I did a search on here and on Google and wasn't too impressed with what I've already found. I'd love for some been-there-done-that advice on turnout boots for the klutzy horse who's out almost all the time.
Background: My horse is out 22 to 23 hours a day, coming up mostly just to eat in the AM and again in the PM. Competent horse people take care of him and would be able to handle switching boots, taking off boots, or putting them back on. Despite lots of turnout, a healthy diet, plenty of hay to supplement the poor/non-existent winter grass, regular exercise and handling, a mid-sized paddock with safe fencing and two friendly, older companions that put up with his crap but don't encourage it, my horse hurts himself. I'm inclined to believe this is just how he rolls, as some management things have changed since I bought him, but his regular injuries have not.
9 times out of 10 he slices a lower leg. I honestly don't know on what as I swear his paddocks are horse-friendly (except for his most recent injury, I know he did it on the nails in a board he kicked through and/or pulled down). He probably only does serious damage (by which I mean anything from a course of antibiotics to x-rays to check for bone sequestration to a bazillion stitches) once a month, but I'm starting to get a bit fed up. I'm only half-joking when I say that I might just start bubble wrapping him.
So- what would you suggest as a first-line defense to prevent lower leg cuts? I think the cheap, non-technical options are out of the question because I don't want to deal with heat or water retention issues since he'll be wearing them so much. And while I shudder to think of how upset I'll be when he inevitably destroys a $90 pair of boots, I think I could handle the cost of replacement in light of how much I've spent on vet visits, antibiotics, cotton combine, vetrap, elasticon, gauze, tefla pads, and duct tape this year alone.
I'm particularly intrigued by the All Purpose T-Boots and Equilibrium Equi-Chaps Close Contact Chaps right now. Any comments on these or other options?
Sounds like you just want scratch protection, and not really support or anything?
T-boots are kid of rigid, where something like a Sports Medicine Boot (like Western speed horses wear) or maybe a galloping boot? My horse wears Bar J galloping boots for Endurance, they are tough and stop him getting scratched up, and they've held up to serious abuse. It's just that they are not breatheable, so I'd worry about turn-out in them, if your horse gets very warm, or is prone to blistering. I have also worked in stables where we had horses who were turned out in neoprene splint boots, I was told this was because the horses interfered...not sure if that's correct.
I used to turn my gelding out with Supra bell boots on. They didn't rub, and they are so cheap that I just bought multiple pairs at once and swapped them out when they wore out...but the problem I had was my horse ripping off his shoes. Once we got his feet straightened out, he stopped pulling shoes, so I don't turn him out in bell boots anymore.
Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior
Anything 24/7 is likey to rub. I've turned out in Woof boots, DSBs, and Roma galloping boots with no issues- but never for more than 8 hours or so. Your best bet may be to purchase two totally different styles and switch them every 12 hours so they don't rub on the same spot.
I'm looking into equilibrium equi-chaps. The close contact ones for my mare that has leukocytoclastic vasculitis. The boots were designed for horses susceptible to scratches or mud fever, since my mare needs protection from the wetness on her legs.
There is just no way I'd leave a horse in boots that long. Too much risk.
Instead, I'd look to figure out WHY he is slicing himself. (If the field is safe, presumably he's doing it to himself.) Take a good hard look at his feet. Is he shod? Is he balanced laterally? Can the shoes (if shod) be beveled to offer less of a "sharp" edge? If the feet look good, go up the limb. Any heat or effusion anywhere? Does anything at all pop in a lameness exam?
I have a mare that kept dinging her hind pasterns. She also had a slight stifle issue that we knew about, with effusion in the joint. Since we have done IRAP there, the effusion is gone and she's stopped dinging herself.
My gelding has Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis and has to wear turnout boots to prevent the UV light from triggering a flare up. I bought some Premier Equine turnout boots (UK based company but would probably ship abroad) and then several other owners at the yard followed my example for preventative measures. These boots are substantial, easy to apply, do not slip and last for about a year with 12 hour a day use. They can be worn for longer, according to the manufacturer, but need to be removed twice a day to check for any problems. I have tried almost every other boot on the market and these suit best. Hope that helps.
I wouldn't do turnout boots. I'd find a different situation for your horse. Something is wrong if your horse gets hurt this often: i.e. he's out with the wrong type of herd, the pastures are not actually safe, he is very thin skinned. He may need a new friend who doesn't cause these injuries or you may need to get the pastures cleaned up (or find a new place) or he may need to be on his own in a pasture next to friends. You can't bubble wrap his whole body.
If you go with boots, I would consider the Equililbrium Tri-zone Allsport boots. They seem light, well ventilated and tough.
I would research into why he is tearing himself up so much. We have a younger TB at our barn who can only go out with ancient turnout buddies who will not succumb to his hard-playing, self-damaging tendencies. Maybe video how he moves and if he interferes when at liberty or under saddle, could be a shoeing/balance issue.
Why do I work two jobs to support a horse I don't have time to ride?
I don't think any boot would be appropriate to wear 22+ hours a day on a constant basis. EVERY boot, despite the claims will make the leg hotter (making tendons more susceptible to injury), trap moisture (begging for fungal infections), and may slip, turn, or otherwise bind and constrain. In other words, more harm than good.
I think you really need to investigate HOW he is getting so hurt - is it his shoes? The fencing (does he roll too close?), pasture mates?
He is injuring himself on SOMETHING - I would address that thing rather than boot him up 24/7.
Mine was getting injured in turnout at my last barn. Found a few possible culperates (sharp rocks etc) - removed them, horse was still coming in with lacerations - switched barns, haven't had an injury in over a year.