, and Mikey did not get eaten, that increases my chances of getting eaten..."
 

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So Mikey led us through the woods, and Hero led past all the big equipment without blinking, only to spook at a swaying branch on the other side.
Couldn't help but laugh about this, as Fizz is the same way. She'll pass any kind of equipment, person on equipment, etc. But big boulders on the side of the trail make her shy away. M still laughs every time I'm telling Fizz, "you're fine, it's a rock." And you have my empathy on the cows...we're getting better with that, but it's still a production for us...

After several long waits and endless patience from Mikey's rider, I began hopping off and leading Hero past things and that was a good strategy. Plus probably much less irritating for Mikey's rider.
Would Hero be more motivated to move forward if Mikey didn't stop and wait? Or would that make him more anxious? For awhile having Fizz move off while Coalie stalled out would convince Coalie to keep going because he didn't want to be left behind. But M and I so often go our separate ways and ride home alone that the horses are pretty used to one leaving the other at this point, so it doesn't necessarily work to get them moving past something scary. Sometimes getting off and leading just resolves the problem fast, without making a big deal of it. You know my feelings on the "never get off at any cost" crowd :wink:

@egrogan and @Hondo , I am curious what size Scoot boots your horses wear. The ones that seem too big for Hero are 4 slim.
The answer is "it depends"- it can vary a little bit based on trim cycle and the weather, but my general set up is 4 regulars with the endurance gaiters on the hinds, and 4 slims or 4 regulars on the fronts, depending on trim cycle. Without the endurance gaiters, I was doing 4 slims on the hinds. We had a bit of rubbing on the hinds this summer, and the gaiters have made a world of difference in that, but they do take up a bit of space in the boot. When it was very, very dry here this summer, I actually had an old pair of 3s that I could fit on the hinds. Funny how much moisture can make the foot expand or contract.

Sounds like a good idea to test out the size 3s to see how they look. If he ends up sort of "in between," you could play around with the gaiters or shims (they sit in the front of the boot, but don't take up nearly as much space as the gaiters will). But given how you described the sides touching on the front of the boot, I bet you'll be better off with the 3s, particularly if you've just trimmed him. I actually don't know the specs on the difference between a regular and a slim, but I was initially told that people generally use slims on the hinds and regulars on the front.

Other than the sizing issue, did you like them?
 

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By carefully measuring Hondo's feet and using the Scoot chart, I ordered 5 wide for the front. There was such a large 'shelf' on each side that I didn't see how they could not come off in sticky mud.


After sending pictures, the recommendation was to go to 4 wide.


Looking at the chart, I decided to order 4 slims. Perfect!


3 slims for the hinds perfect also.


With 1/2 inch closed cell neoprene in the fores, he's wearing a size 5...........wide I believe. They are fairly loose fit even with the pads as he's in them 24/7.


Along with the gaiters, Scoot also makes a thin pad for the boots that lasts well. Dense neoprene it seems like. Anyhow, that will also tighten up the boots some. But being a little loose at the toe is not a big deal I don't think although I haven't tested at speed.


The important thing to watch out for if shimming to tighten up the front is to not get the heel bulb loops too tight. If you get a raw spot, that's where it will be. With the horse standing relaxed, the loops should be able to be wiggled around with one's fingers fairly freely.
 

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I would like to think he’ll get better as he gets used to the surroundings. Bones, who hates new outside stuff, or really anything new, is probably my favorite within 10-15 miles of the house and at the ranch and on the roads on drives he’s been on several times. Lol

Cash doesn’t mind equipment either. He doesn’t love vehicles that are very far away, but if he’s close enough to them to know they are vehicles they don’t seem to bother him at all. I thought he would be the hardest to get used to those things, and he is definitely my easiest so far.

Zeus is a “no means no” kind too for sure. I, even more so little girl of course, am lucky he rarely ever says no anymore. It is a hard personality.
 

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Now I am thinking the 3s will be a good size for Hero after hearing what Hondo and Fizz wear. He has much smaller hooves in relation to his size than Amore.

The boots did seem to work great. I definitely like the lack of cables or velcro. Even though the fit seemed large they did not turn and stayed on well. My only concern with a larger size would be boot retention in the sand dunes and cantering.

I am thinking even if the 3s are too small they will work on the hinds.

If Mikey keeps walking away, Hero is like well, forget him then. Sometimes Nala would just leave us and Hero would still not cross the log or mud flats. Probably leading him will be best.

One nice feature he has is that if he gets used to something it does not bother him any more. The deer around the barn can pop out under our nose but he knows about those deer so he doesn't even blink.

