WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Horse protective gear can be helpful. It is important to understand when to use it, and how to use it. There are many reasons you may decide you want to use gear for your horse. One of these reasons is to give some protection to your horse while riding. This is especially handy if your horse has some interference while riding.
Interference is when a horse is striking one or more hooves into another leg during movement. A horse might only have interference during certain activities. Or, they may have a more constant occurrence of interference.
There is different gear for different types of interference. Each one helps prevent damage or injury to your horse. Some gear is listed below, but there is more gear out there as well. We recommend doing plenty of research on what gear you need or ask the help of an experienced professional when picking out gear. We are also happy to help you find the right gear if you would like.
Bell Boots, also called overreach boots: protect horses from damaging their legs while overreaching, which is when the horse hooks the back end of their front foot with their back foot while walking or riding.
Splint boots: splint boots sit above the hooves on the legs. They protect the legs when they cross one leg or foot over the other. This keeps their legs from hitting each other, which prevents damage from occurring.
Skid boots: skid boots go on the back feet. They help the horse from burning their hind legs when they come to a sudden stop. You see these in roping, reining, and activities where quick stops occur.
Our Ranch Director, Matt Frazier has advocated for protective gear for horses. This is especially the case for bell boots. Matt told us, “if you have a horse that clips themselves, their shoes can cut their front hooves or ankle area. This is called the Coronet Band.” And according to Carol Shwetz, a veterinarian focusing in equine practice, “the coronet or coronary band refers to the area on the horse where the hairline meets the hoof capsule. This structure is responsible for continuous hoof growth over the horse's lifetime. When the coronary band is injured, in any way, the future growth of a horse's hoof wall is jeopardized.” Damage of the Coronet Band can range from small knicks to more serious injuries. These include cut, torn, or damaged tendons and ligaments. Veterinary bills for any of these issues can range anywhere from $145 - $10,000 or more, depending on what type of care your horse needs. So if you notice any of these occurring, looking into protective gear may be beneficial to you.
There are many different providers of gear, and finding the right gear for your horse can be tricky. There is the risk of doing more harm than good, even though the intention is to help keep your horse safe and healthy. The first step in finding the right gear is to identify the problem that your horse is having. Where is the interference happening? When and how often is interference happening? The next is to look for the proper gear for that type of interference. While examining different products, keep in mind these questions:
Is this gear going to be too flexible, or too rigid, for my horse?
Is this gear going to be too hot for my horse?
Do I know how to properly apply this gear to my horse?
If your answer to any of these questions is uncertain, we would be happy to help! We love you and your horse here at BMREC. And helping you find the right gear for your horse and your situation brings us joy. Feel free to call, email, or come in at any time and we will do our absolute best to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Bryant, Jennifer O. “Researching Horse Boots.” The Horse, 1 Mar. 2010, https://thehorse.com/121423/researching-horse-boots/.
DVM Dipl. ABVP, Douglas O. Thal. “Interference: Equine Limb-to-Limb Contact in Movement.” Horse Side Vet Guide, Horse Side Vet Guide, 11 Feb. 2015, https://horsesidevetguide.com/Interference-Equine-Limb-to-Limb-Contact-at-Movement.
“How to Select Horse Boots.” Dover Saddlery, www.doversaddlery.com/how-to-select-horse-boots/a/447/.
Dvm, Carol Shwetz. “Horse Injuries Involving Coronary Band Need Extra TLC.” Manitoba Co-Operator, 30 Mar. 2016, www.manitobacooperator.ca/livestock/horse-injuries-invloving-coronary-band-need-extra-tlc/.
“General Prices.” Foundation Equine, https://foundationequineclinic.com/prices.
MS, Stephanie Ruff. “My Horse's Vet Bill Is How Much?” The Horse, 19 Nov. 2018, https://thehorse.com/18076/my-horses-vet-bill-is-how-much/.