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Horse boots- Gimmick or Legit?

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  • Horse boots- Gimmick or Legit?

    So I know my own personal thoughts on boots, but I was curious to know what others thought. I have found from personal experience that my horse needs boots, I mostly only use them for shows now and jumping higher than 3' as he has creative ways to hit himself.

    I know there are many people who are against boots and those that are pro-boots. Do they really make a difference or are they more to ease the riders mentally in thinking they are protecting and supporting the legs.

    So what are you thoughts? Also what are your thoughts of boots in relation to a tendon/ligament injury after it has healed?

    Also for those that still use them after these types of injuries have you changed the ones you have used?
    Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
    Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

  • #2
    I like boots for my boy because he hits himself, but he gets rubs from wearing them so now I polo him for every ride, not really for support but it does stop him from cutting himself
    My Horse Show Photography/ Blog


    • #3
      Boots absolutely make a difference. Absolutely. Some horses might not need them; I know I rode both of my ponies without boots or polos the entire time I had them, but my mare now needs to have boots, particularly behind. She's not a very straight mover and they make a big difference in protecting her.
      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


      • #4
        I'm in the pro-boots camp, but I do consider what boots to use very carefully. I guess it's a balance between using a boot that has enough protection (ie a strike pate that will actually protect against injury) vs. something that is going to heat the leg up. Studies have shown that even increasing the temperature within the tendon by a few degrees has an impact on the tendon's physiological structure and function. It's actually been shown (in one limited study in walk and trot only) that boots (Eskadron open front type) actually reduce the fetlock extension by a few degrees resulting in less force on the suspensory ligament (by ~200 N). The paper can be read here (I can email it over if you don't have access) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...48208/abstract


        • #5
          It depends on the horse and what you do with it, as always. My last horse interfered horribly behind, and was always knocking himself all around, so he got hardshell boots on all fours. My baby horse is a baby (i.e. sometimes his appendages go in unintended directions), so he gets them. My old man probably doesn't need them but he is an old man so I like to be careful. My friend's young horse doesn't get them in front when he jumps because he is not super-careful yet, but he interferes behind so he gets hinds. And so on- I think everyone needs to know their horse to know what is necessary.

          I think if they breathe well and fit properly there is no harm and quite possibly a lot of good in using boots. I've been flatting my two this winter in Valena Woolbacks all around because they gently warm the tendon without heating it, and I put Eskadrons or Veredus or a set of leather boots on when we jump more seriously (I have a lot of boots ). Even polos (which I don't use) can provide protection from knocks and clips, so why not give that extra protection?

          ETA- very interesting, baby! Yeah, there are a lot of boots I wouldn't use- my Veredus and Eskadrons are of the higher-order, more breathable type. I tried SMBs once for one ride and threw them away- it's like putting the horse's legs in a sauna.
          You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil


          • #6
            I always boot front and back with open fronts when jumping and either polo wrap when hacking or boot. Even if it doesn't help, it makes me feel better to know that it might. For a while one of my horses was needing bell boots constantly to keep him from pulling a show, but he's been on Farrier's Formula Double Strength at the loading dose for 4 months now and hasn't pulled a single shoe since.


            • #7
              My current guy doesn't need boots, so I don't use them on a daily basis. That said I do put bell boots on him for trail rides since he has pulled shoes trotting and cantering on the trails before. I also put boots on him if we we are schooling cross country or going for a gallop in the field.

              I also put boots on him when I feel like I need to get more use out of the boots I spent money on


              • #8
                alright maybe I'll start using our eskadrons again


                • #9
                  I only use boots if jumping or if the horse is known for knocking him or herself. I personally hate using polos, but I use them on one horse because his owner wants me to. Polos are a hassle to put on and take off and they really don't offer too much protection. I like the ease of boots instead.
                  "One reason why horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other horses."
                  "Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction"


                  • #10
                    For protection, if the horse needs to be protected (from itself usually).

                    I gulped a bit at the idea of using polo wraps for hacking. Had a very scary episode where a polo came undone and poor Trump spooked at the "lime green snake" that was following him! We were out on a hack, almost back to the barn, but the poor old man was terrified. I'd rather have the horse go naked-legged on a hack than risk polos again.
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by quietann View Post
                      For protection, if the horse needs to be protected (from itself usually).

