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Splint Boots vs. Sport Boots vs. Polos

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  • Splint Boots vs. Sport Boots vs. Polos

    I've been training one of my friend's horses, an 8 year old Spanish Norman gelding, for the 3'6" hunters/ eq- maybe jumpers.

    Any reccomendations as to to which of the three ( splint sport or polo) would be best for leg protection? I know each has a different job but I just wanted to see everybody's opinions.

    Also, on a side note, is it necessary to put him on a joint supplement at this high just for precautionary reasons? I think it's a good idea but others have told me that it's a waste of money.


  • #2
    Well everyone has their own preference. I personally hate wrapping polos so my horse wears sport boots (these ones from smartpak - $17!) and then if we are jumping I might also choose to use a pair of brushing boots. Just kinda depends on what I grab though.

    If by splint boots you mean the ones that close with a loop/ buckle like these then never. I hate boots like that but again personal preference.

    On joint supplements my vet told me that a lot of the lower end joint supplements are a waste. I had my horse on SmartFlex 1 and he said not to bother because it wasn't going to do anything and that I wouldn't see a difference until I got into the more serious supplements. Right now he is getting Polyglycan injections but that is what my vet thought was best for my horse right now based on his issues. It depends on the horse. Joint supplements can get pretty pricey. I would talk to your vet to decide what you all think is best and what the horse might need maybe.


    • #3
      I use open fronts. No leg protection is allowed in hunters but in Eq and Jumpers open fronts provide the best protection to the tendons and fetlocks, while letting the horse feel it if he hits a jump. I like to school in polos if the horse is careful and not accident prone because they are cooler than boots... actually my favorite is using Eskadron bandage liners with an excercise bandage because it is cooler than boots but more protection than polos. However, if your horse tends to knock rails you'll want to keep him as careful as possible and use open fronts.

      I always show in open fronts with a hard shell... better protection for the tight turns, high fences, and fast pace your horse will be doing in the jumper ring than polo wraps will give. Plus I've seen polo wraps come undone mid-course... not good.


      • #4
        Suggestions for open front boots:

        Majyck Equipe... have not personally used but I will get them when my boots die, they are affordable and according to studies absorb significantly more blunt force trauma than Roma and Eskadron. They come in neoprene or memory foam and have a shock-absorbent air pocket to protect the tendons.

        Acavallo... I have these. They are also affordable. They are very flexible and anatomically shaped so they interfere with the horse as little as possible. They have gel liners against the leg which I think is great for absorbing shock and molding to the leg. I've had mine for about 8 months and they don't have a scratch on them (although my horse doesn't tend to interfere).

        Equifit... Haven't used but people love them. They have a special brand of memory foam that supposedly absorbs 97% of shock. They make a leather boot for the equitation ring that is BEAUTIFUL, but very expensive.

        Just some suggestions. There are plenty of cheaper boots too, although I think you generally get what you pay for as far as quality goes.


        • #5
          I'm a holdout from the early '90s, in that I still like to use Sports Medicine Boots for everyday training, as I love the overall protection/cushioning SMBs give, for a variety of different exercise types.

          At shows though, open-fronts.
          A vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire.


          • #6
            Originally posted by ImmortalSynn View Post
            I'm a holdout from the early '90s, in that I still like to use Sports Medicine Boots for everyday training, as I love the overall protection/cushioning SMBs give, for a variety of different exercise types.

            At shows though, open-fronts.
            I still use the SMBs, too!
            Gracious "Gracie," 2002 TB mare
            Facebook me!

            I have Higher Standards ...do you?


            • #7
              I usually use T-wraps for flatting and the cheapest T-boots for jumping.
              I like the the T-wraps as they are thinner and so cooler. Probably don't have a heck of a lot of protection to them but my horse can sometimes give himself a small cut/brush mark on his one fetlock and these prevent that.
              I use T-boots right now for jumping cause I didn't want to use neoprene on my horse's legs to help them not get too heated. However the T-boots seem to really make his legs hot and sweaty. Gonna try on my Veredus boots on him and see what kind of heat/sweat difference we have.


              • #8
                I use a variety of boots and polos depending on each horses specific needs. I use neopro tek smbs on one of mine religiously. Everything else wears polos, dover sport boots, or splinter boots for flat work or longing work, and smb or open fronts for jumping. I like to use the neopro tek boots for green beans figuring out how to jump, or polls, as they feel it more than with the thicker boots, but still protects them some while they figure out what to do.


                • #9
                  Split Boots vx. Sport Boots vs. Polos

                  Thanks for the feedback on EquiFit boots. As a representative of EquiFit, I wanted to follow-up as we are often asked about the properties for the materials used in T-Boots.

