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View Full Version : What protective legwear when schooling horse?



bojolove
May. 30, 2011, 11:23 PM
I was wondering what type of protective legwear (or any) I should use on my 4 year old horse? In your experience, what is best for preventing injuries, etc? She does mostly arena work right now since she is still green (walk/trot/canter....a few small jumps). Also, do you wear the same for when you are out hacking on the trails? Thanks!

Rel6
May. 30, 2011, 11:50 PM
I was wondering what type of protective legwear (or any) I should use on my 4 year old horse? In your experience, what is best for support, preventing injuries, etc? She does mostly arena work right now since she is still green (walk/trot/canter....a few small jumps). Also, do you wear the same for when you are out hacking on the trails? Thanks!

This all depends on your horse and is very subjective. Does your horse clips its heels? Bell boots. Does the inside of his front legs brush together when he trots? Splint boots.

If you are looking for just some general support and protection, splint boots or polos are cheap options. Splint boots are faster, and you can't really mess it up that much. Stay away from polos if you don't know how to use them.

superD
May. 31, 2011, 12:03 AM
I have always used polos for flat work and boots for jumping.

I use either sports medicine boots or heidis for ring work

I like the boot for eventing when I go cross country. anything that doesn't retain water. Mostly I will use the wolf boots.

And he always gets bells.

RugBug
May. 31, 2011, 01:17 AM
You are not going to get "support" from any leg gear. You can get protection if your horse has some mechanics issues. If she's got some problems, put the right boots on her (bell boots for overreaching, polos/splint boots for light interferring, hard shell boots for hard interferring, etc). If she doesn't have any movement issues, leave her bare-legged. Your less likely to get an overheated leg and you don't have to worry about footing getting in boots and rubbing, etc. IMO, barelegged is best.

Rel6
May. 31, 2011, 03:26 AM
You are not going to get "support" from any leg gear. You can get protection if your horse has some mechanics issues. If she's got some problems, but the right boots on her (bell boots for overreaching, polos/splint boots for light interferring, hard shell boots for hard interferring, etc). If she doesn't have an movement issues, leave her bare-legged. Your less likely to get an overheated leg and you don't have to worry about footing getting in boots and rubbing, etc. IMO, barelegged is best.

I agree with bare legged. My horse only wears boots to show. And perhaps "support" was the wrong word choice...

Treasmare2
May. 31, 2011, 06:43 AM
I like to go bare legged for at least some jumping schools as it keeps a horse sharp. Hitting a rail with a boot does not allow the lesssons of natural consequences to be learned. I generally use a boot with an open front on the front legs and a simple ankle boot behind. My fav set is the Verdus Carbon Gel and I tend to subscribe to the oz of prevention theory so I use them most days. Before a show or if my horse is not as sharp as his usual self I go bare legged and hope for a hit.

I hate a bandage or polo of any kind except for on my jumper who had a suspensory injury. I really liked the bandages that have a light fleece at one end and elastic bandage attached. These provided a very nice level of support.

foursocks
May. 31, 2011, 08:30 AM
Just do what you feel comfortable with- I'm perhaps over-cautious, but I like protecting them from knocks. Some people subscribe to no boots, makes their legs soft, etc., but I can't find any clinical evidence of that, and I cannot think that properly fitted and ventilated/breathable boots are harmful. I put fronts and hinds on my three year old when we do our little training stuff because he's a doof. I like leather boots for him and my older horse (who usually schools in Thinline leather jumper boots), but the baby has a set of carbon gel boots, too- they are French knock-offs of the Veredus, but seem better ventilated.

We are going to be doing short walks around the farm soon, so he'll either get a set of boots or Equifit T-sport wraps in front and some tall closed-front Lanz Anlikars behind. I would stay away from anything that is not designed to ventilate or breathe in some way for a horse going into more serious work, though. I cannot stand the SMBs for this reason- the one time I used a set on my last horse his legs were super-hot when I took them off. None of my other boots have ever done that to tendons.

