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Hoof boot recs for hunting? -for WIDE feet!

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  • Hoof boot recs for hunting? -for WIDE feet!

    Hi all, have done some searching and found some good hoof boot threads, but would like to ask directly here since many of those cover the gamut from 'transitioning from shod to barefoot for turnout' to '100 mile endurance rides'.

    I'm not in any rush but would like to look into hoof boots for my 2. To start, am interested in boots all around for the older mare and front boots for the filly.

    Mare does fine in front shoes, but the easiest place for me to condition involves a lot of road shoulders where people throw trash, including glass bottles, and I'd like to protect her feet without going to full pads, etc. Plus, when she gets cranky with the filly, I'd rather she not be wearing hind shoes.

    Mare has normal, oval-shaped hind feet, longer than they are wide, about a size 1. Also has size 1 front feet, a little rounder but still a bit more oval- than circle-shaped.

    Filly has very round, small front feet (haven't measured yet but guessing size 0 if that). She's been barefoot but is often a little ouchy up front for a week or so after her trims. Has been x-rayed and just has thin soles. Since I just want to get her started lightly under saddle this fall, then start roading hounds, etc. next summer, I'm not ready to shoe her yet. With the boots I could add pads just for working/riding, or as needed if she's particularly tender. Would probably add hind boots when we get ready to start roading, depending how she does legging up and whether her feet toughen up.

    Footing here is generally pretty good, ranges from sandy to clay but even the red GA clay isn't as bad as the VA clay I grew up with. Minimal rocks, except for gravel roads that have to be crossed or where we have to use the shoulder for a while. Hunting often involves giant, deep puddles and some boggy ground. Moderate jumping at some fixtures.

    Based on other threads am thinking Renegades, Cavallos, or Easyboot Gloves (or Edges? which look kind of industrial)....

    Anyone have thoughts? Bogie, do you still hunt in the Cavallos? What shape are your horse's feet?

    Thanks all!
    Last edited by Grasshopper; Oct. 26, 2011, 12:13 PM. Reason: ETA: I know this has been discussed here before a bit, but also that available hoof boots are constantly and quickly evolving
    Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!

  • #2
    I've only ever used the Easyboot products - specifically the classic easyboot (with front clip and cables) and the Glove.

    Both will fly off if too much pressure is applied; ie: a hoof in gallop flight, or push off from jumping.

    I would suggest, if you want to hunt in boots:
    For 1st Flight and a fast 2nd Flight: go with glue-ons. They will probably hold the best under the most stressful situations. If Hilltopping (walk/trot - all slow) go with whatever fits your horse, but do find one that has a gaiter so if the boot comes off, it doesn't get lost.

    I love the Gloves, but haven't had a whole lot of luck with them while hacking out or doing distance work - they twist off or twist around. However, when using them for carriage driving, they are perfect. I've seen Renegades twist off when the foot is just oddly shaped and the horse moves weird - so I never could justify the expensive price per boot.


    • #3
      Renegades are awesome, but they only work with hooves that are trimmed according to barefoot principles.


      • #4
        I would also not recommend gloves because they can come off. I have the Cavello sport boot and I really like them. They are easy to put on and have better traction than the simples. I do have to use gaiters or vetwrap with them to prevent rubbing though, but others have not had this problem.


        • #5
          I've hunted in Epics... Highly recommend them. I also recommend using the comfort pads. Not only are they "comfy," but they also help the boots to fit snugger. Please measure the hooves carefully though. Calipers, if you can get your hands on a pair, are wonderful.


          • #6
            Forgot to add, I've been extremely disappointed in the new easyboot Trails. However, they are absolutely the best boots I have ever used for turnout/rehab. But I took them out for a brisk, hilltopper-esque trail ride, and my horse shredded them to pieces. I plan on asking easyboot for a refund.


            • #7
              I used Cavallo Simple boots, front only, for three hunting seasons. Cavallo has come out with the Sport ones, which are the style I believe I would now choose. The straps on the Simples are nearly worn through, but they sent me replacement ones for free-I just need to find someone to attach them. Or I can ship the boots back and they will replace them.

              Perfect? No, but the positives far out weighed the negatives for me.

              Downsides: Clompy sounding. I added the sole insert for the noise and it helped. Some small heel rubs. Ran through 2 pairs of pastern wraps to counter the rubs, (1 pair in one hunt!), and the wraps were difficult to keep in place while I was sliding the boots over them. My guy moved with higher action in the boots, kinda heavy. I used a pair of pliers to pull the straps tight and they still didn't seem snug enough. However, I think the tighter I tried to get the boots, the more likely they were to rub.

              Upsides: They protected my guy's flat feet, shelly hooves and he could jump in them. The boots stayed on thru sucking, deep mud, rivers, creeks, rocks and drained well. Very good traction--can even add studs. Easy to put on, once I figured out the best way for me to do it. Very durable, other than the straps, they are going to be used on my next size 2 horse. Easy to clean, hosed them out. I conditioned the leather every so often, especially around the soft collar. Great customer service, even asked for my input on problem solving with rubs.

              The Cavallos certainly were cost effective. I had my horse trimmed at 5 weeks, instead of 6, during the hunt season. And I never had to turn back because I lost a shoe.


              • #8
                I use Epics and I would not hunt in them. They have sucky traction in mud/wet and on my horse who forges, they come off at the canter/jump no matter how tight you crank them down. On the horse that doesn't interfere, they seem to stay on better so far, but haven't galloped him yet and I still would not compromise the traction.

                You need a VERY good fit for boots to stay on and honestly, for hunting type activity, I wouldn't want to do it in anything not glued on.
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                • #9
                  I hunt in Cavallo simple boots and they've worked great. My horse wears them all round because we have a pretty rocky territory.

