View Full Version : Bell Boots?

Jul. 31, 2011, 03:43 PM
Two months ago, after years of fighting his Thoroughbred feet, I finally put front shoes on Gabe. He's only thrown one (after two weeks of wearing it; his previous record was 36 hours) and is, in general, much happier. The problem is that he is going through bell boots like they're going out of style. I just put pair number 5 on him. Besides the financial cost, each pair (although, I started buying them in bulk) requires an hour long round trip drive to buy them. There is a place closer but they only carry the "no turn" style. I worry about putting those on him because he has sensitive skin, a proclivity towards weird fungi, and lives out 24/7. So, I'm appealing to the wisdom of COTH- does anyone have any experience with boots that will last longer than two weeks? Or should I buy stock in the Davis company?

For what it's worth: I'd leave them off entirely because he's never been known to over-reach or clip his heel bulb. However, his bell boots consistently come back with chunks missing from them and his shoes are slightly long in the back to "support his heel".

Jul. 31, 2011, 04:07 PM
How is he "going through" them? Is the velcro falling off? That's usually how my Davis boots bite the bullet. If that's the case, I usually have better luck with the cheaper non-brand name bell boots like this: http://www.doversaddlery.com/equi-stretch-ribbed-bell-boots/p/X1-0436/cn/120/. You could also try pull-ons (typically a pain in the butt to get on the first time, but if he lives in them it shouldn't be an issue). Another option could be petal boots since they buckle instead of velcro: http://www.victorycanter.com/product.php?productid=18461

Jul. 31, 2011, 04:16 PM
The KL Select boots are the most durable I've seen. I have one that's constantly tearing up/off his boots. (Mine are in them 24/7.) I bought the cheapest the tack store had to offer for him. We're starting on pair four in as many months. For the amount I've paid for these, I could have bought him the KLs, and I suspect they would've lasted longer.

Jul. 31, 2011, 04:26 PM
Pull ons? I don't own anything but pull on bell boots. I have yet to have a horse that wears bell boots for turnout pull off a properly sized pull on bell boot. I'll admit they are difficult to put on/take off when you first start using them, but once you figure it out it's easy peasy.

Jul. 31, 2011, 05:56 PM
i use pull ons at home (make sure to flip them up when bathing/hosing off and grooming to brush under them)


the gum ones are the best bc they stretch easily. i usually keep around 2 pair at a time, but johnny usually only goes through a pair every 6 mo or so, so they are super affordable.

at shows i take those off and have him wear the velcro ones so i can take them off before i go in the ring (dressage for example, although the horse i describe is my hunter so anytime before he goes in the ring but after i warm up and jump around)

Jul. 31, 2011, 06:08 PM
Vernon, who is in contention for King of the sensitive skinned horses(his competition is my other horse), has more or less lived in no turns for ages. They do not rub (why I ended up using them on another horse) and they are very tough. I have a few boys who go out in them, some of which are really, really tough on bell boots, and think i've only had them truly trash 2 boots.

Jul. 31, 2011, 06:33 PM
Just use pull-ons, and leave them on. I have a horse that pulls front shoes and gets heel grabs like it is his job, and he lives in pull-ons. He's only managed to destroy one of them, after the better part of a year of wear. They are ~$12 from Dover, I just get the natural gum rubber color, which seem easier to pull on/off than the colored ones.

Jul. 31, 2011, 06:37 PM
I have tried them all, I think, LOL -- the ones I have had the best luck with are the petal bell boots. They are the most durable I have used, cheap, and when a part breaks I can buy a new strap for $3 and I store a mix and match group of old petals so I can replace pieces as needed. This has been the most affordable solution for me.

I did use the pull ons for a while but I got so sick of the on/off process over the shoes that I quit using them. Of course, my horse was just as good as shredding those or pulling them off as the velcro ones anyway.

Jul. 31, 2011, 07:06 PM
I've used 2 pairs of pull-ons and am now on pair 3 of Velcro. I've tried Classic Equine (pull and velcro), two pair of no-names (pull and velcro), and he's currently in a pair of velcro Davis. I've had no problem with velcro tearing or boots pulling off- every pair has been ruined from the bottom up with chunks being taken out piece by piece. He lives on hills, which I suspect is partially to blame for him catching them. Could there also be a size issue? He's a 16.1ish TB wearing 1s. My farrier and I agreed that, while he's a bit in between sizes, a medium was a better option.

yellowbritches- Thanks for your input! I've only seen no-turns on barrel horses, never for full time turn-out. Perhaps, I'll give them a try after he kills his current pair.

Jul. 31, 2011, 07:23 PM
Try the double thick Italian pull-on bell-boots. IMO, nothing else is worth using for a horse that actively grabs at himself.

Jul. 31, 2011, 09:24 PM
If you try the no turns, don't get the Tri-Zone ones -- they are "pretty much always turn" bell boots. :-(

Jul. 31, 2011, 10:23 PM
Perhaps your farrier can square his toes off a bit behind? That will frequently prevent them from forging so badly that they are destroying bell boots or pulling shoes.

Aug. 1, 2011, 10:29 AM
Classic Equine no-turns.

Seriously, I can't say enough for these boots. They have lived through EVERYTHING with my TB and haven't rubbed him a bit. Plus... the colors!! Horse.com (linked them) has 16 patterns available and I'm sure plain ones as well. Bought mine from a local tack store with just as much variety. Vey is currently rocking the Venom Vibe ones (second from left).


Aug. 1, 2011, 12:19 PM
When my horse lived in bell boots for awhile he went through a lot, at first I did velcro because I showed a lot and didn't want to have to pull them off all the time. My velcro was always ripping off...after a few pairs of pull ons I learned my horse was pulling at the bell boots with his teeth! Mine never had enough time to chunk at the bottom....he ate them from the top down....

Aug. 1, 2011, 01:11 PM
My velcro was always ripping off...after a few pairs of pull ons I learned my horse was pulling at the bell boots with his teeth! Mine never had enough time to chunk at the bottom....he ate them from the top down....

Yup, my Haflie chewed up 2 prs of velcro no-turns. Put him in the cheapest pull-on gums and he apparently didn't like the taste of them, or else he forgot they were there. Now he lives in the gums, 24/7. (knock on wood).....haven't lost a shoe since, and when I see a chunk off the bottom, I figure it's done its job!

Aug. 1, 2011, 01:44 PM
I've heard mention of the italian pull on bell boots. Any links? Thanks. My horse sliced his rear bell off recently. Just ripped the whole bell boot in half.

Aug. 1, 2011, 06:41 PM
Italian bell boots: http://www.smartpakequine.com/kl-select-italian-bell-boots--6613p.aspx?cm_vc=Search

I had no idea they were technically KL Select, but you can tell they're the right ones at the tack store because they have that oval emblem and say "Made in Italy" on the opposite side.

In all the time I've used them (4 years?), my horse has only torn a chunk from the bottom once. They pull off relatively easily for horse shows, but my horse rarely pulls them off himself. They last me 6 months to a year so I can stand the higher price. If one kicks the bucket it's usually because it was starting to dry out from being so old and I then shredded it on a nail clinch.

Aug. 2, 2011, 03:46 PM
I recently saw this product in a UK horse magazine: it might be the answer for you?


Aug. 2, 2011, 05:25 PM
Try the double thick Italian pull-on bell-boots.

This. They usually come in that gum color, and if you get good ones, they aren't as hard to pull over the hoof as the cheap ones. Probably also why they last longer - they stretch and spring back well. Google search will give you lots of options for places to buy.