One of my favorite boots is the Original Easyboot.
When properly fitted, nothing beats this little gem for below the hair-line hoof protection.
I’ve found a great way to use them for protecting laminitic, arthritic or just plain ouchy hooves for extended periods of time.
Here’s what you need:
1. An Original Easyboot with a 6mm or 12mm Comfort Pad inserted, and the pull strap in place. If you don't normally pad these boots, please ensure beforehand that your horse’s hooves fit into the boot with the added Comfort Pad. It DOES take up a bit more room.
2. Duct tape
3. Baby powder or medicated powder such as Gold Bond, or generic equivalent.
4. 1/3 of a "Certainty" Walgreens brand (or any brand) Thick absorbent pad
5. Hoof pick
6. Wire brush
7. Clean towel
When working with the hooves of a Laminitic horse, an arthritic horse, or any horse who is experiencing pain in the hoof or leg, it’s important to be organized and to have everything you need within arm’s reach. Many times these horses have difficulty holding their hoof up for more than a few seconds at a time, so line out your supplies, and stage them for convenience.
If you are going to start with the LEFT hoof, put a nice, comfortable well-padded boot such as the Cloud, the Easyboot Rx or the Transition on the RIGHT hoof to provide the maximum amount of comfort for your horse during the prep, trimming and/or booting process. He will more likely be able to hold it up longer for you.
Little things like having your duct tape pre-peeled with the end sticking up so it’s easy to grab can make all the difference in the world. Every second counts when you are dealing with an animal in pain. Allow the horse to rest between steps if necessary. Steps 2, 3, & 4 should be done in succession, so practice! Do a dry-run so you can streamline your method.
1. Thoroughly pick and clean the hoof with a wire brush and set it down on the towel. Allow the animal to rest if necessary before moving to the next step.
2. Pick up the hoof again and wrap the duct tape around the outside solar perimeter twice or more, keeping the tape so it extends half-way off the edge of the hoof. The tape not only holds the absorbent pad in place, it gives the gripper teeth added grabbing power.
3. Squirt some powder onto the sole, place the piece of adult pad over the powdered sole with the fluffy absorbent side against the sole, and the side with the adhesive strip facing out. These pads do not add excess bulk to the foot bed but do provide excellent absorption.
Fold the duct tape down onto the pad all around the perimeter so it holds it.
Do not remove the adhesive strip backing when using these absorbent pads with this type of application of the original Easyboot, but DO with other boot applications such as the Easyboot Rx, where you simply stick the pad down into the bottom of the boot, back towards the heel. The adhesive helps prevent the toe from catching and dragging the pad forward while you apply the boot.
4. Install your Easyboot on the hoof and place the hoof down on the ground, ensuring the heel strap is seated properly behind the heel using the black fabric pull strap.
5. Remove the pull strap and secure the boot with the buckle in front.
VIOLA! You have a clean, safe, supportive environment for your horse’s hooves.
With this method and in good weather, these boots can stay on for at least 2 days. I would not keep them on any longer than that,especially in rainy or wet conditions, A horse’s hooves seem to respond in a positive way when given a break and a change of footwear, so having a second set of boots is always a good idea.
Another tip I've learned from experience is to establish a left and right boot from the very beginning if possible, no matter which style boot you use. This will allow each boot to conform over time to the specific shape and biomechanics of the individual limb and hoof. Thus, the fit will not only improve as they wear, they are more likely to have better staying power on the hoof.
Most horse’s hooves are not identical. That's another good reason to always have a left and a right. Take note of your horse's grazing pattern. The hoof that he reaches forward with is usually longer and has a low heel, while the one he keeps beneath him may have a steeper dorsal wall angle (sometimes dished) and may have a higher heel. The more upright hoof may need a smaller size boot. This is why it is so important to carefully measure each hoof you wish to boot. Never assume they are the same size.
If you keep these helpful hints in mind, you can feel confident knowing your horses hooves will be clean, dry and comfortable for extended wear.
Originally from New England, I finally heeded the advice of my inner cowgirl, packed up my horses and moved west to Arizona. Here I learned the finer points of hoofcare and successful booting techniques. I can help you select the right EasyCare product for your specific needs.