Boots

People often ask me which hoof boots I would recommend, usually as a cautionary precursor to riding barefoot outdoors.

My answer is very simple – but not always satisfactory! I do not recommend any make of hoof boot.

20140221-202741.jpgAmong the various reasons why horses should not be shod, is also the question of physics and mechanics. The addition of a horseshoe to the end of the horse’s leg creates a physical imbalance in the mechanics of the leg – the extra weight means more energy is needed to lift the hoof from the ground and put it into motion and yet more excess energy is needed to slow it down to place it where the horse wants it. The extra weight is also transmitted in the form of a shockwave through the limbs. Additionally, because the front feet are slow to leave the ground, the chance that the rear feet collide with the front – and worse still, with the tendons at the back of the front legs – is greatly increased. A hoof boot – however light – will always add to the mass of the hoof.
Furthermore, another of the important aspects of being unshod is the action of the hoof on the ground, stimulating the hoof mechanism and activating the blood circulation which in turn insures good hoof health. By applying a hoof boot, we are once again creating an artificial barrier between the ground and the natural movement of the hoof.

And that is the reason why I never recommend hoof boots.

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