Hi All, would appreciate input on boots for my Thoroughbred mare who has very thin-soled hoofs and every summer gets lame from moisture even though we have had very little rain this year. She is sometimes lame for months. She's on a supplement and I am treating the soles to toughen them up already. I am comparing the available boots: Easyboot, of which there are several varieties, Old Macs, Boas, etc. If anyone uses these and knows the pros and cons, would like your advice. Lark

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Hi Lark

I have talked about horse boots in a couple of different discussions as I am a big fan. I use both Old Macs and Cavallos on my Thoroughbred mare. Belle has soft feet and was constantly pulling shoes. I was using sole eeze on her feet even with the shoes to help with the discomfort. Four years ago, she pulled both her shoes clean off. The nails pulled straight down, leaving hooves that resembled daisies. Her ferrier came out and cleaned up her feet the best he could. She was walking flat on the soles of her feet and could barely walk in for her feedings. The ferrier told me he could not shoe her again for at least six months to let her feet recover. I asked him about horse boots and he said it was worth a try.

I bought a pair of Old Macs and tried them on. They recommend letting the horse get used to them, but I found she had no problem tranistioning. In fact less than a week after she pulled her shoes, we were on a 4 hour trail ride/ poker run with no foot problems. I have not put horse shoes on her since. My ferrier is impressed with the improvement in her feet since we stopped shoeing.

I use the Old Macs for trail riding. They have extra straps and buckles that keep them on even in really mucky conditions (like we have experienced the last two summers). I used the Cavallo Simple Boots for arena riding as they are more streamlined looking and much easier to put on and take off. Belle also has a tendancy to over-reach so the buckles on the back of the Old Mac G2's sometimes caused interference when jumping. There are other brands of boots out there that I haven't tried that may be just as good. I think there is some trial and error in the process. Which ever brand you try, buy the pastern wraps. They prevent chaffing. The boots also provide excellent traction if you have to ride on pavement. As an additional bonus, they are excellent when treating abcesses. You can poultice the foot, put the boots on and the poultice stays in place. I would just caution not to leave them on unattended as like any equipment there is the risk of getting caught up.

At first glance the boots seem quite expensive, but if like me you are constantly replacing lost shoes and paying for resets, then they are not far off the mark. Belle would wear out a pair of boots in about 9 - 12 months when we were riding 5-6 times a week. Now that she is retired, her boots have lasted about 2 years (trail riding 1-2 per week).

Good Luck with your mare. I hope my experiences help. Sharon
Hi Sharon, how kind of you to take the time to go into such detail. I will certainly take your advice. I am very excited about getting boots to help this horse and maybe next spring/summer I will not have this problem. She got quite antsy after 7-8 weeks off and also staying in the barn if it rained. She is now ready to go, but of course if we get more rain this season, the whole process will start over. The boots sound like the way to go with her. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. Lark
Hi Lark, another thing that will help toughen up your horses soles . Paint the soles with iodine once a week and you will notice they will get a bit harder. The boots will be good for when you are riding , of course the horse can still get sore running around in the paddock so thats where the iodine will help. Cheers Geoffrey
Hi Geoffrey, always wanted to go to Australia!! Thanks for the advice. I am now painting her soles with something called Durasol suggested by my farrier but it is rather expensive and does not last long. Iodine would seem to be more affordable and thank you. If that picture is you jumping, I'm terribly jealous but will never get to that point. Rode western all my life until I adopted the 2 TBs and started taking English and now jumping lessons. Was just reading an article in Practical Horseman on the correct form for that size jump (and how to fall!) and your picture looks just like the one in the article. Thanks again for your advice. Lark
Thank you Lark, for your kind words. That photo is indeed me, It was taken in 1995 !!! I retired from the sport a little while later, and have restarted my event " career" this year. Haveing an appsolute BALL!! Getting back to the hoofs, Durasol is good, but it's just watered down iodine. So I allways go for the cheaper option, you can water it down if you want to make it go further. You'll find it will make the hoofs quite hard fairly quickly, when they have hardened you can back off with the regular application a bit .
Geoffrey, I will definitely try the Iodine. It's great you've gone back eventing and having a good time with it. It is so thrilling to me, even my small jumps. I guess it's in the blood. Good luck. Lark
Hi there

I can only offer what my solution was as it worked for my thoroughbred gelding. With his thin, wimpy feet he was getting hot spots, stepping on stones, causing him to go lame and grazed on a pasture with a high water level. So after fixing the problem with soaking in salts everyday for a week(what a chore) and then poultice applied, baby diaper and then wrapping it(with duct tape). The tape was to keep the diaper on, only reason. We also tried the above with using a brown paper lunch bag which was not only easier to get off, but cleaner and worked the same. After his 6 week vacation(argh) so he could heal properly we had shoes put on his front. Aluminum cold shawed. I am not a big fan of shoes, but he gave him a lift so to speak(like high heels) and his feet weren't touching the ground. I needed him fixed because he is a jumper and well mostly I don't like him sore. Basically protected. Since he has had them on he is amazing. No problems at all ever!! We also paint the hoofs as we have moved him to a dryer place, the painting is just to keep the moisture in. Although like I said not a shoe fan, now I wouldn't have him without, except for in the winter. We used bell boot for transport and also when he first got his shoes on, but now he only gets them for transport to shows. Hope this helps.
Hi Angela, sounds like you have had a time of it also and yes after seven weeks off with sore feet, my mare threw me on our first ride back, very unlike her but well, a TB and some of that time off she had to stay in her stall when it rained. Last year had to have the vet and they had us padding and wrapping and quite an ordeal. I'm glad you found the solution with shoes. But because I have four horses and five dogs, expense is a consideration. As you know, supplements and meds can add up. But then I also don't want another year like this one with so much time off. Will keep in mind if the boots don't do the job, I'll just have to put shoes on her. I appreciate your advice. Lark
Hi Lark

You are very welcome. I am in Canada and Aluminum shoes front only cold not hot cost me 85 Canadian in total by a very reputable farrier. Worth the money(sanity) and only has to have them on till the snow comes. Its strange to I don't even know if he knows he is wearing high heals, he didn't even give them a second thought! Then as soon as the snow is gone I will do it again. For us it works, but yes the expense can add up. Have a great day!!!
Hi Angela, we in Florida think you are very brave to live in Canada! but I know it is beautiful and I would love to see it some day. We have had 90-95 degrees for so long we are hoping for relief in October. $85 sounds better than $100. which is what they charge here if you don't need anything special, but I understand about the peace of mind, and it may even save me some bumps and bruises if she isn't laid up for 2 months! It must be quite a relief for the horse to walk without pain. Lark
I recently began using boots. I bought Easyboots first and was very disappointed. They were a pain to get on and every time he overtracked, they were pulled off. I bought a pair of Renegades next. I like these a lot, but have only used them twice. Yesterday we did have a problem with some twisting, but his feet were in need of a trim and not fitting into the boot very well. The Renegades are very easy to apply and are lined with neoprene, so no rubbing. He seems to like them better too, but it could just be the sharp bright orange colour! He loves getting gussied up with new gear.
Have not heard of Renegades, will research them. Sounds like your guy might be an
Arab wanting to strut his stuff in new boots. Thanks.

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