The safety and suitability of horse boots is something that is important to the welfare of all our horses.
Here we talk you through why calls are been made for safety standards to be put in place, so we can always ensure that our horses get the protection they deserve.
A Leading equine physiologist is leading calls for an industry wide standard for horse boots. Dr Marlin has previously conducted studies into horse boots and in one test found a "piece of plastic drainpipe roughly cut with a pair of industrial scissors to use as a tendon protector — there’s always the risk if a material isn’t appropriate and it splits, it could cut into a tendon".
Dr Marlin would like to see a horse boots standard, similar to that in place for riding hats and body protectors, to help reduce the number of avoidable injuries that horses pick up both at home and in competition.
Unfortunately such a standard hasn't been introduced, but thankfully developments over recent years have lead to technologies from other industries being utilised in equine boot technology. Kentucky Horsewear are one such brand. They have utilised D30 technology that was originally developed for motorbike protection and is now also being used in skiing/snowboarding, ice hockey and mountain biking equipment.
While supporting your horses legs is essential, It is now also understood how important it is to keep your horses legs cool. Overheated legs substantially increase their risk of injury. Finding the right boots that offer breathability and support/protection is essential.
Here we have 4 issues that horse owners worry about when choosing their horses boots and how to buy the right set of boots for your horse and the protection levels needed for different disciplines.
1. I only hack, does my horse even need boots?
If your horse is has fantastic confirmation, only ever hacks lightly and has no pre existing conditions then you may see him coping fine without boots.
9/10 this may be true but we would always recommend that you protect your horses legs. Horses behaviour can be unpredictable. your horse could trip or scrape against something solid. A good basic schooling boot will help prevent from any injuries
From Kentucky Horsewear these boots are ideal for hacking and schooling but are tough enough to be used as a turnout boot.
Lined with artificial sheepskin, these boots are very comfortable for your horse and they are 100% breathable so your horses legs keep cool, even on the warmest days.
The fabric is a tough, hard wearing 100% waterproof Solimbra fabric with a luxurious faux sheepskin lining and EVA protective inner.
They are easy to maintain and can be machine washed at 30.
2. There is too much choice, how do I know what boots to get?
There is a huge amount of choice. If you are new to boots we would recommend two things.
1. Research - speak to us, other horse owners and your instructor to see what they recommend.
2. Start basic, you don't need the most expensive boot initially. So long as it is a brand you can trust and it is suited to the discipline you are training/competing, the starter boot in that range will be ideal.
3. I showjump a young horse, he can't wear hind boots.
There are rules in place to prevent young showjumping horses from wearing what are commonly known as "pinch boots" as they change the action of horses.
Specially designed young horse boots are available and can be worn by all horses who resent the pinch action of some other boots.
We wouldn't ever recommend leaving a horses hind legs without boots. The risk of injury is too great.
From Kentucky Horsewear these fetlock boots confirm to FEI standards for young horses and offer maximum protection with limited bulk
They are anatomically shaped which offers a comfortable and stable fit. The breathable neoprene mass ensures freedom of movement and comfort while the tough outer shell offers excellent protection.
4. Boots always rub my horse
Some horses really do struggle with sensitive skin and wearing boots causes them constant discomfort.
The great news is there are now socks that can be put on you horse to help protect sensitive skin and further reduce friction. You can even go one step further for extremely sensitive horses and use tesa tape to securely tape the boot to the sock below.
From Kentucky Horsewear, both the tendon grip sock and tendon gel sock both offer protection for horses with differing types of sensitivity.