In this article, learn how we use popular therapy Cloud Boots made by EasyCare Inc.
"podiatry is both art and science - the need for balance without compromising on protection and support"
Author Beccy Smith
What are Cloud Boots?
Cloud hoof boots are a hoof boots used for short or long term use for horses in hoof rehab. They fit over the heel bulbs and are often used for stabled horses or those in restricted turnout for example where there is an underlying hoof issue. They are not indicated as a performance hoof boot but are incredibly useful and versatile for horses that need the comfort and support they can offer.
Here you can learn more direct from the creators of Cloud Hoof Boots here...
Why we love these therapeutic boots (which we have used now for years)...
The are readily available from many farriery, podiatry, hoof boot and saddlery stores (including our online store here)
They come with a 2 degree soft pad which suits the majority of horses who can benefit from them
They are really versatile and have many applicable uses
They can be modified to improve break-over (NOTE: any modification will invalidate any warranty)
The pads are replaceable
They fit most ponies (as long as they aren't too small) and horses
They are easy to fit and use
They are relatively lightweight
This is a photograph from a previous article which you can find here where we have modified the break-over in this horse with under-run heels and broken back HPA.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have created a FAQ section on these boots. If you have a question we haven't already answered, please contact us and we will add it!
Top tips on using Cloud Boots
1. Consider using Cloud Boots in these circumstances (and under professional/vet guidance):
Laminitis (mild, early onset, sub-clinical, acute, chronic)
NPAS (negative palmar angle syndrome)
Low palmar/plantar P3 angles (identified in radiographs and low Hoof-pastern-axis visual assessment)
Thin soles (usually present in one or more of the above conditions)
Limb loading situation where there is present lameness in the opposing limb
As a leverage test
Hoof disease/pathology/infection, eg abscess, pedal osteitis
Ligament/tendon pathology above the limb, especially when there is low PA of P3
Hoof/limb pain (where there is a contracture of muscles and connective tissue above the hoof) - the raised pad can provide comfort and support
To help keep hooves warm (in horses with endocrinopathic laminitis risk)
To protect from harsh environmental stimulus, eg. hard, frozen, uneven turnout which could otherwise cause trauma, pathology and pain
As an emergency situation for a missing shoe (but not to ride your horse whilst wearing it!)
2. Consider adapting cloud boots where indicated and appropriate
Below shows the break-over in the adapted cloud hoof boot (right) compared to the unadapted boot (left)
This is what it looks like on the underside... note the bevel is extended all round the boot. In this instance, the heel area was left alone to maximize the base of support.
Here the soles on the unadapted boot (left) and adapted boot (right) are side by side for comparison.
3. Replace Cloud Boots when they become worn or overly compressed
The new cloud pad (left) and compressed, used one (right)
3. Consider using additional wedged padding when indicated (and under professional guidance)
In the example below we have placed a flexible but firmer 3 degree Stromsholm Supersole wedge pad under the used, compressed pad. Note: the very back of the pad isn't under pressure and in reality, the heel compresses into the pad in a short space of time, particularly in larger horses. Therefore the actual wedge only raises the caudal hoof by around 3 degrees i this example. The EVA pad conforms to the sole and frog and provides caudal hoof support. Additional support and stimulus can be provided by use of the correct density DIM material in the caudal foot
4. Consider using Scoot gaiters to help maintenance, comfort and fit
In this example, the wedge and pad are fitted closely to the boot to avoid spinning and the scoot boot gaiter is placed inside the boot before fitting to the horse. This one has been well used! Not all horses require these and they should ONLY be used when the fit allows.
The boot should be a snug fit, free from hard areas and unable to spin freely.
The gaiter of the cloud boot ready to close with a snug fit around the pastern. This stops the boot from being pulled of easily.
The well fitted cloud hoof boot, complete with custom beak-over and wedged heel support, ready for action!
5. Consider using bandage pads around the heel bulb and front of the boot closure to help absorb moisture and help prevent rubs.
We use Shires Equestrian 18 inch bandage pads, cut into 4 equal strips. These last 1-2 weeks typically before replacement. We find these reduce cleaning time (of the horse, hoof, boot and gaiter if used!) and make for a more comfortable experience for both horse and human!
6. Check hoof boots at least twice a day, removing completely at least one per day.
We find if bandage pads are used, either with or without the gaiters, this reduces the time taken to care for horses in these boots. Incorrect use and care can lead to serious disease, trauma and infection. The tissue of the coronet band and heel bulb is surprisingly delicate and is very prone to rubbing and bruising under pressure or friction.
7. Lastly, seek professional advice from someone experienced in using and fitting these boots, for the condition they are being used for.
We offer consultations (online and in-person) and can provide expert advice in collaboration with your horses professional team is required.
Are wedges suitable for all horses?
Wedges are an extremely useful tool for hoof carers and when used appropriately and many horses benefit or would benefit from wedges within an integrative approach to hoof rehab. As with any tool, the way it is used is paramount in whether it is considered successful and is therefore viewed as a "useful" tool. There are many types and forms of wedges and ways in which wedges can be used and we have outlined only one way and in one particular case, where the ideal solution isn't currently accessible.
We highly recommend that before using hoof boots, please consult with a suitably qualified hoof carer (equine podiatrist, farrier or barefoot trimmer). We also recommend that you consult with your horses team (vet/hoof carer/therapist) before fitting wedged pads, and ALWAYS consult with your vet and hoof carer first before fitting wedged pads if your horse is lame or currently being treated by a vet.
Finding a solution which is practical, useful and accessible
Sometimes, solutions are limited by cost (eg formahoof) or accessibility (eg farriers who can apply modern shoeing packages or an appliance isn't available!). Sometimes, a solution is needed there and then and we have found ourselves being creative, eg packing less than ideal hoof boots with sheep's wool collected from the paddock next door in order to provide comfort to a horse in need.
If you would like to become a VIP member and support our work, you will receive discounts on our podiatry services, mentorship and even our educational events, PLUS you will receive special offers every month: https://www.holisticequine.co.uk/membership
Metron-Hoof imaging software and hardware is available at https://www.eponamind.com/
HoofmApp is available at https://apps.apple.com/pl/app/hoofmapp/id1559067913
We take an integrative and holistic approach to whole horse hoof and body health. We appreciate the relationship between body, limb and hoof and seek to address imbalances while positively influencing appropriate static and dynamic hoof balance and biomechanics.
If, like our clients, you want to learn a PRO-Active approach to hoof care and wish to prevent lameness in your horse, consider booking us for an Integrative Podiatry Consult, Educational Event, Mentorship, or join our new VIP membership where you can support our work, receive discounts on all our services every day of the year, and access VIP members only resources.
Please feel free to share, ask questions or reach out for further support!
Beccy Smith BSc ADAEP EBW
Diploma in Advanced Applied Equine Podiatry and Independent Equine Podiatrist, Consultant and Therapist
CEO and Founder of 100% Non-Profit Community Interest Company Holistic Reflections CIC
Holistic Reflections CIC – a 100% non-profit organisation promoting wellbeing and resilience in people, horses and the environment - for the benefit of all.