Hoof Boots FAQ
Not all brands of hoof boots stay on during rough conditions, water, snow, and mud. As Cavallo Boots creator and President, I took on this problem by designing our horse hoof boots to mimic the natural shape of horses’ hooves. The conical shape boots, held in place by industrial-strength Velcro, helps prevent boots from coming off when sized and fitted well. Therefore Cavallo Boots have ultimate staying-power.
Cavallo Boots enclose the entire hoof and protect the bulb area as well. Both the tongue—which can be adjusted to the angle of the hoof—and the soft leather collar serve to hold the boot in place, even on a less-than-perfect hoof. In short, Cavallos stay, on almost every hoof type.
The inside back of every Cavallo Boot is made with leather-covered foam padding. You’ll notice that, in the first few weeks of gently breaking in your new boots, the backs start to shape to YOUR horse’s bulb area. This provides a snug and comfortable custom fit for your horse, and this custom fit also helps the boots to always stay in place.
The best way to determine what size/style of Cavallo boot will best fit your horse is to measure each hoof from the buttress line to the toe (do not include the heel bulbs) and across the widest part of each hoof. Measuring right after a fresh trim is best.
The Cavallo Regular sole is made length and width equal and is a good fit for a round hoof while the Cavallo Slim sole is ¼ inch narrower than long and a better fit for a more oval shaped hoof. Please visit our measuring and fitting page for further information.
If you would like to send us your horse’s hoof measurements, we would be happy to help you choose the best size and style. Please call Cavallo Customer Service at 1-877-818-0037 or email email@example.com
Visit our measuring & fitting instruction guide HERE.
Follow our video to learn how to measure your horse for Cavallos:
Cavallo boots can be used on either the front or hind hoofs. Most riders find that they only need the boots on the front to keep their horse comfortable on all terrain but if you find that your horse would benefit from wearing them on the hind that is fine to do as well. The front legs load 70% of the weight of the horse and most of the conditions such as navicular, laminitis, calcifications, abscessing, bruising etc., occur on the fronts. The hind legs are more for propulsion. You can certainly start with boots on the front only and then just monitor the situation as you go along. It really depends on a variety of issues such as how well the hoofs are conditioned to the terrain you are riding on, the internal health of the hoof and any pre-existing conditions in the foot. If you find your horse is tender on the hinds please measure them separately from the front as they may be a size smaller and are often narrower.
Luckily, Cavallo’s extensive range of sizes and different sole widths allow you to optimize the fit for each individual hoof. For example, one front hoof could be a size 3, while the opposing hoof fits better in a size 2. Or one hoof could be slightly more narrow, fitting in a Slim Sole boot, while the opposing hoof could be rounder, landing it in a Regular Sole boot.
Another great trick for a great fitting boot is adding hoof boot pads. If one hoof is just slightly smaller than the other hoof, use our 10mm Cushion Pad for the smaller foot, and use our 5mm Cushion Pad or Comfort Pad for the larger foot. The boot on the smaller foot will be tightened up just a little bit. This works great!
Riders should allow their horses to ‘break-in’ their boots gradually, starting with 15 – 20 minutes and increasing from there, while monitoring the comfort of the hoofs. Wearing your Cavallos in water or using a leather conditioner to “work” the leather at the heel bulb will hasten the softening progress. Cavallo Comfort Sleeves or Pastern Wraps can be used to help prevent any chaffing during the break-in period.
One of the outstanding features of our boots (all models) is that the back bulb area is padded with leather on both sides – inside and out, with a foam cushion in between, which softens and conforms to the unique shape of your horse’s bulbs. So our boots literally custom mold to your horse’s feet PROVIDING PROTECTION AND SUPPORT! (For a club footed horse or a horse with an upright hoof, the back of the boot will remain more upright.)
Here’s a great video from Carole that shows how Cavallos adapt to your horse’s individual hoof and bulb area during the break-in period, offering your horse a custom fit:
One of the outstanding features of our boots (all models) is that the back bulb area is padded with leather on both sides – inside and out, with a foam cushion in between, which softens and conforms to the unique shape of your horse’s bulbs. So our boots literally custom mold to your horse’s feet PROVIDING PROTECTION AND SUPPORT! With an upright hoof, the back part of the boot will remain upright in line with the more upright club foot.
