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UNFORTUNATE UPDATE post 17: Easyboot for transitioning to barefoot?

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  • UNFORTUNATE UPDATE post 17: Easyboot for transitioning to barefoot?

    Sorry this is super long!

    I'm moving to a new barn with little/no gravel next weekend.

    My farrier is coming Tuesday morning, and going to do the same thing we've been doing since Dec/Jan: shoes on the front, barefoot behind.

    Eventually, I'd like to have her completely barefoot. We've done this in the past and she did really well. Unfortunately, the new barn is out of my farrier's area. He's recommended one to me, but I haven't talked to that one yet.

    The end goal is to have her barefoot, and have 4 hoof boots to use when we ride anywhere besides an arena or pasture. So, trail riding or hacking out off the property.

    When we pulled her back shoes, he just shaped her hooves a bit and left them untrimmed otherwise. This worked really well. She was never sore except a bit ouchy on gravel (to be expected!) and she still had a good amount of foot left when he came back the next time (about 6 weeks).

    So, I'd like to repeat that process when I eventually have the front shoes pulled. The problem is, obviously any hoof boots that would fit her then (hoof shaped like one wearing metal shoes) , will NOT fit later when her feet have worn down / she is used to being barefoot and trimmed regularly. So far with her back feet, it's been more shaping than trimming very much. They seem to stay pretty consistent for at least 5 weeks, and then get a little funky that last week before he comes. Her front shod feet and back barefoot feet look like they belong to two different horses! Her heels widen out really nicely when she's barefoot, and we never have issues with thrush or anything.

    I talked to someone at Easyboot, and we came up with the best plan being for me to buy a pair for when she's transitioning, and then resell that pair (on ebay or whatever) once they're too big, and get ones for all 4 that fit properly. She recommended the Epics based on what I want to do (lower level eventing/hacking). I asked about the Gloves, but she said those are for a horse with a 4 week or so trim schedule. That might be a possibility in the future, depending on the new farrier/how often he comes/how much he charges for a trim.

    Would it make sense for me to get the regular/original Easyboot for the transition period? Obviously they're a lot cheaper!! And I doubt we'll be doing anything too crazy for a little while at the new barn. I've emailed her back to ask this, but haven't gotten a response yet.
    Last edited by emirae1091; May. 28, 2013, 11:44 AM.
    Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

    Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010

  • #2
    If you can get them to stay on... I had a pair of those for my funky foot mare. The popped off it we did anything more than walk. I put them as tight as I could, they still wouldn't stay on. Shes got renegades now and they stay on fine. Just bought a pair of cavallo simple boots for the boy. There's gravel and hard trails where I am. Get a pair of boots that you can use for more than transition because you will probably need them later on. Every time I've thought of selling mine because they were just temporary, i was glad I didn't!


    • #3
      I would look for a trimmer who really understands barefoot and how to balance the pressure on the horse's hoof properly, as well as how to transition, because some have an ideal image in their mind of the horse's hoof and get it as close to that each trim as the possibly can, totally butchering the poor horse and leaving it in pain for months or in some cases even permanently - because it takes time to adapt and change.

      If you find someone good, chances are he or she will want to trim every 4 weeks, and it should be less expensive than a 5 week shoeing schedule anyway. I'm no expert, but basically this is to keep the weight on the correct parts of the horse's hooves.

      I love the gloves on my guy I'm transitioning. He had all the negative stereotypes of a shod horse, from the changes in hoof shape, to thinning of hoof wall, flat frog, thin sole. He would limp if he stepped on a clod of dirt because his soles were so thin, and keeping him shod simply wasn't the answer. He's one of those for whom just taking shoes off isn't simple because of the drastic amount of reshaping the support structures have to take, and the gloves make him totally comfortable working. He's VERY expressive about his opinions, so I'm quite confident they're keeping him comfortable.
      If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


      • Original Poster

        Oh I definitely will need them later on as well, but they'll have to be a different size once her feet go from shod shape to barefoot shape. I'm really interested in the renegades too!
        Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

        Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


        • #5
          I have seen more success on trails with Renegades than with Easyboots. JME. For ridden work, I'd go with those.

