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Hoof Boots FAQ

Questions Answered About Cavallo Boots

How long do Cavallo Boots last?

There are a variety of conditions that affect the life of your Cavallo Boots such as terrain, speed, gaits, frequency of use, frequency of trimming. In average conditions with adequate care, the life span of your Cavallo Hoof Boots last from 1 – 2 years, however we have many happy trail riders who have had their boots for much longer.

How do I measure for Cavallo Boots? What is the difference between Regular and Slim Sole?

The best way to determine what size/style of Cavallo boot will best fit your horse is to measure each hoof from the buttress line to the toe (do not include the heel bulbs) and across the widest part of each hoof. Measuring right after a fresh trim is best.

The Cavallo Regular sole is made length and width equal and is a good fit for a round hoof while the Cavallo Slim sole is ¼ inch narrower than long and a better fit for a more oval shaped hoof. Please visit our measuring and fitting page for further information.

If you would like to send us your horse’s hoof measurements, we would be happy to help you choose the best size and style.   Please call Cavallo Customer Service at 1-877-818-0037 or email info@cavallo-inc.com.

Can my horse wear Cavallo Hoof boots on both front and rear hoofs?

Cavallo boots can be used on either the front or hind hoofs. Most riders find that they only need the boots on the front to keep their horse comfortable on all terrain but if you find that your horse would benefit from wearing them on the hind that is fine to do as well. The front legs load 70% of the weight of the horse and most of the conditions such as navicular, laminitis, calcifications, abscessing, bruising etc., occur on the fronts. The hind legs are more for propulsion. You can certainly start with boots on the front only and then just monitor the situation as you go along. It really depends on a variety of issues such as how well the hoofs are conditioned to the terrain you are riding on, the internal health of the hoof and any pre-existing conditions in the foot. If you find your horse is tender on the hinds please measure them separately from the front as they may be a size smaller and are often narrower.

How long can Cavallo Boots be worn at one time?

Riders should allow their horses to ‘break-in’ their boots gradually, starting with 15 – 20 minutes and increasing from there, while monitoring the comfort of the hoofs. Wearing your Cavallos in water or using a leather conditioner to “work” the leather at the heel bulb will hasten the softening progress. Some horses begin wearing boots as a result of an injury or condition whereby they cannot wear metal shoes. Cavallo hoof protection can be worn for extended periods of time, using Pastern Wraps to help prevent any chaffing. Remove the boots daily to check the hooves to be sure no unnecessary problems are developing. If you notice anything unusual or concerning, remove the boots immediately.  Contact Cavallo Customer Support toll-free at 1-877-818-0037.


  • To reduce the risks of bacterial build up mix a solution of 50% Apple Cider Vinegar to water and spray into the boot and on the hoof sole regularly.
  • If leaving horses unattended with Simple Boots on you may wish to cover the straps with duct tape or anything that will keep the horse from playing with the straps and possibly destroying your boots. Failure to take precautions may void the warranty.

What style of Cavallo Boots should I purchase?

The upper portion of Cavallo ELB Hoof Boots and Sport Hoof Boots are made of industrial grade nylon which is great for light riding or easy terrain such as arenas, asphalt, groomed trails or gravel roads. If you are riding frequently on more aggressive terrain, the leather Simple Boot or ProMesh Trek boot may be a more durable hoof boot choice for you.  Please see the following link for more information on  Cavallo Hoof Boot Technology.

I have a fine boned horse…

Q: My friends all ride with Cavallos. I want to get a pair too, but I am noticing that there is a space around the pastern on some horses and others fit tight to the leg. Are certain boot styles more suited to my fine boned horse than others? 

A:  The Trek and ELB (Entry Level Boots) are the best choices for finer-boned horses.  Both styles have a unique front-closure system that allows for an extra-snug fit on the upper portion of the boot – creating a very secure fit.

