Last week I received the following question: “Do you have a boot that is one size fits all?”
After suppressing my urge to giggle, I answered that unfortunately we do not. Horses come in so many shapes and sizes that I can’t think of a single piece of tack that is one size fits all – that would be too easy. Whether it is your saddle, your bit, or your boots, fit is crucial to keeping you and your horse happy. When I receive interest from potential boot users, the first question I ask is if they have the horse’s hoof measurements available. Although I love hearing about a horse’s age, breed, color, height, and weight, those attributes do not help me determine the ideal boot style or size.
“Will these boots stay on?”
Yes, but only if the fit is correct. Fit is the number one criterion for determining the best boot for your horse. The different boot styles will have different sole shapes – this is why hoof measurements are the starting point. Since horses often have variations in hoof size, each hoof that will be booted needs to be measured. Measurements should be taken after a fresh trim. If they are taken later in the trim cycle, it is likely the boots ordered will be too large which increases the chances of boot loss and boot rubs. Regardless of the boot you are interested in, metric measurements are preferable because they are more precise. If you are considering the Easyboot Glove, you have to use metric since the size charts are in millimeters only. Measuring in inches and converting to millimeters will render the measurement process inaccurate. For the Glove we also recommend getting a Fit Kit to save you the hassle and wasted time of buying and returning multiple boots.
Identifying the heel buttresses (green) is necessary to get an accurate length measurement.
“How do I measure?”
The EasyCare website has a wonderful Education tab and this question is one of the topics discussed. Many people have no problem measuring the widest part of the hoof but the length measurement (toe to heel buttress line) is a bit trickier. Quite often, people measure past the heel buttress line and include the heel bulbs. To determine where the heel buttress line is you must first determine where the heel buttresses are (in the photo above they are outlined in green). When you pick up your horse’s foot, follow the collateral grooves along the sides of the frog which make a “V” (outlined in orange). At the top of the “V” look on either side and notice that the hoof wall curves inward towards the bar. These points are the heel buttresses, the last weight bearing part of the hoof. When you have located them, draw an imaginary line across the back of the foot (dashed red line) and measure from that line to the toe. Once you have your measurements, the EasyCare customer service team will be happy to help you select the ideal boot style and size.
As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I have plenty of hands on experience since my horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.