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Glue-on Boots Series Part 1: Which Glue Should I Use for Scoot Skins?

Note: This is part of a 3-part series on glue on hoof boots. This article discusses the different types of adhesives. If you already know which type of glue you'd like to use, please refer to one of these articles instead:
Gluing on hoof boots with Sikaflex 227
Scoot Skins are the glue on version of Scoot Boots. Glue on boots in a variety of brands are typically used in endurance rides of 50+ miles, but can be used for a variety of reasons, such as if the horse can't get a good fit in regular strap on boots. 

There are three types of glue typically used for gluing on boots, epoxies such as Adhere, acrylics such as Glue-U, and a caulking type glue called Sikaflex® 227. The consensus is that Scoots, being so flexible, adhere better with a flexible adhesive so we are  recommending either Glue-U or Sikaflex. This quick video compares the flexibility of those two options to Adhere.

So which one? Glue-U Shufit or Sikaflex 227? The short answer is, if you want to keep boots on for a 6 week trim cycle, and you have dry weather conditions for gluing, then Glue-U Shufit should be used. If you want to just glue on for an endurance ride or a week-long riding trip, then Sikaflex 227 is a more affordable option. It's also important to note that Glue-U is fast curing and Sikaflex is slow curing so the application process is different. Here are more details: 

  Acrylic (Glue-U Shufit) Sikaflex®227
Overview Quick curing and designed specifically for boot application.  Slow curing caulk-like product designed for sealing, bonding, vibration reduction and sound damping in trailers, metal buildings, HVAC units, etc. Retains high elasticity. 
Cost * $25-32 /150cc tube, typically does about 3 boots $12/tube - does 4 boots with some left over
Brands Glu-U® Shufit Sikaflex 227
Cure Time 90 seconds to 5 minutes over night
Applied to Walls only Walls and sole
Applied with Special gun which can be purchased from VetTec, or caulking gun with adapter, or mix carefully and quickly in a cup Regular caulking gun
Usage Time Up to 6 weeks 2-3 weeks
Flexibility Dries hard though somewhat flexible- do not get on sole Retains elasticity of approximately 600%
Sole Protection None- do not apply to sole A thin layer of flexible product adds some protection
Hoof Trim Best within a few days of a fresh trim Best within a few days of a fresh trim. Remove any flaky sole and loose frog
Hoof Wall Prep Sand or rasp hoof wall thoroughly, dry with denatured alcohol and further with mini-torch if needed. Hoof needs to be extremely dry.  Sand or rasp hoof thoroughly, remove dust with clean lint-free cloth. Hoof should be as dry as possible. 
Sole Prep Clean with wire brush, apply denatured alcohol Clean with wire brush
Boot Prep ** Rough up inside of boot, wash with a degreaser, dry thoroughly. 

Cut away parts of boot not making good contact and cut away sharp corners. 
Application  Apply to inside boot walls only. Put boot on, wrap tightly in plastic wrap including over heel bulbs.  Apply Sikaflex in collateral grooves, on sole and on boot wall. Put boot on. Wrap tightly in vet wrap including over heel bulbs
Curing Hold hoof up as long as possible then place on ground to cure for the remainder of the 90 seconds to 5 minutes depending on which glue is used. Put hoof down. Keep horse standing fairly still for 20 -30 minutes. Check boots for twisting during that time. Can twist back if needed. Keep horse confined to small paddock for 6 hours then turn out but avoid steep hills. Leave vet wrap on till next morning.  
Removal  Pry off with long sturdy screwdriver Same. If any loose spots can also be pulled off by hand using some "elbow grease"
Cleanup Remove with wire brush, cylindrical grinder, Dremel. Does not need to go all the way down to the boot but remove enough so that the boot can flex and nothing is flaking off.  Remove with wire brush, cylindrical grinder, Dremel, getting down to a thin layer, does not need to be completely removed if re-gluing with Sikaflex. 
Re-use Boots can be re-set. Epoxy will stick to epoxy residue. Have not tested using Epoxy after Sikaflex Boots can be re-set. Sikaflex adheres well to prior epoxy or Sikaflex applications.

* Amount of glue used will vary based on hoof size, skill in applying, and how well the boots fit. Gappy areas will require more glue. 

** Separate articles on applying boots with epoxy and Sikaflex® will go into more detail on cutting boots down. 

Choices Choices
So how do we boil these details down to which method you should use?  Weigh these factors and decide which is most important to you: 

How long do you want to keep them on? 
  • If you are wanting to keep boots on for more than a couple of weeks, then acrylic (ie Glue-U Shufit) is the way to go because the hoof can breathe and can be flushed. This advice may change if future testing of Sikaflex on the walls only is a success. 
  • If you want to remove the boots after a week or two, Sikaflex is a much lower cost option and also provides some extra sole protection. 
What is your weather like?

Based on my interviews with experienced gluers, Sikaflex® is more forgiving and generally considered more reliable in damp weather as the hooves do not need to be completely dry. According to the Sikaflex® website, 227 actually "cures on exposure to atmospheric moisture"! So if it's very humid or raining and you haven't had the horse inside to keep feet completely dry, you still want to dry the hooves as much as you can, but Sikaflex® is probably your best choice. If you need to use acrylic in damp weather, get out the mini torch or heat gun and get those feet as dry as you can. Follow up with denatured alcohol. 

How much time do you have before your ride? 
If you need to put boots on and ride that same day, epoxy is your only option as it will cure in minutes while Sikaflex needs at least 6 hours.

If your ride is the next day or later then you can use either.

How much time do you have to mess with the application?

I can't stress enough that the first time you do this, either method, it's going to take a long time. TOO long! With either method plan ahead and get everything that can be done ahead of time, done ahead of time! More on that to follow in instruction articles. 

That said, if all goes well, epoxy will go a little faster, only because of the "hang out" time after application. You need to stay with your horse until it cures but that is mere minutes. With Sikaflex you need to keep your horse still for 20-30 minutes before letting him go into a small confined area (paddock sized) but hanging out with your pony isn't so bad, is it?

Before you Buy Scoot Skins
Boot sizing is as critical when fitting Scoot Skins as it is when fitting regular strap-on Scoot Boots, but the fit is different. Typically you are going to want a size or two smaller with Skins. You don't have the tightness of a heel strap to worry about - there is no heel strap! The front gap can be a wide "V" because you don't have toe straps to worry about. What you want is the size that best matches the sole and has the best contact with the hoof wall, with as few gappy spots as possible. If there are gappy areas around the top the boot can be cut lower to remove them.  

If you'd like some different sizes to try on, the first step will be to send me some measurement photos - see step 1 at this link for instructions: https://www.timberlinetack.com/blogs/news/scoot-boot-adventures-fitting-and-trial-program
Plan Ahead

There is a learning curve when gluing on boots! If you have an important event coming up it would be a good idea to do a round of gluing well ahead of the event, and then to glue on the boots for the event a couple of days ahead of time. There will be more on this in the application articles.

If you have any questions, feel free to send them to me at either: 
Facebook Messenger: https://m.me/TimberlineTackAndScootBoots
Email: timberlinetack@gmail.com
Text (and I can call you back): 406.223.3871

Plan Ahead!
There is a learning curve when gluing on boots! If you have an important event coming up it would be a good idea to do a round of gluing well ahead of the event, and then to glue on the boots for the event a couple of days ahead of time. There will be more on this in the application articles.

Happy Scooting! 
- Karen