Here is a video about breaking in the boots, which shows how the bulb area custom-fits to the horse over time:
Riders should allow their horses to ‘break-in’ their boots gradually, starting with 15 – 20 minutes and increasing from there, while monitoring the comfort of the hoofs. Wearing your Cavallos in water or using a leather conditioner to “work” the leather at the heel bulb will hasten the softening progress. Some horses begin wearing boots as a result of an injury or condition whereby they cannot wear metal shoes. Cavallo hoof protection can be worn for extended periods of time, using Pastern Wraps to help prevent any chaffing. Remove the boots daily to check the hooves to be sure no unnecessary problems are developing. If you notice anything unusual or concerning, remove the boots immediately. Contact Cavallo Customer Support toll-free at 1-877-818-0037.
The upper portion of Cavallo ELB Hoof Boots and Sport Hoof Boots are made of industrial grade nylon which is great for light riding or easy terrain such as arenas, asphalt, groomed trails or gravel roads. If you are riding frequently on more aggressive terrain, the leather Simple Boot or ProMesh Trek boot may be a more durable hoof boot choice for you. Please see the following link for more information on Cavallo Hoof Boot Technology:
Here’s a video from Greg describing the evolution of the Cavallo Hoof Boot line:
Q: My friends all ride with Cavallos. I want to get a pair too, but I am noticing that there is a space around the pastern on some horses and others fit tight to the leg. Are certain boot styles more suited to my fine boned horse than others?
A: The Trek and ELB (Entry Level Boots) are the best choices for finer-boned horses. Both styles have a unique front-closure system that allows for an extra-snug fit on the upper portion of the boot – creating a very secure fit.
On a finer-boned animal, the wrap-around Velcro closures can be drawn to the front on an angle downward when the boot is being fastened, creating an almost “V” neck at the boot collar, and tightening the fit:
The horse’s entire body system operates best when his hooves work correctly. A properly functioning bare hoof absorbs the impact of around 1000 pounds of weight. The hoof spreads to draw the sole flat and allow the weight to descend. We call this Hoof Mechanism. It involves pumping action which stimulates blood circulation. When freely flowing, the nutrients and oxygen in the blood contribute to the health of hoof tissue, cellular structure, strength, and resilience and help heal any internal conditions.
Hoofs condition to the horse’s living environment, which is usually different from the surfaces we ride on. The impact increased with the rider’s load and tack, which pushes the sole further into the terrain. Successfully riding a barefoot horse over all-terrain is a difficult achievement. Too often, uncomfortable barefoot horses head for the soft shoulder or grassy areas.
Do our domesticated horses need hoof protection while under saddle hacking out? Yes. Often the best, most natural protection to provide is horse boots.
Recently, Dr. Jennifer Gill and her assistant Gabriella Lynn, conducted an independent university study, comparing hoof boots to traditional metal shoes. The results confirmed that Hoof Boots benefit horses by providing comfort and minimizing hoof damage. This study focused on the surface area, force, and pressure exerted on the horse’s hooves while travelling on the hard surface of bitumen. See the study here www.cavallo-inc.com/WKUSTUDY Boots support and protect hoofs from injury, chipping, and bruising.
Gabriella Lynn has now been awarded a scholarship to London’s Royal Veterinary College (RVC), ranked number one in the world for veterinary sciences by QS World University Rankings in 2019. We look forward to her further innovative scientific inquiries into the world of hoof care.
Horses’ ancient survival mechanism depends on their ability to outrun predators. Healthy hoofs are crucial to survival. When you first put Cavallos on, your horse may lift his feet with curiosity and then, almost immediately, become aware that his soles are protected and more comfortable. His head drops, eyes relax, and the tongue comes out licking. He becomes calm and thankful.
Here’s a testimonial sent to us from a first-time boot user:
“I was blown away how quickly my Mare, Layla, showed relief wearing her Trek Boots…it took 40 seconds only. She licked and chewed at about 15-20 seconds wearing them, then started moving faster.
Her story was: my farrier had to trim aggressively to get rid of some bad splitting and fronts. My farrier suggested getting some boots to help for the transition till new growth. She was on Bute but now is pain-free. The boots also have the Comfort Pads in them, which I think made a huge difference. She holds her feet up patiently when I check them, she loves them. She’s a healthy mare but those Boots were a miracle She’s trotting & doing all again totally pain-free…I’ll be ordering a set of boots for my gelding too. Plus now my rides should be even better!”
– Elke East of Calgary, Alberta
It is best to store your Cavallo Boots in a cool, dry location with good air circulation. Boots that are wet should be allowed to dry before placing them in storage and should not be stored in the original box or in areas of pair air circulation. Storing the boots in high temperatures or high humidity levels should also be avoided. It is recommended to store boots with all velcro panels and straps closed to keep them free of hay, hair, dirt and other debris.