                  I don't mind the clunky sound.

                  To keep the straps tight, I use cable ties around each one (I absolutely hate the clasps that they provide) and that works like a treat. We went through some deep mud and lots of water yesterday and they were fine.

                  They do not rub on my horse.

                  I haven't tried the sports boots yet because I try to buy mine from the clearance section at Smartpak . Love the price!
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bogie View Post

                    To keep the straps tight, I use cable ties around each one (I absolutely hate the clasps that they provide) and that works like a treat. We went through some deep mud and lots of water yesterday and they were fine.
                    GREAT idea. I agree on the clasps. I'm going to try this.

                    Cavallo Simple Boots have worked great for me on hunter paces.
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                    Former user name: GilbertsCreeksideAcres


                    • #11
                      We like the EB Edge. They do look "industrial," but they have great traction and stay on. We don't hunt but do CDEs. There's a lot of fast trotting and hard turns with that, and we're 100% pleased with the way they've performed.

                      I've used EB for years, and the Edge is far and away the best model for us. I never bothered trying the gloves because I heard early on they didn't stay put unless they were glued on.


                      • #12
                        I've hunted my mare shod, barefoot, in Easyboot Epics and in Cavallos.

                        Shod - good protection when her hooves needed it but she didn't move well and was stocking up a bit after the hard hunts.

                        Easyboot Epics - great, when they stayed on. Which was almost never! My mare has ROUND hooves, so nothing they have really fits her well. They may have stayed on better had the sizing worked, but even still, they are heavy suckers and really impacted the way she moved. Traction = almost none. She slipped in them even with studs.

                        Cavallos - made her heels sore. Wore them two hunts and will never ask her to wear them again.

                        Barefoot - after judicious use of Durasole, the only way to go. She moves great, feels great, doesn't stock up, and has impeccable traction - all on her own 4 hooves.

                        If I had not had success with the Durasole, I would probably have tried the Easyboot Glue-on as soon as they offered it in her size in a wide.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for the info, all! Lots to consider.

                          Looks like I'll be trying Durasole on both, as I keep hearing good things about it.

                          Since the mare's pretty road-safe, I think I'll then stick with front shoes for her for now, and just stay off the shoulders where there may be glass, etc. lurking as much as possible. Will reevaluate after a bit. She just went through a bizarre (for her) spell of front-foot abscesses so I'm a little paranoid about her feet now (after 10.5 years of almost no foot issues....).

                          I think I will try front boots for the filly while she's getting started, as of course we won't be planning to do any fast work until she's well under saddle (hopefully she agrees with this plan!).
                          Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                          • #14
                            Old Macs are pretty good

                            We have hunted several times on different horses with Old Macs. We originally bought those because they will fit a big hoof (size 5) We have not jumped anything but arroyos, but they have stayed on for many hours, on rough terrain and at speed. No rubbing yet. I did use the neoprene gaiter they sell. Easy to put on compared to the old Easy Boots, and they stay put. Sound kind of funny--like bedroom slippers. A friend hunted with me in New Mexico, and I about left her behind because her Renegade boots kept coming off her horse. Grrrr!


                            • Original Poster

                              Update-need boots for wide feet!

                              Okay, turns out the filly's front feet are quite wide (in relation to length). Yes, they have a bit of excess quarter flare, which we're working on, and one is a tiny bit clubby, but I'd really like to avoid shoes for a little longer if possible. Her wider foot is 4.25" long, and 5" wide.

                              Ordered some Cavallo Simple boots to try, and while I love the design, I can't quite get her feet in them unless I go up to a bigger size, which would make them loose front to back.

                              Would love some help/ideas!

                              On a more positive note, I like the boots (and their reasonable price) so much that I'm going to order a pair for the mare and have her shoes pulled next month. She's due for some barefoot time anyway, and I don't think I'm going to be doing much (if any) hunting this year due to various constraints.
                              Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                              • #16
                                Hoofwings makes semi-custom boots. Check them out- www.hoofwings.com
                                Appy Trails,
                                Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
                                member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org


                                • #17
                                  My recollection is that Old Macs are good for rounder feet.
                                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                    My recollection is that Old Macs are good for rounder feet.
                                    I think that's true. The horses we have used them on have BIG round feet. The one that wears a size 5 Kerckhaert (yes, I did have to look that spelling up!) wears the size 10 Old Macs. They have some fitting suggestions for differently shaped hooves. Our gelding that wears a size 3 shoe wears an 8 in the OMs.


                                    • #19
                                      Update on Old Macs

                                      Sad to say, we have had to discontinue the Old Macs for hunting, at least on the front feet. I had one totally blow-out/disintegrate after two hours of hard riding. It was a relatively new boot with maybe 12 hours of riding all told. I did notice it was tearing out in one spot before riding out, but was in a hurry and did not have another boot in the trailer. I think if I had repaired the torn area with Shoe Goo before using it it may have fared better.

                                      A few days after that ride, we went to boot the same horse. He tolerated one foot, but politely said no to the second boot. He pulled his hoof away twice and when we did not get the message, he knelt down on that leg. Very clever way of communicatiing the obvious to the dumb humans. I palpated his heel bulbs and coronet and could not locate any particular soreness, but something was amiss. So he was reshod in front. We really wanted to give him a break from iron shoes, but the workload was greater than the boots or barefoot can handle. I will still use the Old Macs for trail rides and as a temp shoe.


                                      • #20
                                        Sorry to hear the Old Macs bit the dust in such a short time. Gloves will do the same, unfortunately.

                                        If you have him shod, just use the standard clip-front easyboots over the shoes when doing road work. They will stay on a shod hoof, and are tough enough to take the most punishing abuse. You won't get sore heels from them either, and if you hammer down the metal grabs inside, you won't tear into the side of the hoof wall either.