Nickel was different, if he lost sight of Nala he'd be willing to jump off a cliff to join her. It was a huge emergency for him. I tried to explain this to his owner so we could work on it but she wasn't so interested. If Nala disappeared I could either let Nickel join her in three seconds at a full gallop over rough ground or through the bushes, or I could hold him back and ride the bucking and rearing as he panicked. So basically I tried to stay up with Nala!
 

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Today I went to put rain sheets on the horses. This is the first time it had rained for any period of time, we have had a very nice fall.

Uh oh, I had to let out Amore's belly strap to go around her.
I have had this philosophy that she is 29 with not a lot of dental surface left and putting weight on in the winter could become difficult.
Forget that, she is fat. Time to diet.

Hero is a bit tubby too.

Here is my problem. I put the horses onto an acre that was essentially a dry lot. Super short, dry grass, weedy, and previously had three horses on it full time. I decided there may not be enough for the horses to chew on and acted like hay was their only diet.

The people around the barn think I am nuts, I am sure. The culture is to throw manure out of the sheds and call it good.

I've been cleaning 90% of the manure off my paddock every three days. It only takes 45 min or so. As a result, my "dry lot" now has at least green shoots on 90% of it and 8 inch grass on quite a bit of that. Combined with all the hay that keeps the horses busy, my paddock doesn't look like the other dry lots anymore.

But I've been feeding my nice green orchard grass hay like there is nothing else to eat. So I am cutting back...

Turns out when Hero does not have ulcers or pain and has his teeth taken care of, he's a super easy keeper TB. Kind of amazing having two easy keepers. Between the two I'm giving less than 25 lbs of hay now. Hopefully they will slim down a bit before spring, by which time my paddock may turn into a grass paradise.
 

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That’s excellent about your pasture.

So, I have a question for you and anyone else who uses boots. You all know I used them on Bones for a couple years.

Well, this year I just forgot to put them on for a couple of big girls work days, and he was fine, so I stopped putting them on and he stayed just fine. He did chip a small chip once, but I had gotten a little behind on trimming and I blamed it on that.

Zeus has never worn a boot. At first I had little girl avoiding very hard gravel road and things of the sort, but we took him hunting in big rocks and he climbed and climbed and came home perfect. Not a chip was to be seen and not a sore step taken... he was fine for lots of big rides.

I just pulled Cashman’s shoes. I want to leave him I think and just keep him trimmed up and see how it goes. After all, it’s been fine with the other two. Better than shoes because their feet are always done instead of waiting that 6-8 weeks...

Here’s the question I have come to: did any of you try to truly leave your horses barefoot? Do you wear the boots out of fear as I did or because you actually need them?
 

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@Knave, I rode Bandit barefoot for some years before trying boots. The boots help with him. Not on average. He can handle most of the trails without a problem. But there are a few patches where he does better with boots. Right now I need to make a 55 mile round trip to ride, so my riding is much reduced and making detours around those few very rocky spots would not be a big deal anyways.

If we start riding Trooper again, we need to get him boots. He has a crack in his front left hoof. Been there for 1.5 years now. Every time it is almost gone - down to maybe 1/8 inch - I'll go out a day later and find a 1 inch long crack. It doesn't bother him in the corral but the rocks on the trail would be a serious issue. Takes months for the crack to almost heal, and then it always splits again. I think he'll have it until he dies.

If he had to work on the ranch he came from, he'd be dead. He couldn't handle 12+ hour days and I don't think iron shoes will change anything. MAYBE if I kept him shod for the rest of his life...but since he shows no signs of pain and is rarely ridden? The ranch can't afford horses who cannot work. I can.

If we move, most of the places we are looking at should be much easier on the horses' feet. The longer we are in Benson the less likely I think it is we will buy here. It is neither fish nor fowl - not far enough away from Tucson to make a genuine difference. We either need to go further or move back to the house we already own. But almost ANYWHERE we move would have ground easier on their feet and then I'd stop using hoof boots with Bandit.

Trooper? I may try iron shoes for a while. If the crack never heals, he'll need boots in most places. Except he is largely a lawn ornament now.

PS: Mia was barefoot the 7 years I owned her. Never saw any sign she needed help. Same with Cowboy. And in truth, while they help Bandit in places, he could get away without them. He did for several years.
 

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I started using boots when we were riding long miles on gravel logging roads.

With the Arabs, I later tried to toughen their hooves by going barefoot on the gravel roads.
Even Halla had really great hooves before she foundered. She wasn't one who had chronic laminitis or thin soles before her health fell apart.

