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Newsletter - Issue #14

Soft Ride Boot Accommodations

We feel so lucky to have a product that helps all types of horses feel comfortable and supported. Whether it’s on a trailer ride to a big event or treating a hoof injury, Soft Ride always strives to make your horses feel as good as possible. On our team, we often talk about fitting boots to the hoof we have, not the hoof we want, and sometimes that means making minor adjustments to accommodate the shape, style, and issues of the hooves we’re working with. Some of the most common things we see are horses with long toes, low heels, or accommodative shoeing that affect how Soft Ride boots fit or what size the horse wears. Read on to see how we recommend adjusting our boots to fit these hooves.
Soft Ride Team
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Cuffing the Boot

For horses lower heels or smaller bulbs.

What it is: “Cuffing” refers to folding down the back half of the upper material of the boot to shorten the section that comes up over the bulbs before velcroing the boot closed around the pastern below the fetlock.

When it’s needed: Cuffing the Soft Ride boots is typically used when the ground contact on the horse’s hoof wall or shoe fits well in length and width on the orthotic inside the boot, but there is more material in the upper part of the boot than is necessary for the anatomical structure of the hoof.

Cuffing the boot may be helpful if:

  • The back of the boot appears wrinkly or slouchy around the bulbs when standing
  • There are several “breaks” in the material like a pant leg that is too long
  • The material of the boot slides or folds down under the hoof when the leg is weight bearing (the same way a pair of pants would get walked on by a person if the material was too long)
  • The heel appears to slip up and down in the material when the horse is walking

How to do it:


After placing the hoof in the boot, grip the upper foam rolled edge on the back of the boot and pull the material up to make it taught.


Twist the material attached to the velcro straps down to the outside so the velcro is flipped upside, this is the cuff in the material. This will not affect the closure as both sides of the tab are covered with the loop side of the velcro.*
*Note: this can also be done with only one side of the velcro creating a half cuff where the material is twisted. A half cuff would be used for a horse that has more heel height than a full cuff allows but not enough to be snug without any cuff. The horse will not feel the “twist” in the material as it happens on the outside of the boots away from his leg.


Fasten the inside strap of the folded velcro to the front part of the boot. Be sure to tighten this as much as possible to ensure a snug fit.


Fasten the outside strap of the folded velcro to the front part of the boot. Be sure to pull the tab as far forward as possible to tighten the boot connection around the hoof.


Ensure the cuffed boot is closed at the narrowest part of the pastern below the fetlock and above the coronet.

Modifying a Narrow Orthotic

For horses that fall between the narrow and standard width measurements.

What it is: Modifying a narrow orthotic involves removing one of the side clips on the orthotic to make it slightly wider without reverting to the standard size equivalent to the orthotic. (I.E. a 6 Long Narrow orthotic fits inside a 6 Long boot so removing one bumper splits the difference between the narrow and standard width measurements)
When it’s needed: A narrow orthotic is typically modified when a horse’s width measurement is slightly over the advertised width of a narrow orthotic, but much smaller than the standard width of the same size. Since narrow orthotics fit into the equivalent standard size they can be modified to be made slightly wider.

How to do it:


Check the orthotic against the hoof. If the side bumpers flare out to the sides at all when held to the hoof wall the hoof is too wide for the narrow orthotic.


Use a pair of scissors or hoof nippers to remove one of the orthotic side bumpers to a level flush with the rest of the orthotic.

(Note: if both side bumpers are removed the width measurement will revert to the equivalent standard size, i.e. 3 narrow will then be 3 standard)

Modifying a Frog Support

For horses with bar shoes or pads.

What it is: Modifying a frog support is done by removing part of all of the elevated frog portion of the orthotic.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Stephen O’Grady
When it’s needed: For horses with standard shoes or that are barefoot, the frog support helps load the frog tissue encouraging full loading and unloading of the hoof. This encourages the vasculature of the hoof to fully flood and clear, promoting maximum oxygenation of the hoof. However, horses that have been shod with a pad or bar shoe may not need the frog support as it will not contact the frog of the hoof.

Removing the frog support may be done if the horse has:

  • A pour-in or full sole coverage par
  • An eggbar, heartbar, or straight/plain bar shoe
  • “Outlaw” or backwards shoes

How to do it:


Partial or full removal should be discussed with your vet or farrier.


Use a pair of hoof nippers, a blade, or a sander to remove part or all of the frog support to a level flush with the rest of the orthotic. 

Modifying a Toe Bumper

If medical conditions make trimming impossible.

What it is: Removing the toe bumper of an orthotic will allow for an ⅛-¼” of extra length in the orthotic.
When it’s needed: Removing a toe bumper might be needed if a horse has a medical trauma that makes it impossible to complete a trimming at a normal time and the horse is growing out more toe than the length of the boot allows.

(Note: orthotics with removed toe bumpers may need to be replaced once normal trimming resumes.)

How to do it:


Use a pair of scissors or hoof nippers to remove the toe clip bumper to a level flush with the rest of the orthotic.

Shortening Velcro

For horses with fine bone structure or narrow pastern.

What it is: Shortening the velcro tabs to make the boot tighter around the pastern.
When it’s needed: Modifying the velcro tabs on the Soft Ride boot may be needed if the horse wearing the boots is very fine-boned through the pastern. Shortening the tab can be necessary if the boot is still loose around the pastern when the tabs are pulled all the way to the fold-point of the “hook” side of the velcro tab. A short-term way to do this is by doubling the velcro back onto itself making a four layer closure instead of a three layer closure. This can be bulky, so if the horse’s structure is not expected to change removing part of the tab to make it shorter can be a more precise, long-term solution.

How to do it:


Use a marker to mark off how much material is overlapping the fold when the boot is tightly closed around the pastern.


Use a pair of heavy duty scissors to cut the tab to the appropriate length.


Use a sewing machine to close the cut end of the tab so the velcro will not detach from the tab.

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Soft Ride on the Road

American Association of Equine Practitioners Annual Convention

The AAEP Annual Convention & Trade Show is the world’s largest continuing education event dedicated to equine practice, anchored by more than 100 hours of continuing education and a 300-exhibitor-strong trade show featuring the newest products and services for practice.

Event Information:
Soft Ride Booth - 2728 / 2629
November 29 - December 3

San Diego Convention
111 Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101

800-443-0177 (U.S. and Canada)

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Text us photos and stories to 419-469-5293 (this number only receives texts, for questions please call our main customer service number).

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Soft Ride Mission

As we continue our drive to keep your horse on his feet, we've received more than 15 patents, ship to over 50 countries, and work with more than 6,000 veterinarians around the world, as well as every veterinarian school in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. And with horse owners from every discipline using our products, we can safely and proudly say, "The best in the world rely on Soft Ride."

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Disclaimer: This content is for education and is not medical advice. If you suspect medical illness or injury contact your veterinarian for medical advise.
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