Leg protection is a vital part of injury prevention for any equine discipline. No matter what your goals are for you and your horse, one thing is undeniable – their well-being is necessary for you to attain those goals. But the market seems flooded with options – boots or wraps, full-coverage or open fronts – how do you know which is the right choice for you? We’ve laid out a few types of leg protection and their purpose so you can determine what you need to help your partner stay at the top of their game.
The Basic Necessities
These are the boots that every barn should have on hand – your daily go-to’s, your general must-haves for every equestrian.
When your horse needs light protection, not necessarily support or impact absorption, reach for splint boots. Splint boots protect the horse’s splint bone and are perfect for a trail ride, turnout, or light exercise. Also known as brushing boots, they prevent bumps or bruises from the horse’s front legs brushing together during activities. These Choice Competitor Splint Boots from Professional’s Choice are an excellent option for basic coverage. They are easy to wash and made with durable material, making them the perfect addition to any tack collection.
Bell Boots, also known as overreach boots, protect your horse’s front heals from being knocked by their hind toes resulting in nicks, bruises, or even pulled shoes. Use bell boots for riding or during turnout. These Fleece Lined Bell Boots from Walsh are a fan favorite due to their secure fit and protection without causing irritations or rub marks on sensitive skin.
High Impact = High Support
If your discipline involves more high-impact maneuvers (such as jumping, dressage, reining, etc.), reach for leg protection that gives better support and shielding to the legs.
The Flexisoft Faux Fur Open Front Boots from Eskadron are an excellent option for any English discipline, from jumping to dressage horses. With a soft lining shielded by a flexible shell, these boots provide support and protection without limiting movement. The open-front boot is a classic choice for jumpers, as it allows the horse to feel a knocked rail while the shell around the rest of the leg protects from strikes and provides support. It also allows for more airflow and heat dissipation, keeping the tendons cooler throughout the workout. These boots offer reliable protection with a sharp show ring appeal.
For a perfect pairing, use Eskadron’s Hind Protection Faux Fur Fetlock Boots to shield against strikes, brushing, or bruising from the opposite hind leg.
For reining, cutting, barrel racing, or other western disciplines, consider the 2XCool Sports Medicine Boots from Professional’s Choice. These boots give complete coverage around the leg for protection during crossing over for quick turns and rollbacks. They offer strong support under the fetlocks for the suspensory and flexor tendons. While open-front boots may not provide enough protection for western disciplines, this boot still gives you the option of breathability and tendon cooling during exercise.
Skid boots, such as the Pro Reiner Skid Boots from Classic Equine, are essential for reiners or cutters. These boots protect your horse’s fetlocks from being burned by the ground during sliding stops and rollbacks. However, these boots do not offer support, so consider using them over top of polo wraps for better protection.
Let’s Break It Down
All boots are not created equal – what works for front legs may not work for hinds, and what works for one discipline may not be the best for another. Invest in a quality pair of boots for both front and back legs that address your discipline’s needs. For front boots, select an option that provides tendon support and impact absorption. For hind boots, focus on protective shielding, whether from an opposite leg while cantering to a jump or abrasive dirt while sliding to a stop.
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for shop for more leg protection items HERE. Or, you can shop all of our products at FarmVet.com 24/7 or call one of our friendly Sales Associates at 1-888-837-3626. You can also email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ve suited up with all the protection you can, but your horse still feels tired and maybe even sore after the show. Read our blog HERE to learn about recovery options during and after a show! Or, check out more therapy options HERE.