View Full Version : Do you always gallop in boots?

Jul. 5, 2012, 09:56 PM
...and do boots to help with/prevent suspensory injuries? Just had one (:cry:) with my horse, literally the day I was to leave for the T3DE we were going to do, and I realized it's the one time we *didn't* use boots because it was "only" a two minute sprint after my regular flat work. He's supposed to be ok after a month of stall rest (which he HATES), and I can start riding him lightly in two weeks.

I'm doing a good job beating myself up about this, but I wonder if the non-use of boots (I use NEW or Nunn Finer American Style boots--whichever is clean) this one time.

And if any of you have recovery/success stories AFTER an "inflamed high suspensory with some shredding", let me know!!

Preposterous Ponies!
Jul. 5, 2012, 10:14 PM
I do not use boots. For anything. The more you use boots, the more the legs come to depend on them, imo. My mare is an OTTB - nothing I can throw at her will be more difficult than racing, and she retired sound from that.

I do cold hose her legs afterwards and watch carefully for any inflammation. Be careful of your footing - hard is better than deep, as I'm sure you know and keeping your horse fit is important in preventing suspensory issues.

And I've seen racehorses come back to work after some nasty suspensory issues, so take your time with the treatment, do it right and you'll hopefully be okay.


Read the fourth post down. Good info, imo.

Jul. 5, 2012, 10:19 PM
I always wear boots for galloping. Or rather, my horses do. :)

Really the only time my horses go without boots is if I'm doing light flatwork in an arena. If I'm hacking out in a field, I will still boot them even if I do not gallop. I think it's generally easier for them to stumble or injure themselves on grass where there are hills, uneven patches, and even the "unknowns" like rocks or holes.

That being said, I do always boot for gallops or any jumping. It seems unlikely that your horse would have such an immediate onset of a suspensory issue from one ride without boots, but I suppose it is possible. I might give your vet a call and get their opinion.

Long Shadow Farm
Jul. 5, 2012, 10:32 PM
I fall in the boot all the time group. I have only had one lameness issue in 25+ years of riding and showing with boots on and that was when my horse got a jump pole tangled up between his legs over an oxer. I don't feel that my horses become dependent on the boots, I think that with proper conditioning prevents most lameness and boots just insure that silly knocks don't cause problems or issues like Becky just had. Who knows if a boot would have prevented it or not, but at least she wouldn't have that what if question going on.


Divine Comedy
Jul. 5, 2012, 10:57 PM
I always use boots when galloping. It helps prevent scrapes, bumps, etc if their legs happen to interfere.

No, I don't think it prevents ligament/tendon injuries. Boots are more for outer protection than inner protection. They don't really provide for sport.

It is unlikely that your horse's lack of boots resulted in a suspensory.

I'm sorry to hear about his injury. I've been rooting for you from afar for a few years, as I know your aspiration has been to attend a T3D. So close! Horses are such heartbreakers.

Jul. 5, 2012, 10:58 PM
I always boot, too. Especially for galloping. When moving out in the open, the chance for interference is MUCH greater. Gallop boots (the NEW or Nunn-American types you are describing) don't provide support for the suspensory as much as protecting the leg from external injuries (interference, rundowns, etc).

I agree that the chances of a high suspensory because of a quick gallop (ESPCIALLY if you're training at T3DE level) is pretty unlikely. You had a rundown that caused bruising or issues that way, yes, beat yourself up. You're going to have to chalk that up to sh!t happens. Get him back to work and kick butt in August. :yes:

p.s. Most race horses wear much more heavy duty bandages than any eventer would wear. That's why they are called TRACK BANDAGES! (shakes head)

p.p.s. I also wear boots for galloping... Bella and I don't share, tho. Lol! ;)

Jul. 5, 2012, 11:05 PM
I always boot for that type of work... but I don't think that those boots offer any type of support for the suspensory ligament. I'm willing to bet that this specific injury has nothing to do with the lack of boot.

Jul. 5, 2012, 11:18 PM
And if any of you have recovery/success stories AFTER an "inflamed high suspensory with some shredding", let me know!!

I've successfully recovered & rehabbed three high suspensory injuries, all front leg. One major core lesion (aka big hole in the suspensory, of the 'may not come sound' variety) and two mild inflammation/strains.

Core lesion required two rounds of stem cell surgery (which was brand new experimental at the time) and 18 months of rehab to achieve soundness. Horse jumped and evented fine for about five years, then 'strained' the same ligament being stupid in the field. Treated with shockwave and three months of rest, and returned for one last year of leaping big fences.