On a finer-boned animal, the wrap-around Velcro closures can be drawn to the front on an angle downward when the boot is being fastened, creating an almost “V” neck at the boot collar, and tightening the fit:

Trek Horse Hoof Boot Fine boned horses
Normal closure – Average pastern circumference
Trek Cavallo Hoof Boots fine boned horse
Tightened fit – Finer boned pastern







How should I store my Cavallo Hoof Boots?

It is best to store your Cavallo Boots in a cool, dry location with good air circulation. Boots that are wet should be allowed to dry before placing them in storage and should not be stored in the original box or in areas of pair air circulation. Storing the boots in high temperatures or high humidity levels should also be avoided. It is recommended to store boots with all velcro panels and straps closed to keep them free of hay, hair, dirt and other debris.

Can I use Cavallo Boots on top of metal shoes?

Many people do indeed use Cavallo Boots in combination with metal shoes. The Cavallo Boot TPU (thermo plastic urethane) sole can assist in absorbing the shock and resulting vibration up the horse’s structure and prevent bruising while transporting your horse or working on hard surfaces. Cavallo cannot guarantee that the boots will hold up over prolonged use, to the force of metal, protruding nails or sharp edges and thus the warranty is void with this useage. Extending the life of your Boots can be accomplished by using the Cavallo High Tenacity Protection Pads,  or you may customize an insole of thick leather or foam padding which will decrease the direct wear on the sole of the boot. You can replace the pads when they appear to be wearing and thereby lengthen the life of the sole of your boots.

Can Cavallo Boots be used on gaited horses?

Too much traction on the sole of boots can inflict strain on the tendons and ligaments. In gaits faster than a walk, the bare hoof slides slightly when making contact with the ground. The Cavallo Boot has just the right amount of traction — more than a metal horse shoe, but not as much as a hiking boot. This allows horses to travel comfortably at any speed over any terrain. Cavallo has numerous successful reports of use of Cavallo Boots with gaited horses. The problem can be in the amount of “twist” on ground contact. If the hoof is twisting and the boot is stationary – there may be some friction problems. This can easily be corrected by filing more tread off the bottom of the sole of the boot, thus encouraging the boot to move more readily with your horse’s hoof.

How do Cavallo Boots compare to other boots on the market?

Cavallo Boots are specifically designed for ease of use and practicality. Cavallo Boots are easy to put on, do not come off and are easy to remove. You can ride over any terrain with complete hoof protection. The following chart gives an indication of some various uses of boots and the comparison between them.
Hoof Boot Comparison Chart

Can Cavallo Boots be used for endurance riding?

Endurance riding is an aggressive and extreme sport which for warranty purposes falls under the “excessive wear and tear” category, thus making void the Cavallo Boot warranty. Please note however, that there are many positive reports of Cavallo Boots successfully used by endurance riders including the sweep team for the Tevis Cup.

Can studs be used with Cavallo Boots?

Riders use a variety of studs and even regular screws to help increase traction while riding on ice, snow and wet grass. You must use caution that no part of it extends past the sole of the boot to irritate the horse’s hoof. The amount used and placement on the boots is dependent on various conditions such as terrain, gait and your personal requirements. There have also been reports of success by using a Dremel to create more grooves into the sole of the boot to improve grip. Whatever you decide, please ride with care on treacherous terrain.    Watch our stud apllication video for additional information.  Cavallo Hoof Boot Studs

I am nervous about transitioning my horse to barefoot.  How difficult is it?

Transitioning to barefoot and natural is not difficult. In fact, in many cases it’s simply a matter of removing the metal shoes, keeping the hooves trimmed and using Cavallos for comfort and protection. It can become challenging when some more serious problems are already brewing and then with the increase in blood circulation your horse feels the discomfort more strongly. This is usually just a matter of supporting him through the rough patch. We liken it to the discomfort felt when frostbite thaws. It passes with increased circulation and stimulation. You can use your Cavallos for turnout so that your horse is more willing to move about. The freer flowing nutrients and oxygen in the blood will speed up the process of healing. You could also use a little MSM or a mild pain reliever if it gets very bad. This all being said, it is more often a painless transition which when supported by Cavallos, will benefit your horse enormously.

