Horse Boot Options

Leg protection comes in many different forms. Here's an at-a-glance explanation of intended uses for different types of boots.

Different sports call for different types of leg protection. Here, a reining horse wears skid boots. | Photo by Darrell Dodds

In the November 2005 issue of Horse & Rider, we covered protective leg boot options. But support and protection of yours horse’s legs don’t stop at the cannon bone. In fact, you may be amazed by the wide array of boots available at your local tack shop or online.

Here are other types of leg protection to consider:

Bell Boots: Bell or overreach boots form a protective cylinder around your horse’s pastern and upper hoof to shield against interference or blows to the heel and coronary band. Consider them if your horse has a tendency to overreach and strike the heels of his front feet with the toes of his hind feet when he’s working, or if he wears corrective front shoes–such as eggbars–that extend beyond his heels.

Skid Boots: Skid boots fit around the fetlocks of the hind legs, providing extra protection for the back of the fetlock joint. These boots are essential if your horse participates in a sport where his rear fetlocks are likely to come in contact with the ground and abraded–for example, during sliding stops in a reining pattern.

Knee Boots: These are designed to protect your horse’s knees against direct blows from the opposite knee or foot. They may be useful if your horse’s performance duties require high-speed front-leg crossovers, as occur in reining and gaming events.

Hock Boots: These are the hind-leg equivalent of knee boots. They can be an ideal option for preventing bed sores on your horse’s hocks, or for protecting these joints if he kicks during trailering.

Open-fronted Boots: These protect the back of your horse’s fetlocks, and the flexor tendons and suspensory ligaments at the back of his cannon region, yet are left open at the front of the cannon bone. They are designed specifically for jumping. In this sport, it may be desirable for your horse to feel when he rubs the jumps to keep him jumping clean, yet it’s still important to protect the backs of his legs.

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