Anyplace Farm
May. 31, 2011, 08:31 AM
Mine has a huge over reach so he lives in bells. He is a youngster, like yours, and for the most part, the leg protection I have on him is to protect him from injuries from hitting rails or himself. He's still a little uncoordinated so the latter happens from time to time.

That said, I wear boots all the way around - and the tall ones behind, not the cuffs. Sometimes, I have him in open fronts up front and polos behind.

DMK
May. 31, 2011, 11:26 AM
You are not going to get "support" from any leg gear. You can get protection if your horse has some mechanics issues. If she's got some problems, but the right boots on her (bell boots for overreaching, polos/splint boots for light interferring, hard shell boots for hard interferring, etc). If she doesn't have an movement issues, leave her bare-legged. Your less likely to get an overheated leg and you don't have to worry about footing getting in boots and rubbing, etc. IMO, barelegged is best.

This is pretty much my approach, although when they are young or new to me I do tend to boot all the way around until I get a feel for how they can carry themselves, then I boot the bits that needs protecting. For now that means hind ankle boots on my young horse, I can still see the brushing marks, but he is getting stronger and interfering less and less. Also, I boot the young horse bells/front/back whenever I go trail riding (lots of steep inclines/descents) or something new is on the agenda and legs might go flinging this way and that trying to sort it out. ;)

HGem
May. 31, 2011, 01:13 PM
As the others said - if there is nothing wrong with your horses way of going then there is no need for boots. I start all my horses in a properly fitting saddle and bridle with a d-ring snaffel or french link. I don't add anything unless the horse requires it.

I'm pretty sure there was an article in PH the other month from Jim Woffords collumn that talked about people over-booting. Along with a few other rants (cell phones, etc) :lol:

Ozone
May. 31, 2011, 01:30 PM
I agree that bare legged is the best well, in some cases. My horse popped a splint by catching himself so now when he rides he is protected in the front. Any jumping I would rather my horse be booted. I don't want to risk the chance of hitting a fence or to teach him a lesson of consquence at my expenense of a vet bill from injury.

I love open fronts.

I will not use any of those wrap around ankle "support" (yeah ok) boots. They do not breathe and slip down.

morganpony86
May. 31, 2011, 01:42 PM
You are not going to get "support" from any leg gear. You can get protection if your horse has some mechanics issues. If she's got some problems, but the right boots on her (bell boots for overreaching, polos/splint boots for light interferring, hard shell boots for hard interferring, etc). If she doesn't have an movement issues, leave her bare-legged. Your less likely to get an overheated leg and you don't have to worry about footing getting in boots and rubbing, etc. IMO, barelegged is best.

Well said.
You're going to have to show without boots, so why wear them when they're unnecessary?
My youngest interferes, so he gets bell boots and galloping boots on the front. My other 2 only get cheap-o splint boots when we were out on XC, and open front boots when schooling over large fences.

foursocks
May. 31, 2011, 03:11 PM
It's funny- because of this thread I went back to my copy of Reiner Klimke's Basic Training of the Young Horse, because I seemed to remember him discussing boots and bandages. He says that he always uses boots or bandages (but prefers boots because they are easier to clean, and safer for shod horses) up front to prevent the development of splints and to protect from over-reaching. He also acknowledges, very diplomatically, that other trainers do not like them, and that they have valid reasons (horse gets too soft, etc.). What a gentleman he was! :)

Again, I think it comes down to what you are comfortable with- and I cannot see why a horse's legs would become soft if we all agree that boots cannot support, but only protect from knocks and rubs. My last horse used to kick the hell out of himself, and I have the scarred boots, back and front to prove it. He also had old scars on his ankles from interfering, poor guy. He needed protection if any horse did- and if anyone had ever called him soft he would have proven them wrong in the next second...:lol:

One more thing, since I am grading and need a break! I do the jumpers and thus I can show in boots, but the argument doesn't make sense to me that you should never use them on hunters because they can't show in them. Has anyone ever had or ridden a horse that was so dependent on boots that taking them off affected their way of going? Again, if we agree that they are for protection, what possible harm could it do to use them (properly fitted and ventilated!) outside of the show ring?