My horse has sheared heels.  Can Cavallo Hoof Boots help?

There are various degrees of severity with sheared heels and the symptoms/discomfort can come and go. Although many conditions can fade away, pathology suggests your horse may become conditioned to and adjust to accommodate this way of going. He may likely learn to carry his weight forward on his foot, loading less weight on the painful heel. This would affect the counter effect that a heel first or at least a simultaneous to toe landing would have to spread those heels. And without a proper heel landing, the heels are not stimulated to expand. It’s not the worst thing by the way. We all know horses afflicted with much nastier.

Anyway, the answer is YES Cavallos can help and here’s how. The inside of Cavallos are flat at the heel. So without the fear of irritation from a sharp rock or edge, your horse will be encouraged to bear weight. Cavallos provide complete sole protection, so once he understands there is no terrain induced aggravation, he will be willing to move and will then benefit from the counter effect of this flat surface. You could certainly insert our Gel Pads at the beginning until he really feels comfortable rumbling around and then move into the Support Pads. The more he moves – the more oxygen supply – the more blood circulation, with all its nutrients and the more potential improvement.

Can Cavallo Boots be worn during jumping?

Yes!  Your horse can wear Cavallo Boots during jumping.  Check out the video below from one of our customers in the UK.

Q: My miniature horse has been diagnosed with laminitis. Will hoof boots help him as he recovers?
Cavallo President Carole Herder shares her advice….

A: If your horse contracts laminitis, you have entered a school of horse health that’s not for the faint of heart. This is a stressful and emotional journey which requires investigation and knowledge to cure. Yes, it is a serious disease and can indeed be fatal. Laminitis can also be cured, never to appear again. An abundance of information online explains what may initiate an attack. You can simply search to find the extensive listings. You may have left the feed room door open—and your horse gorged on the entire barrel of grain and now has a serious concentration of starchy sugar in his gut. Perhaps your ‘easy keeper’ stuffed himself with too much fresh grass. Ponies and minis, especially, may develop grass founder, resulting in insulin resistant problems. Certain medications, wormers, antibiotics, vaccinations, infections, injuries, birthing and various illnesses can activate a bout of laminitis. Stress can cause it and concussive forces may activate it as well.

Laminitis Explained

Laminitis, simply put, is like a breakdown of interlacing fingers, but the “fingers” are made of tissue (called lamellae) that attach the bone to the hoof wall. It can be compared to a Velcro attachment which, instead of synthetic material, is made of live tissue. You can imagine that living matter, ripping apart, can be very painful. When the strength and quality of lamellae fails, these tissues are compromised; the bone may tear away from the hoof wall. The toe of the coffin bone could even plunge through the sole of the hoof, delivering merciless agony.

There are various signs to indicating symptoms of laminitis, such as shifting weight from one foot to another, appearing sore, frequently lying down, protuberances in the hoof, irregular appearance, reluctance to move, unwillingness, rocking back and forth, sweating, increased heartrate, and even staggering. If you suspect a problem, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

Immediate Action Plan

The instant you have a diagnosis of laminitis, you must act to make your horse more comfortable. Provide a soft bed for him to lie in and if he prefers to remain standing, place his hoofs in Cavallo Boots with padded insoles. Cavallo offers a range of padding depending on the severity. It may be appropriate to provide more cushion at the beginning and then maintain the natural counter-effect of a somewhat harder insole to help stimulate blood flow. You could even tape foam to his feet while you are waiting for your boots to arrive. Ice therapy treatment performed in a timely manner will improve the situation dramatically. Unfortunately, this window of opportunity is only about 48 hours, so you must move quickly.

Make your patient feel well by providing the comfort of relaxed companionship, plenty of fresh water and hay that has been soaked to remove the sugars. Offer free choice salt and minerals of the highest absorptive quality to increase immunity, hoof health and the healing process. Above all, if you have identified the cause of the attack, remove it. When appropriate, have your horse tested for hormone levels, particularly insulin, so that you can adapt his diet accordingly.

