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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 16, 2014

Boot vs. Boot

Running boots on a naturally trimmed hoof can be daunting, frustrating, maddening...

If a person is going to boot there horse there are really only a few options available out there for a functional, reliable boot.

Easycare Hoof Boots and Renegade Hoof Boots

Easycare offers several styles of hoof boot, but for the purposes of hard use like endurance the Easyboot Glove is the boot most likely to get the job done.  It comes in a strap on  and a glue on.  I used the Glove extensively on my previous horse Phebes including Limited Distance riding at pace over very difficult terrain.  Over about ten competitions I lost or blew out of about six boots.  Part of it was learning curve on how to put a nice wrap of tape over the hoof to give that boot some extra bite.   In my case they required a rubber mallet to get the boot properly seated, so if the horse came out of one during competition I didn't readily have a big old rubber mallet handy to reset a new boot.  So you look for a rock or whack it with what is available and it seats properly, or it doesn't.  Easycare changed the design of the attachment called the gaiter which eliminated most of the risk of rubbing during use.  At some point they changed over from a very high quality velcro attachment to an inferior one that my experience was the stitching was frequently coming loose, and the gaiter was tearing.  I give the shell of the boot the highest possible marks for longevity.  Those suckers last, and last.  Especially if you've size right.  I stopped counting miles on one set at about 600 miles, and eventually the horse that they were not optimal for got them, and she wore out the boot at the breakover point of the toe.    If Easycare would do something meaningful about that velcro...I'd sure give their boot another shot.  Just sayin'!   

Renegade offers two styles of boot.  The original Renegade and the Vipers.  I have things I love about the boots and things that make me want to pull my hair out about the boots.  Over two LD's and two endurance rides we've trashed or lost at least one boot per competition.  That is costly.   One came off in deep boot sucking mud, two came off on uphill canters, and one just came off and is out there living a solitary life out in the Hoosier National Forest.  Oh wait, that was the bottom of the boot, the top came with us into the vet check.  One front boot, and three left hinds.   Now I've vented I'll tell you what I like about them.  They go on easy.  If (let me stress IF) you get straps adjusted properly, cable tension locked down tight, width not to tight or too loose, they are FANTASTIC.   More often than not, we have one factor or the other out of whack.   They really are a good product but you need to be handy.  You will be frequently replacing the cables which have a tendency to fray for some reason, and will need copious parts (cables, straps, pulley buttons) to keep them up and running. 

If I had to pick a boot?   I'd be hard pressed to do it.  At the end of the day you have to go with the boot that your horse moves best in.  Phebes does well in Gloves, Journey in Renegade Vipers.  One can't very well use the other.  Phebes has a slight club that has a high heel, not a good hoof for Renegade.  Journey's hoof just won't seat into the toe of a Glove and she interferes like crazy, and drags her toes rather than a clean breakover.  Both boots have good things to offer, and some deficits.  At the end of the day you just have to pick one.

I love hoof boots.   I hate hoof boots.  I gotta have hoof boots.

End of story.


1 comment:

  1. I never did get into the Renegades but JB went quite well in the Easyboots Epics which were a lifesaver for him . He had thin soles no matter what we did/do. I could never get the gloves to fit his hoof shape well enough for a good fit.
    Maggie wore the epics too but she was turned in on her front right and it seemed to cause her issues with stumbling.
    In both cases we went back to shoes. JB has to have special shoes due to his injury to provide the right support/breakover for that joint which I could never mimick in a boot.

    As for Otto, he's just too young at this point. From the endurance FB page responses I recently got from my inquiry on his arab sire bloodlines, I guess he is supposed to be a crazy hot, crooked legged, and club footed horse not suitable for any performance or endurance work . So far, I am not seeing any of those things!! Sometimes I wonder about the endurance crowd and their opinions of what makes a good horse.