To each his or her own- I don't care, actually, if other people boot and I fully acknowledge that it is probably unnecessary for many horses. But I prefer it for my horses, and always have whether they were hunters or jumpers.

Anyplace Farm
May. 31, 2011, 03:37 PM
I am with you on booting all the way around. I honestly don't boot to support my horse's legs - we see a lot of horses in other sports (racing on the flat and over timber and so on) without them. I boot mine because he'll bang himself with his own feet and I've had him knock some rails (seen evidence of the rail paint on the boots).

I don't worry that he can't feel the knock in the boots or that he's going to lack so much self-preservation that he needs a whack by a pole to remind him to pick his feet up. I would just feel like an idiot if he got a gash from a clip or a clinch or split a hole open in his leg from rapping a pole too hard.

It's just too easy to put boots on.



It's funny- because of this thread I went back to my copy of Reiner Klimke's Basic Training of the Young Horse, because I seemed to remember him discussing boots and bandages. He says that he always uses boots or bandages (but prefers boots because they are easier to clean, and safer for shod horses) up front to prevent the development of splints and to protect from over-reaching. He also acknowledges, very diplomatically, that other trainers do not like them, and that they have valid reasons (horse gets too soft, etc.). What a gentleman he was! :)

Again, I think it comes down to what you are comfortable with- and I cannot see why a horse's legs would become soft if we all agree that boots cannot support, but only protect from knocks and rubs. My last horse used to kick the hell out of himself, and I have the scarred boots, back and front to prove it. He also had old scars on his ankles from interfering, poor guy. He needed protection if any horse did- and if anyone had ever called him soft he would have proven them wrong in the next second...:lol:

One more thing, since I am grading and need a break! I do the jumpers and thus I can show in boots, but the argument doesn't make sense to me that you should never use them on hunters because they can't show in them. Has anyone ever had or ridden a horse that was so dependent on boots that taking them off affected their way of going? Again, if we agree that they are for protection, what possible harm could it do to use them (properly fitted and ventilated!) outside of the show ring?

To each his or her own- I don't care, actually, if other people boot and I fully acknowledge that it is probably unnecessary for many horses. But I prefer it for my horses, and always have whether they were hunters or jumpers.

DMK
May. 31, 2011, 03:56 PM
I think to buy into the theory that boots/wraps makes a horse "soft" must mean you own several prime acres in the fantasy land of "boots/bandages provide support". I mean it's just the other side of that (extremely incorrect) thought process: bandages/boots support the leg, if I ride in bandages/boots I am aiding and abetting that support process... ergo I am creating a dependency/softness and should not ride in boots/bandages if I don't want to create softness. That logic is only viable if the first assumption is true (there was any support to begin with).

Personally, I'd love to see more research on the effects (none/negligible/damaging) of heat on soft tissue (tendons/ligaments) when it comes to boots/bandages, but I suspect that is not going to be available soon. But the effects of moderate heat on tendon cells in the lab (not to be confused with a real live living breathing horse) were interesting to me and did make me rethink using boots when they were not necessary. And this from a person who loves a good boot. They are like bright shiny bits to me and I covet them, oh yes I do.

Seal Harbor
May. 31, 2011, 04:04 PM
Bells and open fronts to school. Young ones do weird things and accidents happen.

RugBug
May. 31, 2011, 04:13 PM
My last horse used to kick the hell out of himself, and I have the scarred boots, back and front to prove it. He also had old scars on his ankles from interfering, poor guy. He needed protection if any horse did- and if anyone had ever called him soft he would have proven them wrong in the next second...:lol:

One more thing, since I am grading and need a break! I do the jumpers and thus I can show in boots, but the argument doesn't make sense to me that you should never use them on hunters because they can't show in them.


I don't think a horse's legs become softer with boots/polos....but, I think that there are some detrimental sides to boots (heat for one) that, for me, mean I try not to boot up unless necessary. The horse that knocks the crap out of himself ABSOLUTELY should be booted whenever possible.