          I have not seen any horse successfully wear removable boots while turned out, except for injured horses who were in very small pens (boot for injury protection.)

          Can you maybe just arrange her turnout so that she doesn't have hard/gravel footing for the first few weeks? I would also make sure that the "last" pair of shoes are well grown out, that way you have a good chunk of hoof to work with when the shoe comes off, which leaves your trimmer some "meat" to use for balancing, and to roll/bevel. Too-short and flat is often why the horse is ouchy right when the shoes come off...but if the hoof hasn't grown much, there's not a lot the farrier can do once the shoe is removed.

          Glue on boots (Renegade makes these, Easy Boot too, I think) might be a better option if your intent is to have them on for turnout. Kind of depends on your climate and turnout conditions though...it tends to be fairly dry here, and people usually have grass of some description, or dirt pens. What I've seen work might not work at all for your situation.

          Oh, just as a note, I would NOT consider jumping/eventing in Easy Boots or Renegades. I have seen photos of people doing it, but having put both types of boots on my horses for flatwork...I couldn't consider jumping. Most boots that have a piece over the pastern (like Renegades) are not permitted in Jumping Competition. Original Easyboots are, they stay below the coronet band. YMMV, but I don't know anyone who has tried boots and kept them on for jumping. They just don't stay on reliably enough in tight turns and during takeoffs to trust on the grass...so if I actually need studs, I want Cork Holes. If the terrain is suitable and my horse is training well barefoot, I'll jump barefoot too (one of my horses has always jumped completely barefoot, no issues.) I have seen some people compete in glue-on shoes. It was fine, but in all cases, the glue-on was temporary, due to a hoof injury or something.
          Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


          • Original Poster

            Oh no! The boots for transitioning would be for while I'm riding her! Not for turnout. I imagine that would end disastrously.

            She was completely barefoot (no boots or anything) several years ago, and we did a beginner novice event and she was awesome. Like I said, I'm hoping the boots in the end would be for trail riding/sketchy footing. Not arena (jumping, xc schooling at a well taken care of place) or hacking on the property. It's just in the beginning that I would like some for the fronts for every time I ride, at least right after having the shoes pulled and her feet shaped.

            She's transitioned well the time before, when she was completely barefoot, and this time (with just the hinds). She seems to grow at about the same pace that she wears them down, so our farrier rarely has to trim much. Usually he only uses the rasp. I'd also like to ask him / the new one to show me what I could do to help keep them in shape. Obviously I don't mean DIY farriery! I'm not that ambitious. I would of course always have a pro doing her on a regular basis.

            Sorry, netg. I missed your post earlier. It's reassuring to hear another good experience with them. Right now I'm hoping the 'end goal' will be barefoot most of the time, since she's done it well before, and Epics or Gloves or Renegades for trail riding.

            I definitely know others that had issues with going barefoot where the trimmer didn't seem to keep what was best for that horse at THAT time in mind. Instead, it was more like you said of trying to get to the end result/perfect hoof shape too quickly / without regard for making the horse sore.
            Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

            Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


            • #7
              Ah, ok, that makes more sense.

              Def. recommend the Renegades then, and maybe Cavallo simple boots. The way the simple boots work, they are a little less finicky for size. They are also more clunky and don't stay on as well...but if your horse doesn't mind them and you aren't doing a lot of crazy trails (deep puddles, sticky mud, steep inclines) they might be a good solution that will accommodate some transitioning shapes.

