A few years I ago I was super excited to see that Cavallo was now making the most adorable little boot for miniature horses. I immediately ordered a pair (actually my mom bought them for me for my birthday!) and tried them out.

I was very happy when I opened the box and saw how cute and little they were. That excitement turned to trepidation when I realized just how small they were. Teeny tiny. The only mini I had at the time that they would fit was Sky. That was fine because she was the one I was driving anyway. But I was disappointed that they didn’t make the boots bigger.

Sky and her CLB's.
Sky and her CLB’s.

Sky wore the boots for about 10 miles when I discovered there was a hole in the sole. I emailed Cavallo and they said my horse’s didn’t have the right hoof shape for the boot but they would send me another pair to try. I thought that was strange. Her hoof measurement said the boots would fit. They DID fit, though they did rub here and there at the top, but the soles were basically plastic and just wore out on the gravel we drive on. I felt that had little do with the shape of her foot and more to do with the material they were using for the sole of the boot.

I received the other pair of boots and we tried those as well. After about another 10 miles there were holes in those as well. That pretty much ended our run on Cavallo boots.

I had also found that they were very slippery. The soles were a hard plastic with no traction and when Sky was worked on wet grass she would slip and even fell. When we walked on lots of gravel the boots would slide through the gravel making her feel unconfident with the boots on. At the time I also had the Mini Easy Boots so we just used those instead.

I have a blog that compares the different boots I’ve used over the years. You can find that here –> Boot Comparison.

I felt that a re-design was necessary for these boots. I sent Cavallo an email expressing my disappointment and that was that. Then about a month and a half ago I had an email from them saying they had re-designed their boots, making them bigger and wondered if I was interested. I said I was only interested if they also changed the sole material of the boot. They said they had and sent me two pairs to try.

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I was happy to see the soles were not that hard plastic any longer and have some traction. The boots are bigger so that part is great! However, after using the Equine Fusion boots I have to say the tops of the boots are not great. They don’t close very tight thereby allowing quite a few of the smaller stones from the road to work their way down inside the boot. Not something I like to have happen, especially on the longer drives!

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Below is a photo showing the Cavallo boot next to the Equine Fusion boot. These boots are meant to fit the same size hoof as well. I noticed that the Cavallos were a bit sloppy on Zorro when he walked…

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Cavallo boot on the left, Equine Fusion boot on the right.
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Cavallo boot on the left, Equine Fusion boot on the right.

There is something very strange about the toe area of the boot. They have this long piece that sticks forward, blocking the roll over. We work so hard to have a nice beveled toe so our ponies have a good break over, why would we want to block that with the boot? I really don’t understand what the thought process was with this design. They don’t have this on ANY of the big horse boots.

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Here is a photo showing the beveled toe of the Equine Fusion boots:

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Though minis are small they are might athletes and should be considered as such. It frustrates me to no end how some of these boots are designed. They do not help them do their job but instead hinder them.

This style of boot was making Zorro trip and the break over was stopping him from rolling all the way over onto his toe, which would make his knee give out. I tried to capture it on video (video is below) but was doing this by myself so it’s hard to see. But I think you get the idea. And I’m sure many of you can see the problem just by looking at the boot!

So. I took my hoof nippers and rasp to the front of these boots to make them work better.

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Here is a video I made showing Zorro walk before I trimmed the front and then after!

This is just my opinion on these boots. Of course you should do what you think is best for your pony!

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I have been following David Landreville for nearly 2 years on Facebook. What drew me to his page were the beautiful hoof photos he was posting. He also shared consecutive trim photos of hooves that he was rehabbing, but the number of beautiful hooves he was sharing were truly inspiring. I figured if he had access to so many beautiful hooves he must be onto something!

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I shared his page with some good friends of mine that had recently taken over trimming their herd of 6 big horses. It’s my belief that if I spend a certain amount of time looking at beautifully balanced hooves then my brain will start to understand more fully exactly what I am trying to accomplish with my own ponies. My friends felt the same way! In fact they liked what they saw so much that they contacted David and flew down to Arizona to shadow him for a few days! Oh man I was so jealous! LOL! But I also knew they would bring back some great information and share it with me.

