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Does anyone hunt their horses in glue-on shoes or Easy Boots?

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  • Does anyone hunt their horses in glue-on shoes or Easy Boots?

    My Irish Draught mare has beautiful, size 2 feet. She was barefoot for the first 9 years of her life, and hunted the first 1/2 of this season barefoot. There were a couple of slick roads we occasionally travel on and a few rocky paths that led me to put shoes/studs on her (just fronts). After a few sets I decided to pull them off, and with next to no hunting this winter due to wet/frozen ground I haven't worried about her being barefoot.

    I'm hoping to keep her barefoot, but would like the option of either a glue on, or boot for times when we really need traction/protection. I'd love to hear from those that have used either boot/shoe for hunting/showing/xc schooling. Also, suggestions for those shoes/boots that have flexibility and most closely mimic the natural compression/expansion of the natural hoof - and still stay ON!

    Thanks in advance for your input!

  • #2
    My horse had a glue-on on one foot for a while; it stayed on, but I always worried about it. What does your farrier think?

    As far as hoof boots out hunting, no way. I have seen them flung off and watched them whack another horse. They always seem to come off at the worst times (water/mud crossing, the hounds hit, and then someone has to stay back and help). The ones with gaiters can come off, but are stuck to the fetlock, so now the horse is freaking out from the boot and the sound of the boot as it thwucka-thuckas around. Spooks horses around it too, and whoo-whoo!

    And I *know*. "Someone" has hunted their horse 6x a week in boots, and nary a problem, but hoof boots are not generally a good idea.


    • #3
      I've hunted one horse barefoot, in an area where I knew 'most' of the footing was soft sandy desert floor (but which meant 'not' going over the mountain on one run, I just won't do that to a horse w/o shoes all around). When I was hunting back east 2-3 days a week, every horse got shoes save the old mare who packed the kids beginning when she was 26 years old.

      I don't want to go down the 'hot button for discussion' path on shoes, but my own personal feeling is, conventional shoes (with borium and snow pads when warranted) do the best job of protecting my horses against all possible eventualities when going hard for 4+ hours on a hunting day, including galloping on paved roads, or rocky mountain trails, for example. In hunting, your horse is truly your partner for staying with hounds and keeping you out of the hospital- and while there aren't any guarantees, I do all I can to ensure their comfort and well being ahead of my own.

      I personally wouldn't ever hunt in boots, same reaction as TimelyImpulse.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for your input ladies. Someone posted a link this am on Facebook with an "easy-boot" glue on shoe that's in the trial phase. I started doing a bit of research this morning, pondering options. It looked interesting and had me wondering. I know several members that hunt barefoot, and the rest are in steel shoes with drive-in or screw-in studs. But I've never seen anyone out with glue-on's.


        • #5
          I hunt my horse barefoot.

          Early on, I felt the need to try hunting in boots. They do NOT stay on for this activity. Period. At some point, they *will* fall off. It's guaranteed. It's embarrassing. I wouldn't recommend it at all.

          I wouldn't trust a glue on shoe unless it had a couple nails in it too. In my opinion, they are much too expensive to use on a horse that doesn't need them for therapuetic reasons. If you're going to shoe, steel is probably the way to go for a horse with a normal healthy hoof.

          Glue on boots I have thought of, but cannot try as my horse is a size 4 in steel shoes (6x6" foot) and they don't make one that would fit her.

          The past two seasons I've used Durasole and kept the trimming to a minimum and she has been just fine (even better actually) hunting barefoot. She moved like crap in shoes, forging (she never forges barefoot) and her legs would be stocked up after the hunts. I pulled her shoes after 2 weeks of that nonsense and never looked back. Swelling went down, forging stopped and thanks to the Durasole and some careful attention to her trim schedule (or lack thereof ) she's been knock on wood foot perfect since.

          So, if you've got a horse with good feet, try some Durasole and just hunt barefoot.


          • #6
            I'm very lucky to have a hunting fool of a pony that goes barefoot. He has never had a major issue in the 6 years I've hunted him, 3 years of which have been some "OMG that was an awesome hunt" hunting.

