Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Back on Track Hock Boots, initial thoughts

You may remember that I ordered several Back on Track products earlier this month.  One of the products was a pair of hock boots.  I haven't really noticed any specific hock issues, but he is 13 years old, so I know that arthritis is always a possibility.  As a possible alternative to supplements or injections (if he should ever develop severe discomfort), I thought these boots might be handy to have around.

We've been having bizarrely warm weather this month, but we did have more seasonable temperatures about a week ago, so I took the opportunity to give these boots a try.  I admit that I didn't measure Nimo for them - I just ordered the large size based on the general guidelines from the BOT website.  I think the large was a good choice.  I could get the boots almost closed in front, and they seemed to fit well overall.

I've never used anything like this on Nimo, so he was a bit surprised and peeved about me putting them on (he doesn't like having his hind legs messed with, so his reaction wasn't necessarily unexpected).  He kind of reminded me of my old dog, Murphy, when I first put boots on his paws to protect them from all the ice-melting chemicals the apartment complex was using on the sidewalks.  Each time I put a boot on one of Murphy's feet, he would hold the foot as high up in the air as he could.  Well, it turns out he couldn't balance on one leg, so eventually he had to experiment with putting weight on his feet.  He did get used to them after a while, but the first few times I put the boots on were quite amusing:)

Anyway, after I put the first boot on Nimo, he held his leg up in the air (which was no small feat given his size) and tried to dislodge the boot.  After a couple of minutes, he reluctantly agreed to put his hoof back on the ground, so I could put the other boot on.  And again, he fussed by lifting his leg and shaking it.

I gave him some space (plus he had lots of good hay to eat), and let him work through it on his own.  Then I groomed him and saddled him up to ride.  I think I had the boots on about 20 minutes before I took them off for the ride.  After the ride, I put the boots back on to continue the desensitization process.  I left them on while I took Nimo's tack off and fed him a post-ride mash.  Again, the boots were probably on for about 20 minutes.

My original plan had been to put the boots on when I am trailering for a ride or lesson, but I think I'm going to have to do at least a couple more sessions at the barn before I use them in the trailer.  I don't want Nimo fussing with them when he is in the trailer or starting to associate something annoying with being trailered.

That said, I think the boots have possibilities.  They fit well and seemed to be well-made.  I wasn't able to test how well they stay on with movement because Nimo really only walked a few steps in them (and there was a moment where he tried to insist he could not back up while he was wearing them...).  I don't think I'd feel comfortable leaving them on overnight, though, because Nimo is turned out all the time and if one did work loose, I would never find it in all the mud:)

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious how you like them after more use. I was thinking of buying them for Apollo but I've only heard mixed reviews on them so far.