This is a constant source of discussion for us here every single weekend that we travel. My experience with the large, over the hock and knee style boots are mixed. When I lived in NC they would develop heat and sweat while traveling = warm moist environment for bacteria. One weekend had absolutely devastating results from this lab bench experiment. After that, I nearly always use stable wraps.
Now that I am in the Northwest, where we rarely have hot days, I use them for trips under 2 hours. Above that, I use stable wraps. Stable wraps dont protect the hocks from a kicking horse, and you therefore dont get protection for a capped hock situation. Had a students horse do that.
If I use the large wraps, I clean them with PineSol and plenty of water every other use or thereabouts. Or, I toss them in the washing machine with Chlorox to be doubly sure.
Bad things happen when you travel, and everyone who has experienced some issue definitely has an opinion about which wrap is the safest.
If over a significant distance with commercial shippers you will be told to leave them naked.
Otherwise, I'm a traditionalist and prefer proper (thick!) shipping wraps. I have recently upgraded this to back on track wraps for events because I am lazy and hate to poultice. I find that the horses' legs are tighter and cooler in the back on track wraps... but please don't ask me to explain why!
Depends. If the horse is shipped via a commercial shipper, I would leave the legs naked. Bell boots only if necessary. Commercial shippers will not re-wrap a leg if a wrap comes loose.
Also keep in mind that wraps or shipping boots will heat up the legs, which is not advised.
I shipped my horse from Kentucky to New Jersey naked (with bell boots) with no problems. The trip was appox. 600 miles but took almost 3 days due to layovers and other horses being picked up / dropped off.
Best bet is to reserve a box stall or a stall-and-a-half (which is what I used).
Btw, I used Bob Hubbard. They were great - kept me informed constantly which was much appreciated.
For local hauling (within a couple of hours), I usually use boots because they are quick and easy.
For long distances (say, greater than 4....although, I seem to be within 2 hours or over 8!), I prefer wraps, more because my former horse would stock up on the trailer in shipping boots. I prefer the support.
I'm not a fan of shipping naked. I know lots and lots of horses do it every day, and I've certainly hauled my fair share of naked horses, but I just feel better knowing that if they slip or scramble or if something happens on the road, they have at least SOME protection. Last year I witnessed a nice mare take a bad step off her trailer ramp after a 15 minute trailer ride. She was just wearing her galloping boots. She severed an artery in her fetlock and had to be rushed to the hospital. I would prefer never to see that with one of mine, so I boot or wrap every time....even when we're just going "around the corner".
For short trips (up to a few hours, depending on the weather) I have never found anything better than my Lende boots - they are outrageously expensive and a pain to store, but I think they offer better protection than wraps and bell boots (less support as well, but my primary objective for shipping wraps is usually protection). I do think that they are too hot for really long trips, and since I ship commercially in those cases, I do think naked is best. I hate putting them in nothing, but I think wraps or boots for that long are worse.
Depends on the horse, the temperature, and how long is "long distance".
I use boots for trips under 12 hours, mostly. Might do bandages on the way home from a show if XC was the last day and the horse didn't have time to get iced or really move around much to help recover. If it's a commercial hauler I send them naked with bell boots in front if they have shoes on. For the 3 mile trip to my trainer's barn, with horses I know to be good, quiet haulers, I also have them naked.
If it's extremely hot, generally I haul them naked as well.
When we moved from Ontario to Manitoba the horses were picked up by the shipper, trailered 1 1/2 hours to their farm, stayed overnight then shipped straight through to Winnipeg (21hrs). They were in straight stalls for the short trip, box stalls for the long trip. They were about half experienced travellers, half babies who had never shipped, some shod all around, some barefoot. They all shipped bare legged and were fine. The shippers would have had to remove everything as they were turned out at the layover, replaced them, and 21 hrs is a long time to wear bandages and with the risk of slipping - a small box on a trailer with a strange horse on the side of the trans canada highway is not a great place for someone to be dealing with half off bandages.
When I moved my mare with a commercial she went in nothing, ended up being a 3 day haul, and I was only on the receiving end, she came with no wraps, no boots, no blanket.
For short hauls I do bells and wraps.
I get all the reasons why commercial haulers don't want boots or wraps and have done it many times. But I think it is a much different situation. The ride is different (especially in a big rig), I think the driving is different. I feel more comfortable knowing my horses are covered up when I'm doing the hauling myself.
Wraps with thick fluffy pillows underneath. And bells. Can't be too careful. I'd even run a round of electric tape over the wraps where they Velcro, just in case. I assume the reason shippers don't recommend them is liability, etc. They do NOT want their employees bending over a strange horse's legs. Then there is the risk of someone wrapping poorly and causing an injury, and that getting blamed on the company.
Oh, and don't wrap for an important trip if you aren't really good at it!