Thursday, February 14, 2008

These Boots are Made for Everything

Hoof boots allow a barefooted horse to ride out like a shod horse, with the sensitive frog of the hoof protected from uneven ground. After conditioning on hard and rocky surfaces many barefoot horses can ride out without any protection, but the soles of Tonka's front feet have been compromised by the founder and everyone agrees they should be booted for the time being. There are MANY options available. The most popular seems to be the EasyBoot in one of its multiple forms, but several reports suggest that "easy" is a misnomer. Furthermore, they are molded for horses with a correct heel, and the back strap is known to chafe on those that are under run (like Tonka's). Another option is the Cavallo Simple Boot, also purportedly not so "simple" and I'm leery of velcro being used for this particular application. Christina recommended Old Macs G2 as durable and easy-to-fit, but Tonka measures a size 9 for the right hoof and a size 7 for the left, meaning that I would need to buy two pairs (at $150 + shipping). In my online searching I came across the Marquis Supergrip. These boots are sized on width alone, and they use an air bladder to ensure a good fit through the length, which I think is ideal for Tonka's wide and short hoofs. A single pair of Marquis(es?) will cost the same as two pairs of the Old Macs, but I can order them in mismatched sizes. Unlike other boots on the market all parts can be replaced as they break/wear out so there is no need to buy a whole new boot at regular intervals. What really intrigues me is that Marquis provides rentals. For $75 I can try a pair for two weeks, and the cost will be credited towards my purchase if I decide to buy. That kind of design, forethought and customer service has me pretty excited to order a rental pair tomorrow.

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