Other strain was a young horse just coming into work. Treated with shockwave and rest, horse was sound before the last shockwave treatment and carefully resumed work soon after. Knock on wood, four years later there's been no sign of any further problem.

The main question that comes to mind from your post is did the vet ultrasound the leg? Your diagnosis sounds like s/he did, but I've learned not to assume. One month of stall rest is not much for a ligament injury, and suggests the vet feels this is quite minor. Is a follow-up visit and ultrasound in the plan to monitor healing?

Did s/he mention advanced treatment options (stem cell, IRAP, shockwave)? May not be warranted, but they're options that IMO you should be offered/made aware of, because they can improve the outcome.

Hang tough--there is (good eventing) life after suspensory injuries.

Jul. 5, 2012, 11:28 PM
The more you use boots, the more the legs come to depend on them, imo.

Nonsense. This is an old myth that has yet to have any validity whatsoever. Boots are more for outer injuries that soft tissue.

I do cold hose her legs afterwards and watch carefully for any inflammation. Be careful of your footing - hard is better than deep, as I'm sure you know and keeping your horse fit is important in preventing suspensory issues.

Not necessarily so. Hard is better for issues such as soft tissue, soft is better for bone/joints.

OP - I have a horse who tore a hind high suspensory a few weeks out from our second attempt at an FEI (first time was another soundness issue). I rehabed him VERY carefully and VERY slowly. He is back competing at Intermediate and doing very well. It's possible, but it takes time. if your guy has any tearing whatsoever, I would be pretty skeptical of any prognosis that is under 6 weeks. My guy was predicted at 8, minimum, and ended up being over a year; however, he retore it once and tried to off himself on a regular basis. After the 8 week mark, the vets prescribed another two weeks, minimum, with hand walking or light hacking only. I had another horse that had inflammation (no tearing) in his front high suspensory who was given 4 weeks of stall rest with minimal hand walking, plus two weeks of stall rest with light walk hacks and brief trots (straight line, long rein if possible).

One thing I've learned is that eventers with miles are rarely 100% sounds. You will always be trying to piece them together and have one eye on them in case they try to self destruct. That's just how they go. To answer your question, boots couldn't have prevented this.

Sidenote: Do you really do 2 minute sprints or was that an exaggeration? If so, you should re-evaluate your fitness schedule!

Jul. 6, 2012, 03:25 AM
Boots do not protect against ligament injuries.

Count me in the successful suspensory rehab camp -- and I agree that sounds very brief if you had any kind of tear at all....

Jul. 6, 2012, 08:00 AM
I agree with all who have said that boots are important but as stated above: for interference and external injuries.

I worked as a barn manager for a steeplechase barn and 2 eventing barns and was a sports medicine vet tech and I would say that the biggest thing with tendon injuries is to be conservative with rehab and give the sufficient time to heal. If you do that you long term chances of full recovery are MUCH higher. Don't short-change yourself by pushing things along.

But I do know how tough it can be to be patient in this type of circumstance..... I hope you and your horse have a full recovery and future together.

ETA: My experience and knowledge does not jive with Preposterous' post above. I also caution you regarding the post to which he/she linked. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this is not what I have learned to be the best course of treatment. Consult with a vet that you trust and any horsemen whose horsemanship you admire.

Whatever you do, PLEASE do not blister the horse - I can't tell if that is being hinted at in the linked post so I wanted to say this in case. I have seen this done many times and it is an outdated (and barbaric, in my opinion) form of treatment. One of its greatest shortcomings is that the resulting scar tissue has much less give than tendon and, while stronger initially, if it ruptures down the road you are often talking about a catastrophic injury. I'm sure others have different opinions but I am really not a fan of blistering.

Above all: Trust the advice of the people that have always guided you well.

Jul. 6, 2012, 08:28 AM
Just have to add another vote for the no booting camp, with one exception: my P horse, back in the day, had an old suspensory injury and wore SMBs every time he worked other than doing D at an event. I've since read more cons than pros about them, but that was then, this is now. The boots you describe wouldn't even pretend to support the susp, so I vote coincidence on that. Honestly, my horse is most likely to shred his legs in turnout than while I'm galloping him, and I draw the line (another line?) at boots for t/o.

Good luck with your guy - mine wouldn't stay sound at advanced, even after a long careful rehab (but again, before shockwave, IRAP, etc), and I never did a 3 day with him, but he stayed sound for P horse trials and was a blast.

Jul. 6, 2012, 08:51 AM
I am rehabbing a horse with an inflammed high suspensory in a hind leg (no shredding) that seemed to occur while he was compensating for an injury in the opposite front hoof. I agree with everyone that boots are helpful to protect against interfering but don't prevent soft tissue injury.