                  To date, we are not aware of any boots with the same value of materials. All of our materials and products are hand-crafted in the USA at our manufacturing facility in Dedham, MA (except for our Luxe boots which are made in France) allowing for quality assurance throughout the production process.
                  Most boots today are injection (or machine) molded with neoprene liners. By contrast, each T-Boot is hand-molded and lined with the highest quality T-Foam.
                  Since the T-Foam insert actually does the contouring, T-Boots do not need the extreme contour of molded parts on other boots.

                  • Washable/removable T-FoamTM liners absorb 97% of shock and vibration under impact

                  • Open-cell foam so air can circulate, preventing build-up of heat and perspiration

                  • Provides pressure-free support

                  • Minimizes dirt and debris build-up known to cause rubs, chafing and abrasions

                  • Neoprene-free (many horses are allergic to neoprene)

                  I know that there had been mention that the T-Boots were causing heat and sweat build up, and I wanted to bring up that T-Foam is extremely lightweight and breathable. Open-cell properties allow for air to circulate keeping the legs cool and comfortable for the horse. Many other leg protection products use neoprene that becomes very hot and can cause excessive sweat.

                  Depending on the humidity and temperature all boots will cause some form of heat and sweat build up, but the T-Boots will disperse this build up and allow air to flow.
                  T-Boots are designed to have a very snug fit, so that your horse is getting comfort and protection.

                  I hope that this has helped and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

                  Thank you
                  Melissa Hill
                  EquiFit, inc.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cottonXCblondie View Post
                    I still use the SMBs, too!

                    ME three!
                    Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


                    • #11
                      Count me in as another user of SMBs. My horse hurt his suspensory in his right front leg - it was very swollen - and had 4 months "bed rest" as a result. When the swelling finally dissipated and he was allowed to begin work again, my vet advised me to use them. They provide good support and although it took some practice on my part to put them on tight enough, the velcro makes life a lot easier! I simply could not put on polos properly, no matter how many times I practiced. The SMBs do seem to make his legs very hot and sweaty and I feel bad about that, so I make sure to remove them immediately and hose or wipe down his legs with cool water. As he continues to get stronger, perhaps I'll be able to use a different boot that's not as sweat-inducing, but for now, we will stick with the SMBs as per doctor's orders.


                      • #12
                        As far as joint supplements go, my trainer has all the horses on some sort of joint supplement, just because it can't hurt and some studies have shown that they can help out with maintenance a little bit. That said, all the horses go on something with high concentrations of active ingredients. If you're going to spend money on a joint supplement, you might as well give yourself the best chances of having it work. My mare is on Trisport, by Horse Tech. If you order it in a big bucket directly from them,

                        it's extremely resonably priced. You can get a better deal if you buy the biggest size, but I wouldn't do that unless I had a barn buddy to split it with, because I'd worry about the effectiveness of the active ingredient declining after having the package open for months on end.

                        On the subject of leg protection:
                        I use polos (Keenland Wraps brand) to flat my horse, they are thick enough to protect from minor bumps and nicks. I'm not in love with them, as I really don't like the fact that they hold some heat, and I think I might try some sort of Climatex/coolmax thing in the future.
                        Either that, or I'll invest in some of the eventing boots that are supposed to be vented. The polos do the job for now, though.

                        To jump, I use Veredus Carbongel boots. They are very light, so a plus there (I go for light and cool) but they are about middle of the road as far as cool goes. Considering that my mare has borium (lots!) on her hind shoes, and if she oversteps it will be horrendous, I'm willing to deal with the fact that her legs are a little sweaty after I pull them off. The carbon fiber strike shields and gel are worth it.

                        I'm in CA, so the (hot!) weather has a lot to do with this, but:
                        We don't use Pro Choice SMBs, or any other type of sports medicine type boot. They are heavy, and around here they practically cook the horse's tendons. As far as support goes, I'd hazard that they are no more than glorified polo wraps. Heck, I've found that you can't even get them as tight as polo wraps. If you're looking for super support, get good at wrapping and go for a brace type bandage. (Even then, the amount of support to soft tissue structures in the horse's leg is widely debated.)


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by EquestrianSapphire View Post
                          Suggestions for open front boots:

                          Majyck Equipe... have not personally used but I will get them when my boots die, they are affordable and according to studies absorb significantly more blunt force trauma than Roma and Eskadron. They come in neoprene or memory foam and have a shock-absorbent air pocket to protect the tendons.
                          Interested in getting more info on these. Anyone know how the fit in comparison to the Eskadrons (which are a smidge to tall on my stumpy-cannon'd mare)?


                          • #14
                            I HATE splint boots. Won't use them ever. I'd rather spend the time to put on polo wraps than splint boots. That being said I use the Dover Sport Boots most of the time. Sometimes I will put SMB's on the front and polos behind.

                            When I am trying to look fancy and match all the way from fly bonnet to saddle pad to wraps, I'll do polos on all 4 legs.

                            When he is being used in a lesson or being ridden by someone other than me, he gets Sport Boots- I just don't trust other people to wrap him right.