Monday, December 15, 2008

Gift Perfect: Silent But Friendly Hoof Boots for Miniature Horses from an Unusual (and Bargain!) Source

By Fran Jurga | 15 December 2008 |

Is there a miniature horse on your Christmas gift list? What do you give the mini who has everything? People who own minis seem to love to dress them up, but the hooves are usually overlooked. Not any more!

Continuing in the Hoof Blog's second annual guide to gifts for the holiday hooves in your life:

I recently came across a great Mustang therapy horse. The multi-talented Nevada Joe is worthy of a blog story in his own right, but of course his "Mini" sidekick, Doc Holliday, stole the show...because of his feet.

Doc Holliday, like my friend the three-legged Molly the Pony, makes bedside calls at hospitals; he's particularly popular at veterans' hospitals. The problem is that his hooves are noisy and they slip on the shiny hospital floors and, let's face it, the hospitals may have a point about his feet not being very sterile.

I found out that Doc Holliday wears tiny hoof boots that silence his clip-clop to a whisper, prevent him from slipping, and satisfy a hospital's sanitary policies. Three problems answered in one hoof boot! And they look like human athletic shoes!

Now, you may wonder, what high-tech design has been put into production to keep Doc Holliday trotting from bed to bed. And how much, exactly, do these therapy pony / sanitation booties cost?

We all know the latest designer hoof boots can cost over $100...each. So I held my breath. And let out a good laugh.

Doc Holliday's booties cost a whopping $8 each and you can stuff some mini's Christmas stocking into a bootie next week, too! The boots are actually made for Teddy bears, and are sold on the Build-a-Bear web site. For some reason, they fit right onto a mini's hooves, and stay on through the session, according to Doc and Nevada Joe's enterprising handler, Diane Purcelli.

They come in pink glitter, too!

Learn lots more about Nevada Joe here, and Doc Holliday here. You just might run into them; they are making the circuit of the Equine Affaire-type expos around the country, sponsored by Wahl clippers. These are two of the most interesting horses I've met in a while. I don't know how many Mustangs are working in therapy programs, but I know that Joe is a pretty good mounted shooting horse, and that the handicapped children in the program now have a balloon-popping game they can play on horseback during their sessions. I hope you will read about this horse and the work he does.

And remember the $8 hoof booties when you're in a bind with a mini or a foal and need a hoof boot. Just don't tell Build-A-Bear why you're ordering them or the price will go up!

Thanks to Diane for her time this week while she is competing at the World Series of Mounted Shooting at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. She stopped everything to talk about Teddy bear boots!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).