Did you know that horses can wear horse boots for trail riding? If that statement conjured up a mental image of your four-legged friend in a pair of galoshes, then this article is for you. What is a hoof boot? Why do you need them while trail riding? What are the best ones currently in the market? Have no fear! The Best Horse Rider Review Round-Up is here.
What is Horse Boots for Trail Riding?
Simply put, a hoof boot is a boot that fits over your horses’ hooves. They can be used in a variety of settings, but their main purpose is to protect your horse’s hooves. If you look close enough, you will discover that horses in boots can be found quite easily.
Mounted Police may employ these nifty kicks when they are patrolling an area that is mostly paved. In this instance, the horse hoof shoes would provide the horse with additional traction on the slippery pavement as well as added support to the hoof structures, in order to avoid damage or additional wear as a result of the hard terrain. Some owners even employ these boots to help treat some chronic conditions such as laminitis.
Many owners choose to protect their horse’s hooves from damage caused by the rocky, uneven and often unpredictable forest floor. The type of boot you choose will be heavily dependent on how you are looking to use the boot. That’s why in this Review Round-up, we will cover the 3 best brands of hoof boots for trail riding activities. You can check out this introduction to horse boots by Horse Illustrated here.
Horse Boots for Trail Riding, Important Considerations
Before we get into the best hoof boots in the market, I would like to caution you. Horse hooves are like snowflakes, each horse’s hooves are different. While this may be a list of the top-rated brands on the market, we strongly advise you contact the manufacturer before purchasing a set of boots for your horse.
Horse hoof shoes, if not fitted properly, can rub and cause harm to your horse’s hooves so be sure to do your due diligence. If you have questions about the fit of the boots you have purchased for your horse, consult your farrier or veterinarian. You can also check out this great resource that breaks down how to fit hoof boots here.
Best Horse Boots for Trail Riding
From the Manufacturer
- The boot opens up completely to slip on and off most hoof shapes and sizes.
- The rear double velcro attachment protects the entire hoof wall and keeps the boot firmly in place.
- The front shield protects the area that takes the most abuse.
- A proven tread design handles a wide range of conditions.
- Simple closure makes this the easiest hoof boot in the world.
The EasyCare Trail Boot is a great trail boot for a number of reasons. There is a whole lot of tech packed into this boot and the price is unbeatable. At $97 per boot, reviewers really seem to enjoy the ease of putting the boot on and taking it off as well as the snug fit. Additionally, the added grip both on the horse’s hoof inside the boot and the terrain outside of the boot seem to be strong points for the EasyCare Trail Boot.
Many people commented about the size chart stating they followed the instructions for measuring their horse’s hoof exactly and still ended up with the wrong size. Similarly, others commented about rubbing-which is a direct result of an incorrectly fitted boot. Some discussed the velcro that holds the boot on breaking down over time. One reviewer commented that she had been using the boots for 3 years and they had worn out.
If you are looking into horse hoof boots, these seem to be a quality, introductory boot for you and your horse. Their easy application and price won’t set you back as far as some of the other boots on the market, while you decide if hoof boots are in your future.
You may have to pay close attention to sizing. Be sure to give yourself room for error while you work to find the correct size. Remember ordering human boots online can take a few tries, so taking the time to ensure that the boot is the proper size for your horse as well as taking the time to break the boots in before going on a long trail ride will save you from rubbing-can you imagine walking all that way in boots that were not broken in?
Finally, quality. Without knowing the intensity or frequency of this reviewer’s use of the EasyCare Trail Boot, I still feel comfortable saying that if you get 3 years out of these boots, for their price then you’re not in bad shape especially considering how expensive horse hoof boots can be. You can read the reviews on the EasyCare Trail Boot here.
From the Manufacturer of Horse Boots for Trail Riding
- Stability and Protection. Support boots aren’t just for support–it’s also for protection. Kavallerie’s Boots are specially designed to offer your horse maximum support and protection to the entire flexor tendon region. This ensures your horse get extra stability during daily or rigorous activities and decreases the chances of sustaining injuries. The lateral protection it provides helps with suspensory strains, injuries, and overall rehabilitation of your horses, making them more confident.