I'm not really sure anyone made an argument that hunters shouldn't wear them at all because they can't in the ring, but rather pointed out, if they aren't needed in the first place and you can't show in them, why even bother?

My one horse interferes so badly he's worn through a pair of Eskadrons. That's talent. :lol: He also destroyed a pair of Equifit T-Boots in three weeks. He goes in boots at all times...except in the show ring.

He used to wear bell boots as well because he forged and I was worried about overreaching. I've recently stopped using the bell boots, however, because he only forges when he's unfit and he just doesn't need them at other times. He wears nothing behind...because he doesn't need them.

My other horse wears front splints and hind ankles. He needs both...but not nearly as bad as the first I mentioned. I worried about the first anytime boots weren't on. I don't about the second.

I was riding a horse that needed nothing. It made the boot-lover in me sad, but it made tacking/untacking easy as pie.

I use what the horse needs and wouldn't take a hardline approach of NEVER!!!! As we know, horses will usually prove NEVER wrong.


They are like bright shiny bits to me and I covet them, oh yes I do.

:cool: Um yeah...count me in, too. I WILL own a set of the Equifit Luxe boots, whether they ever get worn by a horse or not. :lol:

bluebuckets
May. 31, 2011, 04:34 PM
First, you need to find out if your horse needs leg protection or not and what kind. This can be accomplished by listening for knocks/overreaches during your ride, having someone watch your horse go under saddle, and/or you watching your horse go on the longe.

Some horses need leg protection, some don't.

My mare does, as she overreaches (learned that when she took a hunk out of her foot) interferes behind (a while after I got her I noticed scabs and puffiness on the insides of her hind ankles) and I always put something on her front legs because she just generally knocks herself around up there (usually polos, but will be investing in some Veredus Carbongel boots in the future for jumping). Lol, she needs LOTS of protection.

foursocks
May. 31, 2011, 04:46 PM
Hah- I didn't mean to sound shrill- I'm no boot fascist, honestly! I do think that most of them out there make the horse's legs too hot, and that can be worse than superficial cuts. I use the boots I have because I have found that they do a good job of not heating up the leg.

I, too, am a boot ho and in the interests of protecting my Happy horse from himself, we tried out a LOT of boots over his lifetime. Equifit T-sport wraps are fantastic, as are the Thinlines, oddly- I've been very surprised at how well they work. My old Veredus are workhorses, and also good at not over-heating, but are falling apart, so I got the French knockoffs and like them quite a bit. I like my assorted leather boots a lot, too. I have some fancy-ass Equifit Luxe hinds paired with CWD fronts, and a set of Kentaurs I got at the WC in Las Vegas a few years ago. Love.

But, just as people who put polo wraps on from knee to below the ankle are maybe better off just skipping them altogether, most people probably aren't paying attention to heat when they boot, and should perhaps skip those, too. I used to have some rubber-lined ones- talk about heat traps! The only time I use polos is in the winter, when I want the tendons gently warmed, but usually I use the Toklat Woolbacks- more stable and do a better job of warming but not heating.

I'm such a dork- I could talk about horse boots all day. Why are they so fascinating? :confused:

Give and Take
May. 31, 2011, 04:54 PM
i always booted my wb when he was young and he lived in bells because he was always 'experimenting' how he moved his legs, especially in turn out.

he wore open fronts and ankle boots when schooling o/f's, but we took off the bells because he got a little dull.

my ottb wears brushing boots for flat work, he tends to brush his hind legs during warm-up until he starts using his hind end. open fronts and ankle boots for o/f's, but he hates to touch anything.

i think you have to regularly re-assess the line between protection and letting them learn from the occasional knock on a pole.

bojolove
May. 31, 2011, 09:41 PM
Wow...thanks for all the great responses! I edited my original post and removed the term "support" lol. I know boots do not "support" the leg, i mean more on the "protect" side I guess. I havent noticed any cuts, overreaching, etc as of yet but she really just started full-time training and that can change once she is asked for more advanced moves :) I am more concerned with how to *try* to prevent injuries and would boots help with that., ie splints, etc. Coming from years of experience dealing with ottb's with *bad* legs, injuries, etc. I want to protect hers as much as possible so I am probably overly worried about something happening. How do you care for your horse's legs after a ride? Do you cold hose, etc after a hard workout or jumping with a young horse that is not fully fit yet? Thanks for all of your help and suggestions!!

