How do I know if I've got the right size of hoof boot?
If the boot is the right size it should just snap on to the hoof easily. You should not have to force it on. If the boot is rotating independently from the horse’s hoof, it is too big. Wiggle room is fine as it will allow the hoof to expand during weight bearing and movement. Always break the boots in gently as you would with your own shoes. We suggest just 20 minutes initially and to build up over time. Pastern wraps can help with the breaking in process as can keeping the boots softened with leather dressing.
What size of Cavallos should I get for my horse?
Always measure the hoof after a fresh trim and do not include the heel bulb in this measurement - a common mistake. To find the right size of Cavallo hoof boots you need to measure from toe to buttress line (where the horn curves back to the frog). Stay within the hoof size range on the chart as space for growth between trims has been allowed.
Although you only need the weight bearing length to determine size, it is also a good idea to check the hoof width at the widest point. This helps establish if you need regular or slim fit hoof boots. Measure each hoof separately as they can vary in size. (If you've got different sized hooves it may be worth considering the Cavallo Trek or ELB hoof boots as these designs are available in singles.)
The regular hoof boot in any style across the Cavallo range will fit a hoof where the width exceeds the length by up to one size, but may not be suitable where the hoof has excessive flare. It is perfect when the hoof is the same length and width.
The Slim fit hoof boot across the range is the same length as the regular boot but is 5mm narrower, so is suitable for the narrower hoof. It is often the choice for the hind hooves.
When trying on hoof boots for the first time we suggest that this is done on a clean dry surface and that the hoof is covered with a plastic bag or clingfilm to keep the boots clean and dry.
- The entire weight bearing wall from front of toe to heel buttress should sit within the boot outsole
- The boot tongue should be pushed against the hoof, the outer flaps drawn firmly around pressing the Velcro on the flaps against the Velcro on the tongue keeping the outer cover taut and level
- If the boots twist excessively it may mean they are too big or that the outer cover is too loosely fastened
- If you find it hard to get the boot on, it is probably too small. The hoof boot should just “snap” on for a good fit
- Pastern wraps can be used to assist with the breaking in process and to prevent chaffing
- Gel pads are great if the hoof is sensitive for extra comfort or to help tighten up the boot if slightly loose after a fresh trim
- Once fitted if the boot straps are too long then you can cut to size leaving a line of stitching to prevent unravelling – only applies to Simple boots - each pair of Simple boots comes with a little bag of keepers to help prevent the straps from flapping.
How long do Cavallo hoof boots last?
This can vary depending upon a number of things such as frequency of use, the sort of ground you are riding on, frequency of trims and so on. In the average situation if you take care of your boots you should expect them to last between one and two years. They are more economical than metal shoes and provide more comfort and freedom for your horses's feet.
Are Cavallo Hoof Boots just for front feet?
Cavallo hoof boots can be used on either front or hind hooves. Most of the weight bearing for the horse is on the front (70%) and conditions such as navicular, laminitis, abscessing and bruising more commonly affect the front hooves too.
A lot depends on the horse and how well his hooves are conditioned to the terrain. A good plan is to start with the front and monitor how things go. If you do need boots for the hind hooves, ensure you measure separately as they will probably be a different size and shape to the front. We find that the slim are sometimes a better fit for the hind.
Should I buy Simple, Sport, Trek or Entry Level (ELB) hoof boots for my horse?
The Cavallo Simple hoof boot is the all terrain, multi-purpose “hiking boot” if you like. It has a full leather upper. The Sport hoof boot is the lighter “action” boot with a built in break-over and heel skid break. It’s slightly lighter than the Simple boot and has reflective piping to increase visibility. The Trek is our 'top of the range' boot. It is made of TPU and sold in singles. The very affordable ELB is our latest addition. It is the lightest boot in the range with a lovely deep tread on the regular and slim soles. It is starting to become our most popular boot.
Both the Trek and the ELB have Cavallo’s signature front opening system and both have built in drainage and a soft foam filled leather collar with back-flap bulb protection.
For hooves that are as wide as long go for regular fit. For hooves that are long and narrow go for slim fit.
How long can Cavallo hoof boots be worn at any one time?
Cavallo hoof boots are like your own shoes – they become more comfortable over time. Keep the leather supple by using a good leather conditioner such as Horseman’s One Step. Break the boots in over time. We suggest wearing them for no more than 20 minutes to start with and gradually increasing the time whilst monitoring hoof comfort.
Cavallos can be worn for extended periods of time once fully broken in and once the horse has become used to them. Boot usage should continually be monitored and boots should always be removed daily to check there are no problems developing. Pastern wraps can be used to help prevent chaffing and to stop debris getting into the boot particularly if you have a fine boned horse or pony.
If you notice excessive wear or any foot problems, remove the boots immediately.
Can I use Cavallo boots on top of metal shoes?
Many people do use Cavallos on top of metal shoes, although they are really designed to be used for the barefoot horse. When used over metal shoes the Cavallo boot TPU (thermo plastic urethane) sole can help absorb shock and can help prevent bruising during transportation or whilst working on hard surfaces.
Unfortunately the Cavallo guarantee is void for usage over shoes.
What other uses are there for Cavallo hoof boots?
Cavallo boots are designed for the barefoot horse for riding in. However Horse and More does hear of Cavallos being successfully used for other purposes. We ourselves have used the boots for our youngster during loading to prevent damage to her hooves as she has a tendency to catch them on the ramp. We have also used them when our horses have had foot abscesses. The boots in this situation have been used both during turnout and in the stable and last winter they were the only successful way of keeping a poultice in place. Boots are used to help horses with tender feet travel across stony ground even if it is just between the stable and the paddock. We also know of a top show jumper who wears Cavallo hoof boots during turnout to help prevent him pulling off his shoes.
Clearly with any of these alternative uses you need to monitor carefully yourself.
Can studs be used with Simple boots?
Most riders in the UK do not use studs in their Cavallo boots and Cavallo’s own studs are not available in the UK. Riders do use a variety of studs, particularly in other countries and if you do decide to use studs to increase traction you must take care to ensure they do not extend through the sole of the boot and cause discomfort. The warranty would not cover use of studs.
Are Cavallo Boots good for Laminitics and horses with Navicular Disease?
Cavallos are often chosen for horses or ponies suffering from detrimental hoof conditions such as Laminitis or Navicular Disease. They provide comfort for the horse and will encourage movement and promote blood circulation. In these situations we would recommend gel pads are also used.
Will Cavallos fit my Shetland?
Cavallo are introducing a new Cute Little Boot for Shetlands and other tiny feet in October 2016.