I didn't see any problems, but both horses became more reluctant about going out. After putting boots back on that went away. But that was trotting and cantering for miles on gravel and lock rock, no grass or dirt. I never put boots on for natural surfaces.

After Halla foundered, her soles were thin so I booted her for rides.

With Hero, he was scraping the toes off his hind hooves even in the sand so I started booting him. His hooves are not great enough to ride on gravel roads without boots. They are getting to where we can ride on natural surfaces without boots.

For horses with decent hooves I only boot if we're on rocky surfaces for a long time.
 

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This was Hondo's foot probably in 2015. Before it was opened, it was "just" a crack.


With dedication, it grew out solid all the way.


Did the same with a horse named Dragon a couple years later.


There is infection at the deepest reaches of the crack. It's a race between how fast the hoof grows and how fast the microbes chomp upwards. The hoof usually wins, but once the crack is large enough there is a ample opportunity for the microbes to keep coming and keep winning. The upper reaches of the infection is such a tight crack it is not even visible to the naked eye, mine at least.


Opening the crack allows oxygen to get in and keeps it wide enough that dirt does not get packed in. I used ThrushBuster on both cases about 2-3 times per week. Plus a tiny tiny screwdriver like on the original Leatherman was used to dig the crumbles out each time so the TB would penetrate further.


Shoes will not stop the infection once it has opened a crack. Likely keep it closed off to oxygen and make it worse.


The crack on Hondo was treated under online supervision of Patty Stiller. Here on the forum.


Crack2.jpg

crack1.jpg
 

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Thank you, @Hondo. I'll try some thrush medicine. Trooper's crack is a hairline crack. Never spreads apart. This hoof tends to flare out at the sides and I need to trim regularly to keep them from causing a sideways pull on the hoof WHEN he steps on a rock - which he WILL do regularly in the corral. If I trim the flares regularly it has ALMOST beat the crack - but I'm now living 27 miles away. Just don't see them as much. Makes me realize how lucky I've been to have them in my backyard. A 55 mile round trip takes a lot of the fun away. I actually miss cleaning the corral. Feeding and cleaning is just a good time of hanging out with the boys, so to speak.

The good news is he'll still race around or sometimes "fight" with the other horses. Not so much at 22 now, but no sign he is hurting. It is SOOO frustrating to think, "We've almost got this thing beat! Just another 1/8 inch...." - and then go out 2 days later and see a 1 inch crack!

There are a number of things that attract me to either Chino Valley in the north or Huachuca City to the south, but one nice thing BOTH places have is better ground! Even Benson is a virtual horse paradise for ground compared to where we've lived!

But part of it is also that Trooper has weaker hooves. Don't know if it is an Appy thing, or white hooves, or bad luck or what. But Lilly, Mia, Cowboy & Bandit have no issues. Trooper has thin hoof walls and an odd sideways flare to things. His hooves have always chipped frequently. I spent a year giving him supplements but saw no change at all.
 

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Don't be fooled by it being a hairline crack. Hondo's was also. Pete Ramey goes so far as to say "any crack including superficial surface crack are infected".


The crack is not caused by forces. The crack is caused by microbes eating away the part that hold the wall together.



ThrushBuster has in incredible wicking action. When applied to a thin crack it often travels up the crack into areas where the crack cannot even be seen.


No amount of trimming, shoeing, or booting will ever cause the crack to disappear. Killing the microbes on the frontline of the infection is the only thing that will cause the crack to disappear to never return. But the trick is to treat the front line of infection frequently until the frontline area grows down with the hoof wall and finally disappears at the bottom.


I buy my Teff hay down at Chino Valley now.
 

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I've also got a 40 mile drive now to see the horses so can sympathize.

I don't know how a horse with really bad hooves could survive on that kind of ground.

Like @Hondo I've only had luck with growing out cracks when combining trimming with thrush treatment. Hero responds to any type because he has a good immune system. Amore needs stronger stuff and I had to use copper sulfate in a tube on a couple cracks for her several months ago. I would think running thrush buster down the top of the crack might help.

When the horses have been on clay soil the organisms have been more superficial (frogs and collateral grooves). On sand the organisms seemed to work inside any chip or crack and go deeper. I wonder if that is the same in your drier climate, with a finer footing.
 

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I'll add that what I've posted is not uncommon knowledge but is very common knowledge among any and all competent and knowledgeable hoof care providers.


And again, oxygen if it can reach the infection is the very best treatment against it.
 

