How necessary are boots?

Scheherezade

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Bear with me.

I've always used tendon/fetlock/brushing boots on my own horses, just as a habit more than anything.

I'm currently riding an 8 year old, very forward going chestnut WB gelding, who is a fairly fine build, like a stocky TB. He was bred and bought for dressage, but his owner hasn't ridden him for various reasons (he's not dangerous, just stressy) and I am lucky to have the ride.

I have just been hacking out to build confidence, and walk-trot in the school with occasional ask for one circuit of canter. We do serpentines and shallow loops to get him concentrating. I'd like to do a bit of everything ultimately.

He's not had boots on so far, is it worth sticking a set on? Or is it better for him to learn not to bang himself? I also hate how hot their legs can get under boots as I worry it's not good for the tendons.

Any thoughts?
 

FemelleReynard

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Would you really use boots just for the sake of using them?

If he doesn't need boots, I wouldn't put them on him. Half the time they cause more issues than they solve e.g. causing rubs/sores underneath them if the boot/the area isn't cleaned properly etc etc.

Then again, I am very fuss free in my approach.
 

Charlie007

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I always boot up fir work. Its too late once they have banged themselves and they wont learn not to bang themselves again imo. I use cold water boots straight after work.
 

lindsay1993

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I have never used any boots of any sort. My horses simply haven't needed them. I never felt the need for them so didn't bother.

However, having started riding someone else's horse, they insist on using boots all the time. They use brushing boots, knee boots and over-reach boots, just as a precaution. I wouldn't bother if the horse doesn't need them. To me it's just more fuss and faff if they aren't really necessary.
 

MuddyMonster

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If you need them, use them. If you don't, don't.

My old horse was pretty accident prone & wore boots for both exercise and turn out. The risk of him injuring himself was much greater than the risk of the problems associated with over heating.

My current horse is a native, tough as well, old boots (!) and just doesn't need them, so I don't use them - not even for jumping. He has a set of brushing boots and over-reach boots we use for loading practise and that's that. For hacking, he just wears high-viz wrap around tabs on all 4 legs, but is just to be seen rather than to protect from injury.
 

Ben2684

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I use boots to suit the terrain more than anything. round where we are hacking routes are stony/sandy and in places very uneven. Recently I took a boot off to find lots of blood underneath. Luckily when cleaned it was only a small Nick and hadn't done any damage. I can only assume a stick or similar had gone through the neoprene as there was a hole in it. school work I don't use anything but boots have saved a fair few scrapes when out and about. After the above incident I switched to more sturdy eventing type boots but the air cooled ones as I also worry about over heating, though haven't had any issues thus far
 

Starzaan

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I don't understand booting up for no reason. Boots do more harm than good most of the time - rubs, heating the tendon fibres to the point where they are severely weakened and more prone to injury - it seems mad.

If a horse is close and brushes, put brushing boots on, if a horse is prone to over reaching, stick over reach boots on, if they're clumsy over a fence, put tendon boots on.

If not, just leave them be.

I was always taught that unnecessary boots are exactly the same as unnecessary martingales. Imagine putting a standing martingale on a horse who has never tried to stick its ears up your nose - you just wouldn't think to.
 

muckypony

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I only ever boot mine for cross country, and I didn't even do that until recently when we've started jumping bigger courses and he is more likely to knock himself.

I too see no point in booting for the sake of booting..
 

Honey08

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I don't use boots either, except for xc. I think half the people who boot just think it looks good. IMO it does more harm than good. Why bother unless your horse needs them? It's just more to clean!
 

Merlod

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I never used to boot my horse, I have had him for 8 years. He's a spooky fool and last year he clonked himself and popped the biggest splint (on the inside), he's fine now after time off and it's gone down but I always boot when ridden as it's not worth the risk if he knocks it again. I would also boot up to turnout if there is a new horse coming in the field but that's not happened yet. I def. do not do it to look good, I don't like unecessary tack and having to wash boots every time they get muddy!
 
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Bernster

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I do tend to boot mine - he brushes and can over reach, although he O/Rs less now, so there may be a point I'm happy to take those off. His conformation and stage of training means I'd rather do that than risk injury.
 

Kat

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I don't boot in the school but always use knee boots for hacking and hunting. The damage that can be caused by coming down on their knees on the road (or knocking a stone wall hunting) is horrific and easily prevented. Any horse can trip just the once so I think it is worthwhile.
 

AShetlandBitMeOnce

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I use boots because he needs them. Hard tendon boots and overreach, because he tends to knock himself, and I can hear it on the boots sometimes. But the less green he gets the less I will use them if no longer needed..

I also use brushing boots when I lunge him as he knocks really badly behind!! Sorting this though but think I will always use them.

