Manufacturer: Soft-ride (View all products by Soft-Ride)
Model: Orthopedic Boot (View all Orthopedic Boot reviews)
Category: Horse Boots and Wraps
Purchase: I purchased these boots directly from soft-ride.com on advise from my veterinarian. My old gelding was suddenly and severely 3-legged lame and the vet said the boots would make him more comfortable and also support the other front leg, reducing some of the stress from having extra weight on it. I saw the cost of these boots ($175) and nearly had a heart attack. We had already had the vet calls, x-rays, pain meds and a variety of other expenses wrapped up in this episode and I was thinking, "You've got to be kidding me!" I had a hard time believing that they could possibly be that much better than an average pair of boots which run about half that cost. However, I trust my veterinarian and I knew he wasn't making a penny off this suggestion (since I was buying them direct). I love this old gelding, and hated to see him in pain. I wasn't ready to have him put down yet, so I thought it was worth a try. I pulled out the trusty VISA and figured I pay them off after I recovered from the vet bill. Unfortunately the first set were too small (measure carefully!) but I was able to exchange them for a size up. They were shipped quickly and the second I slipped them on his feet you could actually HEAR the old guy let out a sigh of relief. He was still favoring the leg but would put weight on it to move. I was rejoicing! He wore the boots 24/7 for about 3 months, and we removed them when he became sound again. I almost sold them to a friend who wanted boots for a broodmare, but was very glad I held onto them. This episode, unfortunately re-occurs every year in the winter and has been diagnosed as unilateral laminitis, which basically means founder on one side only, as opposed to both front feet. It usually happens when you have a severe injury and one leg is forced to handle all the weight. However, we were never able to determine a cause for our old guy. It seems to be aggravated by cold weather and every winter it comes back. We have had these boots on our gelding 3-5 months out of the year, every year for THREE years. We are still on the same pair of boots. We have been very lucky to see no measurable rotation of the coffin bone and I truly believer these boots are helping with that with the support they give. The boots came with one set of their standard gel inserts (turquoise). We did not buy the ones specific for laminitis.
Likes: 1. They work! They provide instant comfort and long-term support. They fit well (once I got the right size) and don't rub even with months of wear. They let water and moisture out but I never see stones, pebbles, or pieces of wood chips (our bedding in paddock) inside the boot. 2. They are durable. Our gelding has access to constant turn out and wears these boots 24/7 3-5 months out of the year. We still have the original pair of boots and they are still on good shape. The nylon upper has not torn, the rubber sole is barely worn, and the gel insert is intact with no tears or obvious wear (there is some discoloration of the insert). I should note here that this guy is now 30 years old and doesn't do a lot of tearing around anymore in the winter (plays like a foal in the summer, but no boots then). You may see more wear in a youngster 3. They stay on 90% of the time. If you find you are losing them when the horse is turned out, clean the velcro.
Dislikes: Haven't found anything I don't like yet, except that maybe they should offer them in hunter orange or glow-in-the-dark to make them easier to find if they lose them in the pasture. (Ours has lost one once in a while if we don't clean the velcro when we should, and he starts playing when he feels good) He's turned out in a small area (about an acre) so they aren't too bad to find. If you turn out on 20 acres you might want to paint them bright colored, just in case.
Quality: The boots are made of a heavy duty nylon upper and a rubber sole. I don't know what the gel insert is made out of, but it has also been very durable. Overall, I would rate their quality of construction somewhere between "amazing" and "over the moon!" They fasten with Velcro which does need cleaned occasionally.
Summary: These boots are worth every penny if you have a horse with feet/hoof problems. I honestly credit them with giving our extra gelding more comfortable time on this Earth (3 years so far and counting!). Had we not found these boots I am afraid we would have had to have him put down. I would not hesitate to buy these boots again.
Usefulness Rating: 4 out of 5.
53 reader(s) voted.
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