In this review, RW customer Veronica Braley gives us her thoughts the Explora Hoof Boots. Veronica started out as an English rider, dabbling in both equitation and eventing. She also lived in England for 16 years playing polo and training polo ponies. Since moving to California, she has changed to foxhunting and endurance while also working with people and their horses to created harmonious relationships through her business Equestrian Healing Service.
I’ve gone back and forth between metal shoes and hoof boots over the years. Some of my horses go better in boots and some I prefer to shoe when doing specific sports. The first time I tried boots it was because a new horse came to me with a full set. They were fantastic and one of the better-known brands. When I finally managed to wear them out, I learned that there can be technical difficulties in fitting some brands, which can leave you turning up at an endurance vet check with three expensive anklets and wiser about your equipment. I’ve tried different brands, some I like more than others, and have even discovered that there were boots my horse couldn’t keep on past a trot. So, when I say that I am impressed by the performance of a hoof boot, you know that I’ve put some thought into it.
When the Explora Hoof Boots arrived, I was excited to get them on my mare and go for a ride. The boots were beautiful, lightweight, and had many different ways in which they could be adjusted for a very good fit. The problem is that when they first arrived, I was worried I ordered the wrong size. After double-checking my measurements and taking two sets of photos, I figured I must have done something wrong and was a little embarrassed. One of the mares was fine with the fit, while with the other I was worried I ordered the fronts too small. Riding Warehouse had me talk with one of their employees who was experienced with the boots and within one phone call, we somehow made it work. She pointed out to me how to loosen some of the settings and also how to wiggle them on to the hoof to let the hoof kind of move forwards into them. I tried her suggestions and immediately was good to go.
Put to the Test
On two different mares I have been thoroughly impressed with the performance. Both of them go really well in the boots. On average, I do weekly an 8 to 12-mile ride at the hunt with the boots on, in some very extreme terrain. I foxhunt both mares, so they are going up and down hills, jumping coups, going through thick brush, and also sandy areas. So far, the one time it has rained this year I was out with them for three hours and they stayed on beautifully with no issues what so ever. This is impressive because some of the boots I’ve had in the past required me to stop and re-adjust or pull things out of the velcro. I’ve even lost boots in the rain at that ranch.
Last month I was signed up to do the Sesenta Anos XP 50-mile endurance ride. My gelding and I were ready to go when he turned up with a nice little kick from one of the other horses and was slightly unsound. I decided I could still go if I took my mare and did a 25-mile ride instead. I pulled her from the field, packed her tack, and went. The front boots were a tiny bit snug despite my rasping her hooves, since she was overdue for a trim that would happen until the following week. We started out on the ride with no problems until we reached a muddy water crossing.
A little after that, her left front boot twisted off. However, I have had much worse issues with mud in her original brand. I adjusted and put boots back on, then the next water crossing I had issues again, with the same snug boot. If I was smart enough to have had a rag with me to dry it off, I would have. Finally, I just got fed up and put on the old spare boot I was carrying, which did the job. The other three boots didn’t seem to have that issue. It was the larger of the front hooves that kept popping out and I’m sure it was due to being overdue for a trim. Once she had a proper trim, the boots fit correctly and I haven’t had any other issues with them.
Closing ThoughtsThe few things I would say about these awesome boots are:
1) Follow the directions
2) Keep up with the trimming schedule
3) Enjoy - They really are awesome!
For more information on fitting the Explora Boots, see below!
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