Although they are becoming more commonplace, hoof boots are often not immediately thought of as a necessary item for your horse.? And yet, they can easily save a lot of headaches and might even be a viable alternative to shoeing your horse!
Many horse owners who prefer to keep their horses barefoot find that using boots while trail riding gives their horses the protection of shoes without having to damage the horse?s natural foot with nails.? The boots are put on just before the ride and taken off immediately afterwards, and act almost as sneakers for the horse.? They provide cushioning and protection and also prevent the hooves from chipping and breaking on hard ground.
A second important reason to have a set of hoof boots on hand is for emergency situations.? A thrown shoe can be a real problem for many horse owners, especially if your farrier isn?t immediately available.? A boot can be used until your farrier can replace the shoe, and you and your horse can enjoy a ride in the meantime.? Additionally, boots are excellent when a poultice is required and can be much easier to use than applying plastic bags and duct tape to protect the bandaging.
When purchasing a set of boots, it is important to measure your horse?s feet to ensure accurate sizing.? As with any new equipment, slowly get your horse used to them and be patient if he doesn?t accept them immediately.? Once you are able to actually put them on your horse, leave them on only for short periods of time initially, and check his feet for any rub marks that may indicate a poor fit.? Boots should not typically be used over shoes, and of course are not a substitute for regular trimming.