Saturday, June 7, 2008

These boots are made for walkin' and trottin' and lopin'

I’ve posted a few pictures lately of Lyle wearing his sneakers, a.k.a. hoof boots...hiking boots...Old Mac G2s. Some inquiring minds out there have asked some questions.

We LOVE our Old Mac G2s. They helped Lyle recover from a series of bad trimmings, subsequent to his summer of laminitis (click here for that story).

I keep both my horses barefoot. Neither is ridden hard enough or often enough to need the protection of traditional horseshoes. My ranch and their pastures are rock free, and I can avoid riding on rocks when we leave the property. So why pound nails into their feet if I don’t have to?

But being the over-cautious owner that I am, I still make Lyle wear his boots whenever we ride. They don’t get in his way, they do no harm, and they provide his soles with a nice layer of protection. Other horses might laugh at the ‘horse in the tennis shoes’ as we pass by, but Lyle can handle it. A lack of self-esteem is not one of his issues.

Easy Care is the company that offers the original Old Mac boots, the Old Mac G2s, Easyboots, and Boa Boots. Their website is full of educational materials on the boots and barefoot horses. You can buy boots directly from Easy Care, though I bought Lyle’s from Valley Vet, since their price was better.

I love the G2s for many reasons. They fit very well – just make sure you follow the directions on how to measure your horse’s hooves so that you get the right size. They are amazingly durable. They are easy to put on, and they stay on.

Here’s how they work. (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)

The hoof bottoms have a lot of tread - they are made of very hard rubber.

The outer boot has a leather, padded cuff and sides that wrap around the hoof.

Pick up the hoof and clean it out as you normally would.

Slip the hoof into the boot. (The boots are marked left and right - make sure you’ve got the correct one.)

Twist the boot back and forth a little to make sure the hoof has slid in all the way.

Set the hoof back down, and pick up the inside strap.

Slip the strap into the metal ring and fold it back over itself - there’s velcro to hold it in place.

The outer covering wraps around the hoof and overlaps at the back - again, there’s velcro to hold it in place.

Buckle the outer leather strap around the whole boot.

And there you have it.

Did you know Lyle had only three legs? Kidding. He lifted up his other front foot just as I snapped this picture.


  1. Nice informative post. Lyle could have a new job as a shoe model, he's very well behaved and has a very photogenic leg. We've used Easy boots before but never took them out riding in them, it's good to hear they work.

  2. Hoof boots can be lifesavers and useful for so many different things.

    I have a pair of the Easycare Epics for Keil Bay, which I use sometimes if the arena gets hard and he starts landing on his toes up front.

    All my horses are barefoot too, and we actually try to create different terrains for them to allow the feet to stay healthy.

    Screenings in the arena, a dry lot paddock, gravel in our driveway, etc. My next footing adventure is making pea gravel areas for yet another "terrain."

    The Old Macs look easier to put on that the Epics - but my trimmer felt they would fit Keil Bay's particular feet better, so... it took some effort to get them on the first few times, but it got easier!

  3. I'm learning all kinds of things about horses from your site. I share my newly acquired knowledge with my horse-owning neighbor, who chuckles at my pre-blog ignorance *grin*.

  4. Lyle as a shoe that's funny! But maybe not.

    Six months ago, these pictures would not have been possible. I could work at making Lyle stand still, but he would never do so willingly. Last time we were at the vet, the vet asked the farrier, "how is he to trim?" The farrier said, "he's a busy boy." Had I not been standing there, he probably would have said "he's a butthead." The vet says to the vet tech every time we're there for x-rays, "Lyle on drugs is a good thing."

    Well, during our last visit, Lyle surprised everyone and didn't require any tranquilizers to stand quietly on the x-ray blocks. And he didn't snatch the farrier's hat, or bite his butt, or steal his wallet.

    Something has changed. It's like Lyle has taken a maturity pill. Or maybe it's just a dose of two little burros. Whatever it is, I'm lovin' it!

  5. Oh wow! Thanks for sharing the info about the Easy Boots, and for showing how they go on. I've learned so much reading this today!

    And Lyle would make a terrific horse hoof model. He does have nice legs, I agree...the one front leg view is a bit creepy, though. heheh

    I've read that donkeys are sometimes kept to help gentle horses. I wonder if that is what is happening with George and Alan with Lyle?

    Thanks again. I think I will be buying a pair for my mare's front feet soon.

  6. I'm glad you wrote this post. I rarely shoe my horses because I only ride them on soft DG, but one time when my gelding got a deep hoof crack my vet chewed me out and said I needed to keep shoes on him at all times. That made no sense to me. I don't like metal shoes for a lot of reasons and have contemplated getting these rubber boots. However, I've read that they should only be used like spare tires when a horse throws a metal shoe. If I got them, I would use them as the primary shoes. It's good to know they work for you.