December 17, 2015
New Hoof Boots for Meindert
My beautiful Friesian, Meindert, is really enjoying his new hoof boots.
Because of the type of riding I do, mostly on dirt and gravel carriage roads and trails through the woods, it is appropriate for my horses to wear nailed-in shoes. However, Meindert, hasn’t worn rear shoes in several years, and more recently his front shoes were removed as well. He is a bit arthritic, so it is much easier and more comfortable for him to go barefoot, or unshod.
To keep him healthy and fit, my stable manager, Betsy Perreten, takes Meindert out for short, easy rides, whenever possible. He's been wearing special boots to protect and support his hooves during these rides, but he was ready for a new set - this time, for all four of his feet.
Here are some photos of Meindert getting his new boots from EasyCare Inc.
1 Not all horses need to wear shoes. Some horses experience fewer hoof-related issues by going barefoot. To protect Meindert's hooves from injury on hard surfaces, he was fitted for a new set of hoof boots.
2 Linda Friedman, my longtime and very knowledgeable farrier, takes excellent care of my horses' hooves, and fits and changes their shoes regularly. Whenever she visits, she brings along her box of tools filled with rasps, hoof nippers, nail clinchers, cutters, and picks.
3 When choosing hoof boots, it is crucial to have the proper foot measurements to determine the correct boot size. Both the length and the width of each foot must be taken after a fresh trim.
4 Linda took hoof measurements after Meindert's hooves were thoroughly cleaned and trimmed. Each foot was measured individually. This is the hoof width at its widest point.
5 And, this is the hoof length from the toe to the buttress of the heel, or the farthest weight bearing point of the heel where the hoof wall ends. Friesians have very large hooves!
6 Here is one of the new boots. It is called the New Mac by EasyCare inc. The front of the boot has a shield to protect it from wear. It also has a cushioned collar at the top of the boot for comfort. http://www.easycareinc.com/
7 The New Mac is very similar to Meindert's previous boots, the Old Mac G2. Both are all-purpose hoof boots for pleasure riding, but the new boots are updated with a new sporty color.
8 Meindert got a lot of use out of his older boots - a lot of wear and tear over the last three years.
9 Meindert now has four new hoof boots - two for the front and two for the rear.
10 These new boots are made, so they're easy to put on and take off the horse.
11 They have added studs to provide extra traction in the snow. They also have very good overall tread - shock-absorbing and well-patterned to help reduce possible slipping on slick surfaces.
12 The boots open very wide for easy application.
13 A pastern wrap secures the boot to the hoof using a hook and loop system.
14 The outside panels fold back into place.
15 The outside buckle is fastened for extra security. The strap fastens using strong Velcro for an adjustable and custom fit.
16 Betsy checks to see how snug it is - not too loose, not too tight.
17 Betsy likes this style of boot for the Friesians because it sits low, clearing much of their feathery fetlock hair.
18 It looks very nice.
19 My dear Meindert is so patient during the entire process.
20 Betsy continued to put the rest of the hoof boots on. Hoof boots help promote healthy hooves by allowing for good circulation, hoof expansion and contraction.
21 Two front feet down, two rear feet to go.
22 Here was Meindert with all four hoof boots - they all fit nicely and properly.
23 What do you think, Meindert?
24 Betsy took him outside, so he could try out his new boots - new boots always take a little getting used to. Every horse's hoof is different, so attention must be given to fit each one individually and carefully.
25 They seem to be working just fine - these boots will be great.