              My TB HATED the simple boots. It was hilarious. He acted like he was lifting his feet out of concrete and then he'd stretch WAAAAAAAAAAY out and STOMP down. Since he is a neurotic older TB, this did not seem to be improving as we walked around the test area. I just cleaned them up and returned them A few quick-steps on the odd strip of gravel right after a trim was definitely less traumatic for him. A friend of mine used a set of simple boots on a 5-day trail ride, on her QH mare...the horse was quite happy on the rough terrain in the boots, and while she did lose a boot a few times, it wasn't a huge hardship to put them back on. They luckily floated on the surface of the water crossings...
              Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


              • #8
                Renegades! The design is both comfortable for the horse and easy for the rider to get on and off. Endurance riders use them...and they know trails


                • Original Poster

                  Maybe for the end goal! They're a bit too expensive for me to risk losing that much money on resale. That's why I'm asking about the original easy boot.
                  Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                  Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                  • #10
                    My farrier uses equicast casting tape on some of her clients' horses transitioning to barefoot. She posted a pic once of a horse with really odd shaped feet who wouldn't fit in hoof boots very well and said they were using equicast instead of boots. I can't vouch for how it would work for you but just throwing it out there as an option I've heard of!
                    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11


                    • #11
                      You may find you don't need boots for the transition if she has adjusted well in the past. Why not wait and find out? Just plan not to ride her on gravel right away. Give her time to adjust. On grass she should be fine, even pavement. The fact that her heels spread when she is unshod is a great sign that her feet bounce back quickly. That heel spread means she has good circulation which leads to better blood flow, which leads to faster healing and better hoof growth. Then once you see what shape her feet naturally return to, you would be in a better position to choose a hoof boot for those occasions when you need them.

                      You should definitely plan to learn to rasp. That way you can keep the nice shape between trims and (if you are using boots) keep her feet fitting in them. It's not as hard as it seems once you get the hang of it.


                      • Original Poster

                        I've thought about that. I'd just feel more comfortable getting some if I can come up with a reasonable solution. I'd hate for her to bruise or get sore, because with her health issues, it's a VERY long process to get her in shape, so I'd hate to lose the progress we've made these last few months!

                        I have rasped the edges when they were cracking to avoid losing a chunk of hoof, so I'm sure with some instruction I could easily learn to do a maintenance shaping for the mid point between trims.
                        Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                        Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                        • #13
                          I used Cavallo Simple boots to transition my TB to barefoot. I still use them on rocky trails.

                          I have found them to stay on well, provided they fit. I have foxhunted extensively in mine -- galloping over varied terrain and jumping up to about 2'3".

                          I tried Easy Boot Epics on my last horse and couldn't get them to stay on when moving at speed.

                          I've heard mixed things about the Renegades; there's a lot of hardware on them. The Simple boots are pretty simple. My only recommendation is to use cable ties over the velcro straps to keep them closed. After you've used them a few times in mud/water that really helps.
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                          • #14
                            Another vote for Renegades, if trail boots are necessary.

                            But, what are the OP's thoughts on using Durasole, which is cheaper and easier than any boot, and might do the job of transitioning to barefoot?


                            • #15
                              I transitioned my horses to barefoot last fall. I did the Durasole for a couple weeks. Not sure how important that is-- my schedule does not allow 4-5 applications a day, so I just applied it twice daily.

                              I started with a used set of Easyboot Epics, expecting hoof shape to be changing, and therefore boot size to change. I chose the Epics because they are more tolerant of less than perfect hoof shape or size. After tightening the cables I haven't had any boot loss with them (still using them on hubby's horse). However, my sensitive TBx does get rubs from the gaiters on long rides.

                              So, I switched the TBx to Renegades. (plan to switch hubby's to them too) LOVE them. Her hoof shape has continued to change (gotten BIGGER as the heels/frog got wider), she is still using the same size, but the front boots are getting snug and she will probably go up a size. No rubs with the Renegades. I did have some retention issues the first time I rode in them, but after consulting with the nice folks at Renegade, we made some adjustments and haven't lost a single boot since (and I ride hard- fast or challenging terrain). BEST customer service ever with the Renegades. Can't say enough good about them.

