Best Shoes For Navicular Horse

The navicular bone is located in the fetlock joint and is a common cause of lameness in horses. The best shoes for navicular horses are those that provide support while maintaining the flexibility required for movement.

Here are some of the most common types of shoes used:

Gel-Filling Shoe

The gel-filling shoe is one of the most popular choices among farriers. It has a built-in gel pad that provides shock absorption and helps reduce concussion when landing. This reduces stress on tendons, ligaments and joints, making it a good option for horses with feet that need support but still need to move around without pain.

Cushioned Shoe

This type of shoe looks similar to a half pad or quarter pad but has a soft foam material inside it instead of fabric. Cushioned shoes are ideal for horses with hoof walls that are thin or weak, because they provide extra cushioning between the foot and ground. They also help reduce concussion on impact, which makes them good options for horses with navicular issues or other forms of arthritis in their joints or tendons.

Best Shoes For Navicular Horse

5 Best Boots for Horses With Navicular (Review)

Hoof boots aren’t a new fashion.

They’ve been around for a while and are quite popular with barefoot horse owners because boots offer ample hoof protection when riding a horse.

However, not all hoof boots are suitable for chronic pain and navicular disease. That’s why we’ve chosen models that cushion the heel and offer stability to make it easy for the horse to step heel-first.

Keep in mind that no matter what boots you choose for your horse with navicular, you have to measure the hoof to ensure that the shoes fit well. 

Look at the manufacturers’ size charts and instructions on how to measure the hooves before you order. 

#1 Equine Fusion All Terrain Ultra Jogging Shoe

Equine Fusion Jogging shoes feature flexible rubber soles and a breathable upper to allow proper blood circulation in the hooves and eliminate peripheral loading.

They also have excellent shock absorption on all surfaces and are 43% more effective than metal horseshoes.

Since Equine Fusion All Terrain Ultra shoes have a thick three-layer sole, they’re an excellent choice for horses with sensitive hooves and those in rehabilitation.

Their tread pattern ensures that the horse has a good grip on any terrain, including rocks and mud.

Moreover, these hoof boots for horses with navicular are designed to provide maximum frog pressure and improve weight-bearing.

They don’t hinder the expansion and contraction of the hoof and allow your horse to move naturally, which makes them perfect for caudal heel pain.

Furthermore, the all-terrain ultra boots have got a large build-in breakover, and you can fasten them easily thanks to the Velcro straps.

You also can add drainage holes, and the boots are available in slim and regular models. You also have several boot sizes to choose from. 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Thick 3-layer soleNot Prime Eligible
Good for all terrainExpensive
Can add drainage holes
Slim styles available
Equine Fusion All Terrains Ultra Hoof Boots 14, Black

Equine Fusion All Terrains Ultra Hoof Boots 14, Black

  • Soft, flexible, comfy upper that conforms to fit all shapes of hooves
  • Unique, flexible rubber sole that eliminates peripheral loading, protects the hoof and absorbs shock on all surfaces
  • Sole pattern ensures good grip even on slick mud and rocky surfaces
  • Super easy to clean – machine wash and tumble dry
  • Suitable for both rehabilitation/turnout and all types of riding

#2 Equine Fusion Recover Shoes

red equine fusion recovery shoe

Besides the all-terrain hoof boots, Equine Fusion offers recovery shoes that are also suitable for navicular horses.

This model features a flexible rubber sole to eliminate peripheral loading and a unique tread design for maximum traction and stability.

The recovery shoes have an elastic upper part, which makes them suitable for hooves with odd shapes or angles, common in navicular horses.

The waterproof elastic neoprene also doesn’t hinder the hoove’s natural movement and provides adequate cushioning for hoof pain. 

The shoes also have a waterproof zipper and an elastic strap to make it easy to put them on and remove them afterward.

Besides hoof rehab, they’re also suitable for transportation/turnout.  

