Hoof boots are coverings that protect a horse's hooves from rough ground or to protect a hoof that is injured and that needs medicating. The two types of boots are different. Boots for riding are made of tough rubber and must be purchased. Treatment boots can be made from common household items.
Therapeutic Hoof Boots
If your horse has an injury to a hoof or a condition such as an abcess or founder, a temporary hoof boot can help protect his hoof, hold medications in place, or provide comfort while he heals. This type of boot does not need to be durable, as it is usually changed daily or only worn in the stall or paddock while the horse recovers. Medication boots are available for purchase but you can easily make them from common household items.
Boots for Abcesses
Abcesses can occur inside the hoof, causing severe discomfort and lameness. If your horse has been diagnosed with an abcess, a homemade boot can help drain and heal the hoof. A common method is to soak the foot twice daily in Epsom salts, then apply drawing salve, such as pine tar, to the bottom of the hoof. To keep the medication on the hoof, make a simple boot using a diaper and duct tape. Have the horse place his hoof in the centre of a disposable diaper and use the diaper tapes to fold it up and around the hoof. Then use strips of duct tape to hold the diaper in place. Criss-cross under the bottom of the hoof in several layers for durability. Apply a fresh boot every day until the abcess has healed.
Boots for Laminitis or Founder
Laminitis and founder can cause severe pain and permanent damage if not treated promptly. While your horse is being treated, you can make him more comfortable by using styrofoam pads under the affected hooves. Cut out plates of styrofoam at least one inch thick and slightly larger around than the hoof. Use duct tape to hold the styrofoam firmly in place under each hoof, to cushion the hoof and provide relief. Laminitis and founder are serious conditions, check with your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.