View Full Version : Tricks to get bell boots on?

Nov. 18, 2009, 11:15 PM
My TB mare is one of those lovely creatures who will get her shoes off in five seconds flat without bell boots... and will get velcro bell boots off in about seven. She currently lives in pull on bells and life is wonderful... in between those nasty times when I need to get her in or out of them.

I just picked up several pairs of super tough rubber bells from BoB at Equine Affaire for $2 and am feeling less than confident about my ability to get them on... anyone have any tips?

I've heard of heating them up beforehand in a bucket of hot water, but these ones are TOUGH, and I'm not sure that will be enough to get them pliable enough to stretch over her feet.

I couldn't find the post anywhere, but I could have sworn I once read something about cutting them and then gluing them on... or slicing them in strategic spots? Something to do with a razorblade...


Nov. 18, 2009, 11:29 PM
First off, some bell boots of low quality simply may have NO stretch. We bought some emergency bells at a horse trial once and went to put them on only to find they had zero stretch, and I am a master at getting bell boots on! Sprinted back to the tack trailer, returned them and found some better ones just in time to make cross country.

If you're desperate you can rub some vaseline on the bulbs of the heels and that will help it stretch. The ideal time to put bells on is right after the farrier trims/shoes them since their feet will be a bit smaller then (and it makes a difference). Otherwise, just make sure to get a size that fits, go up a size if you can't make it work.

Nov. 19, 2009, 12:36 AM
I will only buy the really stretchy bell boots....some aren't worth the hassle. I have also found that the gum colored ones are usually stretchier than the colored boots.

You can tell which ones are going to be easy vs hard at the tack shop...the ones who have no give whatsoever don't make it into my purchase bag.

Fairview Horse Center
Nov. 19, 2009, 12:42 AM
Use the velcro. Add duct tape. ;)

Some velcro boots are MUCH better than others. Bell boots - it never pays to buy cheap. http://www.smartpakequine.com/productClass.aspx?productClassId=687 :yes:

Nov. 19, 2009, 02:43 AM
I use the Italian pull on bell boots (gum colored). I think they are the stretchiest. Some of my tricks:

Replace bell boots while horse is being shod. A barefoot horse is much easier to get boots on!!!

Put bell boots in the sun for a couple of hours before putting on. They seem to stretch easier. I've heard soaking them in hot water also helps.

Beg my husband to come down and pull them on for me. Sometimes I simply can't get the darn things on. Other times - piece of cake. If I can't do it within a minute or two, I stop struggling and call for assistance!!!!

Nov. 19, 2009, 03:19 AM
I use buy the gum boots. I have found they are stretchier than the black ones. Also there a number of bell boots that are double strength at the bottom, but single ply at the top (thinner) these are the easier to get on. The Italian bell boots are the best, but Major was destroying a pair about every two weeks so I stopped using them. I thought $60 a month for bell boots for a retiree was excessive.

I use a hoof pick to pull stretch the bell boot. It provides leverage and really lets you stretch the opening wide. If it wasn't so late I might actually be able to describe it.

Nov. 19, 2009, 04:11 PM
I found that while my TB was adept at removing velcro boots, the one brand he left on forever was Davis - the PVC-like ones, not the fabric ones.

They are really tough boots! :yes:

Nov. 19, 2009, 04:45 PM
Yep...if you have to buy the pull on type bell boots, spend the money on the expensive ones (Italian gum ones). They are only about $25 and last forever. Put them in a bucket of hot water and turn them inside out so you pull them on with the big side and then turn them right side out when they are on.

Did that make sense?

Nov. 19, 2009, 05:19 PM
I use the Italian pull on bell boots (gum colored). I think they are the stretchiest. Some of my tricks:

Agreed. Must be the Italian pull ons and must be gum colored. Otherwise, it takes me forever to pull them on.

Also, make sure you are using the correct size. You may need to go up a size. My gelding has size 2 or 3 shoes up front and he needs XL pull on bell boots.

Nov. 19, 2009, 05:58 PM
put them on upside down. Turn them inside out and put the narrow end on first, starting at the point of toe.. All of the show horses use to live in pull on boot and they had to be put on/off almost every week

Nov. 20, 2009, 02:23 AM
I'm feeling particularly dense tonight - could someone explain how to use a hoof pick to help pull on the boots? Do you still turn them inside out? I have enough in my hands with the boot and the hoof - how do you hold the pick at the same time?

Nov. 20, 2009, 08:03 AM
I agree, the Italian made gum colored ones may cost a bit more ($5.00) but they are the easiest to pull on as they are more flexible than others and therefore last longer. If you are not working with that kind, try to soak the ones you have in hot water to help make them more pliabel and put them on before they cool off.

If you are using them daily and for turn out I would avoid the ones with velcro because they fall apart so fast and may rub the horse much more easily than the solid type.

Nov. 20, 2009, 12:42 PM
I find the gum colors to be the stretchiest (and the white ones to be very NOT stretchy) but I also find they are the most likely to rip right off if a horse steps on the,. I buy the black ones (usually buy the ones Bevals sells), throw them in the washing machine to get them a bit loosened up, and they are good to go. I find they last longer than the gums.

I have one horse who lives in his bells, and would routinely pull or rip one off. I bought him a pair of Bevals white ones. They were a b&#ch to get on/off, but he never pulls them off. And he has never had any issue with rubs.

I agree, cheaper is NOT the way to go unless you don't mind replacing them weekly if there is any stretch, or fighting to get them on if there is no stretch. Try throwing them in the washing machine, or soak in warm water, may help.

Nov. 20, 2009, 12:45 PM
Vaseline or Corona slathered on the hoof and flip the bell boot inside out slather it with vaseline or Corona and those suckers slide right on. =) Also make sure you have the right size bell boot for the right sized hoof.

Nov. 20, 2009, 01:12 PM
Turn bellboot inside out. Lift up front leg, face the back of the horse, place hoof on towel on your knee. With the bellboot inside out, place the large opening over the hoof, small opening should now be at the toe. I usually find at this point that I can pretty easily pull the boot from the bottom of the small opening up over the foot (you are pulling it up over the frog, if that makes sense, and with the foot resting on your knee, you have some leverage and are holding it onto the foot). If you can't get it, hook the hoofpick into the same smaller opening you were pulling and use that for leverage, again pulling from the toe up toward the heel. Should pop up pretty easily and will be inside out on horse's pastern. Set foot down, roll bellboot down over itself to turn right side out again. Turn out.