Not only did they bring back information, and we had many long talks about building beautiful hooves, but they also brought back information for putting on our own David Landreville Hoof Trimming Clinic here in Montana! I was so excited!

I chose to camp at my friends house for the duration of the clinic because I knew that often more talk goes on during lunch, then during dinner, then during that time after dinner before you go to bed. And boy did it! David was so generous with his time and his information. I tried to be a sponge and soak up everything the had to share in the short time he was with us.

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He brought his wonderful wife, Stephanie as well and she was so kind and made all who spent time with her feel calm and peaceful. That is such a special gift to have!

David spends a lot of time polishing and smoothing the back of the hoof so the horse has a nice soft place to land when they are trying to land heel first.

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Mostly David uses his rasp to polish the frog. In this photo he was showing us how to use our knife to do the same thing, trimming off the dead frog to give the horse a nice supple frog.
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Using the rasp to clean up the frog.

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He spends a lot of time explaining exactly how a horse’s foot works and why a heel first landing is so important. He has done extensive studying of the horse’s foot and has a deep understanding of how everything works together.

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Feeling the difference between the hard dead frog and the live supple frog.

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His philosophy is that the frog should not be weight bearing, nor should the outer hoof wall. Instead we need to balance the foot so the horse is weight bearing on the inner hoof wall, but over 4 main points of the hoof, the seat of the corn and the toe pillars, and the frog gives them a nice place to land and push off from. Our goal as hoof trimmers, is to develop a nice plump and thick area at the back of the foot to give our horses a soft place to land that is also working as it should, as a shock absorber.

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Giving us a better idea of what is going on INSIDE the hoof. David is such an artist!
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He would mark where he wants the weight bearing to be on the hoof.

He taught us techniques as well as his method by working on 6 different horses the first day and then watching us work on 6 horses the second day.

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Everyone felt relaxed learning from David. This mare decided to lay down and take a nap!

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He taught us of the importance of using sharp tools and being very very precise with them. It’s difficult to get a precise trim with dull tools.

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Showing us how to sharpen our hoof knives. This comes with trepidation because if we weren’t used to trimming with sharp tools we could cause some damage to both our horse and ourselves. Learning proper technique when trimming but also learning how to hold and manage our tools was a big part of this clinic.

A few of the horses were a bit skeptical about having their feet worked on. Once David was able to work on the back of the horse’s heel, put their foot down and give them a minute to think about it, their entire demeanor would change and they would hand him their other feet. If you horses aren’t doing this when you trim them, then maybe it’s time to look at a different trimming technique! He worked on several horses that I have also worked on over the years (including Zorro!) and I really enjoyed watching him change a horse’s mind from arguing and being mad to quiet, licking and chewing and lots of positive processing.

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This gelding was a very well mannered boy, but the relief he felt when he had a nice place to stand was immediate and recognized by all of us.

David stressed the importance of having a nice place to live. Adding sand to your dry lot or track system can be extremely helpful, working with the horse to develop a beautiful foot. As well as keeping their living area clean and free of manure.

He talked about how much more important it is to have a balanced trim than it is to change the diet to all the new fads or miracle cures. In essence there isn’t anything we can feed that will help our horse grow a perfect, balanced and fully live foot. But there is a lot we can do, with the proper training, through barefoot trimming, to help our horse grow this.

There are so many little things that are difficult to teach online, but are easier to understand in person. If there is ever a David Landreville Hoof Trimming Clinic in your area I highly recommend you take the time to go!

 

P.S. I came home with lots of information for my Handsome Hubby but while I was gone my Handsome Hubby had been hard at work clearing space and preparing the ground for a new hay shed, planning where he wants to move our current shed and how he wants to move the fence of the track. I am also getting another shelter from my friends that will be a run in shelter for the ponies and will be putting sand down before we set the shed down. This will give them a nice soft place to stand as well as a footing to work quietly on the dead tissues of their feet in between trims. I’m going to have a few truck loads of sand brought in to put on the track in a few spots. Luckily my track is small so adding footing shouldn’t be too cost prohibitive! Stay tuned for some track upgrades coming soon!