To reduce bacterial build-up in your boots, mix a solution of 50% Apple Cider Vinegar with water and soak or spray into the boot and on the inside hoof sole regularly.
Q: Can I Use Cavallo Boots Over Metal Shoes?
A: Yes! Many people do indeed use Cavallo Boots (all styles) in combination with metal shoes, with great results. The Cavallo Boot TPU (thermo-plastic urethane) soles can assist in absorbing shock, which causes vibration up the horse’s structure. Boots also prevent sole bruising in rough terrain, on hard ground and asphalt. Cavallos are also used for shod horses for hoof rehabilitation and to provide increased comfort and protection during riding, training, transport, and turnout.
To measure a shod horse, just follow our regular measuring instructions but instead, measure the length and width of the horseshoe itself (rather than the bare hoof). If you are unsure of your measurements or would like a second opinion, please feel free to send us photos showing the length and width of your horseshoes.
Cavallo cannot guarantee that boots used over metal shoes and studs will hold up over prolonged use due to the force of metal, protruding nails, or sharp edges Therefore, the warranty is void when boots are used over metal shoes. If booting over metal, we recommend using Cavallo Protection Pads to extend the life of your boot soles. Simply replace your Protection Pads from time to time, as needed, for maximum boot sole protection.
For more info, CLICK HERE!
Cavallo offers an array of horse hoof boot pads! Each of our pads have unique features that offer your horse extra comfort and cushioning while hacking/trail riding, hoof rehabilitation, turnout, jumping and more!
Which Cavallo Hoof Boot Pad is right for your horse?
Cavallo CEO Greg Giles talks about which pad insole is just right for your horse’s needs:
Too much traction on the sole of boots can inflict strain on the tendons and ligaments. In gaits faster than a walk, the bare hoof slides slightly when making contact with the ground. The Cavallo Boot has just the right amount of traction — more than a metal horse shoe, but not as much as a hiking boot. This allows horses to travel comfortably at any speed over any terrain. Cavallo has numerous successful reports of use of Cavallo Boots with gaited horses. The problem can be in the amount of “twist” on ground contact. If the hoof is twisting and the boot is stationary – there may be some friction problems. This can easily be corrected by filing more tread off the bottom of the sole of the boot, thus encouraging the boot to move more readily with your horse’s hoof.
Cavallo Boots are specifically designed for ease of use and practicality. Cavallo Boots are easy to put on, do not come off and are easy to remove. You can ride over any terrain with complete hoof protection. The following chart gives an indication of some various uses of boots and the comparison between them.
Hoof Boot Comparison Chart
Endurance riding is an aggressive and extreme sport which for warranty purposes falls under the “excessive wear and tear” category, thus making void the Cavallo Boot warranty. Please note however, that there are many positive reports of Cavallo Boots successfully used by endurance riders including the sweep team for the Tevis Cup.
Riders use a variety of studs and even regular screws to help increase traction while riding on ice, snow and wet grass. You must use caution that no part of it extends past the sole of the boot to irritate the horse’s hoof. The amount used and placement on the boots is dependent on various conditions such as terrain, gait and your personal requirements. There have also been reports of success by using a Dremel to create more grooves into the sole of the boot to improve grip. Whatever you decide, please ride with care on treacherous terrain. Watch our stud apllication video for additional information. Cavallo Hoof Boot Studs
Transitioning to barefoot and natural is not difficult. In fact, in many cases it’s simply a matter of removing the metal shoes, keeping the hooves trimmed and using Cavallos for comfort and protection. It can become challenging when some more serious problems are already brewing and then with the increase in blood circulation your horse feels the discomfort more strongly. This is usually just a matter of supporting him through the rough patch. We liken it to the discomfort felt when frostbite thaws. It passes with increased circulation and stimulation. You can use your Cavallos for turnout so that your horse is more willing to move about. The freer flowing nutrients and oxygen in the blood will speed up the process of healing. You could also use a little MSM or a mild pain reliever if it gets very bad. This all being said, it is more often a painless transition which when supported by Cavallos, will benefit your horse enormously.
Here’s a video made by Carole about transitioning your horse by taking your metal shoes off for Winter. This knowledge can be applied to making the switch to going barefoot forever:
There are various degrees of severity with sheared heels and the symptoms/discomfort can come and go. Although many conditions can fade away, pathology suggests your horse may become conditioned to and adjust to accommodate this way of going. He may likely learn to carry his weight forward on his foot, loading less weight on the painful heel. This would affect the counter effect that a heel first or at least a simultaneous to toe landing would have to spread those heels. And without a proper heel landing, the heels are not stimulated to expand. It’s not the worst thing by the way. We all know horses afflicted with much nastier.
