The athlete needs help whether human or animal. The physical strain that is put on our horses limbs by powerful muscular bodies will necessitate the need for protective gear. Leg injuries take up a lot of our time and a lot of down time. We must do what we can to insure against these injuries.
Most leg problems happen in young horses that we push too hard. Their bodies are still developing and the legs cannot take movements they are expected to perform. Most every discipline has a 2 year old class and we expect our young horse to perform like a mature animal when their minds and bodies and still babies and not near done growing.
This is when many splint injuries happen. Horses are trying to learn movements that when free and in motion are natural but when asked to do them under saddle must be taught all over again. Let’s look at some different leg protection:
Boots or bandages are put on to prevent injuries when in transit to protect legs from getting banged with other feet while trying to keep their balance while moving. Leg protection is needed if a horse is scared while loading or just being obstinate.
As you may all know horses don’t always need a reason. These wraps go from hock to hoof. Shipping boots provide more protection than wraps. Make sure the legs are clean of any debris as that can cause irritation under the wrap or boot. Watch that they are not on to tight to cause swelling.
Bell boots fit around and underneath the fetlock and be Velcroed in place. Some do have buckles and some will stretch enough to slip over the hoof. These will cover the bulb of the heel to prevent a painful injury . They will also protect the coronet.
Proper Leg Protection With Boots And Wraps (Video)
These boots have elastic straps across the front and hook closers. They have padding that protects the ligaments and tendons on sides and back of the legs but have an open front for jumpers so the horses can tell if they hit a pole when jumping. Also the open front helps with air flow. You do have to make sure dirt and debris don’t get in and irritate under the boot.
Skid boots go on the hind feet. They protect the lower legs, fetlock and pasterns from getting hit with the other hoof. Skid boots are used by reining and cutting horses and well as horses used in ranch work. Any time a horse has to learn new moves in any discipline this kind of protection is great.
Sports Medicine Boot
Sport medicine boots are used during exercise to protect the muscles and tendons as well as the fetlock and pastern. Sometimes there are only used on the front legs and using them on all four seems to balance the horse better by supporting all four. The medicine boot helps to protect against tendon strains and sprains, suspensory injuries and splints.
Splint boots are used to prevent injuries during exercise when horses are learning new disciplines or tearing around in turnouts where the could strike one hoof into the other leg. Placing the splint boot or any wrap or boot on properly is important to maximize the protection.
Applying Leg Wraps (Video)
Polo wraps can add color, can be different length and are stretchy. Polo wraps can protect against scrapes bumps and bruises and other irritation from dirt etc. These can be called track wraps but because of the type of material they consist of they will pick up sticks, burrs etc. Therefore, they should not be used on trail rides. It is important to keep wraps clean and do not leave on in a stall or turnout as they can unravel.
Standing wraps should be used with padding and polo wraps. They can be used in stalls for keeping swelling down or stocking up after a workout. They are also used for keeping and treating injuries, cut and with some surgeries. If using a liniment make sure to check regularly so too much heat doesn’t build up. Standing wraps can also be used for shipping if shipping boots are available.