The Making of a Hoof Boot

As the President of Cavallo Horse and Rider, one of the most important aspects of my job is overseeing product development.  Creating cutting edge, market-changing equestrian products is what has brought Cavallo to the forefront of the hoof boot industry – an industry that is constantly evolving and redefining itself.  When we first tackled the challenge of making the best hoof boot on the market, we actually began with the END result as our starting point.  We asked horse owners, ranging from beginners to professional riders, what they would want and expect from a hoof boot.

Our first step was to do an informed study of our target market.  I started Cavallo in 1993, making rider garments and saddle pads, so we had an extensive database of market savvy customers, knowledgeable people who we could trust for quality feedback and market research. The one constant was the great love these people have for their horses. The comfort and well-being of their horse was paramount.  After that, it came down to a handful of essential requirements: functionality, safety, ease of use, and economy.  Not one of these points could be overlooked – a boot would have to encompass each feature in order to become the very best.  Our customers wanted a powerhouse of a boot that could tackle any rideable terrain on this continent and around the world.  Lightweight, comfortable, simple to use, long lasting with built-in drainage –  a boot that would stay on the hoof through the worst of conditions without fail.  A stylish appearance certainly never hurts, either! With this composite profile of a hoof boot; we rose to the challenge of making it a reality.

Greg Giles and Carole Herder

Although the materials I’d used in garment design were different than the materials needed to produce a hoof boot, I knew how to source them and put them together, at a cost that would work for everyone.  I was also aware of the role of quality control and rigid product testing, which are crucial in shaping a product that is absolutely fit for purpose. Cavallo’s CEO, Greg Giles, entered the picture in 2004, at a time in his career when he specialized in the development of safety footwear.  Greg provided another important addition to our team, as he was the Managing Director for Old Macs from Australia. Greg knows what it takes to make hoof boots a reality.  The products he oversaw were created for industrial use, regulated by strict material specifications and performance capacity.  Greg’s relevant skills and business knowledge in this area meshed perfectly with my own.  We were ready to make the best boot, at the best price, with the best possible delivery time – So our customers would get it when they needed it, use it easily and pay a comfortable price. Uniting our respective backgrounds with the desires of our customers was like cooking a well-balanced gourmet meal, combine just the right ingredients and viola the ideal hoof boot is born.

Cavallo-Simple-bootsIn 2006 we created the boot we’d envisioned. The funny thing was that after testing, trialing, and making all of the improvements we could ever foresee our customers wanting, our new hoof boot was still unnamed!  We were about to attend the WESA trade show in Denver (the largest Western and English equestrian trade show in the world) and a name was needed – and FAST. Much like naming a long awaited puppy, it had to be right, had to describe what the boot really was, had to capture its essence.  At home at our ranch, Greg and I we were playfully tossing our new, nameless hoof boot back and forth to each other across the room, trying to brainstorm by calling out its features.  The thing that kept escaping our mouths, again and again was how refreshingly simple it was – and it occurred to us – why would we need any other name than that?  Hence the name “Simple Boot”…… and we never looked back.

trekLast year we launched our new Cavallo Trek Boot. As in this case, new development can be brought on by external factors. Trek’s conception was fueled by an introduction to “Pro Mesh”; a technically advanced material. The developer of this new and technically advanced material suggested that TPU Pro Mesh would translate to a perfect hoof boot upper.   We liked the idea right away. We already knew what our TPU soles were capable of and were excited that this strength could be extended to a boot upper.  When we fully investigated the material, we found it to be durable, lightweight, flexible and incredibly hardy – taking the existing benefits our boots already offered to an even greater level. We successfully forged an agreement for Pro Mesh to be used exclusively, worldwide, for Cavallo Hoof Boots.  For a product to truly succeed around the world, strong relationships must be cultivated.

Greg always says there is a new invention under every rock – but how do you extract it, produce it, and make it readily available?  It requires knowledge, expertise, AND financing – a perfect storm, where all factors must come together at just the right time, and in just the right way to produce dynamic results.  A company must also have total confidence in their product to be able to offer a solid warranty to inspire trust and confidence for the customer. Only this can create a relationship that lasts many years. Cavallo offers the Best Boot Warranty on all of our hoof boots, taking the stress and uncertainty out of a purchase.  There are many products on the market that don’t meet the criteria of what a horse owner needs in a hoof boot, and in the end the consumer(and their lovely horse!) pay the price. They end up stuck, unhappy, with their money invested in a product that is not fit for purpose.  With Cavallo, we’re not just fulfilling the consumer’s need for a product; we are committed to education that highlights the health and financial benefits of keeping horses natural and barefoot.

ELB-Reg-Hi-Res2-452x402And, as all we do is in constant effort to grow, expand, develop and improve; we now announce the new ELB (Entry Level Boot). An exciting, game-changer: ELB is perfect for those still “nervous” about making the shift to becoming ‘barefoot and booted’. We wanted to offer easy access for riders to get into boots without a huge financial commitment.

Make no mistake; the ELB remains Cavallo consistent – uncompromising in quality and specification.  The ELB upper material is our 1680 count Denier industrial grade nylon – the same material used on Cavallo Sport style hoof boots, which have been ‘tried and tested’ in all terrains since 2008. The replaceable Velcro closure extends the working life of the ELB in the event of Velcro fatigue.  Easily fastened by 8 and 80 year-olds alike, the strap does not require any tools or extra physical strength. The ELB is offered on both Cavallo soles – Regular Sole, (hoof length and width are equal) and Slim Sole (hoof width is ¼” (5mm) narrower than length). Both soles incorporate the unique Cavallo patented front closure system and built in side drainage slots – which drain mud, water and sand effortlessly.

Available in 7 sizes (0 – 6 ) and sold individually, the ELB is available now at favorite tack stores or equine catalogues in the USA only, at the special launch price of ONLY $49.95 per boot.  As testimony to quality, the ELB is included in Cavallo’s Best Boot Warranty coverage – 180 day ‘repair or replace’.

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