Hoof boots are a great way to protect your horse’s hooves during work if he’s unshod. However, finding the right brand and ensuring they’ll do the best possible job of looking after your horse’s feet isn’t always easy, with a whole host of brands and types on the market. So, how do you pick the perfect option for your horse? Dr. Jennifer Gill and Gabriella Lynn from the Western Kentucky University Equine Science Department are on hand to help you make the right decision.
Behind the science
Dr Jennifer Gill and Gabriella Lynn conducted an independent study comparing hoof boots to traditional metal shoes. For the study, they used Cavallo Trek Hoof Boots, which they found to provide protection and minimised potential hoof damage as well as a comfortable fit. The study focused heavily on surface area, force and the pressure exerted on horses’ hooves while travelling on an asphalt surface. The scientists used Fujifilm imaging to determine the amount of pressure the horse felt in his feet. This filming procedure allowed them to see the dynamic pressure put through the hooves via colour mapping.
Understanding the research
Dr Gill commented: “The Cavallo Hoof Boots protected the entire hoof itself, which we thought was very beneficial especially over other types of hoof protection, such as horseshoes. We also found that the tread of the Cavallo Trek Hoof Boots was thicker and would provide more space to contact with the ground than a metal horseshoe.
“We found that the Cavallo Trek Hoof Boots permitted a significantly lower pressure than the other two treatments,” Gill continued, “and this is what we expected from our data. We expected that the Trek Boots would be lower – especially on a harder terrain. The contacting surface area was significantly higher. There was more tread in contact with the ground than with the steel horseshoe, and then more contact with steel horseshoe than with the Equi-Pak.
“Based on this result, we’d say that horses would have better traction in the Trek Boots and will be better able to dissipate those forces and pressure because of the increase in surface area. In conclusion, horses ridden on hard surfaces may benefit from Cavallo Trek Hoof Boots to mitigate damage to the foot,” Gill finished. “We’ve found this to be very positive and confirm our other results with barefoot horses. But now we’re also looking at other forms of protection. The Cavallo Trek Hoof Boots is looking to be the more positive outcome and a more positive choice.”
To watch Dr Jennifer Gill’s full video report, click here.
The role hoof boots play
So, could boots help provide additional support the health of the leisure or competition horse’s hooves? Dr Gill concludes, “We believe that hoof health is very important to the athletic horse’s career and taking the best care of a horse’s feet is of primary importance. It’s so important to take very good care of your horse’s feet to ensure he lives a happy and sound life. Hoof boots may play a vital role in achieving soundness in the athletic, barefoot horse.”
For more information, visit cavallo-inc.com