What are the Best Horse Boots?
The best place to start when considering what the best horse boots are is to think about the type of work your horse will be doing and what issues they may have. A vet or farrier can help with this and let you know if any irregularities in your horse’s gait are treatable. The aim of this article is to introduce you to the many types of horse boots, their function, and help with size and fitting. We hope this information will be of great assistance in your search for the best horse boots.
The Function of a Horse Boot
The main purpose of a horse boot is to protect your horse from injury. As you know, injuries can be self inflicted or can occur in various ways. Modern Horse Boots are designed with shock absorbing materials and strike plates made from a variety of materials. The plates protect the inside of the tendon. New technology allows for a lighter boot that keep the horses legs cool. Breathable features such as neoprene and air flow grids reduce heat buildup , which is of great benefit to your horse.
The increasing popularity of synthetic horse boots gives the advantage of a boot that is easy to clean and care for. Many of these modern boots have antibacterial qualities. This means they can be used on multiple horses without the worry of spreading germs. However, boots made form leather will mold to your horses leg. This provides more support and a more comfortable fit, eliminating pressure points. For this reason, most high performance horses have their own set of boots.
Types of Horse Boots
This type of boot is mostly worn by jumpers to increase sensitivity to contact with rails. They offer front-leg protection along the back and side of the cannon bone. These are usually made with traditional materials such as leather and sheepskin. However, the increasing popularity of impact resistant synthetics is quickly taking the larger market share.
With this boot, the protection is focused around the fetlock joint and inside of the cannon bone. These are a great choice if your horse has an interference problem. This is due to the more substantial inner tendon protection. These boots are worn on the front legs.
These boots offer general protection that engulfs the entirety of the cannon bone, from the fetlock joint to just below the hock or knee. These boots can be worn on all four legs or just the front two. They can also be used in place of polo wraps. The amount of protection will vary as well as the closure systems. These boots can be made with either synthetic or traditional materials.
These are ankle boots that just cover the fetlock and are often combined with open-front boots. This combination is commonly used in jumper rings. Taller hind-leg boots are used when schooling dressage horses.
This particular style of boot cover the hoof and are designed to protect the heel from interference and overreaching. The pull-on style is the most secure , but can be difficult to put on and take off the horse. The open bell style are much easier to work with due to the hook and loop fasteners or buckles.
Wraps are not boots and provide much less protection. These are great if your horse has a skin lesion because a wrap is great at keeping a bandage on.
Most manufactures will have size guides included in their product information. The size you will need is a combined factor of your horses height, weight, and limb circumference. Some horses will need larger boots on the hind legs compared to the front. The boot needs to cover the length of the cannon bone and inner fetlock. It is critical to not hinder the movement of the knee or hock.
The cardinal rule is that the boot should be snug and only have enough free space to fit a single finger. If the boot is too tight, you risk compromising the horse’s circulation or risk damaging the tendon. A too loose of a fit invites dirt and other foreign material witch can cause irritation. The worse case is the boot slipping off completely.
Boots should be fastened with keen attention on distributing pressure evenly. They should be removed as soon as your horse has completed its exercise or work to avoid heat buildup.
The best horse boots will offer a great fit when you select the correct size.