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So, Which Boot do I Choose?
Posted by Peter Ward on 5/19/2011 to Boot Information

Decisions, decisions ......

Glove                 Glue-On             Trail

So you've looked at the Easyboot SA selection and are at best unsure and maybe just plain confused. You are faced with choosing between three hoof boot types, viz. Glove, Glue-On and Trail. Take heart because you are not alone in your indecision. Using hoof boots is a relatively new and fast developing subject about which not much is known by the broader riding community. This article will help you choose the correct boots on the basis of how you intend to use them.

First a bit about the boots

If you look at the Gloves and Glue-Ons you will notice that they are similar. They are in fact the same except for the gaiters. So Gloves are Glue-Ons with gaiters. In fact, if you wanted to turn Glue-Ons into Gloves you can do so by ordering the gaiters separately.

The Trails however, are a different design completely. They do not look at all like the others.

All three boot types have different fastening systems:-

  • Gloves use friction, elasticity and gaiters

  • Glue-Ons use one or two types of glue, depending on who is doing it

  • Trails use wrap-around Velcro straps

Competitive or Recreational

This is the most important part of the decision. By competitive we mean long-distance rides through varying kinds of terrain that are judged or monitored to determine whether the horse is sound enough to continue, even at the end. This includes Endurance and Competitive Trail Riding.

Recreational riding would include all other types of riding, often including training for competition.

Distance and Speed

The Trail boot comes with a statement that it is for riders who intend to do no more than 40 kilometres per week. This is a clear positioning statement from Easycare Inc who have developed and tested the boot. Of course, you will want to know what happens when you do 41 km, and the answer is “not much”. However, if you asked the same question about riding 80 km in Trails the answer would likely be “quite a lot”. There are two reasons why the Trail is not intended for horses that do longer distances.

Firstly, the Trail fastens around the pastern (hair and soft tissue) so it more likely to chafe than the other boot fastening systems. Note however that this can be prevented through the use of pastern gaiters.

Secondly, the 'break over” of the Trail is further forward than the other types. In effect, it is designed for work at slower speeds. If it was used in an Endurance race of 80 km at a typical speed of 15 km/hour, it would not be as comfortable for the horse compared to using Gloves or Glue-Ons.

Gloves & Glue-Ons

These are the same except for the fastening system. They are both high-performance boots designed for long distance and speed. Gloves are, by a country mile, easier to put on and take off than Glue-Ons. On the other hand, Glue-Ons are far more likely to stay in place through thick and thin, for a number of days. Anyone can put on and remove a set of Gloves with a modicum of instruction. Applying Glue-Ons takes far more knowledge and experience but the knowledge is available and is quite within the capability of the average Joe and Jill who wants to take their horse to the ultimate level.

Some riders restrict their use of Glue-Ons to multi-day events or unusually long or important rides, using Gloves for the run-of-the-mill rides e.g. 80 km. This is due to the longer set up time for Glue-Ons and the cleaning out of the glue residue so that the boots can be reused.

So finally, what do I choose?

Hopefully you are now able to make your choice in a more informed manner. If you are strictly recreational and do not intend to use the boots for more than 40 km per week, Trails are for you.

If you are competitive e.g. Endurance, you may wish to start with Gloves. The more competitive you become, the more you will want and need Glue-Ons. For your training rides you will probably want a set of Trails too. That sounds like a lot of boots but compare it to the cost of shoeing every six weeks, remembering that you are expecting to get up to 1500 km from a boot. Boots are an investment while shoeing is a straight cost. And always remember why you choose the barefoot lifestyle for your horse in the first place.

Peter Ward


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