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Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.comHorse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com   Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com  

Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com

March 14, 2009

Why Use Horse Boots?

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Hi Cherry,

I love reading your website, it is extremely helpful. I wish I could afford to buy all of your books, but as it is, I can't. I ride both western and English, but I do most of my serious riding in English. I see SO many people these days with all different types of boots on their horses. I have never used boots. Should I be?

I look at boots such as splint boots and fetlock boots, and really wonder how much it is helping the horse, if at all. I mean, do they REALLY "brush" against eachother that much? Could you explain to me each type of boot, and their merits? Downfalls are great too, but either way. I have attempted to look it up online, but I hear different things from every person, and can't help but wonder what a true profession thinks. Thank you so much!!!!

-Rachelle

 

Hi Rachelle,

It seems you are inquiring mostly about "exercise boots", those used when a horse is being longed or ridden. There are also shipping boots, stable boots and so on. To get you started, read this answer to a similar question about leg wraps.

Horse Health Care by Cherry HillMore specific to your question, there are protective boots that guard the insides of a horse's legs from being hit by the opposite leg. This type of boot usually has a protective strike plate over the splint area on the inside. If a horse hits himself lower down, say on the coronary band, there are bell boots that fit over the coronary band and upper hoof to protect that area.

Other exercise boots, called sport boots and sports medicine boots, provide support to the flexor tendons which run down the back of the horse's leg. Supposedly the boots add a little extra support when a horse is running hard or jumping so his tendons don't stretch excessively. Whether they do that or not depends on the quality of the boots and their proper application.

And there are skid boots which protect the fetlocks from abrasions from the ground when a reining horses does a hard sliding stop.

In addition there are many other kinds of custom exercise boots to take care of unusual movement and uses.

Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry HillNow, whether or not you should consider using boots.......my philosophy is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it !". Many (most?) horses never hit themselves when being used in normal circumstances - pleasure riding, trail riding and so on. But the more speed and turns you add, the more potential there will be for interference. So if you ride a reiner, a jumper or a barrel horse, boots would be a safeguard. Or if you are working a young horse in a round pen, you could protect the horse's legs with boots because young horses and any horse working in a circle would have a tendency to lose their balance from time to time and could interfere.

Most horses ridden in normal footing at normal gaits wouldn't need extra support from boots, but if a horse is working in deep footing or running hard or jumping, support boots could be a useful addtion.

Some trainers always use boots as a preventative measure. I tend to know my individual horses fairly well and if I suspect one will travel close or might be rambunctious when first turned out, I'll use boots. But in my personal experience and preferences, 99% of the time I work and ride my horses without boots.

I hope this helps. Have a great ride !Cherry Hill horse trainer and author of 30 books and DVDs

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