Ask H&H: protective boots for barefoot horse

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  • Q: I am interested in taking my 15-year-old horse along the barefoot route but am worried how she will cope initially. I have been told about a new pull-on barefoot boot with Velcro that endurance riders have been using overseas. Do you know where I can get one?
    SW, Buckinghamshire

    There is a boot in Easycare’s Easyboot range made from urethane, a flexible polymer, that fits your description. The Easyboot Glove has been designed to fit below the coronet hairline like a second skin and features a simple Velcro fastening at the fetlock.

    Although new to the UK, it is favoured by endurance riders internationally, due to its comfort levels and the fact it is said to respond like a natural foot. Manufacturer Easycare says the product gives the horse added traction and protection to the sole, while allowing a free
    stride and natural break-over point.

    The Easyboot Edge is a technologically-advanced product sold in left and right models that is said to allow “stretch and flex” to a greater degree than many other types of boot.

    It features a system to obtain a close fit, and the manufacturer claims its tread offers superior traction on all surfaces. Advocates say the product, when correctly sized and fitted, can be worn for extensive periods without rubbing.

    Who uses the boots?

    American barefoot trimming guru Pete Ramey has used the new Easyboots on a variety of his clients’ hooves with great success.

    “I never thought a boot could be so easy to put on, so light and so compact,” Pete said of the Easyboot Glove.

    Can I try the boots before buying?

    Retailer Lucy Nicholas of thesaddleryshop.co.uk says if you are in any doubt about which hoof boots will suit your horse, the best solution is to hire them.

    “This way, you can give the boots a proper road test before deciding if they are the right ones for your horse,” she said.

    “We hire a range of horse boots in the same way as any other product on our website — after purchase, customers may use the boots for up to 14 days, and have the choice to return them for a refund — minus a hire charge of £30. If the customer wishes to keep the hoof boots for longer, they may do so at a weekly rate of £15.”

    Where can I get some?

    Easyboot models are now in stock at www.thesaddleryshop.co.uk

    The Easyboot Edge is sold in pairs, one left and one right boot, from sizes 0–3, priced £139.99 while the Easyboot Glove is sold individually and is available in full and half sizes, priced £44.99.

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (19 February, ’09)

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