BenefitsDrawbacks
Specially designed for recoveryOnly sold in specialty stores
Good for turnout, too.Expensive
Waterproof neoprene
Flexible rubber sole

#3 Cavallo Simple Regular Hoof Boots

Ariat Rambler Western Boot – Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot for Horses, Black

Cavallo offers another excellent hoof boots for horses with navicular.

Their regular sole hoof boot is suitable for relieving chronic pain and is perfect for sensitive hooves or horses recovering from injury/trauma.

The Cavallo hoof shoe features an outside tread pattern to support the hoof walls, a recessed outsole to minimize pressure, and a built-in sole relief.

The boot promotes healthy hooves since it allows the foot to expand and contract naturally and increases blood circulation in horses’ hooves.

Cavallo hoof boots also have high-performance thermoplastic urethane for protection and maximum shock absorption on all terrains.

They’re available in regular and narrow sizes, with a convenient size chart to help you find the right fit. 

For maximum comfort, you can combine the boots with Cavallo Gel Pads.

These pads are also an excellent choice if you’re switching your horse from metal shoes to barefoot and want extra hoof protection. 

BenefitsDrawbacks
High-performance thermoplastic urethanePricey
Regular and narrow sizesSome say hard to put on
Prime-eligible on Amazon
Genuine Leather
Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot for Horses, Size 5, Black

Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot for Horses, Size 5, Black

  • All-terrain hoof protection for the barefoot horse
  • Simple to Size; Simple to put on and stay on
  • Rehabilitation from injuries, abscesses, navicular disease, laminitis/founder, punctures, sole bruising and contracted heels
  • Genuine Leather upper is comfortable and flexible
  • Center of outsole is recessed to minimize pressure

#4 EasyCare RX Boots

Easycare

If your navicular horse is hard to keep booted, you might want to give EasyCare Boots a try.

Their RX model is light, comfortable, and provides excellent stability and support for the hoofs. 

The RX boots come with a 6-mm comfort pad to provide extra protection and eliminate chronic pain/ discomfort in horses with navicular disease.

They also have a semi-aggressive tread to provide adequate traction and ensure that the horse doesn’t stumble. Air vets ensure that the hoofs have adequate air circulation.

However, these navicular hoof boots aren’t suitable for riding or rocky terrains and are designed for horses on stall rests. 

Easycare Inc also has other products for horses with thin soles, abscesses, laminitis, and chronic lameness.

They’ve also got a Therapy click system to change breakover and elevate the heel. 

BenefitsDrawbacks
AffordableNot Prime Eligible
Okay for light turnoutNot for riding
Great for traileringNot the most durable
Designed to keep dirt & debris out
EasyCare Easyboot Rx Therapy Hoof Boot 3

EasyCare Easyboot Rx Therapy Hoof Boot 3

  • Therapy boot for support and relief from chronic lameness, laminitis, founder, navicular, and other lower limb or hoof problems
  • Great for horses recovering from injury, surgery or for those that have difficulty with hard surfaces
  • Great for trailering or breeding operations
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Not for riding, but okay for light turnout

#5 SOFT RIDE BOOT

Suitable for sound horses and horses with chronic foot problems, Soft Ride Boots are last on our list.

They feature a dual-density construction, which places the horse’s weight in the middle of the hoof to promote proper blood circulation to/from the feet.

Moreover, SoftRide’s products don’t hinder the hoof’s natural movement and allow it to roll over. In this way, the boots decrease the strain on the tendons. 

The boots also feature a rubber tread that gives your horse better traction on different surfaces.

More importantly, they come with interchangeable Gel Orthotic Inserts to speed up the healing process by massaging the frog and increasing blood flow. 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Made for chronic foot problemsNot sold on Amazon
Dual-density constructionsCan’t see the price until you add it to cart
Doesn’t hinder natural movement
Rubber tread for different terrain

Lameness is one of the most common problems horse owners have to deal with and the scariest.

A lame horse can’t race or work and might need extensive and expensive treatment to use the affected limbs fully. 