Gut Health= Overall Health

Everything your horse ingests influences his microbiome (the microorganisms in his body). The gut acts as a guard for the immune system, being constantly exposed to new microbes, bugs, germs and bacteria that come from the food and water. The process begins in the stomach and small intestine with dizzying amounts of bacteria colonizing the upper intestinal tract. This commotion of sugars and starch produce lactate and volatile fatty acids, which are then absorbed by the horse and used for energy or to produce fats or glucose in the liver. This fermentation process reduces the blood sugars and amounts of enzymes required to digest. The cycle results with more microorganisms releasing into intestinal fluid to help cultivate good bacteria. The same activities continue with even more bacteria in the colon, that then provide some resistance to viruses or bacteria which may be harmful.

Your horse is a hindgut fermenter, which is a good thing because it means the flora of the hindgut can process, for a second time, the massive amounts of fiber he ingests. But this leaves horses vulnerable to failure of digesting large amounts of sugars. Gut bacteria are essentially and inextricably connected to metabolism, immune function, vitamin and mineral absorption, central nervous system function and even mental health. The microbiome is at the forefront of progressive studies regarding the complete health for both our horses and ourselves.

Support the Entire System

The important thing to note is that your horse’s body is an entire system. It is a field of potentiality—always changing; getting stronger or weaker depending on several factors.

Electrons, atoms and molecules combine to create a chemical, which bonds to share a field of information. This information accumulates to form cells, which then form tissues that work together and organize into organs to develop bodily systems. The cardiovascular system, digestive, immune, bio-mechanical, nervous and reproductive systems are the organized matter of your horse’s body. These systems do not function in isolation. Here’s an example: too much acidic activity (caused by undigested material in the hindgut) annihilates the bacteria that digest fiber. Toxins are released in the gut as this bacterium die. The poisons enter the blood stream through the gut wall and interrupt proper blood circulation, which can then cause laminitis in the feet.

Reverse Wedge and Traditional Treatments

We generally treat laminitis as a hoof problem. Some suggest hoof supplements, nerve blocks, bar shoes, frog support and corrective shoeing such as lowering the heel and then applying wedge pads. It seems counter-intuitive to lower and then raise the heel, but these are some of the conventional treatments used. Some wedge the hoof in a “reverse wedge” to lever the coffin bone up at the front and back into the wall. Any wedging should be considered temporary, in compliance with corresponding percentages shown on radiographs and monitored regularly.

Some recommend exercise to prevent obesity, while others advocate box stall rest and confinement. Feed restriction is also a prescription, but there are many considerations in treatment. Horses can get uncomfortable when food is not available and stress levels elevate.
Timing is important in treatment, as is a true understanding of the nature of the horse. Misperceived cures and treatment can increase levels of anxiety, thereby aggravating the distressing state of affairs further. Large doses of vitamin C, turmeric supplements and even whole milk cream added to the feed have been touted as cures. There are countless opinions. It can be simple or very complex and that is the way of many things, including laminitis. Seek help, seek knowledge and develop an understanding of a horse’s nature. Make prevention the greatest asset in your toolkit.

Can I use my Cavallos for Barrel Racing?

Enormous torque and lateral force are required for your horse to execute a sharp turn at high speeds. Cavallo Boots are extremely durable, yet even this level of hard-wearing construction can be impacted by your aggressive sport. Our President was one of the first barefoot Barrel Racers. Carole suggests go ahead and run your horse barefoot (for 16-18 seconds, hopefully) allowing the hoof function of expansion and contraction to act as natural tractions and grip around the barrels, while promoting complete freedom to fly down the straight stretches. If the arena footing is too aggressive and rocky you can certainly use your Cavallos – just maybe not “flat out”. Of course, use them for trail riding, arena work and other exercise.

Cavallos for Reining?

We do not make boots with sliders or to accommodate sliders. All Cavallo boots can be successfully used for turnout and riding over any terrain with your barefoot horse. This comfort encourages movement and blood circulation building strength, elasticity and overall healthier hoofs.




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