Most horse people agree that, when properly applied, horse boots can help keep our horses sound. But recent research indicates they could potentially cause harm to tendons and ligaments.
To avoid this scenario, ensure your horse wears a set that fits him comfortably without rubbing his legs or causing discomfort.
Your horse might require extra support while jumping or suffers from lower leg issues, which a quality pair of boots can provide. Furthermore, these can reduce risk during exercise, schooling and turnout sessions as well as prevent injuries like rubbing marks that could lead to splint bones, pulled tendons or other long-term issues which require months to heal.
Tendon boots are specially-designed to protect the front fetlock of horses from injuries caused during exercise or competition, such as when jumping over obstacles. Tendon boots should only be worn by horses who have experienced tendon or bone injury and offer thick padding protection while still permitting free movement of their legs.
Another type of front leg boot, called an over reach or bell boot, helps horses avoid over reaching by knocking their hooves into the heels of their front feet and overreaching. These boots should ideally be worn on horses without front shoes to provide shock absorption and traction support.
Most front boots feature three straps – a middle strap, top and bottom straps that can be adjusted, and one that can be tightened down over it to distribute pressure evenly – that fasten together and can be tightened from either end, with professional grooms often fastening only one strap at first before tightening all three to match its pressure distribution.
Back boots provide protection for the tendons and joints of the hind legs. Their harder surface helps disperse heavy forces produced when jumping to lower risk of tendon injuries; and many models feature tight or elastic straps in front for closure.
Stubben pads are often utilized during competition and exercise sessions, hacking, schooling and turnout sessions as well as ground work sessions to protect hind legs from brushing injuries caused when one horse’s hoof strikes another hind leg. They may also come in handy to reduce brushing injuries during ground work sessions by protecting it from being struck.
Like their front counterparts, rear boots come in many styles, materials and colors to fit different styles and functions of riding horses. For example, over reach boots (also referred to as bell boots) are designed to prevent horses from overstriding with their hind toes and damaging the backsides of their front hooves by over-striding with their hind toes while wearing them.
Back boots come in various sizes to meet the needs of horses of different species and breeds ranging from ponies and large Arabians to the standard dressage horse as well as extra large horses. Their correct sizing chart for manufacturing purposes uses factors such as height, weight and breed alongside leg circumference to estimate this – however for safety it is generally advised that some extra space be left when fitting back boots.
Hind horse boots tend to be shorter than front boots and provide protection for back legs from hocks to heels, offering both impact protection as well as helping prevent them from catching under obstacles.
Shock absorbing front boots offer additional support to tendons and ligaments while also being designed to be lighter than traditional leather or plastic-based front boots, featuring models featuring breathable materials and airflow grids for cooling. By helping keep lower legs and tendons cooler than their traditional leather or plastic-based counterparts, they help your horse avoid heat stress.
These boots are most frequently utilized in jumping disciplines such as show jumping or eventing; their use helps decrease the risk of your horse’s front feet catching on jumps and striking his hind legs, thus protecting both themselves and other riders over jumps. In addition, dressage and cross country riders often utilize similar boots.
Recent innovation in protective horse boots is the patented fetlock boot. Similar to tendon boots, this type of boot wraps around the entire fetlock joint for lift and protection of suspensory ligament. They’re typically utilized by hunters, show-jumpers, cross country riders as they provide increased impact protection while jumping fences. They can also offer extra grip during wet or muddy riding conditions.
Choosing the Right Boots
Selecting the ideal boots for your horse can make all the difference in their performance. They provide protection from leg injuries such as strikes and kicks, protect them from cuts during turnout and help prevent spooking – from tendon boots, front boots or fetlock boots there is bound to be one perfect for both of you!
To ensure the perfect fit for your horse’s hooves, it is crucial that measurements are taken soon after they have been trimmed. This will ensure that any parts of the hoof do not touch or rub against any parts of the boot – this ensures it does not injure tendons, slip off easily during normal movement, or cause injury altogether. Ideally the boot should fit tightly enough that its shape remains constant during everyday activity and does not wiggle around under normal movement.
To measure your horse’s hoof accurately, use either tape measure or calipers to take its circumference and compare it to a boot sizing chart. Allow room for movement within the boot so as to not restrict blood flow or cause pain; if your measurements fall between two sizes then choose the larger size as this will provide greater coverage – examples of good boots include Renegade Classic, Renegade Viper, Scoot Boot Cavallo Floating Boots Swiss Galopper.