While injury/trauma often causes lameness, many owners dread the “N” diagnosis when a domestic horse has problems with the front legs.

That’s because there’s no universal treatment for navicular disease and the degenerative changes are often non-reversible.   

Fortunately, having the right boots for hooves can alleviate the discomfort and show the disease’s progression.  

What is Navicular Syndrome?

Caudal hoof pain, navicular disease, or navicular syndrome describes the same condition – inflammation/degeneration of the navicular bone.

It’s usually bilateral, meaning that it affects both front feet and rarely the hinds. 

Besides the navicular bone, the syndrome affects several anatomical structures:

  • navicular bursa
  • deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT)
  • coffin joint (coffin bone)
  • impair and supporting ligaments

In other words, navicular syndrome makes it painful for a horse to step on the back of the heels, influencing the horse’s ability to compete and perform. 

What Causes Navicular Syndrome?

It’s not clear what causes navicular syndrome.

But veterinarians suspect it has to do with repeated compression of the navicular bone and cartilage degeneration. 

Another possibility might be excess tension on the navicular bone’s supporting ligaments and the deep flexor tendon.

Tension causes inflammation, which might thicken the ligaments and affect the hoof’s blood circulation. 

A decreased blood flow to the navicular bone also leads to a buildup of pressure and mineral loss. The excess tension might even cause the ligaments to tear. 

Damage to the tendon, bursa, and navicular bone might also cause caudal hoof pain.

Some horse breeds are also prone to this syndrome because of their weight-to-foot-size ratio (Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds) or inherited poor hoof shape.  

What Are the Signs? 

The first warning signs of the navicular syndrome are subtle.

You might notice that your horse is uncomfortable on rough terrains, avoids putting extra pressure on the front legs, or stumbles more than usual. 

Eventually,  lameness develops. The horse starts walking on its toes because of the pain in the back of the foot.

Such toe first landing is a common sight in horses with hoof pain. 

Within intervention to slow the progress of the disease, the hoof condition gets worse until the horse can’t step on the heels without pain at all.

Unfortunately, it might cause permanent lameness. 

How is Navicular Disease Treated?

Unfortunately, you can’t cure navicular horses completely because you can’t reverse the degenerative process that has affected the bone and soft tissue. 

Treatment focuses on rehabilitating the hooves and maintain proper hoof structure/shape to prevent future damage.

Usually, corrective shoeing or therapy boots are used to encourage heel-first landing instead of toe-first landing. 

Corrective shoeing is a matter of debate because many owners and specialists believe horseshoes are part of the problem and believe that a barefoot hoof is better.

They advocate for natural hoof care to alleviate your horse discomfort and correct hoof form. But metal shoes can also work for some horses. 

When shoes and boots don’t help, your animal might need pain killers and other medication to reduce the inflammation.

Your vet might also recommend blood thinners to increase the blood flow to the navicular bone. 

For severe navicular syndrome, you might consider surgery – cutting the nerves in the heels.

However, it’s a temporal solution because nerves regenerate, and the pain will return in time. 

How to Prevent Navicular Disease?

Unfortunately, we don’t know enough about navicular disease to prevent it altogether.

Still, hoof trimming is essential for hoof health and preventing long toes and underrun heels. 

Work with a professional trimmer to correct any deformities, such as long toes, mismatched angles, or underruns.

You want a person who knows what they’re doing because poor trimming or shoeing can exacerbate the issue. 

Moreover, ensure that your horse has proper nutrition to prevent obesity. Any extra weight on the hooves might affect the foot development.

Regular exercise is also a must to keep your animal in shape. 

The navicular syndrome can be treated if you catch it in time to prevent hoof deformation.

Final Words

Keep an eye for warning signs that your horse has front leg tenderness, and work with your veterinarian and farrier on a treatment plan. 

Moreover, don’t panic. Not all caudal hoof pain is due to navicular problems and might have an easy solution.  

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