Hoof boots for fox hunting

I see there are some old posts on this topic but wanted to revive it given all the new products that have come out in the last 10 years. We are just recovering from a horrible 4 months where I pulled shoes on my 20 year old veteran field hunter only to end up with winter laminitis secondary to aggressive farrier trimming. He is gradually getting used to being barefoot in his stall opening to run at night and hoof boots (Easyboot Fury Sling) for turnout during the day. We have a lot of rocks around here. I have a five year old with great feet who was raised on the rocks, has never been shod and tolerated some trail rides last summer pretty well. After the experience this winter with the veteran I am reluctant to put shoes on the youngster for the first time if it is only going to result in the kind of problems I’ve had with the older horse.

So far I have had the best luck galloping the veteran in Easyboot Gloves but use the Slings for daily turnout because the velcro and neoprene on the Gloves never dry out in the Pacific Northwest. However the Gloves have been the most secure so far. I recently tried Scoot Boots but they were an expensive fail as they twisted around after only 5 minutes on the longe line.

I have not yet actually hunted in hoof boots and wondered what others’ experience has been? I know there are a lot of posts on the endurance board but am wondering specifically about people’s experience with jumping in the field.

Sue

Hi Sue. I have hunted in scoot boots on a thoroughbred once or twice. Scoot boots fit one shape of hoof and they need to fit perfectly, or else you will lose them. I found them to be a pain in the behind to get on and off, though I have read this becomes easier. I am not sure at what point, but that is what “they” say, haha. I opted to put shoes on her because I did end up losing the Scoot boots twice on trail rides and knew if it ever happened on a hunt there would be no way I would find it again. I now have two non-thoroughbreds that I recently purchased Flex Boots for. I have yet to take them through aggressive footing at speed but I like them quite a bit. I wonder about putting something like these on, with bell boots, and wrapping the connections up with black duct tape before a hunt.

Good luck.

I used Old Mac’s several years ago. The big thing to understand is that if the boot gets loose and needs to come off, you’re kinda in a pickle. This happened to me and I was fortunate that I was hilltopping. We got to a point where I could get off, take them off (leave then on the side of a road), then get back on and continue. A faster field would have been more problematic. It sounds like yours fit your hose well, but just consider the terrain you would be covering, as well as pace.

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I used Scoot Boots while my two horses were getting used to being barefoot. It wasn’t the jumping that pulled them off consistently…it was running through tall thick grass! We are barefoot 100% now and I don’t use the boots anymore. I’ve seen another foxhunter use Scoots and she didn’t have problems that I know of. They do need to fit just right. I used them for rehabbing my mare’s coffin bone fracture instead of eggbar shoes (she just kept losing shoes and I was so done) and in the beginning I had to get her used to them as they rubbed on the heel bulb. I got very used to taking them on and off during that build up. :wink: After she got used to them they only came off inadvertently in turnout once or twice in 2+ months with 24/7 wear in very deep mud. I did use the mud straps when hunting and they seemed to help but were no match for tall thick grass apparently.

My horses are out 24/7 on (unfortunately for environmental conditioning) gentle flat land so I do some regular asphalt driveway conditioning (10-20 min) and in the entry of the non-bedded feeding stall I throw all rocks from the dirt arena so they have to step over a rocky area regularly. Yesterday the mare trotted in to that stall full force on the rocks and a year or so ago she would refuse to walk a rocky creek bed so I’m very happy with her progress.

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If you can’t find any boots that work, you might want to look at Epona glue-on shoes. More flexible than metal and more durable than hoof boots, with the right hoof care professional, they can make a world of difference. Good luck!