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Comparisons of hoof boots and shoeing

Here are the three basic reasons why you shoe a horse: (and a reason to use hoof boots)

1. Protection or Prevent excessive wear:

Currently there are other types of hoof protection available besides the nailed on horse shoes. There are many different types of Hoof boots available on the market world wide. When comparing the cost of a set of hoof boots to a single shoeing, the cost of the hoof boots may seem prohibitive, however there are several things to look at. First of all the shoe is placed on the horses hoof and so it is constantly being worn down. The hoof boot is removable and used only when protection is needed therefore the hoof boot lasts longer than a shoeing job does. When comparing the most expensive set of hoof boots, you will find that the cost of one set of hoof boots is about the same or less than the cost of a years worth of shoeing. Some types of hoof boots have lasted for several years even with relatively heavy use. 

2. Traction:

Many shoes are really slick when on rocks or pavement. Usually an additive like borium is placed on the shoes for extra traction. A barefooted horse seems to have better traction on most surfaces when compared with a shod horse. For example, I was riding my barefooted horse in a competitive trail ride where there were large areas of limestone rocks. As we going up a very steep hill, the horse in front of me who was shod slipped in the rocks and nearly fell over backwards down the hill. The horse did receive a really bad cut from scrambling to stay upright and was eventually pulled from the ride. My barefooted mare went easily up that hill and did not slip one time on the rocks. I have also ridden in several parades. The horses that I rode who were shod did slip and slide much more than the barefooted ones. If traction is needed, hoof boots could also provide traction without the danger so slipping on hard surfaces.

3. Gait alteration or Therapeutic reasons:

Now this reason changes depending on who you talk to. Some people believe that gait alteration is a reason to shoe a horse. Usually they are from a gaited horse family and believe that the extra heavy pads and accessories give a better gait to a horse. Others feel that the gait should be natural, and that the extra shoes and accessories are not natural for the horse. In addition the naturally trimmed and barefooted horse has less problems with things like over-reaching and forging. A horse who is wearing hoof boots will be less likely to hurt himself if he does forge or over-reach. The usual material that the hoof boots are made of is rubber or even leather and is not as damaging as a steel shoe if it does come in contact with another leg.

Therapeutic reason are also claimed as the third reason to shoe a horse. Today barefooted trimming methods are being used to treat the major hoof problems of all horses even those that had previously been shod therapeutically. Problems such as navicular, founder, and even contracted heels have been successfully treated even after all types of therapeutic shoeing methods failed and the horse owner was at the point of putting the horse down. Many of these horses were placed in hoof boots as a crutch to get over the times of sensitivity and as protection while the hoof toughened up.

Old Macs hoof boots are just one to of the many types of hoof boots available in the US and throughout the world. There are several endurance and competitive trail riders using these hoof boots in place of shoes while in competition. If you are interested in learning more about these boots you can check them out at the link below.

Old Macs Hoof Boots