The patented air chamber is one of the most intriguing features of the marquis®supergrip hoofboot.
The air chamber is fixed at the rear inside the boot. Once the boot is put on the hoof and the clip closed, you inflate the air chamber using a small air pump that fits into the pocket of your pants (it is less than 10cm long).
The air chamber cradles the foot around the heel. It allows to easily adjust the boot to the shape of the hoof and it evens out differences in the length of the hoof for a good and firm fit. Importantly, the air chamber system allows for free movement of the hoof and heel bulb.
When taking the boot off, the air chamber is deflated first, using the end of the valve cap to press against the valve to release air.
Experience and practice will tell you how much air you will need for the boot to fit firmly and comfortably. Initially, you may be a bit tentative and the air chamber is not filled with enough air. It needs to be inflated sufficiently so that the hoofboot does not move around the hoof but it should not feel hard – you will soon develop a feel for it.
To inflate the air chamber, the little air pump is screwed squarely onto the valve, once the hoofboot is on the hoof and the foot firmly on the ground. It can also be screwed on before the hoofboot is placed on the hoof. It will sit firmly on the valve even when the horse moves. Due to its small size, it will not get in the way.
Some sensitive horses may need a bit of time first to get used to the feel of the air chamber. You will notice that the sensitive horse may step from one foot to the other, or lift the foot up and down a bit. In these cases, fill the air chamber initially with less air. You may like to introduce the boot over two or three days and start inflating the air chamber for a firmer fit slowly day by day. We suggest to lead your horse for 10 minutes first with their new boots on increasing the time over the next few days, then start riding with the hoofboots.
In some rare cases, you may not need any air at all – the boot may sit firmly without air already.
Some horses, in particular grey ones with pink skin, may be a bit sensitive around the heel so that rubbing may occur. In that case, take a few more days to introduce the boot, and increase the time your horse wears the boot over a period of two weeks, just as you would with your own new footwear. You will know your horse best how long it might take.
I introduced two thoroughbreds, both bays, over 2-3 days increasing the time from 10-20 minutes. There was no rubbing whatsoever. Both horses sometimes lifted the foot up and down a bit when stationary during the time of getting used to the feel of the boot. I released a bit of air during the adjustment period when this occurred.
As with all other parts of the hoofboot, the air chamber is replaceable.
Socks and horse cuffs
Socks and horse cuffs can be used to protect the heel and the pastern, and also to get the horse used to the feel of the air chamber. Marquis have specially designed socks for sizes 2/3 and 4/5, and for size 0-2, Marquis have designed horse cuffs that are long enough to be pulled over the fetlock. Socks and horse cuffs are useful in particular for:
- the initial time when the horse is getting used to the boot,
- for long rides,
- for use on sand surfaces,
- and when the boot is being used only sporadically.
Pads should be used in the hoofboot to increase longevity of the socks and cuffs.
It is also a good way of making use of our old socks with holes – cut off the tips and have the horses use them up in their boots!
Flank protector for the air chamber
In some instances when the horse is prone to brushing with their feet, where there is risk of overreach, or during jumping, the air chamber can get damaged. In those cases, we recommend the use of a flank protector. This can be mounted retrospectively, or you can purchase air chambers with flank protectors already fitted.
Alternatively, you can try and use bell boots.
Last edited 14.4.2016