Anyplace Farm
Jun. 1, 2011, 10:40 AM
My old Veredus are workhorses, and also good at not over-heating, but are falling apart, so I got the French knockoffs and like them quite a bit.

foursocks - I covet those Veredus boots but seem to always find something else I need to put my money towards. Who makes the French knockoffs?

foursocks
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:13 AM
They are actually sort of in between Equifits and Veredus: http://www.happytack.co.uk/french-design-black-jump-tec-air-pro-high-protection-moulded-tendon--fetlock-boot-set-65-p.asp

Good boots for the price! Plus, my three year old appreciates the "shiny multicoloured mosaic style tendon strike pads." :lol:

Give and Take
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:49 PM
great site - thanks!

Anyplace Farm
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:32 PM
They are actually sort of in between Equifits and Veredus: http://www.happytack.co.uk/french-design-black-jump-tec-air-pro-high-protection-moulded-tendon--fetlock-boot-set-65-p.asp

Good boots for the price! Plus, my three year old appreciates the "shiny multicoloured mosaic style tendon strike pads." :lol:
Honestly, I think you are the one that likes the "shiny multicoloured mosaic style tendon strike pads." After reading your posts on all different types of boots you have, you are a total boot ho!:lol:

goosejumps
Jun. 1, 2011, 03:52 PM
Apologies if I'm hijacking a bit, but I'm curious, has anyone tried the Eskadron Air/Air Easy boots?

Pirateer
Jun. 1, 2011, 04:32 PM
I think to buy into the theory that boots/wraps makes a horse "soft" must mean you own several prime acres in the fantasy land of "boots/bandages provide support". I mean it's just the other side of that (extremely incorrect) thought process: bandages/boots support the leg, if I ride in bandages/boots I am aiding and abetting that support process... ergo I am creating a dependency/softness and should not ride in boots/bandages if I don't want to create softness. That logic is only viable if the first assumption is true (there was any support to begin with).

Brillant!

MorganLuvr848
Jun. 1, 2011, 05:20 PM
I put eskadron boots on my 3 year old. I love those boots. Very durable and great protection!

mojo7777
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:25 PM
I was taught to always use boots for lunging where the risks of interfering are higher, so got used to booting up for safety purposes and now do it for most rides even if not lunging. I like the Thinlines because I buy into the hype about that material distributing heat better.

foursocks
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:28 PM
Honestly, I think you are the one that likes the "shiny multicoloured mosaic style tendon strike pads." After reading your posts on all different types of boots you have, you are a total boot ho!:lol:

I admit it, freely! :D It was actually because my old horse was so, so, so self-destructive, and this gave me the excuse to let my inner boot ho go nuts trying to find really solid ones that helped protect him. You have no idea how many others I tried....:lol:

SpruceLane
Jun. 2, 2011, 09:26 AM
My choices are horse and ride dependent.

My Trakehner stallion gets ridden in Bell boots, open fronts and fetlock boots for all rides. He is shod all around and has studs (as we event and require the ability to turn up or down our traction depending on the terrain). So he is protected whether we are jumping, practicing our dressage or out conditioning on the roads.

My young CSH gelding is not shod. So if I am doing flat ring work with him I won't put any boots on (likely risky), but if I plan to do some lateral exercises or pole work or the odd crossrail (or ride where I expect he will spook and go screaming sideways) I protect him with the full course of bell, open front and fetlock boots for safety. When he was just getting backed he wore closed fronts, all around, all the time as he was learning to re-balance and adjust to a rider on his back.