Updated: Sep 13, 2020
No hoof boot is perfect, and we’ll tell you honestly straight away that Flex Boots are not right for every horse or environment. First, let’s talk about where Flex Boots excel, and then we’ll discuss situations when Flex Boots may not be the best option for your horse.
They’re great when…
As you know, Flex Boots are extremely flexible and adjustable. The boot provides superior cushioning, especially when used with the Flex pads. But because the boot is softer, going over rocks and uneven surfaces is significantly easier for the horse because the hoof isn’t held rigidly in one shape by a hard hoof boot. With Flex Boots the hoof can naturally compensate for rocks and uneven surfaces by compressing, flexing and adjusting, whereas with a stiff metal shoe or a hard boot the hoof cannot do this and as a result the pastern and leg have to absorb the variations in terrain. We consistently receive positive feedback from customers telling us that their horses seem much happier in Flex Boots!
Hoof size isn’t static, and the precise size of hoof boots shouldn’t be either. Unlike many other boots on the market, Flex Boots allow you to make some adjustments. You can clearly see a slight difference in size after trimming your horse, but did you know that hoof size also changes with the seasons? As the weather changes, hooves expand and contract slightly. The backstrap set allows you to make some minor changes to how the boot fits your horse. In addition to tightening or loosening the back strap by a notch or maybe even two, you also have the option of attaching the back strap through the lower hole setting on the back of the boot if a tighter fit is needed. While these two settings won’t compensate for a horse that truly needs a smaller or larger size boot, they do allow for minor adjustments that may help the boots fit better as your horse’s hoof size fluctuates slightly.
Rubbing is almost non-existent with Flex Boots because of how the gaiter is designed and due to the adjustments that can be made to the back strap. As a result, the hoof is enveloped in the boot in a flexible manner, which ensures that friction and rubs just don’t occur like with many other unforgivingly stiff boots. We have many reports of endurance riders successfully completing lengthy distances in Flex Boots with no rubs whatsoever.
Snow, mud, and hilly terrain are a not a problem for Flex Boots. We designed the boots in Finland, but they are also used extensively in tropical climates. The boots drain well and hold very little residue because the side holes and back sections allow any debris to naturally be ejected. Our clients have successfully used Flex Boots when riding in sand, clay, rocks, pavement, lime rock roads, water crossings, mud, and more.
It’s rare to lose a boot, but the reality is that it sometimes happens. If you fear that the Flex Boot might fall off during a ride, we suggest that you select brightly colored straps such as red, yellow, or blue, so you can easily it. An even better solution is to apply a flat rivet to the medial sides of the boots, or you can install keepers on the lateral sides of the boots. With those enhancements, it’s very unlikely that the boots will fall off.
Lastly, laminitic horses are generally very happy with Flex Boots due to the soft bottom and supportive but flexible exterior. If necessary, additional padding can be added to the boot to provide support and comfort.
They might not be ideal if…
There are some circumstances where Flex Boots just aren’t the right solution for your horse. This is especially the case if the horse goes many weeks without a trim and has chips and protrusions, as the boot may then wear unevenly. In addition, Flex Boots do not fit hooves with long toes, this will put too much stress on the brake over a point. We suggest shortening the trimming cycles to no longer than three weeks and doing weekly interim toe rasping for optimal wear.
If the horse’s front leg movement isn’t optimal (whether due to inappropriate saddle fit, shoulder stiffness, atrophy, or any reason) and is causes front leg hindrances, Flex Boots may wear too quickly at the toe. The good news is that these types of conformation issues are often resolved by an equine chiropractor, resulting in a happier horse.
Very steep mountains or hills may cause your Flex Boots to wear at the toe because the toe must grip into the mountainside as your horse ascends. In addition, horses that drag their toes, particularly on the back hooves, will wear through the front of the boots. However, excessive wear at the toe during steep ascends and toe dragging affects many other types of boots as well.
At this time, we offer Flex Boots in Sizes 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 and 140. We have plans to offer additional sizes in the near future, but if none of the current sizes fit your horse, forcing the boots to fit is like asking you to wear shoes that are much too large or too small. We will update our web site and Facebook page when additional sizes become available.
So will the Flex Boots be right for YOUR horse?
As much as we would like to welcome everyone as a Flex Boot customer, we hope that this candid summary helps you determine whether Flex Boots are right for your horse. And hopefully after reading the above you have said: yes!
– Written in cooperation with our dealer-