Cavallo Horse & Rider’s hoof boots (http://cavallo-inc.com) help performance horses travel in comfort to this summer’s top barrel races and help them feel comfortable while stalled with concrete floors. Barrel racer Susie Busse (of Troy, Missouri) outfits her string of shod competition horses with the boots to ensure that they don’t slip in the trailer–and to ensure they have cushioning to help them feel great once they arrive at events.
Here, we sat down with Busse to talk to her about how she uses Cavallo Hoof Boots for better travel. She says she trusts Cavallo Hoof Boots (https://cavallo-inc.com/product-category/hoof-boot/) to keep her horses comfortable and protect them if the stalls have concrete floors.
Where do you compete?
I travel to Barrel Racing and Pole Bending events all over the Midwest and some Southern states–Georgia being the main one for the National Barrel Horse Association Open World competition.
Tell us about your horses?
We own six Quarter Horses. Leo (Blue Moon Blazing) is 21. This year he’s the grandson’s ride. He is goofy, cow-bred, and is still very competitive for the kid. He runs poles probably better than barrels, but he loves his kid and job. Howdy (Howdy and Adios) is 17. Howdy is Bruce’s (my other half’s) special one. Stoli (Streak N Stoli) is 14. He has a past life story that wasn’t great while on the track as a youngster. It took quite a bit for him to trust, but he is such a love bug now. He will give everything he has when racing. Bo (Second Arrangement) is six. Nothing bothers him—except a spray bottle. Bo is a quick learner and is obsessed with Bruce. He is consistent and is also breaking into the pole-bending world with me. He does have a spot above his hoof that we have to monitor and is one of the horses I wanted the hoof boots for. The boots have helped him so much. Skeeter (Oklahoma Bug) is why I wanted to try the boots with pads. There are no words for this boy. He is Dennis the Menace wrapped up in a horse’s body. He has more personality than all of the horses in the barn put together. He was diagnosed with a couple of foot issues back in January. He has become so much better between the vet, farrier, and the Cavallo Hoof Boots. He’s a three-year-old sorrel and is the baby of the group! He has taken to the barrel and pole pattern like he was born to do it. We have some high hopes for him next year during his futurity year.
How did you find out about using the boots?
I saw a post on Facebook and liked how the Cavallo Hoof Boots fit the horses’ hooves and could be ridden in. If you could ride in them, they would stay on the hoof. Other brands are so clunky, and I just didn’t want to have anything flopping around on my horse. Then I did some research. I checked out the website, videos, and reviews online, and I saw the different therapeutic pads that could be placed inside the boots. That led me to the “Get in Touch” page (https://cavallo-inc.com/contact-us/), where I asked a ton of questions about stalling, hauling, riding, and in general, would they make my horse more comfortable. We have two (Skeeter and Bo) that were diagnosed with some front foot issues, and while the outlook is good, I wanted to keep them feeling their best in any way I could.
What made you feel like you wanted to use boots?
First, I received an email back almost immediately, so customer service was crazy amazing! That was impressive in itself, and the way the Cavallo team believes in their product is addicting. The answers I received on the pads and the boots made me want to try them to make Skeeter and Bo as comfortable as possible to keep them performing at the top of their game. The different pads gave me so many options. Then if they were beneficial to these two, I wanted the other boys to benefit as well when we travel. Skeeter also had to be barefoot in the front for a while until his feet expanded and grew out. He is VERY sensitive, and we worried about bruising, abscesses etc.
Are you using the boots only in the trailer or around the show grounds?
We mainly use them on the showgrounds and in their stalls, especially when stalled on concrete floor stalls. The difference when used on the concrete is absolutely awesome compared to the mats we used to lug around. The horses would stock up, get sore, and you could tell–even with a mat–they were just super tired by the end of the event. We used these on Howdy, Skeeter, and Bo at a three-day event recently and those three boys never stocked up. They were always chipper and ran some of their better runs ever on Sunday.
What did you do to get a good fit over the metal shoes?
Our horses are shod for competition. I waited until they were freshly shod, got the measurements needed and sent them in to be evaluated. I did try to ‘guess’ the sizes and was very close. Knowing that they would get the 10MM Cushion Pads (https://cavallo-inc.com/product-category/hoof-boot-accessories/hoof-boot-pads/cavallo-hoof-boot-cushion-pads/), and the Protection Pads (https://cavallo-inc.com/product-category/hoof-boot-accessories/hoof-boot-pads/protection-pads/), we did make sure they had a touch more room because the pads do help tighten things up. Also, I love the ‘socks’ (Comfort Sleeves: https://cavallo-inc.com/product/the-cavallo-comfort-sleeve/) as they help prevent any rubbing while wearing for long periods. I haven’t had any rubbing issues, but I do have them handy just in case!
What have you noticed with your horses after they have been wearing the boots?
I notice that I worry a little less about how they are going to feel in the mornings after wearing them overnight at a race. When I see them in the morning, they always seem happy and comfortable. They come out of a stall fresh and ready to do their jobs. There is no stocking up on their hinds (HUGE deal for me), and warming up seems quicker because their muscles aren’t stiff. They are comfortable walking all over the grounds when we take them out for a walk to eat some grass or roll.
What’s the chatter around the barrel scene— are you seeing more boots on horses’ hooves out of the trailer, around the grounds?
A lot more riders are using them for stalling than hauling, but I have a few clients haul in them. One client bought a pair to use when stalling or standing at the trailer. Then the horse sustained a puncture wound through his frog area. She is now using the boots to help hold medicines in place and keep the wound clean and protected.
Tell us why you chose to help distribute the boots.
I am an associate and have been sizing and selling them for a couple of months now. I have sold more sets of four than pairs for the front (which is a lot of what people tend to buy in my ‘world’). That shows me that people notice that both the front and back hooves need support when stalling and hauling at the show. Most boots–whether sets or pairs–are used more for stalling or when the horse is tied to the trailer for a day show. Riders want their horses to be comfortable standing wherever they are parked–on gravel, black top, or even in a field. Some use them at home to ride in or for turnout because they live in a rockier area. I am glad I can help these horses be even more comfortable.
The Cavallo website contains research, testimonials, and FAQs to help guide you as you transition to barefoot and prepare to ride in any sport. Visit https://www.cavallo-inc.com for more help, or join the discussion on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CavalloHoofboots. Sign up here for Cavallo’s free newsletter and special community discounts: https://www.cavallo-inc.com/CavalloNews
Carole Herder is the author of the #1-bestselling books: There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven and the newly-released Hoofprints on The Journey. Her company, Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc., manufactures and distributes horse products, including Cavallo Hoof Boots and Saddle Pads, to 26 countries worldwide. Herder designed and developed Cavallo Hoof Boots and Total Comfort System Saddle Pads. She’s an honored recipient of the BCBusiness Women Innovator Award, Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur Award, a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization, and a certified Chopra University Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Teacher.
Visit https://www.cavallo-inc.com to learn about the full line of Cavallo Horse & Rider products. Call toll-free from the USA or Canada: (877) 818-0037.
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