            This pony, barefoot, if given the option to choose his footing (soft verge or gravel /pavement) will drift to the pavement EVERY time. WTCG...

            Each horse if different. Mine just happens to have hooves made of lead.


            • #7
              Hello fellow flemington-ite!!

              I do not know of any glue-on that would serve the purpose you need. Unless there is a single application glue on or something out there that i have not heard of, glue ons are reserved for horses that will just not hold a shoe. My farrier threatened me with the "G" word this summer when my TB's feet would just not hold a shoe for more than a week or two and the damage he was causing by ripping them off was threatening to make it so that he could not nail a shoe in. We have had a few horses in glue-ons over the years (including my trainer who has to run XC with them), but that was *JUST* because they could not wear a normal shoe. There are two or three farriers in our area that i would trust to put them on, and the application is about $100 more than the already substantial cost of a reset... so it is obviously something i try to avoid at all costs. Also, to the best of my knowledge you cannot add caulks to any glue-on so that would make your road situations even more slippery.

              I would not ever hunt or run XC in easyboots or anything of the sort. The likelyhood of them coming off or partially coming off and causing a catastrophic injury via tripping, etc is far greater IMO than any benefit. The only reason i would consider using these is on a barefoot trail horse that has to negotiate rough / rocky / taxing terrain that would normally cause sole bruising and at a slow pace - walk / trot. I would not ever, ever, ever jump a horse in easyboots and certainly not at the pace you see on a hunt field.

              If you do need the additional traction i think a set of tapped front shoes is the best, safest and least expensive option.


              • #8
                What everyone else has said.

                I have never seen a boot stay on. Not in a hard day of hunting. I have seen horses lose the one that is strapped to the pastern - and boy oh boy did those riders have a very Monday kind of day.

                The glue on shoe is interesting. I visited the barn of a COTH poster who was using these on her horses - i found the design and application intriguing. These were Epona shoes, and they can be glued or nailed on. Her COTH name is Liberty, she is very nice, and I'm sure if you sent her a pm she'd be happy to talk about them with you.

                I decided to stick with a more traditional method - shoes, pad the fronts, and screw in traction (I don't use welded borium anymore).
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  Okay, I'm the person who has hunted for years with boots without a problem. I've used Cavallo boots. I tried Easy Boot Epics but couldn't keep them on. The Cavallos have been great.

                  Last fall my horse had an abscess that blew out his heel bulb and couldn't wear the hoof boots (they rubbed) so I put front shoes on him and he went so well in them that I'm considering either regular shoes or glue-ons for the spring season.

                  Why? mostly because it's easier. The glue-ons with the cuff stay put very well. I spoke to a farrier about them in the fall and she said they are more secure than regular shoes. They are, however, more expensive so I have to decide whether I care about having the nail holes.

                  I pulled his shoes in November and his feet are looking so good that I hate to nail to the walls.

                  My horse is fine barefoot except for hunting, which is why it's such a dilemma.
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                  • #10
                    I'd check out some of the endurance threads. I've never had any luck keeping boots on but I haven't tried some of the more advanced methods like foaming them on. The fit is also very dependent on the horses foot shape matching the boot shape.
                    Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
                    Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
                    Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


                    • #11
                      I don't see how the Cavellos could come off. Or the easyboot trails, which have a similar style (although I've never used them). I hunt barefoot, but my hunt is pretty low key. I don't gallop on pavement, it rarely happens that the field is in that situation but when it happens I just catch up. If the footing is bad I stay home (but I do that with my shod horse too).


                      • #12
                        I don't hunt- or use boots- but I'm interested in boots and learning more about them- and joined the easyboot FB page which is also connected to their blog. I'm pretty impressed with the info they share and the fact that the company owner sure puts his money where his mouth is.

                        There is a kind of glue on boot that is now very popular in endurance- but I think the need to be applied professionally and they are only intended to be on for a few days at most. At the Tevis they had ezboot techs there to apply the glue on boots prior to the event- and I think they even had an offer to qualified riders (having completed certain events prior) that they would pay your entry fee if you compete in their boots.