I've spent a great deal of time and money diagnosing this horse with the best and most experienced sports medicine vets around. It takes a great deal of time to rehab these injuries and IME there are no short cuts. Be very careful about bringing your horse back too soon. I've seen a number of horses come back from suspensory injuries over the years, and it's a slow, careful process. At least the successful ones are. I've seen horses brought back quickly but I've never seen it work. Doesn't mean it can't work but I've never seen it happen. Make sure your vet has plenty of experience with successfully rehabbing this type of injury.

I've heard the discussion about never using boots on horses but I don't think it's so simple. I know many people feel that it's hard to fix any injury if you over bandage as it cuts off the healing blood flow. But from all I've read it's important to deal with the injury and inflammation before you start rehabbing. And I don't see how helpful it is if a horse kicks himself, which my horse does regularly in front, so he always wears front boots and often hind.

Good luck with your rehab!!

Jul. 6, 2012, 09:17 AM
I consider my horse to have recovered from his bilateral hind suspensory injuries- going Novice currently (hadn't evented previously). I always use boots for jumping, hacking and trot setting. No need to gallop at this point as he is an easily fitted up TB.

Jul. 6, 2012, 10:20 AM
My horses wear Woofs or the equivalent every ride. The youngsters have them up front, some of the others all the way around, depending on what they need and how they go. My view is that it protects them from knocking themselves, and, out on a hack or trot set, it protects the legs from sticks/scratches to some limited extent. For XC at preliminary and above, I use a boot with tendon guards in front, to protect against the awfulness of a studded hind foot misfiring/landing/slipping/doing something stupid against the tendon. Is it perfect? Nope. Stuff still can happen. But I have seen horses whack themselves very hard without boots and cause everything from splints to tendon issues (not ligament), and in my experience, the data does not support the theory that putting boots on does harm or "weakens" the legs.

As far as rehab goes, there have been a lot of good threads on it, but in general, I tend to add at least half again as long as the vet says, and spend more time walking (in straight lines - no lunging with a soft tissue injury). Time and patience are your friend here.

Jul. 6, 2012, 01:53 PM
Thanks, everyone. Good feedback (and comforting, too!).

We were literally doing the last sprint work before we left that afternoon for the T3DE the second week of Coconino. We'd been prepping for 4-5 months; Paddy was/is fit!

The vet found a old kick/injury on the x-rays that was there when I bought him--and the bone was growing over the ligament. That rubbing added to the intensity of the workout likely caused the inflamation/partial shredding. Can't do surgery on it--too close to the hock joint (it was his right hind).

I'm cold hosing every day, and I'm also doing the RevitaVet infared treatment daily.

He's off for a month, then light walking, leading up to trotting. That's as far as I have so far!

I'm going to come back slowly and pray this doesn't happen again. He's my horse of a lifetime.

Jul. 6, 2012, 05:42 PM
Virtually never. None of mine is klutzy about galloping, I avoid iffy footing like the plague, and the only thing boots are helpful for is preventing scrapes and bumps, which I've never found to be a major problem with any of mine. I refuse to delude myself that they protect tendons or ligaments in any way, shape, or form.

Every injury one of my horses has had has been random and fluke-y, occurring seemingly with standing around or being turned out as much as during competing or working. I don't believe in talismans or lucky charms, which is about what boots and wraps are WRT protecting soft tissues from anything but bumps and bruises. :lol:

Jul. 6, 2012, 11:32 PM
My horses are ridden in boots or polos EVERY ride. I have 2 of the 6 that go out in their paddocks in boots. I'd rather have some support, and take extra precaution then end up with remotely any injuries.

Jul. 7, 2012, 12:53 PM
I'd rather have some support,

Well, you certainly aren't getting it from boots or polos. :)

Jul. 7, 2012, 01:02 PM
Always, just in case. I'd hate to have some sort of interference because they took a bad step that could have been prevented by boots. I do try to avoid bell boots at all cost if I can. I feel like they're an accident waiting to happen.

Jul. 7, 2012, 04:00 PM
I'll use boots for XC & SJ at competitions, but never at home. He raced for 4 years w/o wearing anything, so I figure he's getting off easily now.

Jul. 7, 2012, 04:19 PM
I boot as rarely as possible. I do put front boots on for XC because I don't want a hind hoof to skid into the back of a front leg and damage it catastrophically. In all other situations they are bare legged. I have not had one that interfered. Well, that's not quite true ... when they are very baby, occasionally you see the odd scrape that seems to indicate that one hoof has touched another leg above the hair line. Fortunately for my guys, This Hurts A Bit, and so they seem to learn Not To Do That.