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Barefoot Horse FAQ's

 Barefoot Horse FAQ’s

Introduction to Barefoot / Natural Horse Hoof Care

Barefoot horse hoof care is the continued natural approach to keeping your horse without shoes. Urban Horse believes passionately in the benefits to keeping you horse barefoot and overall metal free. The well being of the horse is always our main focus. We believe strongly that any horse or pony can successfully go barefoot and still perform at the levels required from them but everyone of them are unique and barefoot is never an overnight success. The following factors contribute to the success of barefoot natural hoof care...

  • Regular natural barefoot trims (A knowledgeable farrier or barefoot trimmer is a must)
  • A natural diet; low in sugar and high in fibre 
  • As much movement as possible. Therefore providing as close to a natural environment and lifestyle as circumstances allow
  • Time – enabling your horse to transition over to barefoot fully, comfortably and correctly

During the transition period from removing your horse’s shoes to your horse comfortably performing barefoot. This period does take time and initially is never a cheaper option to shoeing.  All horses are unique and transition at different rates but if you have all the correct factors in place barefoot success will always be achieved.

Why Go Barefoot?

Choosing to go barefoot is the right step in enabling many horses in rural or urban surroundings the freedom of movement and totally far superior hoof quality.  A detailed reference to Why Go Barefoot please click here

Overall the main advantages of keeping your horse barefoot are as follows...

  • A far healthier hoof – with all the internal and external structures in tack and functioning as they were designed, without a non flexing piece of metal being attached to live living tissue
  • Reduced impact and concussion on your horses entire body so less risk of injury
  • Proper circulation to your horses legs and hooves
  • A reduced risk of injury to your horse and other horses plus less / no chance of over reaching
  • The frogs have passive contact with the ground and are able to function fully - so leading to increased healing and stamina
  • Greatly reduced chance of horses tripping, slipping and stumbling
  • Many foot and laminitis problems reduce and get better with a barefoot horse
  • If the feet are unbalanced it shows up in how they wear. If the horse is unbalanced and not moving properly this also shows up in the hooves. I.e. You are able to determine so much from the hooves and they can give you a picture of the overall health and balance of your horse’s physical body. Once you are able to read the hooves you are in a much more knowledgeable position to understand your horses physical body and wellbeing
  • No worry of losing shoes, less churned up fields.

Booting Barefoot Horses FAQ’s

When first transitioning over from shod to barefoot your horse or pony can often be incredibly sore footed. Often some find it hard to walk comfortably at first. Using hoof boots on horses often enables horses to become more comfortable and therefore develop and heal quicker, in time they will be able to move soundly and comfortably over various terrains and for longer distances. This is the beauty of hoof boots as they are there when your horse requires them and can be quickly removed when they don’t. Plus they flex so support your horses natural movement.

Urban Horse are always here to help so we have put together the following FAQ’s we often get asked re hoof boots – if you still do not find an answer to your hoof booting question(s) please do not hesitate to call us on 01434 422700 or email


How to Measure a Horse for Hoof Boots?

Please see our detailed section and video on how to measure your horse for hoof boots

If you are still unsure and need Help in Measuring for Hoof Boots? – Please email us at and we will contact you back the same working day.

Our checklist of information required to fully advise you re which hoof boots would be best for your horse or pony are as follows..

  1. Measurements of each hoof requiring booting in mm’s ?– length and width (Images emailed over are always fantastic – LENGTH - place a ruler with 0mm’s at the front of the toe and the ruler straight across the centre of the hoof with the camera focusing on the back heel bulbs so we can access the true length of each of your horses hooves.  WIDTH – Place the ruler straight across the widest part of each hoof with the 0mm’s placed one side so we can access the true width of each of your horses hooves.)
  2. What you require the boots for?
    • General Hacking / Riding
    • Long Distance / Endurance
    • Therapy
  3. How often you ride and roughly how many hours each time?
  4. How often your horse is trimmed?

Common Problems and Solutions with Hoof Boots?



Probable cause:


Twisting when in use

Usually occurs when the boot is too wide. Particularly common on hind feet as many horses have a tendency to ‘screw’ their foot on the floor causing the boot to twist.

Start from scratch and check your horse’s hoof measurements are still correct to the size of boot you are using. Certain boots can be tightened even more securely if the measurements indicate the boots used are the correct size as follows. Scoot are ideal or New Mac / Trails hoof boots you can use inserts to really grip the hoof. If easy boot epics are used, you can tighten the boot more successfully by using the easy up buckle we sell, or gluing two squares of dense foam either side on the plate of the heel strap for additional grip if the width allows. Power straps on glove hoof boots with a comfort pad can slightly tighten a boot as well.


Rubbing will occur on the heels if the boot is too short in the length. Usually more common in horses with under run heels, or boots that fit above the coronet band.

Go to the next size up boot if the length measurement exceeds the recommended length for that boot size. For epics you can remove the heel strap and replace it with taper plates, or cut the heel strap down along the groves (this method also works for horses with low / under run heels). For boots that fit above the hairline, use gaiters, pastern wraps or if these take up too much room old woollen socks, tub grip or Mueller athletic tape / vet wrap we sell also works very well.

Sore feet even with boots on

Dropped or thin soles, laminitis, other hoof pathology

Use 12mm comfort pads or memory foam pads.

Ripped gaiters/broken cables or lost boots

Hoof boot is not the best fit for the hoof or was not fitted correctly/tightly enough. Most common cause is the horse treading on himself during exercise, either overreaching or spooking. The parts of the boots are designed to break to prevent a serious accident, if the boot didn’t break the horse could be brought down!

Check the break over is not too long in front- a length that is over 5mm longer than the horse’s actual measurements is enough to slow the front hoof down long enough for a hind foot to come through and tread the boot off. If the horse is trimmed in such a way as to prolong break over, even when booted to fit the foot the break over can never be short enough so check with your trimmer if loosing boots becomes a problem and the boots are correct. Over reach boots on any boot hoof can sometimes help if all other angles have been covered, but as with shoes, some horses will always be at risk of lost boots as they would be with shoes.


Helpful Barefoot Horse and Hoof Boot links...

Urban Horse   Hoof Boot Section  

Urban Horse Books and DVD Section

Urban Horse Facebook Page  Barefoot and Bitless Facebook Page  

Urban Horse Twitter Page

Urban Horse Youtube Videos