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Got weird feet?

Updated: 2 days ago

Some barefoot horse owners struggle to find hoof boots that fit their horse's hooves. This can be because of a variety of reasons, and it can be quite disheartening to try several different makes and models, yet not find a boot that will work for your horse.

Flex TPU gaiter

The awesome thing about Flex Boots is that the boot parts are interchangeable (and of course every piece is replaceable too). You can put bigger or smaller neoprene gaiters on the boots if the horse has thin or thick pasterns, and you can also change the size of the TPU gaiter at the back. It’s the rubbery part at the back of the boot that turns into the pastern strap at the front of the leg.


Flex Boots are sold individually so if you need a different size boot for each foot, that’s fine too.


As a standard with all the boots, the back strap has two possible height settings. Most horses use the higher setting for the front feet and the lower one for the back feet. Using the lower setting will pull the rubbery TPU gaiter closer to the heel bulbs for a closer fit.

Most horses are fine with the standard boot but if the horse has more fleshy heel bulbs, or is lower in the heels, it's handy to have an alternative option for a perfect fit. This is where custom Flex Boots come into play.


If you find that the pastern strap struggles to close at the front of the leg and the angle of the strap is wrong, it's likely that you need a bigger TPU gaiter on the boots.


Or the opposite might be that case: you may not have enough holes at the front of the leg to tighten the pastern strap enough, and/or the TPU gaiter bulges out at the back of the foot even when the back strap goes through the lower setting. This is when you'd need a size smaller TPU gaiter.


NOTE: We’re not trying to boot fixable pathologies such as excessively high heels or flared hooves.

Trimming the hoof anatomically correctly comes first; boots second.


A well trimmed hoof should have:

  • Walls under control, not overly wide, long or uneven.

  • Nice symmetry all the way around.

  • No flares.

  • Foot is under the horse; heels and toes are back where they're meant to be.

  • Bars to the level of the sole.

Good hooves are achieved with frequent trims to keep the feet nice and comfortable for the horse all the time. This requires a small maintenance trim by the owner between professional trims. Such a maintenance trim is not difficult to learn to do, and doesn't take a lot of time at all.


Below is an example of a horse that has a modified boot on three feet. This is my own horse Freddie, he has high-low front feet (left front is smaller, more upright, and narrower with a higher heel bulb, and right front is bigger, wider, and lower).


He's a typical Thoroughbred – hard to boot, particularly when you want something lightweight, streamlined, and “as little boot as possible”.


It's worth noting here that I have 4 TBs and whilst I don’t ride all of them, they all fit into Flex Boots - front AND back feet - with the trimming I was already doing before the boots came along. So, whilst there are differences in trimming styles across the board, there’s also a universal red thread which yields a similar looking foot with the finer points being up for discussion. Again, we are not out to boot fixable pathology!


I digress. Did you know that in Finnish that's called rönsyily?! Anyways, back to the topic at hand...


The hind feet are turned out, he’s another terrible boot twister and in the past, he has not EVER gone into just one brand of boots front and back.


In this first photo below, you see his right front which is the low foot. It measures 138mm wide so needs a 140 size shell. But you can see how the rubber TPU gaiter is bulging at the back – it’s OK but not ideal.



In this next photo is the same right front foot, still a size 140 shell, but with a smaller 130 size TPU gaiter. See how now the boot is hugging the hoof nicely now – perfect!


And for comparison, below is the left front, which is the high foot. It is perfect in the standard 130 boot and doesn't require a custom boot.


Next photo shows his hind foot in a standard 130 boot. Note how the gaiter is gaping again at the back. He's been using it like this already and it’s been fine, but we can get it better.


Below is that same hind foot with a 130 shell with a smaller 120 size TPU gaiter. You can see that it's a much nicer fit now.


Lastly, Freddie and I agreeing that using the photos is better than trying to make a video, since I can't seem to talk properly on the video and Freddie can't seem to keep his willy in to look presentable!


 

If you'd like to have personal advice about what size and shape Flex Boots fit your horse, pony, donkey or mule the best, please email us at helpdesk@flexhoofboots.com and we will be happy to help!

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