Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are Horses' Hooves Fatter in the Winter?

Today was the first opportunity I've had to try on those new EasyBoot Epics I got for Christmas. I had measured each hoof three times to assure that my measurements were accurate and I consulted the sizing chart provided for EasyBoots. Lostine's front hooves required a size 0, her hind hooves required a size 00, and Bombay's hind hooves required a size 0. I already had size 2 EasyBoots for Bombay's front hooves.

So, I tried a size 0 boot on each of Lostine's front hooves, and could not get them on for anything. I thought perhaps the gaiter was preventing the boot from being pushed on, but when I help the bottom of the boot up to Lostine's hoof, her hoof was slightly wider than the boot. I consulted the sizing chart again, and based on the width of her hoof, a size 00 (smaller than as size 0) should have fit it. It made no sense. I thought for sure the size 0 would fit on her hind hooves since they were smaller, but no, I couldn't wrangle them onto the hind hoofers either!

I pulled Bombay out of the paddock and tried it on his hind hooves, which were sized for a 0, and it was a no go. Out of desperation I pulled Gabbrielle out, and the boot popped right on for her. However, even with the cable in the tightest spot, it was loose and hanging. Argh! I really don't want to have to ship four EasyBoot Epics back for an exchange.

I started examining the horses' hoof measurements, because those size 2's fit Bombay's feet really well. The difference is that his front hooves are longer than they are wide. However, his hind hooves and all of Lostine's hooves are proportionate, meaning that they are the exact same width as their length. Maybe it's that round shape that causes the boots not to fit. I'm also wondering if the moisture that horses' hooves soak up in the winter months is enough to expand them to one size larger. Does anyone know? If there's a chance that the boots will fit come spring or summer, I'll hang onto them, because that is when I'll be using them.

Here's a picture of Gabbrielle looking proud in one boot. Note my neighbors' blinds angled in my direction.

Here you can see that the cable just hangs on her and does not wrap the boot around the top of her hoof. What's weird is that the bottom of the hoof fits nicely in the cup. Every horse's hoof is a different size and shape, so I'm sure it's impossible to make a boot that fits every horse. I think I'll go with Old Macs next time around.

I did get to ride Lostine today, but kept it down to a walk and trot because the ground is still a bit icy. She slipped while loping during lunging. I did some flexing, turning, pivoting, and side passing exercises. I was really pleased with her responsiveness. At times all I had to do was turn my head and look in the direction I wanted to go, and she would go there without any further cues. She only gave me some trouble when I tried to get her to make a tight turn and she kept pushing through her shoulder. I laid my foot against the outside shoulder that she was pushing through, but that didn't stop her. So, I switched my whip and laid it against her shoulder and tapped it lightly several times until she got the idea and made a clean turn.

I was really glad that my horses have good ground manners today. I kept doing stupid things that would have frightened most horses, like falling out of the trailer and landing on the ground at Lostine's feet. She just held still and looked at me with an amused expression. Later I was walking toward Bombay with his blanket spread out, ready to lay it across his back, and I tripped. I fell into him and threw the blanket against the wall behind him. He didn't even flinch and seemed bored with my clumsiness. Even Gabbrielle impressed me with her patience as I tried on that EasyBoot. She's had metal shoes before, but this was the first time I've worked one of those big black things onto her hoof. Anyway, I'm planning on trying the EasyBoot on Lostine again tomorrow. I was rushed today because it was getting dark. Maybe the EasyBoot fairy will shrink her hooves or expand the boot overnight while I sleep.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Can't help with the boot stuff. I've never used them. But I'd like to wish you and yours a Happy Healthy New Year.

Mrs Mom said...

Hey NM- Check your wires. Dear Husband peeped over my shoulder real quick, and said that the wires in front need to run down through the groove on the very top metal piece. (There isa "V" in there specifically for that.) The wires go up, through the gap, and then to either side. That will take about a 1/4" of that slack out of your way, and snug down the boot properly.

As to that handsome geldings hooves--- longer than they are wide? Rings a bell with me, that caution needs to be used here, and possibly an adjustment in the way he is being trimmed.

Happy, HAPPY New Year to you and your wonderful family, and may 2009 see fit to bring you peace, prosperity, abundant and boundless joy and health! Been Great getting to "know" you this year!

Mrs Mom said...

PS-- May your Crazy, Weirdo Neighbors who frankly make alarm bells go off in my head find somewhere else to turn their attentions to, and leave YOU alone for a change!!!!

Bloody Nut Jobs... bless your patience. I would have found some way by now to really be aggravating right back at them....

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Mom - Your hubby is right! I spaced that in my rush to beat the sunset. Even if they fit Gabbrielle, I don't know if I'll keep them because she's still growing and it will be a while before she hits the trails. I might try some Crisco to see if I can squeeze it on Lostine. It sounds like the hooves should be as wide as they are long. Thanks.

Rising Rainbow said...

What runs through my mind about the boots is where in the growth cycle (after a trim) were you when you measured and where are you now? Because as the hoof grows down it spreads out some between that and more moisture in the winter months you can get a small amount larger measurement on some horses, believe it or not. LOL

And as for the silly things like falling while holding up blankets etc, sounds like me!

I'm with Mrs Mom about the neighbors BTW. Just thought I'd add my two cents worth. LOL

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gosh, girl, you're making me nervous with all your stumbles and stuff. We can't have you getting hurt now, too, eh?

Your horses must know you very well and know they can trust that you're not going to hurt them, too.

Weird that the shoes aren't fitting. I hope you can get it figured out so you won't have to go through the hassle of returning them.

Gabbrielle is just so pretty in that photo.

Happy New Year!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

RR - EasyBoot advises that you measure your horse's hooves right after a trim. That made no sense to me, so I measured them at different phases after the trim. Right now it has been 4 weeks since their last trim.

fernvalley01 said...

I know the easy boots I have used have been any thing but "easy" to put on and sometimes you have to wiggle things around .then when you get them on they fit well but develop a suction at the bottom and can be rotten to get off. If there is another brand out there tat is easier....

Victoria Cummings said...

NM -Happy New Year to you and your family and your beautiful herd!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

that's an interesting question. RR is most likely correct, they expand a bit with moisture retention. Also, the sizing time of the hoof growth- how soon after a trim, I wonder why they recommend freshly trimmed when the horses feet will grow larger?

NM- ya gotta be more careful and lay off the spirits... or maybe partake.

Mrs Mom said...

Fernvalley- the Boa boots are pretty easy to apply and use, and hold up REALLY well, as do Old Macs. Might be worth looking into!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Fantastyk - LOL. I think it was all the cold medication I've been chugging these past few weeks. I just start walking out of the trailer and forget that there's a big step down.