What you need to know
Right now, we’re approaching Winter, the seasons are changing, and so are your horse’s hooves. If you’re in a slightly damper climb as we are in Ireland, you do get used to the rain, but there is still a distinct growth in rainfall from November onwards.
This time of year, my Summer customers tend to get in touch looking for advice as they notice changes within the fit of their hoof boots. Why could this be? It is mainly due to the change in weather, diet and lifestyle of the horse as important factors. I will share how this can affect your hoof boot fit and some tips on what you can do to help.
Hooves are amazing at adapting to their environment, and Autumn/Winter is no different. With all the rain, if your horse has access to turnout (which I actively encourage), then their hooves will be soaking up lots of moisture from the grass, mud and puddles. Did you know that hooves expand when they take on moisture and reduce again when dry? A little bit like a sponge. This can often present as a difficulty when coming to putting on boots that have been fitted in Sumer as the hooves have expanded means our hoof boots might be a little on the tight side.
Before riding, bring your horse into a dry area with bedding, such as a shelter or stall. The bedding will soak up some of the moisture, so after an hour, the hooves will be much drier and easier to work with when fitting boots.
Using a moisturiser or barrier cream once the hooves have dried a little will ensure the hooves don’t take on too much moisture but also don’t dry out. I personally opt for Parkers Equine hoof balm.
Plastics such as TPU can expand in heat and contract in the cold. When you pair this with an already wet hoof, it’s easy to see why this combination could lead to a tighter fit. Similarly, if you have boots fitted in Winter, they may be a little on the smaller side in Summer. Of course, there are other factors around hoof changes, and I’ll explore these in further blogs.
Maintain boots in a cool, dry environment, out of the freezing cold. Boots stored in a brick or metal shed, for example, would be much colder in Winter and could contract. Bring your boots home from the yard and store in the house. However, please don’t put them on or near radiators, and keep them out in direct sunlight, as this could damage the boots.
If you can’t or don’t want to take the boots home, you can gently heat them by immersing them in warm water for a few minutes (not too hot!). I would only recommend this with Scoot Boots.
So there you have a few tips to help you deal with maintaining a perfect fit even in winter. If you’ve bought boots from me and would like help with your fit, I am here for you! Just pop me a message or a text.
Happy Hoof Booting!