This checklist will help you make the right decision when shopping for quality hoof boots for your equine companion.
While there are many reasons to boot your horse, you have an important decision to make – which hoof boots should you purchase? You can look to social media, product reviews or online forums to determine the value of any purchase you might be considering, but how do you know which source of information to trust? Since the selection you make will greatly impact your horse’s performance, it’s best not to leave it up to chance. Instead, make a well-informed decision using the following checklist of considerations!
- Well made, long-lasting and durable
- Proven and established by years of rigorous use and many happy customers worldwide – As booting gains popularity, new brands are popping up vying for your purchase. Many are a variation of “a better mousetrap”. Confirmation of such things as quality, delivery and warranties must be demonstrated.
2. Ease of use
- Easy to put on and take off – This saves time and is ideal for arthritic hands and young riders.
- Simple design – Horses are rough on their footwear. Look for a brand with no unnecessary parts that will break down or gadgets that may need to be replaced, fixed, or adjusted.
- 100% hoof protection over vulnerable areas such as bulbs, quarters, and coronet bands – Sensitive tissues should not be exposed as they are easily injured.
- Front-opening systems – These keep you in front of the horse when putting on the boots rather than behind or beside.
- Provide excellent traction
- Can be used with studs on slippery frozen ground and wet grass.
- The best boots offer a versatile range of use – Look for boots that can be used for treatment and therapy, during turnout and travel, with injuries, for training, on any terrain and at any speed.
- Appropriate for all disciplines
- Look for boots that don’t require tools or extra effort to use or maintain – When you barely have enough time to ride, the last thing you need is to be fidgeting with tools!
- Watch out for restrictive straps, hard plastic pieces or any fastenings that can cause pressure and injury.
- Drainage and aeration are essential; however, if the boot is too open, rocks and debris will enter and cause harm.
- Boot upper should be flexible – Anything too rigid can cause undue pressure and interference.
- Boots should allow for riding through any terrain at any speed.
- Look for a reasonable price for lifespan and longevity – In many cases, you get what you pay for, so invest in quality!
- Adjustable throughout the trim cycle – You should be able to fasten boots differently during the growth cycle to maintain a snug, secure fit.
- Adjustable throughout yearly hoof growth changes
- Compatible with different trims
- Styles should be offered in both Slim (narrow) and Regular (rounder) soles to give the best possible fit
- Able to fit over metal shoes as well as a bare hoof
- Drainage holes that can be easily modified to use the boot as a soaking/therapy boot
- Changeable straps and buckle options for different terrain and conditions – Examples include buckles for spear grass or snowpack, and reflective straps for safety.
- Color selections are always nice!
9. Care and maintenance
- Trouble-free – no maintenance besides hosing off with water
- The sole design prevents snowballing
- Comfortable sole that provides protection from rocks and aggressive surfaces
- Well-cushioned, appropriately thick sole that offers comfort on both dry, hard summer ground and frozen winter ground, as well as on rocks and aggressive or jagged terrain.
- A versatile array of hoof boot insole pads for every purpose, including therapeutic, comfort, travel, sole protection from metal shoes, etc.
- Pastern wraps and sleeves for bulb and pastern protection or to adjust fit
- Must be soft or padded to cushion tender bulb area and protect from over-reaching, pressure, or other injuries
- Sole is designed for maximum shock absorption
- The company should offer superior, individual, and personal customer service and support from like-minded animal lovers!
- Best boot warranty for length of time and replacement or repair – Be sure to read the fine print.
- Social proof – Should have excellent and multiple user reviews
- It’s a bonus if the product is verified by a scientific hoof boot study
Choosing the right hoof boots for your horse is no easy task – but it’s not impossible! With the right information, you can make an educated decision tailored to your equine companion’s needs.
Interested in finding out more about the first independent university hoof boot study? View Dr. Jennifer Gill’s video report, which details the Western Kentucky University hoof boot study results HERE.