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.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association