- Shock-Absorbing Technology. When your horse goes to work, it is imperative to provide him with absolute protection and support, especially for the soft tissues on his fetlock. These boots have premium-grade shock-absorbing DuroArmour which protects and supports your horse from extreme activities. The strike pad is anatomically-shaped to provide comfort and natural feel on the horse–allowing for uninhibited and free movements.
More from the Manufacturers
- Lightweight and Comfortable. The PRO-K Support Boots are made from lightweight and top-grade materials ensuring maximum comfort breathability to your horse. It cushions the horse’s legs from force and blows; avoiding scrapes, bruises, and fractures caused by vigorous activities while allowing airflow to the horse’s legs. It is lightweight to avoid burdening the horse and controls heat buildup.
- Easy to Wear and Prevents Slippage. The Triple Velcro Support Lock straps provide maximum security and offer the perfect snug fit to your horse; a strong and nice grip that makes sure the boots don’t move around and stay in place. It also prevents the boots from opening up during movement. It’s easy to get on and off and the elastic band will keep it secured to your horses’ legs.
- Durable and Easy Maintenance. Kavallerie PRO-K Support Boots fit your horse precisely, avoiding water and dirt build-up that can be uncomfortable for the horse. It doesn’t shift during abrupt movements thanks to the triple-lock velcro that holds its place intact. The materials also do not tighten up when getting wet ensuring comfort and absolute support to your horse. Absolutely your partner in your daily riding activities.
So the Kavalerie Pro-K Tendon Boots are not “hoof boots” but they are something you are going to want to consider for your horse while trail riding if your horse’s hooves are sound. I will tell you a short story about why this matters. While riding with my Mom and a group of friends last summer, we wandered down the wrong trail out in the backwoods behind her house. She has been riding these trails her whole life but somehow we ended up down near the swamps, not an area you want to be.
The forest floor was covered with debris, including old trees and saplings taken out during the previous storm season. While trying to get out of there, her horse’s front two feet became stuck between two small downed saplings. This spooked him as he tried to jump both front feet simultaneously out of the trees. His hooves were on the soft ground below, but his pastern, fetlock, and cannon quickly became my main concern.
Had he been wearing these boots, I would have felt much more comfortable knowing that as he tried to free himself that he had this extra level of protection. These boots, in particular, are praised by their reviewers for their fit as well as the fact that they are easy to clean, seal out moisture, and do not pick up many of the “pickers” you often find decorating the forest floor.
These boots are not hoof boots. If you are looking for added protection and grip for your horse’s hooves, then these would not be the boots for you.
While these boots are not hoof boots, they shouldn’t be counted out as a possibility for riders who frequent the trails. If your horse doesn’t need the added protection of a hoof boot or if you are a firm believer in the traditional metal horseshoe but want the added protection and support in the pastern and fetlock areas of your horse’s leg, then the Kavalerie Pro-K Tendon Boots should be taken into consideration. You can read what Amazon Reviewers have to say about these boots here.
From the Manufacturer
- All-terrain hoof protection for the barefoot horse
- Simple to Size; Simple to put on and stay on. Center of the outsole is recessed to minimize pressure
- Rehabilitation from injuries, abscesses, navicular disease, laminitis/founder, punctures, sole bruising and contracted heels
- Genuine Leather upper is comfortable and flexible
- Size 2 fits a hoof that is 4 5/8″ – 4 7/8″ in length. Sold in pairs.
These boots are the most widely reviewed boots I have encountered so far. With a 71% satisfaction rating, it’s safe to say these boots have the quality and durability most trail-goers are looking for. They are made with leather, which adds to the protection of the boot. Many reviewers stated that these boots, which are sold in pairs, added grip and kept their horse comfortable even through muddy or wet terrain.
The leather exterior may not offer the breathability that many riders look for, so these would not be good boots to leave on your horse at all times. They should also be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Additionally, these boots will need to be “broken-in” before they venture out on a long trail ride to ensure that your horse does not become uncomfortable.
It was noted by one reviewer, that these boots, in particular, have a tendency to pick up things on the forest floor, so you are going to want to periodically check the boots to make sure that no pickers have attached themselves to the boots as they may rub or irritate your horse.