                      I gulped a bit at the idea of using polo wraps for hacking. Had a very scary episode where a polo came undone and poor Trump spooked at the "lime green snake" that was following him! We were out on a hack, almost back to the barn, but the poor old man was terrified. I'd rather have the horse go naked-legged on a hack than risk polos again.
                      Really? I've never had anything like that happen to me, I figure dressage people use them so often that something like that can't be a common occurrence, but that makes me reconsider.


                      • #12
                        Polo wraps can come undone, in the same way that boots can come undone. Either is typically a result of too much crud in the velcro, thus reducing the holding ability of the velcro. As long as the velcro isn't crammed full of lint or sheepskin particals from repeated washing, you shouldn't have this problem.


                        • #13
                          My vet and I were just discussing this.

                          His take, fine to keep the horse from hitting itself, but hasn't seen anything to think that it stops suspension injuries (talking about sports medicine boots). My horses front right paddles, and he oversteps from the back a LOT, so bell boots and some sort of front leg protection are on for every ride.


                          • #14
                            For the most part, I have stopped using boots and polos. I used to “boot up” for every ride back when I was in training barns etc. It was just what was done, and I like the look.

                            I was using boots on my youngster when I was starting her, but then noticed how hot and sweaty her legs were getting – and that there were no interference marks on her boots.

                            I haven’t seen much research to suggest that boots do anything but protect from knocks and blows. My horse is barefoot, and does not interfere so I don’t use them.

                            I will boot up for a cross country school – don’t want to nail a fence and end up with an injury a boot could have absorbed. I will also use bell boots when jumping / galloping when I have more risk of an over-reach.

                            But all in all, I have a box of boots that I love to look at (love my old school all leather full coverage cross country boots) – but I rarely use them.
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by quietann View Post
                              For protection, if the horse needs to be protected (from itself usually).

                              I gulped a bit at the idea of using polo wraps for hacking. Had a very scary episode where a polo came undone and poor Trump spooked at the "lime green snake" that was following him! We were out on a hack, almost back to the barn, but the poor old man was terrified. I'd rather have the horse go naked-legged on a hack than risk polos again.
                              I gulped, too, then I realized they didn't mean hacking-hacking, they meant doing flatwork in the ring!

                              I rarely do boots, especially in the ring. Maybe if I know we're doing some complicated gymnastic work, but that's about it. Otherwise, I boot only for jumper shows and XC (both schooling and events), for protection.
                              A Year In the Saddle


                              • #16
                                I ride at an h/j sale barn and every single horse that gets worked must have front and back boots or polos on. If the horse is going to nick or clip himself, most boots will protect against that. Every horse I've leased or ridden at my old barn, I used boots on and it was never an issue. I don't think they provide support, but for preventing nicks they're great!


                                • #17
                                  I consider them insurance.

                                  My horse can be a bit silly and boisterous. He has hurt himself and missed out of several months of competing being a hooligan. Boots would have most likely prevented the injury. So, yeah, he wears boots, all the way around, when he works, and occasionally up front for turn out (I prefer not to turn him out in boots because his skin gets cruddy no matter how clean I keep the boots).


                                  • #18
                                    I use boots on my horse for protection. She interferes in the back pretty significantly and used to give herself bad cuts on her fetlocks, so hind boots went on. I figured putting front boots on wouldn't hurt either. Haven't had a problem with the boots getting too hot (I have eskadron open fronts and the matching hind boots). Her hind boots have some pretty deep interference marks.
                                    If i smell like peppermint, I gave my horse treats.
                                    If I smell like shampoo, I gave my horse a bath.
                                    If I smell like manure, I tripped.


                                    • #19
                                      Hmm, I agree that there are situations where horses need boots, and my 2 rideable horses have about 6 pairs of boots between the 2 of them, but I don't use them very often. I feel like there are a lot of situations where people use them and don't need them, but are doing it for "the look", which is fine, but please don't freak that I don't often use them on my own horses. GM clinic? Yep, we boot up. Jumping a hunter course in a weekly lesson? Probably not. My old guy has beautiful, clean legs, grey #1 has beautiful clean legs, grey #2 has a splint caused by a really bad shoeing, but otherwise has never had problems.


                                      • #20
                                        I always boot in front, and it depends on the horse if I boot behind, but I usually use fetlock boots behind. It only takes one silly spook for horse to whack himself.