                        • #13
                          They can come off in wet conditions. Once I had the entire boot come off, with the straps still on. However, I'd also just had my horse trimmed so the fit was slightly loose.

                          I use cable ties over the velcro straps to keep them from coming undone.
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                          • #14
                            As for glue on;
                            Had a Tb size 1 in Mustad easy glu for 4 yrs. Evented to Prelim & hunted over the winter. We did tap for stud use if needed. Only ran road studs a handful of times.
                            Not a horse I use in the hunt field, but a Old/Tb X size 2, that goes well in a Sigafoose series 1.


                            • #15
                              I have yet to hunt in boots. My Arab just goes barefoot. I've never had an issue on any terrain with him.

                              I am planning to get Renegades (made by endurance riders for endurance riders) for endurance rides this summer. There are a couple venues that redid the gravel roads last year (one of which we have to be on for 2.5mi) and the fresh, sharp gravel made me cringe. He didn't seem to mind it at the time, but was slightly tender the next day.

                              Once I get the Renegades, I'll try hunting in them (I'll use them on one of our no hounds, summer rides first!) to see how they do.


                              • #16
                                I do not hunt, but I do ride trails/ endurance in renegades. I've only had one come off once and it was my fault because I didn't have it fastened properly. That being said, I don't think I'd hunt in them as I am not sure how they'd do with jumping?
                                Have you thought of trying Sole Guard- that could be the perfect solution for what you are looking for?
                                "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                So you might as well have a good time"


                                • #17
                                  We have used glue-on for several horses with issues. Field hunters, show and Steeplechase. They have stayed on much better then expected. But we only used them because we had to and would only use them for that reason. I have no “science” to back me up but just think because the entire shoe is glued to the hoof thus making it much more rigid and allowing far less expansion/contraction then one being held on by a few nails it may cause more damage then help. They served their purpose and lived up to expectations but these horses did not live in them and were removed as soon the time and conditions allowed for them to go barefoot and grow out a good hoof.
                                  We used the “skirted, cuffed” for one difficult horse. Because of their design they will stay on much better. However for the same reason above but even more so I would only use them for extreme cases and necessity. Not only does it stiffen the sole but several inches up the hoof wall also. We also found that the hoof wall will start to degenerate/breakdown where the skirt/cuff ends due to retaining moisture/mud, manure, urine etc. When they were removed it was very clear what was happening. But they do serve their purpose if all else fails and the horse has to have shoes. This may not be an issue if the horse is located in ideal conditions, no mud, rain, low humidity, not a lot of washing, etc.
                                  Not a big fan of Sole Guard. And should only be used as directed. I think a hunting horse might experience serious traction issues. But to each their own.


                                  • #18
                                    "Also, suggestions for those shoes/boots that have flexibility and most closely mimic the natural compression/expansion of the natural hoof - and still stay ON!"

                                    I have the feeling that I've seen info about flexible horseshoes such as Polyflex or Epona shoes taking studs. Quickly looked just now and don't see the info. But, if true, they could serve your purpose stated in the quotation above and give more traction.


                                    • #19
                                      While I have not hunted in them, I HAVE competed my horse in endurance in glue-on shoes. He has fantastic feet, but at the peak of his career, he wore foot faster than he grew it due to the long, tough miles I put on him. He doesn't have neatly shaped feet that fit well in boots, so I needed something else. The glue-ons stayed on, wore well, and were easy to take off when I was done competing. We never had a problem, both on flat, sandy ground and over the rocky mountains of Maine. I have no personal experience with the flexing glue on boots, but I have heard good things about them in the endurance community.


                                      • #20
                                        I know of one gentleman who hunts in sigafoos. His horse stepped on a stob out hunting last year and injured the hoof. Quite a bit was resected. He is using the sigafoos until he gets enough normal hoof grown out to nail to. They seem to stay on as well as a regular shoe. His main complaint is the expense. He can't wait til next season when he's back in regular shoes. Then again without the sigafoos he wouldn't be hunting at all.