These are quality boots that offer multi-layered protection. If you are looking to ride rough rocky trails, then these boots are the Cadillac of trail-riding hoof boots. Their superior quality and anatomically driven technology are sure to please both you and your horse. Be sure to take the time to break these in, clean thoroughly and be mindful of any pickers you may pick up on your ride. You can read more reviews here.
Hoof boots are a great way to add protection to one of your horse’s most vital and easily damaged body parts. However, if you’re considering using hoof boots on the trails, it is important to take the time to investigate what is on the market, shop around and otherwise familiarize yourself with this tack item as there is a lot of room for error here which your horse will pay the price for.
Take the time to ensure that the boot fits properly which may mean several, worthwhile, trips to UPS. Ensuring the boots are broken in before venturing off on a long rocky trail ride is vital to your horse’s health and the long term success of the boots.
- Using hoof boots on the trail is adds protection to your horse’s hooves, improves grip on uneven terrain and can add comfort for horses who have chronic or ongoing hoof-related issues.
- It is incredibly important that you take the time to ensure the boots you have purchased for trail riding purposes are the correct fit, otherwise rubbing can create more problems than it solves.
- Always consult your farrier or veterinarian before utilizing hoof boots to ensure that they are needed and to discuss what to look for in a boot based on your horse’s needs.
How To Measure A Horse Hoof For Boots:
Because of the role hoof boots play for a horse, it is vital they are properly fitted. Most boots come in a wide range of sizes for optimal fit and accuracy. Measurements should be taken soon after a trim. Measurements are taken across the width of the hoof, at the widest point. The second measurement will come from the buttress heel line to the toe line (length). The buttress line is the weight-bearing point of the hoof furthest back, located where the hoof wall ends (do not include the heel bulbs). You can then compare a hoof boot’s size chart with your horse’s measurements.
How Long Can You Leave Hoof Boots On?
Although hoof boots can be left on a stabled or pastured horse, they are designed for horses in controlled scenarios such as riding or working. Horses also need to be worked up to wearing boots for extended periods of time to prevent sores or friction spots. Although some horses (like endurance mounts) will need to wear boots for extended periods of time, most horses should not wear boots for more than a few hours at a time. This will also increase the lifespan of your hoof boots. If your horses need long-term boots for medical reasons, bandages or diapers should be used and changed to prevent rubbing or moisture build-up.
Read more about Understanding a Degloved Horse Hoof (Without Cap)
Can You Use Hoof Boots With Shoes?
Most hoof boots can be used with or without traditional metal shoes. Brands and styles will specify the appropriate use of a boot, so be sure to check the description prior to purchase. Although most people use boots as a substitution for metal shoes (or transition from metal to barefoot), many boots work well with traditional shoes. For example, the Cavallo TPU Boot helps absorb shock when used with metal shoes. However, metal shoes and/or nails may decrease the lifespan of your hoof boots. Some companies sell additional pads or inserts to protect the hoof boot from potential metal shoe damage.
Are Hoof Boots Better Than Shoes?
Neither hoof boots nor standard shoes are “better” than one another. Like us, horses have diverse needs which can be fulfilled in multiple ways. Some horses are not candidates for traditional metal shoes but still require extra support and protection. Hoof boots are the most viable product for non-metal shoe candidates. As far as a cost comparison, hoof boots cost much more than a simple set of metal shoes. However, with good care, hoof boots can last 1-2 years or even longer. We recommend speaking to your farrier about your horse’s hooves prior to making a decision between shoes and hoof boots.
What Are Overreach Boots Used For On Horses?
Overreach boots, also known as bell boots, do just that: prevent overreaching. These are protective boots worn around the pastern to protect the coronary band, on down to the heel. Although originally a “bell” shape design, there are now high-tech fitted overreach boots on the market (such as the Veredus line). They prevent interference or damage from the horse’s hind feet, and may also help prevent a horse from pulling its own shoe. Many horses will “clip” and injure their front pasterns or heels from the overreach action of the hind limbs. Overreach boots come in different sizes and it is important to ensure they fit comfortably around the pastern as well as fit lengthwise from top to bottom.