Written by Liv Godfrey.
When you have a clumsy horse and have seen at least 10 videos about how easily a horse can tear a tendon, you get a little psychotic about protecting your horse’s legs. There are so many options to choose from. Do you use polo wraps, open front boots, or splint boots? Which do you use each of them for? What brand do I buy? McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, and Lillie Keenan use Equifit. But Ashlee Bond uses Eskadron. But wait, doesn’t Reed Kessler use Veredus? (Note: Most of, if not all, of these riders are sponsored by these brands).
So here I am… the girl that’s tried everything and worked with every brand extensively. Here are my favorite brands for pretty much everything you could imagine. However, if I miss anything don’t be afraid to shoot me a tweet or DM on Twitter or a message on my Ask.fm.
Jumping is extremely strenuous on a horse’s joints/muscles and it’s really important to have the right protection for your prized possession. My favorite brands for jumping have to be (in order) Equifit Inc. and Veredus by Marcus Ehning.
- Close contact protection and maximum shock absorption with the memory foam T-Liner/ImpacTeq (The type of protection you get varies based on which boot you purchase).
- Great customer service
- Amazing exchange policy for damaged products or products that have fallen apart
- Easy to wash (Editor’s Note: I just throw my T-Foam inserts in the washer and dryer, and they are good to go. The boots themselves can be easily washed with a rag, soap, and water – or cleaned with tack cleaner; however, this of course depends on the boot you own).
- They come in various colors, sizes, engraving, and tab options (especially D-Teq).
- Great for the equitation because the secure straps can be purchased in black/black vs. the traditional black/white.
- The outershell isn’t “whack proof” as it is a flexible leather material. If your horse hits him/herself hard enough, they will definitely feel it
- Some of the products tend to fall apart very easily
- Washing the polo wraps is an annoying process
- These boots are extremely temperature sensitive and will turn hard as a rock in the winter. I do not recommend buying these if you don’t have a heated tack room. (Writer’s Note: I also do not recommend not having a heated tack room. And I’m very sorry if your tack room isn’t heated. You might want to buy a portable heater [if allowed at your barn; definitely check with your barn manager/owner]. I’ll leave a link below.)
- If not aired out properly/dried, the boots will make your whole locker stink. Trust me, do not skip this step. Everyone will know you did.
- Very lightweight with a carbon outer shell
- Tough and can take plenty of hitting without your horse feeling it
- They last forever
- Easy to wash
- Extremely expensive ($204 for carbon gel front boots at SmartPak Equine)
- The gel liner isn’t moldable
- Only secures with two top tabs
- Boot bottom isn’t the most secure
- A bit flashy for the equitation ring in my opinion, but the boots are still acceptable and very popular.
When you’re flatting believe it or not, putting boots on your horse is still wise. Accidents can happen, and if they do happen (knock on wood, or whatever you like to do to prevent jinxing), you want to make sure your horse comes out fine. When you’re flatting you also want your horse to have flexibility, which is why I recommend Eskadron Boots or polo wraps.
- Eskadrons are really affordable and offer great protection. You can get a value pack of both front and back boots for $129 at SmartPak Equine.
- Easy to wash
- Hard outershell which gives a layer between the boot and your horse’s leg.
- Easy to put on
- They will probably outlive you
- Neoprene internal layer doesn’t offer much support (Editor’s Note: There have been studies saying Neoprene does more harm than good to a horse’s legs)
- Does not mold to the horse’s leg
- Not cushy
Polo Wrap Pros
- Easy to wash
- Soft against the horses skin
- Can be monogrammed (but everything pretty much is; Personally Preppy offers monograms for the above named boots.)
- Can be used on multiple horses
- Last a long time
- Mold against your horse
Polo Wrap Cons
- Can cause more harm than good if you wrap them wrong (Editor’s Note: PLEASE learn how to correctly wrap polos before using them on your horse.)
- Need to be washed frequently
- Wrapping is time-consuming
- Re-wrapping the polos after you’re done riding also takes a lot of time
- If wrapped too loose they can drop
- If wrapped too tight they can pull against a tendon causing a bow
My horse has to basically be bubble wrapped for turnout. She is only 5 and gets super excited to go outside with her friends all day. Lulu never causes any drama, but if another horse decides to start something she will follow along and can sometimes get too caught up and hurt herself. A couple months back she really nicked herself on turnout and had to get stitches in her leg. From that point on she has been bubble-wrapped. I got a pair of Woof Wear Double-Lock Brushing Boots. I was very pleasantly surprised with these!
- Affordable ($65)
- Double-lock Velcro ensures the boots stay up and do their job
- The neoprene is breathable, and my horse’s legs are never sweaty
- The boots are also perforated so the material is even more breathable.
- Somehow stay very clean
- I could see these boots being too soft at moments and giving out (though they haven’t yet so I may stand corrected)
- My groom often puts them on incorrectly because the double lock is kind of confusing
- The Velcro is very long; you will most likely need to cut it
- Can cause rubs
- No real support; just a true outer shell protection shield.
Overall I actually really like the Woof Wear boots for turnout. I kinda had to pick at them for the cons. If you want more of a tendon boot for turnout, I really like Eskadron. However, keep in mind Eskadrons have no breathability which could cause a fungus. (Editor’s Note: EquiFit just released a multi-purpose boot – MultiTeq – for daily exercise and turnout as well According to the website, “[i]ts ImpacTeq™ liners provide extreme impact protection. The shell will look forever new thanks to its scratch, tear, and puncture-resistant EverLeather™ cover. Pressure points are dispersed with three straps, and safety is guaranteed with double reinforced safety closures.”)
Do you have a favorite boot for jumping, flatting, or turnout? Let us know in the comments below!