Sometimes horses need hoof boots for turnout. The reasons for this can be many: it might be that in the wintertime the ground is frozen, or summertime it’s rock solid dry. Neither is good for horses, especially if the ground isn’t flat but has sharp ice- or dry mud lumps all over – who would be comfortable walking on that all the time?!
In other instances, the horse might suffer from laminitis, thrush, white line disease (WLD) or other physical issues that make the horse foot sore.
Whatever the reason, if your horse isn't walking comfortably and easily in their turnout paddock, it's time to think about offering their feet some extra protection.
“But I’m worried about leaving hoof boots on 24/7!”
Many horse owners are hesitant to use hoof boots for turnout. What if they rub? What if they come off easily? Will hoof boots really help my horse enough? Will the hoof sweat in the boot and cause thrush?
Well, we’re excited to say that if you choose Flex Boots,
you can throw away all those worries!
Flex Boots are extremely suitable for use in 24/7 turnout, straight from the package without any ‘breaking in’ periods. This is thanks to the softer materials used to make the boot, and the design that prevents rubbing. In fact, it’s super rare for us to ever hear that a customer has had a problem with our boots rubbing their horse! And if this does happen, we investigate every such complaint and have discovered that in these cases, the issues have been caused by incorrect trimming or less-than-ideal fitting of the boots. Good news is that both can be fixed, either by adjusting the trim, or changing the boot fittings so that the boots fit the horse correctly.
If you are planning on using Flex Boots for turnout, we do recommend that you purchase extra pair of neoprene gaiters. This way you can change them daily and keep them clean – this is important in preventing any rubbing.
As for the hooves sweating in the boot? This doesn’t really happen with Flex Boots because they have drainage holes in the quarters and an inside sole design that allows for better air circulation inside the boot. Our customers who have tried other boot brands before changing to Flex, have told us that in Flex Boots, their horses’ feet are much less “mushy”.
Steps to a comfortable horse
To make sure that your horse is as comfortable as possible in their Flex Boots during turnout, you should do the following:
1. Make sure that the hooves are trimmed accurately; the toe and heel are backed into the anatomically correct position, and the hoof shape is kept good with weekly maintenance trims.
2. Get the boots adjusted and fitted so that they suit your horse:
a) Ensure the back strap is slotted through the correct slots on the TPU gaiter, as shown in this blog post.
b) Back strap is adjusted correctly, as shown in this video below:
You should be able to fit one finger snugly between the strap and the leg. If you can’t fit any, the strap is too tight. If you can fit two fingers or more, it’s too loose. The strap holes should not be stretched even when you insert a finger between the foot and the strap.
c) The Neoprene gaiter is attached to the TPU gaiter correctly. This blog post and the video below show you how to do this.
If the neoprene gaiter doesn’t sit straight under the pastern strap but hangs down from the front, you should loop the strap through different holes at the front of the gaiter to make it fit better and prevent it from rubbing your horse’s feet.
d) Pastern strap sits well in the neoprene gaiter, as shown in the video below.
4. Take the boots off every day for a while, to let the feet breath and dry properly. When doing this, swap the neoprene gaiters to clean ones.
5. In very wet weather (be it snow or rain), to be on the safe side we do not recommend using the boots 24/7 for very long periods of time. Moisture will make its way into the boot from the back and may cause issues, so it’s important you keep a close eye on your horse’s hoof health and take action if necessary.
Need even more protection?
You can always add pads into the boots for that added cushioning and protection. See this blog post about foot sore horses, to learn how to best care for your Flex pads, to make them last longer and stay nice and soft!
Are you curious to know if Flex Boots would be suitable
for your horse to wear in 24/7 turnout?
We can help you determine this! Send us photos of your horse’s hooves (side, front, sole straight on and sole side angle views, and specify which hoof is which) along with hoof measurements to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
Don’t forget that our Fit & Size page has lots of information about how to achieve the best fit for your horse, and our YouTube channel is full of useful videos created to help you make the most of your Flex Boots.