The horsey media has been all abuzz about hoofwear as of late. David Wilson of Flying High Stables recently submitted a request for a USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) rule change that would allow for hoof boots in USEA (United States Eventing Association) dressage phases. The current rule is written in ambiguous language that prohibits the use of boots of any kind. No distinction has been made between boots as leg protection and boots as hoofwear or hoof protection. This kind of ambiguity is consistent across disciplines.
The proposed rule change reads EV115 (Saddlery) section 2E: “Any type of horse footwear (hoofwear) is permitted, provided all components of the hoofwear are either permanently attached to the hoof or are integral to a covering of the bottom of the hoof and the holding of that covering in place.”
The proposal will be up for review and go before the Board of Directors at the USEF Annual Meeting which takes place in January 2016. Members of USEF may login to their account and make comments about the proposed rule change under the rule changes page.
All that buzz inspired me to reach out to our governing bodies to compile a list of where hoof boots are legal in competition and where they aren't. It is by no means comprehensive and exhibitors should check with show management to be safe, but here is what I found:
The fine line between permissible and prohibited boils down to semantics. It's not that these organizations are against the use of hoof boots such as the Easyboot Glove in competition, rather that hoofwear was never considered when the rules were written.
EasyCare has changed the game when it comes to hoof protection and continues to actively develop novel approaches to hoof care. Our Glue On Boots and EasyShoes are currently permitted for competition in any discipline and our new Cloud boots can be seen outside the ring at shows all over the country. It is an exciting time to be in the horse industry and see our products breaking into the mainstream. I for one would love to see hoof boots allowed in all show rings across disciplines. Let's work together to keep our competition horses sound and performing their best for years to come!
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A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.