Measurements and Photos
In order to be successful with Hoof Boots, it is very important to
get the fit right. Fit and intended use are the two most important
Riding once or twice a week for an hour at a very leisurely pace, compared to trekking over hills or possibly Endurance Riding, will have different demands on the boots and as such you may pick a different pair. You may deal with a horse that is just coming out of nail-on shoes, or is recovering from laminitis or other significant hoof problems, in this case you have yet another set of requirements on your boots.
If you would like to help us with finding a suitable boot for your horse, and give us more info to assist with this, please fill out and submit this form.
Trimming the Hoof
Now that you know what you intend to use the boots for, you need to get the measurements for the hooves to be booted. It is best to measure within a week of a freshly trimmed hoof. The ideas is that you get the shape addressed first and then boot to this. Then manage that shape through regular trimming and as such the fit of the boots. If the hooves are untrimmed or have too much flare on, then there is a high chance that you end up with a boot that is too loose higher up and twisting is very likely to occur. Also, if the flare did grow out, or the hoof eventually gets trimmed, the boot will likely to be simply too large and twisting is extremely likely, if not worse, like the boot coming off.
When it comes to addressing flare, sometimes people are worried about taking too much off. However, consider these two aspects:
- Flare means the hoof wall is no longer tightly connected to the pedal bone inside the hoof capsule. Extra length will only unnecessarily stress the compromised connection and potentially slow down the rate of reconnecting the bone again. You really ought to look at flare as an unwanted lever.
- Since you are currently looking for boots, that means that the horse is not coping with the current hoof condition in the first place. Since it is going to get booted, then why not trim the hooves in such a way that they can recover in the most optimum time frame, rather than have it drag out unnecessarily?
Here some examples of how hooves change for the better when addressed correctly.
To measure the hoof, and as indicated above, ideally within a week of a trim, please have a look at the diagram. You want to take the width at the widest point, perpendicular (in a right angle) to the mid-line of the hoof. Take a tape measure and hook the end to one side of the hoof and run it across the hoof. To get the length, have a look at where the heel horn is growing past the bulb horn. Project a line from one heel to the other. Then run the tape measure from the toe (place the 0-point there) to the heel and measure along the mid-line from toe to this projected line.
Should you find that the hooves measure wider than long, please read this article.
Measurements are great, but fit also depends on hoof shape. For this, it is best to support the measurements with hoof photos. See the diagrams below to give you an idea of the type of photos to take.
You always want to have the camera at hoof level and perpendicular to the mid-line for side-shots, and directly in line with the mid-line for front shots. Sole shots should be taken perpendicular to the sole plane.
The camera distance should be about 2-3x the size of the object. E.g., if the hoof is 150mm long, the camera should be about 300-450mm away from the hoof.