From an economic standpoint, the cost difference between boots or shoes is vast. So why are riders still choosing to spend double what they would using boots and compromising their horse's natural hoof health?
Tradition may be to blame or not knowing all the options could be another. But the most common push back we hear is "what if this doesn't work."
Owners are skeptical and that's okay! Reading further into a product that is meant to keep your horse's health in tip-top shape is smart, but not when you're doing it to try to talk yourself out of a good thing.
On average, a recreational rider pays approximately $1400-$1600 a year on trimming and shoeing their horse.
But the rider who chooses to boot spends approximately $600 a year on their horse's hoof health. Fluctuating farrier costs may change the cost difference, but so do the seasons. Meaning, during the wet months when your horse's feet grow faster, you may be trimming more, resetting shoes more, and spending more.
Maybe saving money isn't a huge motivator because when it comes down to it, your horse's health is what you care most about.
So when we compare how boots vs. shoes affect your horse's hoof health, the scale still tips in favor of the boot. Let's push the "what ifs" to the side and talk about what it would look like for you to go au naturel with your horse.
Even if your horse has a long history of laminitis, founder, or sensitive soles - removing shoes could be the right move. When your horse is barefoot, the sole is fully loaded while their hooves are on the ground and fully unloaded when they're not. When barefoot, the hoof wall, sole, frog, and bars are equally engaged; but when shod, your horse's hoof wall bears almost all the weight.
Think about how something as simple as walking on the road can cause long term issues for your shod horse versus being barefoot. Au naturel, your horse' s hoof absorbs shock and dissipates energy smoother than a metal shoe can.
But what if your horse needs the level of support a shoe offers without the negative side effects?
We don't say our boots are "the closest you can get to natural" for fun; it's the absolute truth. A booted hoof bears weight exactly as they would barefoot - but with added cushion and support to lessen the impact of riding and general horsing around.
While Scoot Boots are handy for training and smaller rides, Skins are ideal for long-distance riding because it eliminates any possible rubbing and fully protects the entire hoof.
According to the American Endurance Ride Conference handbook, endurance is defined as riding at least 50 miles in length in a day. You can imagine what all goes into training for a ride at that distance for both the horse and rider. It takes months to prepare for and plenty of self-motivation to become their best selves.
Endurance riders not only monitor their horse's progress, but they also monitor the small details of their horse's health and comfort - including the slight signs of discomfort due to the tack they use. How each piece of tack fits is crucial because it wouldn't just be uncomfortable if it rubbed or chafed over a long distance - it would be dangerous.
So if they want their horse to cross the finish line comfortably and continue to feel good after, monitoring the subtle signs is essential. That's why we made Scoots Skins - to help riders compete at their best and prevent injury for the horse.
There are many reasons why endurance riders choose to use Scoot Skins or Scoot Boots, but they all start with protecting their horse's hoof health.
When training, riders can leave Skins on for a full trim cycle without removing them, and have complete hoof protection before, during, and after a race.
Endurance trails often force horse and rider to face rocky terrain, sandy spots, hard roads or mud during the race. When the Skins are in place, they provide excellent grip, giving the horse added confidence to continue at a pace that sets them up to win.
They also provide the rider with peace of mind after the race, too. It's not uncommon for horses to surprise us with lameness issues - but because Skins can be left on for the entire trim cycle, they help owners avoid the issue altogether.
The reality is, horses depend on us for a lot of things - including protecting them from harm. And that's what we're here to help with!
Building a Supportive Barefoot Community
The team at Scoot Boot believe passionately in the barefoot horse and strive to build a supportive community of barefoot horse lovers.
Find more information about using Scoot Boots here.