Managing hoof boots


My horse, Boss, has recently been diagnosed EMS with insulin levels >200. He is very foot sore and I'd like to use hoof boots with pads to help alleviate this. He is in a paddock with ice and snow footing and has a run-in shelter with loads of shavings to provide some softer footing. He has been improving slowly over the past 2 months. First are hoof boots appropriate in this environment? I've looked for info on boots in this group but have been unable to find any, what have I missed. Also, if boots are used how often are they removed and put back on? Do they work on icy footing?  
Sue M in ME 2021


Hello. I am sure others will chime in here but thought I would share my experience with boots and living in Manitoba, Canada where we have winters full of snow and cold temps.

I have found in my experience for winter the best boots are the cloud boots as they are taller and help keep snow out of the boot.  My horse suffered from winter laminitis so I also like the pads in these boots as they are thick and provide extra insulation from the ground.  My horses are kept in dry lots during the winter and 2 of them are booted.  So far I have not had to add any ice studs for their boots as most times we have a good snow covering and if it does  get a bit slippery they are just careful.  But adding them is an option if you are worried about slipping.

The cloud boots are a heavier canvas type boot so i actually water proof my boots and reapply as needed. This helps keep them dry from the wet snow.  I usually change the boots out for a fresh pair every couple of days depending on weather and temps.  Sometimes more if we have extremely wet snow.

As my horse sufffers from winter laminitis I also add in a few more things for winter to keep her feet warm and dry.  This year I added a liner to her boots when we dipped down past -20C.  This was made from fabric bought from the fabric store which is used for lining coats or window shades. The fabric has an outside heavier fabric layer then a foil layer and finally batting layer. This has been a great addition for us.  I also use 100 - 80% wool socks which I actually found at a men’s work wear store close by.  What a a super sweet score that was as socks with that high of wool content seem to be hard to find these days.

I use 2 pairs of socks when we dip down past -25C.  A thinner wool sock under a heavier wool sock.  Then I add a shipping boot over as this keeps snow out and my horse’s legs warm. FYI I also water proof my shipping boots too. The addition of the liner helped a lot as previous to this in really cold temps her feet still felt cold.  Now they feel warm to the touch instead of cold.

Depending on weather temps during the day sometimes I take the shipping boots off and just leave the socks on.  I change socks out in am and pm and liners if needed. Liners can usually last a few days but socks need to be changed to ensure they stay dry I find.  

It’s important to make sure socks are not wet as can cause rubbing and makes feet cold and can create thrush issues too.  You can also add in gold bond powder to the sock that covers the hoof to which can help keep it dry.  

Hope this helps you a bit!  Ask if you have any questions on what I do.  Perhaps I added in more than u asked but wanted to give you the complete setup.  

August 5, 2017, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada



Case History


Julie Thomas

Hi Sue.  I don't have much to add to Heather's extensive, great ideas.  My QH (Ike) been in boots close to 24/7 since June 2020.  I have two pairs of Cloud boots with cushions for each pair.  When the weather is wet (snow or rain), I change them daily.  I take the cushions out of the boots, clean out the boots with the brush end of my hoof pick, and put them on a Peet boot dryer.  This ensures I have dry boots by the next day if I need them.  I also use Gold Bond foot powder in the boots.  When the weather is dry, I only change boots as needed (approximately 3-4 days).  The only time Ike doesn't wear his boots is when he is in the round pen; the sandy footing doesn't seem to bother his feet like the hard ground of the dry lot.  Weather permitting, I try to put him (and his buddy Sparky) in the round pen to play for 1-2 hours; the play is good exercise & Ike gets time out of his boots.
Julie Thomas
September 2018, Seabeck, WA
Case Histories:  .
Ike Photos:  .
Sparky Photos:  .

Deb Walker

Hi Sue. My horse has been in boots (or other devices we tried that failed) basically 24/7 since the fall of 2017. I agree that a spare pair is essential to have something dry when they get wet. Scotty has a very large open barn area just for him, so if the snow is deep, or it's icy, I just lock him in. At first I was meticulous about thoroughly cleaning every single day...after over 3 years...I've become more lax when it's dry out. I have not had any problem with the Clouds rubbing, although I have changed the padding to a Soft Ride or other type of pad. Once recovery has moved along, I don't like the idea of the raised heel wedges in the Clouds. I too use a generic version of Gold Bond at times, and if his feet have gotten wet, I use No More Thrush powder. My farrier tried Stratus boots a couple of times, with strict instructions for me NOT to remove them in between trims. They were very difficult to get on...the Clouds are super easy. Right now his spare pair are Soft Rides, and although they work, I do not like them as well as the Clouds.
Deb and Scotty I/R, PPID
Pecatonica Illinois, May 13, 2019
Case History:


We’ve used the cloud boots when needed. Spares are good to have when one is lost somewhere in the field. My boys play a lot when they are feeling good so we’ve had missing boots often. I always feel like I’ve found treasure when one has been found that was lost for a few weeks. 

I switched to corn starch instead of gold bond. It seems to be better for preventing rubs and it’s much cheaper. 

Terri Jennings with Teeny, Finn and Elliott
Arcata, CA
Joined 2019

Candice Piraino

Hi Sue!

I see you have received some great feedback by our members and their experiences. You could always try to add studs to your boots. EasyCare, Inc sells them as does ScootBoots. The ones from EasyCare are very easy to apply. You can always try to apply a couple at at a time to gauge how well Boss likes the extra "stick". Also, if you visit EasyCare's website- they have a blog with a lot of great articles from hoof care practitioners in regards to boots as well as from the owner Garrett.

When using boots, it is best if they are removed once a day to allow the feet to dry out as well as the boots. I always like to suggest cornstarch put in the boots to help with the added moisture. Sometimes it is best to have 2 pairs of boots on hand so you have adequate time for drying each set of boots.

Hope this helps you!

Candice Piraino

Primary Response Team

September 2018, Summerfield, FL

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