Protecting your horses legs when riding is a very important aspect of equestrian sports. Leg protection is used to prevent injuries and help maintain the horse's legs. Special high quality leg protection is essential for both recreational and professional riders.
Why is leg protection so important for riding?
Leg protection includes any form of protection which is applied to your horse's legs, including tendon boots, brushing boots, fetlock boots or stable boots. As the horse's legs are vulnerable, especially in equestrian sports such as show jumping, eventing and polo, it is important to protect the horse's legs from knocking injuries or overreach injuries. Which protection you decide to use is often a reflection on the discipline you ride. For example, show jumpers generally wear open front tendon boots as they're horses are less likely to receive an injury to the front part of the leg, whereas eventers will wear closed tendon boots as eventing horses are more prone to injuries occurring on the front of the legs due to the jumps they must jump on the cross country course. Dressage horses need boots that help absorb shock as well as from brushing injuries.
The different types of leg protection for your horse:
Tendon Boots - tendon boots or open front boots are typically used in show jumping and eventing. The boots are designed from hardshell material that can protect from impacts and strikes from the hind hooves during the jumping action of the horse. With modern technology, tendon boots are now shock absorbing as well as highly breathable to prevent the legs from over heating. You can also find tendon boots that are equipped with a soft lining of synthetic fur or genuine sheepskin, which makes the boots extra comfortable and highly suitable for sensitive skinned horses.
Hind Boots - fetlock boots are designed for the horses hind legs. For jumping horses they come in many different forms, including young horse hind boots and open hind boots which can be used in various competitions depending on the level of the horse and rider. Designed to protect from both brushing and knocking injuries, fetlock boots are great for horses who tend to knock their rear legs together both over jumps or during flat work. Longer length fetlock boots offer extra protection to the pastern area on horses who brush their legs together a lot.
Eventing Boots - similar to tendon boots, eventing or cross country boots are also used to protect the front legs of your horse from the hind hooves. Eventing boots are closed in front to help prevent injuries to the front of the front legs, that can occur on the jumps that are jumped on cross country courses. Just like Tendon Boots, modern technology has allowed them to be highly breathable and shock absorbing as well as offering exceptional protection from jumping injuries.
Brushing Boots - one of the most popular choices for horse riders due to their simplicity and versatile design. Brushing boots are perfect for flat work, lunging, hacking or turnout. Designed to protect the lower part of your horses legs from knock injuries, brushing boots are also now available in many highly breathable options to prevent the tendons from overheating during work or turnout.
Turnout Boots - just like brushing boots, turnout boots are designed to protect the horses legs from knock injuries that often occur when on the field or paddock. It is very important to ensure that the turnout boots are breathable enough to prevent overheating of the leg when out on the field for hours at a time.
Healing Boots - designed to help in the prevention and treatment of injuries, therapy boots have become an essential part of professional and amateur riders equipment. Just as with the therapy used on humans, magnetic and ice boots are designed to increase blood flow and therefore assist in the recovery of the legs after workouts or injury.
Stable Boots & Bandages - designed to protect your horses legs from bump injuries when in the stable as well as offering extra warmth in the cold. Leg wraps (bandages) and stable boots are also designed to assist in circulation (prevent swelling) and increase comfort for conditions such as arthritis and joint stiffness which often affects horses when standing in their boxes overnight. It is important to always control your horses legs regularly and not leave the bandages or boots on for more than 8 hours at a time.
Bandages - bandages or polo wraps for horses are a traditional form of leg protection when riding. Bandages offer support and help prevent knock injuries. They are perfect for flat work and dressage and can be combined with a breathable, shock absorbing bandage pad for best protection and comfort. Correctly applied, the do not slip and are particularly soft on the horse's skin. Bandage pads wick away sweat from the horse's legs and are also a great option for horses with splints.
Hoof Protection - Overreach boots or bell boots are an important protection product for preventing overreach injuries. Some horses tend to overreach more easily then others, so they require protection when turned out and being ridden. Over reach boots come in many different forms and can be made from leather but are generally made from thick neoprene which is perfect for protecting the vulnerable heels of the horse whilst remaining soft and comfortable on the horse.
Travel Boots - often called transport or shipping boots, these boots are used to protect the horses legs during transport. Travel boots are generally longer to provide protection to the hocks and knees as well as the tendons and cannon bones. The boots often have extra durable material on the fetlock and hoof area to prevent overreach injuries
It doesn't matter which part of your horses leg you are trying to protect, it is important to always ensure that the protection being used is fitted correctly and does not overheat the legs. Take a look at some of our top brands including Zandona, eQuick and Kentucky Horsewear and find the perfect protection for your horse's legs!