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Replacement for thrown shoe... Easy Boot?

From: Lily

Hi Jessica,

I am looking for a “quick fix” until the farrier can come out and tack on a pulled front shoe…which can be the next day or a week later depending on the farrier’s schedule. I don’t want to lose too much riding time, since I have a young horse (3 year old and very tender footed) and want to keep him going. I usually don't have problems but the farrier (great farrier) went up a shoe size this time and combined with a young horses' fabulous coordination ; )...he pulls one of his front shoes off. So until the farrier can come out and fix the problem...I need a quick fix to keep us going!

What are your thoughts on using Easy Boots or something similar? I did try an Easy Boot in the recommended size and the boot fit width wise, but was too long in the heel…it didn’t stay on long. Fitting seems to be the issue and there are so many types of boots available…any recommendations?

Thank you,


Hi Lily! An Easyboot is a very useful thing to take along if you go on long trail rides, because if your horse does throw a shoe, the boot can help you get home safely without damaging your horse's hoof. Under those circumstances, the Easyboot fulfils the same function as your car's spare tire. If you travel gently, the spare will let you get home where you can then arrange to get a new tire. If you travel gently, the Easyboot will let you get home without your horse's acquiring sole bruises, and once you're there, it can protect that foot until the farrier arrives to install the "new tire."

That's ONE use of an Easyboot. They - that is, Easyboots PLURAL - may also be used to protect a barefoot horse's feet from rocky terrain. This is more complicated and involves a good deal more work measuring and fitting the boots so that the horse will be able to move easily and comfortably, without the boots contacting (and rubbing!) tender, soft-tissue areas (e.g. the heels). You may find that you need to modify the boots to achieve a really good fit - and that includes cutting them down a little at the heel. If the width is right but the length is a little too long, or if the length is right but they're a tiny bit too wide, you may find that you need to use Easyfoam. There are several different ways to adjust the cables, and you may need to try all of them. Easyboots take a little getting used to - not so much for the horses as for the people learning to fit and adjust them! So don't worry if it takes a little while for you to figure out the optimum adjustment and fit for your horse. That's normal.

It's also normal for even a very well-fitted, well-adjusted Easyboot to acquire some debris as the horse goes through its day, so if you do use one or more Easyboots, be sure to remember to remove them and clean them out at least once a day. You'll want to be sure that your horse's feet are dry, and that there are no bits of rock or sand or bark caught in the boot(s).

Both of these uses - the emergency, temporary replacement for a horseshoe, and the replacement of shoes with boots - are good uses for Easyboots, but I'm not sure that it would be such a good idea for you to attempt to combine the two. In the interest of balance and comfort, it's better to have no shoes OR two shoes OR two Easyboots on those front feet. A horse with one shoe and one Easyboot is likely to be a little bit unlevel, and if you're doing a lot of riding and training, this could cause a problem for the horse, especially when it's a very young horse that is probably balancing itself a little differently from day to day and from week to week anyway. That goes along with the young-horse coordination issue. ;-) I would worry that the difference in height and balance between the shod hoof and the booted hoof might be enough to make the horse use itself a little differently, move a little awkwardly, and end up worse off than if you'd simply turned him out and waited for the farrier.

If this were my horse, I would probably turn it out until the farrier could replace the shoe - OR, if I really needed to continue to ride the horse regularly, and I knew that I wouldn't see the farrier again for several weeks, I would probably pull the other front shoe and use TWO Easyboots on the horse's front feet.

In the long term, here's another thought. It's frustrating, I know, to be in the middle of a training program and have to interrupt it because of a lost shoe. It's also frustrating to have a young horse - or any horse - that is so tender-footed that you need to keep shoes on it even when you're not working hard over the kind of hard, rocky terrain that wears hooves down. So if I were you, I would put my long-term focus on improving this horse's hoof quality - and his comfort. I don't know what your training/competition schedule is during the winter months, but if you're like most riders with very young horses, I expect you'll probably be giving him a few months off. You might consider having the farrier pull his shoes for the winter, just to allow his feet to "toughen up". Full-time turnout without shoes would give him a chance to develop the kind of hoof quality that might enable him to do without shoes until your training and competition schedule intensifies. You might also want to talk to your farrier and your vet about hoof supplemements and ways to maximize the time your horse spends outdoors exercising on his own or with his pasture pals. There's no single magical change that will transform a tender-footed horse into a tough-footed one, but very often, just making a few management changes can have a dramatic effect on hoof quality. A good supplement that provides zinc, methionine, and at least 15mg of biotin DAILY can have an effect in just a few months, much sooner than you might expect. Similarly, making the change from twelve to twenty-four hour turnout can have an effect in just a few months. A little improvement here, a little improvement there, and by this time next year, you may have a strong, balanced, level four-year-old that requires shoes only in extreme situations. That would be nice for both of you.

Good luck, either way - and I hope your farrier comes out soon! I think that every horse-owner can relate to the frustration of waiting for a busy farrier to find the time to come out. ;-)


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