There are now quite a few versions of hoof protection on the market. I have tried several, but I prefer the original Easyboot for ease of application, dependability, and the lowest chance of boot loss. Experienced endurance riders using boots instead of shoes may have a different opinion on which boots they prefer. Since I am now just a dressage rider who does some trail rides, I don't need a different boot. And in fact, MANY endurance riders are sticking with the tried and true original Easyboot as well.
Okay ... what they heck are they anyway? An Easyboot is a rubber "tennis shoe" that slides over a bare hoof, or a shod hoof, to protect the hoof wall and sole from chips and bruises. There is a rubber strap inside the boot that is pulled up over the horse's heel bulbs. A cable is clamped down across the front of the boot much like shoe laces. This photo shows the boot set at ultimate tension. The cable is looped in a figure eight over the top guide, and then clamped on the lowest hole. When applied correctly, a horse can walk, trot, and canter with ease. This boot is so snugly fitted that it would be very difficult to slip even a piece of paper in at the top!
The inside of the boot has a small row of "teeth" on each side that grip the hoof wall making it difficult for the boot to pop off. New boots come with a plastic clip to cover the teeth if you don't want them to engage. Because my boots are used over barefoot and shod hooves, I use Vetwrap over the bare hoof to tighten the fit and to protect the hoof wall from the teeth inside the boot. I use approximately a half roll of Vetwrap per hoof.
Boots are sold based on the width and length of the hoof. If you plan to use them only when a shoe is pulled, you'll need to measure the hoof to determine how wide and long the hoof is without the shoe. My horses all have worn the same size boot whether shod or barefoot, but if the boot fits very tight on a barefoot hoof, it will be very difficult to use over a shod hoof.
For more information about Easyboots, including pricing, videos, how to apply the boots, FAQs, and where to purchase the boots, click here. By the way, the red boots are really hard to find, but they're a lot easier to see when they're on the hoof. Virtually all Easyboots sold are black.