Submitted by Jean Welch, EasyCare Customer Service Representative
If you spend any time with horses, you’re probably familiar with the haysock phenomenon. Somehow a piece of hay finds its way into your boot and pokes you in the foot. It’s irritating, and if you don’t take the time to remove it, it can cause a sore spot on your foot. This in turn can cause you to adjust your stride so as to avoid being poked by the hay with every step. It’s the same with hoof boots. You know stuff is bound to get in the boot or stuck to the gaiter and make your horse uncomfortable.
Cleaning, inspecting, and staging your hoof boots after every use is a good habit to get into. It may sound laborious at first, but don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as an opportunity to provide your horse with a more comfortable and safe riding experience every time you hit the trail. You can ride on confidently knowing your screws are tight, your boots are clean and secure, and your horse is comfortable.
Dirt, sweat, and body oils can be abrasive and acidic to man-made materials such as rubber, polyurethane, and fabric. Removing this stuff from your boots immediately after use will help prevent them from embedding into your boots, possibly causing the fibers in the gaiter fabric to break down and un-necessary extra wear.
You wouldn’t dream of wearing the same socks day after day without washing them. Once again, the same goes for your horses’ hoof boots.
All you need to get the job done is a hoof pick, a good stiff-bristled brush, and possibly some tweezers.
I also like to set up a bucket of water with a little disinfectant added before I ride. Then when I get back, I pull the boots off and simply drop them into the bucket and let them soak while I put my horses up. Then I give them a good once over, making sure the stitching is in-tact, the hook and loop closures are clean, and the screws are tight.
If your boot has a gaiter such as the Easyboot Epic, Easyboot Glove or Back Country, visually and also manually inspect every inch of surface that comes into contact with his hoof, hairline, and pastern area. It’s easy to miss a sticker just by looking.
It’s important to make sure your boots are thoroughly dry before putting them back on your horse. Set them out with the gaiters wide open and peeled back as far as possible to allow them to air dry. If you live in a cold climate, bring them in where it’s warm. They will dry faster and will be much easier to put on later if they’re warm.
Cleaning and staging your boots after every use has another advantage. It promotes more spontaneity by making the decision to ride easier. It significantly reduces prep time, especially in this day and age when everyone is busy multi-tasking, and riding time is at a premium. If your boots are ready and waiting for you, you’ll be more likely to grab them and go when the mood strikes you.
Make this preventive maintenance part of your routine, and you and your horse will enjoy many comfortable rides for years to come.
Customer Service Representative
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 hoof care and successful booting techniques. I can help you select the right EasyCare product for your specific needs.