Receive Special Offers

Give 'Em the Boot - How and why to use protective leg wear to protect your champion

Give

Give ‘Em the Boot - How and why to use protective leg wear to protect your champion

By Robyn Duplisea

 

When we talk about a fantastic show horse we often call them great legged and no matter how talented a horse may be the chances of those legs staying perfect through years of training and showing are slim without the right protection.

 

We may not show our horses in boots or wraps but they provide vital support and protection to ligaments, tendons and those fragile splint bones while training or even turn out.

 

The correct leg protection is only as effective as the person applying the wrap or boot. Improper wrap jobs can apply uneven and damaging tension on those sensitive tendons, and boots left too loose can slip hindering the horse’s movement. Sadly, many a bowed tendon has been caused by an inexperienced and unsupervised wrapper.

Bree Hokana Boot Photo Small

WHY USE LEG PROTECTION?

 

You may be thinking that horses have developed over centuries without the benefit of matching polos, and you are correct. The wild horses developed strength in their legs by constant movement which increased circulation. This blood flow allowed minor wear and tear to heal and these horses typically moved on consistent terrain (how ever uneven it my have been).

 

These horses did not spend more than twelve hours a day in a cushy stall, with food and water within a step or two. They were in constant movement and their muscles and ligaments were warm and ready for action.

 

Wild horses are not subject to work in different arenas were footing may be inconsistent. They were not worked on circles or arcs and certainly did not perform complex and repetitive movements such as the sliding stop or a western riding pattern.

 

Our show horse, while descendants of these horses are a totally different creature.

 

Your horse, probably spends a portion of his day in a 12 x 12 stall, standing around waiting for his next meal.  The show horse is often worked 4-6 times a week for a set amount of time before returning to his stall or paddock.

 

Most show horses can benefit from some well fitted boots. You can provide protection from strains, tears, scrapes and even hyperextension with proper equine leg wear, but the question remains – what is best for my horse.

 

WHICH TYPE OF LEG WEAR IS BEST FOR MY HORSE?

 

Choosing the best option for your horse is not a simple decision.  You must look at a many factors before spending your hard earned money on boots or wraps.

 

What type of event do you show in? – If your horse is competing in reining or cutting his needs will differ from those in the pleasure pen. You will need to invest in skid books to protect your horse’s fetlocks from burns and you will want to choose a boot you will show in.

A barrel horse will need extra protection from brushing and hyperextension from galloping and sharp turns and may benefit from a supportive sport boot.

 

While working your hunter you may prefer to use an open front boot to ensure they remain careful and your pleasure or all-around horse will benefit from a boot that provides support and protection such as a sports boot as they work in circles and in patterns.

 

 

DOES MATERIAL MATTER?

 

From cotton no bows and polo wraps, to leather skid boots  and varying qualities of neoprene options the material of your leg protection is as important as it’s design.

 

Many Sports Boots are made from neoprene, but all are not created equal. Some less expensive options only provide two way stretch which limits their ability to protect and support the tendons. Neoprene also comes in varying qualities, with the best boots on the market such as 5 Star’s Patriot Sport Support Boot being constructed with 4 way stretch orthopedic neoprene, which is the same material used in high end human support products.  Higher quality neoprene will breath better and help prevent your horse from overeating – but all equine leg protection needs to be removed after use, so the horse’s leg can cool off to prevent scalding.

 

Which ever material you choose be sure it is easily machine washable, so you can keep them free of debris and dirt that can cause abrasions on your horse’s legs.

 

THE DETAILS

 

If you are going to invest in a new set of wraps or boots for your horse, lets be honest the details count. Options such as color and the opportunity to showcase your style can be a factor in everything we purchase for our horse.

 

5 Star Patriot Boots can be customized with any accent leather the company offers for a truly unique look for your horse.

 

In addition to color and design, you will want to look at the support features in your boot. Many boots offer a traditional single strap sling to protect the fetlock. This design has worked for many years, but there is a new option. The 5 Star Patriot Support boot combines the innovation used in human support wraps to balance the support of the sling with dual straps.

 

Consider purchasing boots for all four legs as studies have shown the benefits of equal wrapping or booting. The often-skipped rear boots can protect your horse from clipping his hind legs while working on an arc as many pleasure horses do. Equal wrapping or booting can protect your horse from hyperextension while driving his hock deeper under his body to stay soft and slow.

 

Which ever option you chose to protect your horse please take the time to learn the proper technique for applying the support. If you are unsure of use, please ask a professional to show you for the sake of your horse. Correctly applied equine leg protection can add years to your horse’s career and at the end of the day we all want longevity of soundness for our beloved partners.

 

Patriot Sport Boot Infographic

Comments

We are here for your horse!

5 Star Experiences

Bre Curtis

I do not have a 5 star pad. I've looked at them every year at congress but never have been able to get one. My mare is picky, so I want to get what's best for her & to make her feel comfortable while running. I have heard so many great things about the 5 star pad & would love to have one!

Cathy Coleman

United States

In 2009, Shoii shattered the knee joint of his right hind leg, rendering unable to flex the joint once it healed. Although his body was a little beat-up, his heart certainly was not and I could tell that it was still very important to him to "take me out for a ride."

Mariah Williams

I choose to use 5 Star pads exclusively because the comfort they provide is unbeatable. My horse looks forward to being ridden & remains happy, focused, & willing through the entire ride. It is unmatched in reliability, performance, & attractiveness. I'll be a lifelong customer & advocate for 5

Cathy Coleman

United States

Thanks to your saddle pad, Shoii's back stays cool and protected while we are out on our little "jaunts!" Being able to continue to explore the world means the world to my horse... and being able to provide him the padding he needs with your products, means the world to ME! Thanks so muc

Tammy Johnson

I first decided to purchase a 5 star pad after hearing all of the awesome reviews on it and learning that they have the most virgin wool out of any other saddle pad on the market. I have ordered 3 pads and I am hooked! My horses stay comfortable whether it be during speed events or long trail rides.

We're Here to Help