For those of you who have used or currently use hoof boots for riding, I'd love to hear some reviews! My trail access has recently gotten a whole lot better, which is very exciting, but mare's tootsies beg to differ. Unfortunately, to access the nice wooded trails, we've got a decent distance to go on gravel, and I've decided to give hoof boots a try.
-Budget is about 200-250
-Horse is TB with strangely round, saucer-like feet. They're not very soft but they are shallow and have a tendency to become run down at the heel.
Have so far considered the Easyboot (the "glove") style intrigues me, the Cavallo simple boot (good price and looks the simplest to get on and off), and the Old Mac G2s (at a glance, the sizing looks like it might be best?)
It really depends on hoof shape and how fast/far/type of tails you do. I successfully use Renegades for miles of tough trails at speed, and endurance rides. A friend uses Easyboot gloves for the same. Both require pretty correct hoof shape.
From what you say about his feet, you might have difficulties fitting the more fitted style of boots (renegades, easyboot gloves) but a boot like the easyboot Trail might work. You can also use the easyboot pads in them if she is sore.
I am not familiar with old Macs or Cavalos, so hopefully someone else will chime in.
I think for ANY of the boots that measuring correctly is important, and is getting the fit right. When I had boots come off, I was frustrated, till I had a fitter come and help me. It was all user error, and no problems since. Many trimmers are dealers of the boots, or can help you measure.
"Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty
I'm a huge fan of the Renegades. They're easy to put on. The customer service was great when I was trying to decide which size to go with.
My friend uses the Easyboot Gloves. The Renegades are a lot easier to put on, but both seem to stay on just fine. My Arab has pretty tough feet, I just use mine for certain endurance rides with well maintained gravel roads (i.e. new, sharp stones). My friend's gelding goes in his Easyboots for any trail with any amount of rocks. He's still transitioning from being shod for the first 11 years of his life to being barefoot. He's slow to grow hoof, so it will probably be another year (we're about a year into transitioning him) before his feet are 100% grown out.
If you go the Easyboot route, my friend had a tough time figuring out the size for her gelding. However, the customer service was awesome. They allow you to ride in a pair for up to 30 days and then exchange sizes if they don't fit. Zero questions asked. They'll tell you not to order directly from the company. It was actually cheaper for her to order them through I believe it was Valley Vet. Even with 2 day shipping, it was cheaper to order them there than directly from the company. She quite likes them.
I am currently using EasyBoot Epics on my horse who just had shoes pulled. I was told that they are more forgiving of hoof shape changes while transitioning to barefoot. With the Easyboot Gloves you really need a good consistent fit.
I have used original Old Macs and Boa Boots a couple years ago. I didn't like either of those, as they were both too big and clunky, and rubbed my horse's pasterns.
I like the Epics so far, but they are a bit more work to get on. Not too bad, and I expect it will get easier as I do it more often.
Once my horse's feet are done changing/transitioning, I really want to get some Renegades. They look so easy to put on, and lots of endurance riders are using them with great success and no rubs.
My horse also has very round hooves; some hoof boots don't work as well for round hooves vs oval. Your best bet is take measurements and call the company and ask for suggestions. EasyCare and Renegades both have measuring and fitting instructions on their websites.
I have a pair of Easyboot Epics for my Tb mare for the instances where she pulls a shoe. She has fairly round feet and these seem to do fine for her. I had one of the original Easyboots for years(just used when she pulled a shoe) and finally lost it on a REALLY rocky ride last year. She also has good hoof quality, just very flat feet.
I use the Easy Boot Epics too. LOVED their customer service. They were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about their products and answered all my questions. My gelding loved the boots to (he was just recently put down unfortunately). But I havent tried them on my new mare....though I plan to. The boots are very simple to use and I really like the quality.
I've got Cavallos. I use them a few times a year when I know I'm going on trails with some sort of gravel (probably less than 10 times this year?). Nice price and very easy to put on. If you go to their website, look at the specific colors for sale. In the past, certain colors have been $30 less than the others. And there are two different types, simple and sport. I've got the simple boots.
Be nice to hear from OP since it has been a few months. I got Cavallo Simple Boots just before Xmas and really like them so far. I followed the measuring instructions carefully and got a good fit. I do think my mare has the right hoof shape for this boot. Very easy to put on. I read in other threads about using knee high hose under the boots to prevent rubs. I have been fine so far but have not been on a long ride, but sounds like a good tip.
I got the cavallos after seeing them used by a rider at a group ride and noting how well they performed for her.