Tory and Margaret from FastTrack® came to Baile Hill Farm for an interactive demo of the FastTrack® boots. I was thrilled to be able to watch a horse being fit and use the product during a ride—and then participate in a question and answer session. The FastTrack® website is super informative with frequently asked questions, videos and more, but seeing the product in person gives you a whole new perspective! We opened the demo to boarders and outside clients so they could get hands-on experience with the product as well.
The Perfect Fit
Tory took us through an informational session about the boots and passed them around before putting them on Quinn, our unicorn demo horse. The boots were much lighter than I was expecting, yet sturdy. Though you could tell the material was strong, the inner padding was soft and forgiving. Tory showed us the heating kit that would mold the liner to fit each horse and explained that FastTrack® would work with the veterinarian to ensure a proper fit. When she put the boots on Quinn, I was surprised that the back of the leg didn’t touch the actual boot. The boots were also more streamlined than I had assumed from the photos.
Customized Range of Motion
Tory demonstrated how the dial works to set the range of motion and explained that your vet would set and adjust as rehab moved forward. To get Quinn used to the boots, she left the dial open to 90 degrees for a bigger range of motion. Once your horse is used to the boots, the dial can be set for a smaller range and incrementally increase throughout the rehab process.
I then rode Quinn for the demo. He has never worn these boots and took to them like a champ. He is also not rehabbing from any current injury. I rode Quinn in the walk and trot at 90 degrees before closing the dial a bit to show a lesser range of motion. Quinn did not mind. After we changed directions each way a few times, we stopped to check if the boots had slid at all—and they had not budged.
Occasionally Quinn would clank the boots together. He is a close traveler in front so tends to whack himself in normal boots. However, the boots never caught together, and as he traveled straighter, the less clanking there was. Tory explained that clanking would not break or sacrifice the boots.
The Q and A
Once we were done with the riding portion, we went into a Q and A session from spectators. Here are some of their questions and the answers I found to be most helpful.
Q: Have any horses gotten the boots stuck together?
A: No horse has had the boots stuck together. There are narrow and wide options so if they are clanking they may need to adjust the size. If the horse is a close traveler, use vet wrap or soft padding.
Q: Can FastTrack® be used for hind leg injuries?
A: Though the studies and research have been done with primarily front limb injuries, FastTrack® can and has been used on hind legs. The boots would be fit differently but the concept is the same.
Q: Can the same pair of boots be used on multiple horses?
A: Boots are custom fit to each horse, however, the padding can be heated to change molding up to three times. So yes, after one horse is done with the boots, the padding can be readjusted to fit another horse or two!
Q: Is there a break-in period?
A: FastTrack says there’s a 2-week break-in period. This gives time for padding to settle and the horse to get used to the boots before rehab begins. But most horses are good to go with their boots right off the bat!
Q: Is it proven to reduce injury?
A: The tricky part about this question is that there are so many variables for each injury and each horse. While horses may have the same injury to compare rehab with FastTrack® and rehab without FastTrack®, the variables of conformation, care, footing, bedding, turnout, if they leap around or not, etc. can be so drastically different and so hard to control. FastTrack® is confident that their boots aid in a quicker, structured rehab and will, therefore, speed up the rehab process as well as reduce risk of future injury, but studies are still being done.
Q: Can these boots be used for uninjured horses? ( I personally asked this question as a lot of horses have a difference in the way they move on each side and eventually end up getting hurt. My thought was FastTrack® could teach those horses to move more evenly, which could keep them going nicely but also prevent future injury.)
A: No one has, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. That’s a very valid point.
Q: Will insurance help cover the expense of FastTrack®?
A: This is dependent on the insurance company. Some companies have covered a portion, where others have questions prior to deciding. This is something to discuss with your insurance company.
Q: How much is the FastTrack® set up? (our auditors thought they’d be around $10k)
A: FastTrack® is around $2500 for the setup. This price can vary a bit.
Overall our auditors and I thought that it would be a no-brainer to use FastTrack® as part of your rehab program. The boot is well designed, the concept makes sense, the company works hand in hand with your vet, and the wellbeing of the horse is paramount. While I hope I don’t need FastTrack® in my barn immediately, I certainly have it on my list for the moment someone comes to us for rehab or if we end up needing to rehab a horse. Huge thanks to Tory and Margaret for taking their time to demonstrate this wonderful product!