Choosing The Best Leg Protection For Horses
If you are an equestrian, you must already know the importance of leg protection for horses. Even non-equestrians can easily imagine how important it is for a horse to have strong and healthy limbs. But once you decide to protect your horse’s legs, there are quite different protection options, and you might end up worrying if you are using the correct one. Worry no more! We have compiled all the information you need on why and how to protect your horse’s legs.
WHY DO HORSES NEED LEG PROTECTION
Horses have very delicate leg structures, even though their whole life relies on walking and running. For pleasure rides, your horse won’t need leg protection. But in equestrian sports, horses are our athletes, and they are prone to injuries. The majority of the injuries in performance horses are in the lower limbs. These injuries are caused by bumping against obstacles or the horse’s own hooves and tearing or straining the tendons and ligaments. Young horses might injure themselves in training, while well-trained horses can benefit from some extra support. Most of the time, these serious injuries can be prevented with proper leg protection.
HOW TO USE LEG PROTECTION
Leg protection for horses comes in different sizes and shapes as well as different materials. Please remember:
- The protective material shouldn’t be extremely hard. It should only absorb the shock and prevent external injuries.
- Choose the correct size! The sizing is the most important part of choosing the correct protection for your horse’s legs. If the protection boots are too big, they will slip while riding. This might also cause an external injury if the horse gets disturbed. Using too small protection, on the other hand, can squeeze the leg and rub the skin.
- Some protection boots can be used on all four legs. However, some protections can only be used on front legs or hind legs. Make sure to learn the correct use of each one.
- Check if your horse’s tendons get too hot while using protectors. Especially in summer, some protection boots can cause excessive heat in the tendons and cause injury instead of protection. You can try to choose light and breathable materials to use in summer.
- Remember to clean your protection boots and keep them dry. Either in an indoor arena or outside, some dirt can skip into the protection boots. This will definitely bother your horse. Besides, soaking the leg in wet protection may cause skin problems.
CHOOSING THE CORRECT PROTECTION
When you visit a tack store, you will be amazed by the variety of leg protection options. Even though you may find some fancier than others, you should choose the protection that meets your horse’s needs.
1. Brushing Boots
Also known as splint boots, these boots are one of the simplest forms of leg protection. Being made of light and comfortable materials, these boots are designed to protect the splint bone from any dangerous impact and bumping the hooves on the legs. They are usually preferred on the front legs, but for ultimate protection, they can be used on the hind legs, too. They can be great protection for horses of all ages and disciplines. Brushing boots are easy to put on and clean. No matter the discipline, you can use brushing boots to protect your horse’s lower leg structures. Please remember that you should choose the correct size to have the proper protection.
2. Open Front Boots
Although they can be used for dressage horses too, open front boots are created for jumpers. The design has a hard structure that protects the inside and the behind of the leg while leaving the front open. The purpose here is to let the legs feel when they hit and knock a jump rail down. This encourages many horses to tuck their legs up and clear the jump properly. Therefore, open front boots are preferred by show jumpers and, they can only be used on the front legs. If you are into show jumping and your horse keeps knocking the rail, you might want to give a try to open front boots. We also recommend using ankle boots on the hind legs when using open fronts.
3. Ankle Boots
Ankle boots are also known as fetlock boots. These short boots with hard protective shells are uniquely for the protection of hind fetlocks. They protect the fetlock from the impact of the other fetlock or hoof. Ankle boots are often preferred in show jumping to protect the hind legs while protecting the front legs with brushing boots or open front boots. EQSVE10 If your horse tends to buck or bump the hind legs, we highly recommend using these.
4. Bell Boots
Last but not least, the bell boots! These serve only one purpose; protecting the front heel bulb from any impact by an overreaching hind leg. Especially for strong gaited horses, there is always the risk of a hind hoof causing damage to the front heel. Also, dressage horses can have the same problem while being trained for expressive gaits. If your horse is in dressage training or just has some big gaits in the hind, you should get a pair of bell boots.