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Another successful approach to hoof cracks I've seen in racehorses is formaldehyde (to sterilise the whole site), then glue the crack. The glue used (through Australian farrier outlets) is similar to superglue, and I've seen several cases where people have used actual superglue to do it successfully. Obviously, if the crack gapes a lot, it's a different proposition, but in racehorses they tended to catch stuff like this early. Cracks do start from a combination of mechanical, microbiological and nutritional factors on the whole, and once the crack is there, mechanical, microbiological and nutritional factors tend to keep it going unless all three are addressed (biotin deficiency has been one nutritional issue in local horses that reduces their horn quality, but there's plenty more factors). In a leisure horse with a hoof crack, I would be riding booted for extra protection until the problem is resolved, because it is very easy to split a crack further mechanically if you ride on gravel etc.

Yes, formaldehyde is carcinogenic, but so are quite a few other things in our environment and even our food (and formaldehyde is sadly still permitted in a lot of building materials and often de-gasses into new homes to be breathed in by occupants, which is not good); to help with cases like hoof cracks or seedy toe I've seen it be extremely useful - it's a matter of weighing up the pros and cons. Both conditions are really hard to shift and take time and a lot of care to address as the hoof has to grow out and do it faster than the microbial infections progress into the new horn.

To answer your question about booting versus not in our own horses, I don't usually boot Sunsmart riding him in the sandy valley floor (only if his feet are soft from waterlogging due to rain and he complains about roots and gum nuts as a result), but I do boot him on our gravelly ridges. Booting is less necessary in summer, when the hooves are quite dry and much harder. So in summer, the roots and gum nuts in the valley floor don't make him go "ouch."

We've got a new gravel driveway some of you have seen, which the horses and donkeys have to cross to get from their enclosed paddocks to the large "common" with access to bushland tracks. When it's been raining, most of them walk very carefully across this gravel - for the same reason I would when crossing it barefoot. Freshly trimmed animals or animals with hoof issues will be extremely careful and may start going "ouch" if they step on bigger gravel pieces while crossing. After prolonged dry spells, the gravel driveway doesn't bother them nearly as much. (It's spring and the pasture is green and moist; at night there's dew etc)
 

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ThrushBuster has formaldehyde as a component. Big Brown got a hoof crack. The crack was glued. Said he'd be fine. Went on to race the third leg of the Triple Crown and jockey said as soon as he mounted he knew he didn't have a horse. Lost race.


If only a few bugs were missed by the treatment before gluing, the infection and hence the crack would continue going upward.


Hondo was ridden during the time his crack was growing out. Which took about 5 months with treatment 2-3 times per week with probing for dead material and daily cleaning and frequent soaking in dilute lysol.



He was booted when ridden but barefoot in rocks otherwise. Notice the heavy slope on the toe at the crack. That was suggested to remove mechanical forces on breakover.


By the way, the Patty Stiller I mentioned was not just another forum member. She has a list of letters behind her name as long as your arm. Was the hands on person at U.C Davis equine department for several years and was an examiner for ELPO for a number of years. Big loss when she left the forum.
 

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You're not supposed to race a horse with a hoof crack, or have it in fast work - and particularly so with harness horses, who race on pretty hard surfaces - the concussion would be prohibitive for crack repair. The most you can do with them in jog them on sand tracks, with protection over the affected hoof, so they maintain some basic fitness and don't get bored. You shouldn't race them or have them unprotected on risky footing until the crack has grown out.

I personally saw two horses treated with formaldehyde and glue, and they recovered uneventfully because it was done properly. The advantage of the glue was that it cut down on the time taken for recovery compared to not glued - because of added protection from mechanical stresses. One of these horses was a consult which had gone for more than six months failing to heal previously, whose hoof crack stopped progressing after formaldehyde / glue treatment, and finally grew out. The other was a horse who was treated immediately the crack was noticed, so wasn't off racing for very long afterwards. In both cases, the horses were put on added nutritional supplements including biotin. In both cases also, the owners started feeding these supplements to their other horses, and noticed that it improved the quality of the horn - stronger, more elastic - and that the horses then didn't tend to develop hoof cracks. These are horses with regular hoof care, in performance sport - paddock horses with neglected feet and poor nutrition quite commonly develop hoof cracks in Western Australia (where a lot of people throw "retirement" horses into paddocks and stop giving them regular hoof care).

My own horses (and donkeys) are supplemented with a vitamin/mineral mix and I trim every 4-5 weeks, and though they sometimes chip when they run (free-range) through the forest tracks which have bits of rock on them, I've not had to deal with a hoof crack in the ten years we've been running horses on this property. The neighbour's horse, however... just thrown in the paddock post-racing as a rescue and has neglected feet, including several cracks quite a way up the hoof wall, poor thing. She's not lame on it, but I do wish people gave regular foot care to retired horses.
 
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