3 steps to a well-functioning Flex Hoof Boots

Flex Hoof Boots are the softest boots on the market. In order to make the best use of them, the horse owner is required to think holistically and to have some understanding of hoof management.

Then why did we made soft boots?
A soft boot makes the horse so much more comfortable than boots made of a harder material. It has better cushioning and thus makes moving more comfortable to the horse. Compare yourself walking with hard boots or soft-bottomed sneakers. Soft-bottomed sneakers are also more friendly to the joints for both us humans and horses.

So, in order to use soft boots on a horse, we must learn to think deeper than the surface.

If the trim of the hooves and / or the horse’s body is unbalanced, both the horse and the boots suffer.

Choosing the right size is also important. If the hooves are not trimmed according to the anatomy of the horse, and the maintenance trim has done weekly (BACK UP THE TOES!) you will not get a well-fitting right-sized boot for your horse.

I hope this guide will help you to get the most out of your FlexHorse boots for the convenience of both your horse and yourself.

The trim

Trim your horse’s hooves regularly.

General instructions:

– Tidy frogs from extra rags.

– Trim the bars to the level of the healthy sole.

– Shorten the hoof wall at the toe to the level of the sole. At the heel, leave a few millimeters, if necessary. Be sure to trim the bars so that there are no sharp edges to carry the weight.

  • Trim the shape of the walls to match the shape of the sole. Leaving the wall somewhere wider than elsewhere will affect the horse’s motion and the performance of the boots.

– From the top of the hoof, reverse the toe to match the growth line under the coronary band

– Finally, trim the sharp edges with the finer side of the rasp.

Trim the hooves every week, at least every 2 weeks to prevent them from growing out of their proper dimensions and to keep them balanced. Learn how to do the basic trimming yourself so that you can take care of the hooves between the visits by a professional trimmer.

Make sure that the hooves don’t have sharp edges, too long walls (the wall should be at the same level with the sole), sharp bars or heels, too long toe or heel, which also affects the weight balance of the hoof and cause distress to the joints.

Before (RED):

  • Pointy weight bearing at the heels, also the weight-bearing point of the heels are too front, there are sharp edges all over the hoof that may cause the boot to brake.
  • Bars are way too long.
  • The shape of the hoof wall will not follow the shape of the sole and white line. The hoof wall is carrying the most of the weight.
  • Toe is too long and causes stress to the joints!

​After (GREEN):

  • The weight-bearing area of the heels are backed up and the horse has more comfort by that
  • Bars took to the level of the healthy sole.
  • The shape of the hoof wall follows the shape of the sole and white line (that determines the shape of the coffin bone).
  • The hoof wall is at the level of the sole so the weight is shared with the hoof wall and the sole next to it.
  • Toe is backed up!

 

BALANCED BODY

Make sure that no matter which sport you do with your horse, also provide the horse with alternative exercises, such as:

If you usually do dressage, jumping or western riding, take your horse regularly also to a terrain where she/he can move on all paces on varying soles. Also walking in the woods is very beneficial for the horse’s body as there she/he has to walk on uneven grounds.

If you are a trail-rider, exercise your horse regularly also at a riding arena both from the ground and from horseback, so that the horse will be able to carry him-/herself and you in the best possible way.

If you are driving a carriage with your horse, exercise your horse also from the ground, and go sometimes also trail-riding.

 

Before the gymnastic work, the horse runs with his/her head up and back hollow. That also affects the use of her feet and hooves negatively. Front legs are under the body and the toe will wear more. Also in movement, hinds are more likely to step over the front hooves heels and causing the boots to fell off.

After gymnastic work, the horse’s top line becomes more full and rounded and she carries herself and the rider beautifully and in balance.

This affects the movement of the legs as well as the balance of the hooves. Front legs are able to come out from under the hind legs as they should and front hooves will not wear from the toe area anymore.

Do exercises that support the core of your horse, so that the horse learns how to support him-/herself and you as a rider. This has a positive effect on the hooves too. If the horse’s core muscles are not in good shape, she/he will not be able to support him-/herself and his/her thorax up. This can often be seen in the wintertime if the horse uses boots: the front boot studs break the fronts of the back boots since the forelegs are not able to get out of the way of the hind legs in time. Forging sounds may also be heard. When the horse’s body is being exercised to be more balanced, the movement of the forelegs will be larger, and the forelegs will be better off in front of the hind legs.

Gymnastic work is also useful for other hoof imbalance conditions: excessive toe wear, hind legs wearing askew, etc.

Regular exercise of the horse reduces the need for muscle maintenance.

Before the gymnastic exercise. Poor muscle condition at the neck, the wither and the pelvis.

A few years after gymnastic work and variable exercise, the horse is much more balanced and more muscular.

All this also affects the well-being and balance of the hooves.

 

THE RIGHT SIZE

When choosing FlexHorse boots, measure the hooves after a fresh, balanced trim (see step 1).

If the size of the hoof is between two sizes, we recommend choosing a larger size and using a FlexPad.

If your horse tends to rotate its feet during the step, we do not recommend a very snug boot as they can rotate on the foot and cannot recover during the step. A slightly loose boot allows the boot to recover during the step. However, rotation of the foot should always be investigated and treated if necessary.

As FlexHorse boots are made from a soft material, their upper edge grins if the hoof is not balanced. The top edge should follow the hoof wall and will do so if the hoof wall has been trimmed to follow the line of the sole.

The boot is too tight, not fitting well. Heels are too high and the wall of the toe does not sit in perfectly.

After a balanced trim, hoof sits much better in the boot. Trim is also more comfortable for the horse.

If you are unsure of the size, please contact your dealer. If you don’t have a dealer in your country, we will be happy to help flexhoofboots@gmail.com!