Thursday, September 09, 2010

Leg Boots for Sport Horses: Protection? Support? Do They Work?

How much do you know about protective and supportive leg boots for sport and performance horses? I don't mean just the difference between polo wraps and jumping boots, but how much do you really think they help prevent injuries to structures like the always-vulnerable suspensory ligament. Do you know the difference between protection and support?

British equine science consultant David Marlin PhD is about to teach you a lot more in this lecture kindly videotaped and provided for us by the US Eventing Association.

David's campaign to test horse gear the same way we test human gear makes a lot of sense and this video is a first step to understanding more about what some of the superficial leg injuries in eventing are like, where in the lower limb the horses tend to hit, how hard they tend to hit and whether a boot or wrap can make a difference.

Sit down, relax, and take this in, or make some time later to come back and watch this. Please Tweet or email this page to others so that this information can spread. It may sound basic, but we find over and over again that it is the most basic things that people often do not understand because they seem so...well... basic, that they don't bother to ask questions. This is written by someone who has put boots on upside down plenty of times and been publicly embarrassed for it!

I will certainly suggest to David that if there are to be rules about boots that marking "top" and "inside" should be mandatory.

Thanks again to US Eventing and to Dr. Marlin for providing this excellent lecture.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to
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1 comment:

marethere said...

As usual Fran, another great article with information we can use.
Many years ago at a lecture Dr. Hilary Clayton gave that I attended, someone asked her if Sports Medicine Boots were good to use for support and protection. This was in reference to dressage and her answer was that the boots did not support anything. She said that a horse's tendons in the lower leg were so strong and took so much force per stride that the material the boots were made of made little difference. She said that they would offer some degree of protection if the horse hit itself with a foot but she was more concerned about the heat build up under the boots and if you did choose to use them to make sure you remove them immediately after use. The very same conclusions Dr. Marlin gave.
People buy these things because of the manufacturers claims of "support." One more reason to question manufacturers claims about ANYTHING you think about buying for your horse.