                              As for the expense, I have been watching used Renegades on ebay, and you can't find a good deal, because the used ones hold their value so well that they are selling for almost as much as the new ones! So if you change size you should be able to get most of your money back on resale...

                              Also, just in general for transitioning to barefoot, I learned how to rasp and I maintain the hooves myself every 2-3 weeks between farrier visits. I just bevel the wall (mustang roll). This has helped tremendously in minimizing flares and chips.


                              • Original Poster

                                I'd love to do durasole, but with a full time (not horsey) job, I can't even do twice a day. It would be before and after my ride 4 or 5 times a week, and I'm not sure that's enough. I have started using the keratex hoof hardener again though.

                                The farrier is coming this morning while I'm at work, but I talked to him before and asked if he would mind measuring her after taking her front shoes off and before trimming. I left a measuring tape and the easy boot sizing guide. And he agreed because he is the best! I'm really going to miss him when we move! The easy boot customer service rep agreed with me that this would probably be the most accurate time / way to measure if I do decide to go with the boots and want to order them so they're here when we pull the front shoes.

                                TheOtherHorse, that's exactly what I want to do. I just want a pro to show me how to make sure I'm doing it right! I didn't know that about the Renegades on eBay. I don't think I've searched for them there. I guess because I need the sizing warranty, so I need new ones this time.

                                It's cool how their feet change so much without shoes!
                                Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                                Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                                • Original Poster

                                  BEYOND frustrated

                                  So I left the cheque for the farrier when I went out to ride yesterday... Unfortunately I am apparently not on top of things... I wrote it for the amount for 4 shoes.

                                  So, what do you think my horse has now? FOUR SHOES! The farrier texted me, but didn't get my reply in time... WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE CALL ME?? We TALKED about this last week!

                                  Now I'm back to square one... Undid all the progress we've made with the hind feet since December...

                                  Fortunately since the new barn has barely any gravel, I think the transition back to barefoot will be easier.

                                  So, minimum 6 weeks before we can pull the hind shoes so she'll have enough foot not to get sore. We'll keep fronts on that round because it seems to be a lot easier for her. Then, if that goes well, we'll pull the fronts the next shoeing cycle.

                                  Maybe 12 weeks from now I'll have my barefoot horse like I wanted....
                                  Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                                  Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                                  • #18
                                    I'll caution you with the Renegades. They're a great boot, but they are made to fit a very round foot with a very beveled toe. If your horse's feet are shod, they are likely not shaped right for Renegades. You'll probably be able to use them eventually, but I'd pick one of the incarnations of Easy Boots to start with. I'm not familiar enough with them to tell you which ones would work best.

                                    Easy Boots seem to be pretty easy to resell online. There's a forum around somewhere actually that does just that. If you Google selling used Easy Boots, you can probably find it pretty easily.

                                    A friend of mine has used Easy Boots to transition her gelding from nasty track feet to barefoot. He's now able to go barefoot behind and only needs boots on front for rocky trails. He's otherwise entirely barefoot.

                                    Another friend of mine has been using Durasole to toughen her mare's feet. She uses it only once a day 5-6 times a week after she rides. It does seem to be helping. Her mare's sole started off thin enough we could squish it with our thumbs.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Maybe I'll give the Durasole a try then! I guess it can't hurt. It's only money, right?

                                      I read that about the shape of the foot for Renegades. That's why I'm thinking start with Easyboots and move on to Renegades later on for trails, etc.

                                      Either way, it'll be a while before I have to worry about any of this...
                                      Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                                      Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by emirae1091 View Post
                                        Maybe for the end goal! They're a bit too expensive for me to risk losing that much money on resale. That's why I'm asking about the original easy boot.
                                        I would first try to buy what would work best for your horse and not worry so much about getting your money back out of them.

                                        I would guess that if your farrier texted you and you did not respond right away they assumed you were not near your phone so why call along with the text?

                                        I doubt simply adding shoes has set you way back in your schedule A good trim is a good trim. Period.