Those of us who follow the barefoot movement inevitably boot our horses. It may be for re-hab, it may be for competition, or it may be a horsekeeping overall strategy to boot the otherwise barefoot horse. Once you boot the necessity of cleaning those boots will become evident. Especially after a muddy ride. You’ve seen them, those boots caked with mud in every crack and crevice. The boot post-ride is a virtual breeding ground for bacteria.
I like to clean my horse’s hoof boots after every use. If I have time post-ride I’ll rinse those boots by sloshing them in a bucket first thing to get off the worst of the mud. Once I’m home and ready to clean her boots I gather up Pine-Sol, a small phillips head screwdriver, a soft wire brush for the velcro, a small stiff brush for scrubbing, a soft cloth and a spray bottle of Son of a Gun (or comparable product found in the automotive department).
First I mix up some warm water and a little Pine-Sol which will not only clean, but deodorize the boot. I use my small scrub brush to clean the outside of the velcro strap, the backs of the gaiters, and the treads on the shell of the boot. After I have all the residual mud off of the boots I use the screwdriver to snug up all of the screws on the gaiters, and yes folks they will loosen. Tightening the screws will prolong the life of your Easycare Easyboot Gloves and reduce the risk of those gaiters coming loose at an important moment…like during an endurance ride. Once that is done I set my washing machine on low water setting, and hot water. The boots are essentially clean at this point but I want to rinse out all the Pine-Sol from the gaiters. I let them gently slosh around about five minutes and spin the washer out. My boots are looking pretty good at this point. I put some paper towels inside the boot to soak up any water that did not come out on the spin cycle. Next step is to take the little soft wire brush and clean the velcro gently for any grass, fibers, or whatever that might have got in there. Lastly I spray the boot shell with Son of a Gun which is a product for your car’s dashboard, steering wheel, etc. I spray, and rub the shell with a damp cloth, let it dry, and repeat. The finished boot is clean, smells clean, and ready to hit the trail again.
Now if this seems like a lot of work for a boot that will soon be on the trail again, let me explain my reasoning. I want to avoid that nasty build up of stuff on my gaiters that could cause a rub in that delicate area above the heel bulbs and below the pastern joint. If you have a lot of grit and crap in those gaiters it would be similar to using a dirty girth, or saddling over a dirty back. Clean horse, clean gear is alway the best.
*Note in the pictures that the clean boot on the left has not been treated with Son of a Gun, and the hoof boot on the right has. If you have changed boot sizes and have some used boots for sale, this will make those old boots look almost new. ~E.G.