Once you get the proper Scoot Boot fit, the rest is easy. But, getting to that point can be difficult, which is why I became a stockist in Florida.
Let me walk you through some of my experiences …
When I first tried Scoot Boots for my 16.1 Thoroughbred that is ridden in endurance rides, it took 4 tries on sizing to get it right. Admittedly, I didn’t take Scoot Boots up on their offer to size the boots, (hindsight is always 20/20!). It took a long time and frustration to get the sizing right, but it was definitely worth it. I became a stockist to help others avoid that frustrating experience and just enjoy Scoot Boots.
In my case, I trim my horses every three weeks, so their hooves never get too long, but I realize that many riders have their horses trimmed in cycles of 4-6 weeks. Don’t be afraid to ask your farrier to teach you how to do a very minor interim trim to smooth out the edges; many farriers will appreciate your interest in taking better care of the hooves. This not only helps your boots fit better, but it also prevents cracks and splits. Even more importantly, especially for endurance and other high-mileage riders, interim trims help you understand more about the growth patterns and health of the hooves.
Every horse’s hooves are different, and when the hooves are measured in the trim cycle can have a major impact on fit. Always advise whomever is fitting the boots how recently your horse was trimmed and the typical time between trim cycles.
I find that it is best to measure the horse recently after trimming. Halfway or later can be a bit deceiving because it’s impossible to know the smallest hoof size as horses’ hooves may vary considerably in a matter of a few weeks.
I always recommend the thin rubber-like shims. Yes, they’re a little more expensive, but the shims have a few wonderful benefits:
Make the boot snugger at the beginning of the trim cycle; can be removed after a few weeks.
For horses that are in between sizes, it enables you to avoid a boot that is too snug.
For adverse conditions or hooves that might otherwise twist, it keeps the boot in place.
Once the shims are put in place, they stay there firmly and don’t move. Make sure that you get the right size shims for the boots you’ll be using, and don’t try to get away with a bigger or smaller size shim. The shims fit into the front of the boot but yet still allow water to get out at the toe, so there’s no downside to using the shims.
I personally won’t ride without shims. For the horse I mentioned above, Size 2 is a bit snug, and Size 3 is not snug enough. The shim provides her with the perfect fit, and did I mention that since I got the sizing right, I’ve never lost a Scoot Boot while riding?
Shims are definitely worth a few extra dollars!
The standard gaiter comes with new boots, and they’re quite easy to insert. Start with these as they will provide protection to the pastern and prevent rubs; they may be all you need. However, they won’t protect the sides of the pastern and coronary band as well as the endurance gaiters. If you just need a little extra protection on the sides, consider some duct tape on the sides and then attach the standard gaiter.
The Scoot Boots folks will confirm that I have a love/hate relationship with the endurance gaiters. The hate part is I’m not a fan of gluing them in or the piece that sticks up. The love part is that I won’t do an endurance ride without them because they do provide extra protection. (I learned that lesson by getting pulled at a ride for a pastern issue!).
For those that want to use the glue-ons, consider that your horse may or may not wear the same size as regular Scoot Boots; you may have to go down a size. In addition to not having a shim and/or gaiter in place to make the boot fit more snugly, there are no back strap considerations.
The base of the glue-on shell should fit the hoof well and not cause the plastic to bow when fitting, but it shouldn’t be large or loose. Give the toe an extra tap or two so that it’s as far forward as possible.
The gluing process is similar to any glue-on boot. Scoot Boots has some videos showing how to do it, but I much prefer having the horse stand and flipping back the top sides with popsicle sticks while I squeeze in the glue. Don’t forget to cover the side holes with tape (learned the hard way!) or you will have glue everywhere.
I’ve done numerous 25- and 50-mile endurance rides in both regular Scoot Boots and Glue-Ons and much prefer the Scoot Boots. The only downside to the Scoot Boots is that it requires an extra minute or two to put them on in the morning when the horse (maybe just my horse?) is jumping around with excitement. On the other hand, if you ride 75- or 100-mile rides, glue-ons may be the better option for you as may wear out a set of the endurance gaiters over that many miles.
Getting It Right
If you have a Scoot Boot stockist near you, it’s well worth it to have that person fit your horse for boots. Stockists have boot shells that we can try on your horse to ensure the best fit. Even if the stockist charges you extra for traveling and fitting, it’s well worth it. Even better, get a few friends together that want Scoot Boots and have the stockist measure several horses at once. The icing on the cake will be if the stockist has your size in the truck.
Of course, not everyone has a stockist nearby, so sending in pictures to Scoot Boots is a great option. Make sure to send in clear pictures of the hoof with the visible ruler. The clearer the pictures, the better chance for the perfect recommendation. Also, label the hoof in each picture and advise where your horse is in the trim cycle.
Give serious thought on spending a little extra for the shims. Whether you only use them right after a trim or always, they’re a fabulous add-on to your Scoot Boots. So far as the gaiter, start with the standard gaiters, and consider the endurance gaiters if you get any rubs or put some serious miles on your horse.