We have a pony with a deformed hind foot. His coffin bone is about 1/3 the normal size, and the hoof doesn't grow properly (thin sole, dished wall.) He came up lame about 3 months into our competitive season a couple of years ago with what we assume was a bad bruise. (Xrays showed the small coffin bone.) We managed him for the rest of that season with shoes all around, with a pad and bar shoe on that foot for support and protection. However - he lost that shoe three times in three months, and he needs to be reset every four weeks at a cost of almost $200. Last year we left him barefoot and he was fine, but we weren't using him much. I'm looking to use him lightly again this year, but don't want to risk that hoof getting bruised. I'd like to try hoof boots, but have never used them and don't know where to start. I was hoping with the hoof boots he could just wear them as needed for work, and this would prevent the constant losing of the shoe (which adds to the strain on the wall.) If the footing is soft or deep and muddy, he can be barefoot. If the ground is hard or rocky, he could wear his boots. So Ė what kind of boots work well? He will be playing mounted games on sand or stone dust footing. We have sandy grass footing at home. We do occasional trail rides too. If he has boots on his hind feet, would he need them for his front feet? He was barefoot his entire life before we got him, but he was just a backyard type trail pony. Iíve asked my vet and farrier these questions, but neither of them are familiar with hoof boots. Please share any thoughts or experiences!
I use cavello sport boots on my mare for hacks, she is barefoot. We have a few barefooters at the barn and we all use the same brand of boots, everyone here loves them
I'm sure you could use them on the hind only, just give it a try. Put the boots on and walk the horse to see how he reacts to them, then trot him, or try lunging with them on. If he's cool with them ride on.
As for which boots, I've heard that some are shaped for more round hooves and some are better for oval hooves. You can tell just by looking at the foot bed what shape it will fit.
From what you describe, small coffin bone, I'm assuming that that foot is smaller than the other?
"Hoof Wings" are the only custom made boot that I know of......in most of the boots I've seen the left and right are the same measurements and that is a problem, well, it's been a problem for me. Yes, the top part of the boot has straps or something to pull tight but the bottom of the boot doesn't. There are 'shims' but they didn't stay in place for me.
Google Hoof Wings and call the number, they are really helpful, having your feet measurements ahead of time will speed the process.
I use Hoof Wings on my driving horse on all surfaces and love that they self drain.
Cavello boots are my second choice, look clunky but don't bother the horse after the first few steps. With the Cavello's I use the gaiters, makes a nice fit with no rubs but get warm.
Don't expect any boot to have a perfect fit with out regular trims....in my case I do some rasping to keep a nice foot/fit.
It is really hard to say without seeing the hoof but it really will depend on how well you can fit the boot. I personally like Easyboot Gloves for my own horses but they need to fit snugly to stay on well. Easycareinc.com is a great resource to even just call and ask and they may be able to help you find someone in your area who is a dealer who can come and do a fitting and help you decide what will work best. That can save a lot of trial and error and money.
I don't think the theory of what you want to do is a problem. I don't recommend them for long term turnout as they retain moisture and cause other problems, but for just riding and temporary protection, they can be very effective.
There are so many options out there now so it can be somewhat daunting at first. Best of luck!
I have the easyboot epic. I had a plain easyboot for years for those times when my mare lost a shoe. Mostly only used to school in the ring. I lost it on a trail ride a few years ago after having it for years and replaced with the Epic. I like that there is a way to attach around the leg to keep it in place. I now always carry one when I trail ride because my mare has been known to step on and pull off a shoe on trail rides( I try to alleviate with no turn bell boots) Most catalogs have measurements for the different boots listed. It may be a good idea to check those out and then do measurement of your pony's feet to see which are closest.
Thank you for all the responses! I'm thinking we might give the boots a try after mud season is over. He seems to do fine on soft footing and mud, and certainly fine on turnout. It just takes one misstep on hard ground or a rock to bruise that foot and make him lame for weeks.