Would consider knee boots when hunting after reading these comments. I'd rather be safe than sorry
 

FabioandFreddy

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As a side note for this - a lot i know with finer TB types boot up but fronts only - why? (Just curious, i tend to boot allround for hacking as i'm a bit paranoid about leg injuries)
 

vam

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I used to boot all round (on a cob, ironically). My previous wb was a mud monster as I didn't want to hose his legs every day nor could I wait for them to dry in the winter, I stopped putting them on and it was fine. Oddly he was better jumping without fetlock boots, fine with tendon boots but just didn't like fetlock boots.
My new one won't wear boots unless jumping or doing really fast work like my previous boy, possibly might in lessons if I'm starting to teach more lateral work while she finds her legs but otherwise I don't bother.
 

ester

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No boots here, the 3 more dressage horses on the yard are only booted for schooling not hacking. The only ones that wear boots are the ones that have to have them in the field too :p TB and an arab :p
 

Auslander

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I only boot for hacking. Alf is very balanced in the school, and doesn't bash himself, so no need for boots. Out hacking, he does whirling dervish impressions, and has wrecked a brand new set of boots in one session, so I always protect his legs (from himself)
 

smja

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Not necessary at all. Sis' horse is wearing boots for schooling now his half passes are getting steeper and he's learning his changes, because co-ordination wasn't all there until the lightbulb moment :)
 

dibbin

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Jazz always wears fetlock boots behind because he's quite close, especially if he's unfit or tired.

He wears either neoprene sport boots or Stretch & Flex flatwork wraps in front (although I don't always bother with fronts), because he is quite big moving and also a spooky idiot.
 

Toby_Zaphod

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We use boots when working & wouldn't dream of hacking our horses out on the road without knee boots. A horse has only got to trip & go down on its knees & the damage is extreme. It's not worth the risk of not using the knee boots!.
 

applecart14

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We use boots when working & wouldn't dream of hacking our horses out on the road without knee boots. A horse has only got to trip & go down on its knees & the damage is extreme. It's not worth the risk of not using the knee boots!.

I agree. I have never hacked out my horse without his Westropp knee and brushing boots in one. They are brilliant value for money, last for years (current pair in twelvth year now) and are great for cantering and jumping in too, i.e. fun rides with road work combined.

I had only had my horse about two weeks and I met up with a friend for a hack. She had brought along a young girl from her yard riding an unshod pony as company for her horse. We cantered across this field and her pony stopped dead for no reason which resulted in my horse almost barreling into her pony. Her pony kicked my horse and I heard a thwack. I jumped off in horror and I saw her pony had kicked mine right in the knee. Thank God he had his boots on, because if he hadn't he would have broken his knee. The boot had a slight cut in it, and he had a small cut on his knee which was bleeding a bit. Luckily he was still sound, I couldn't believe the damage from an 11.2hh unshod hoof.

It could have turned out much worse and I firmly believe my horse would have been left with a broken knee had he not been wearing the boots.
 

Under-the-radar

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I am usually a "boot / bandage for everything" kind of person, but over this last winter my horses have spent so much time with wet and muddy legs I had more or less abandoned boots. I have now noticed that both of my horses have come back from hacks with little nicks on their legs which would have been avoided if I had booted. So I will be going back to booting / bandaging for everything. I would prefer to work without boots, but I don't want my girls to injure themselves while I am riding.
 

millitiger

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If it's shod, it wears boots.

I've never had a boot rub and can't believe light brushing boots would cause overheating to structures in the leg.
 

Embo

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Brushing boots for schooling and hacking. Brushing or tendon boots with O/R boots for jumping. XC/brushing boots & O/R boots for XC & fast work.

Turn out, he wears O/R boots, minimum. Turnout boots in winter and first few weeks of spring when he's likely to hoon.

I think you should do what's best for your horse. B has had over reach and brushing injuries, both ridden and turned out, so I'd rather boot up than look after an injury which could have been prevented by boots :)
 

puppystitch

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It has to depend on the horse, and what you do with it. Mine is shod all round and generally pretty coordinated, I use tendon and fetlock boots when schooling and I can occasionally hear a clonk so I think it's worth it. They've all got scrapes, which I take to mean that they're doing their job. I use over reach boots if I'll be asking for any extension as it's just not worth the risk of a strike. For hacking I tend to just grab the tendon and fetlock boots - she knows where her feet are, but can spin when she spooks. She's turned out boot free, however as she's not really a hoon-er.
 

Tnavas

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The only time I boot up is for lunging, then brushing boots all round. If the horse is known to brush or tread on its self then yes boot up. If prone to shying and spinning then yes boot up as during these sort of reactions there is a risk of injury. The livery yards I've worked in always put skeleton knee caps on for any road work.
 
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