Anyway, the answer is YES Cavallos can help and here’s how. The inside of Cavallos are flat at the heel. So without the fear of irritation from a sharp rock or edge, your horse will be encouraged to bear weight. Cavallos provide complete sole protection, so once he understands there is no terrain induced aggravation, he will be willing to move and will then benefit from the counter effect of this flat surface. You could certainly insert our Gel Pads at the beginning until he really feels comfortable rumbling around and then move into the Support Pads. The more he moves – the more oxygen supply – the more blood circulation, with all its nutrients and the more potential improvement.
Many mules and donkeys wear our Cavallo Slim Sole boots. It really depends on the measurement of the foot itself. If you would like to provide the measurements, we would be happy to assist you further.
Here’s how to use your Cavallo Boots to assist your horse in recovery from Laminitis: READ HERE
Cavallo President Carole Herder shares her advice….
If your horse contracts laminitis, you have entered a school of horse health that’s not for the faint of heart. This is a stressful and emotional journey which requires investigation and knowledge to cure. Yes, it is a serious disease and can indeed be fatal. Laminitis can also be cured, never to appear again. An abundance of information online explains what may initiate an attack. You can simply search to find the extensive listings. You may have left the feed room door open—and your horse gorged on the entire barrel of grain and now has a serious concentration of starchy sugar in his gut. Perhaps your ‘easy keeper’ stuffed himself with too much fresh grass. Ponies and minis, especially, may develop grass founder, resulting in insulin resistant problems. Certain medications, wormers, antibiotics, vaccinations, infections, injuries, birthing and various illnesses can activate a bout of laminitis. Stress can cause it and concussive forces may activate it as well.
We do not make boots with sliders or to accommodate sliders. All Cavallo boots can be successfully used for turnout and riding over any terrain with your barefoot horse. This comfort encourages movement and blood circulation building strength, elasticity and overall healthier hoofs.
Can I use Cavallo’s for Barrel Racing?
Barrel Racing can exert an enormous amount of torque on hoof boots as it is a lateral and speed sport.
Our recommendation is to use your boots for trail riding, warming up and in the area around the competition arena. When it comes time for your run, remove them and GO! Carole shaved an entire second off her time, when she started running barefoot. The bare hoof absorbs shock as it’s mean to has a lot more natural traction in rounding the barrel. Good Luck!
Yes! Your horse can wear Cavallo Boots during jumping, and can offer your horse extra comfort and reduced hoof pressure. CLICK HERE for a great article about jumping in your Cavallos.
Watch California Showjumper Zoey Luna jump her horse in Cavallo Trek Boots:
Check out the video below from one of our customers in the UK:
There are a variety of conditions that affect the life of your Cavallo Boots such as terrain, speed, gaits, frequency of use, frequency of trimming. In average conditions with adequate care, the life span of your Cavallo Hoof Boots last from 1 – 2 years, however we have many happy trail riders who have had their boots for much longer.
If leaving horses unattended with Simple Boots on, you may wish to cover the straps with duct tape or anything that will keep the horse from playing with the straps and possibly destroying your boots. Failure to take precautions may void the warranty.
To be fully protected by the Cavallo Best Boot 180 Day Warranty, Cavallo Hoof Boots must be purchased from a recognized Cavallo retailer. Cavallo Hoof Boots purchased as “used” or “second-hand” are not covered under the Cavallo Best Boot 180 Day Warranty.
Winterizing the riding experience has taken on another new dimension and as usual horse owners are improvising and innovating. Yes, both shod and barefoot horses can ride straight through Winter with Cavallo Boots and Studs!
No more ice-balling and sliding around. Let’s face it, almost everything is less slippery than ice cold metal shoes. These benefits, plus the overall 100% hoof protection, make Cavallos the winning choice for booting up for winter.
Anyone committed to keeping metal shoes on can still reap the benefits of Cavallo protection over the shoes. We don’t guarantee the boots for use over metal because we simply can’t predict the way certain shoes can chaff into the material of Cavallo boots. This said, folks have had great success keeping the original boots going season after season by using our Protection Pads. They are made from a Kevlar-type material, and when inserted as an insole in the boot, they serve to protect the boot sole from the rigors of metal shoes.
When we say, Cavallos are the #1 multi-purpose boot – we mean it. Any terrain. Any speed. Any season.
Check out this independent review of Cavallo Trek Boots and Studs by the Horse Trail Chicks HERE!