What are Bell Boots Used for on Horses?

What are bell boots used for on horses?

If you’re a first-time horse owner and wonder what purpose these unique boots serve, keep reading. 

Below, we’ll learn their purpose as well as the best types to choose. 

Let’s jump in!


What are bell boots used for on horses?

Being a first horse owner comes with a lot of anxiety and excitement. One of my headaches has always been getting the right accessories for riding.  

It’s even harder when you need to draw the line between what’s absolutely necessary for your horse and what’s for luxury. 

I came along this distressed horse parent on a Horse Forum asking what bell boots are used for on horses and decided to give a comprehensive answer. 

If you observe your horse, you’ll realize that sometimes they overreach with their hind feet and they can kick their sensitive bulb and their front hoof.

Not only does this cause your horse pain, but it can become a major headache for you, too, if the hoof walls are damaged. 

Basically, bell boots help prevent problems from overreaching. 

Also, if your horse loses shoes in turnouts or always completes the ride with scrapes, dirt marks, or bruises, he may benefit from bell boots. 

These horse boots also help when you compete in roping, reining, jumping, or any events that require high energy.

This is because the power of a horse’s hind driving underneath bodies during high performances can injure their front feet. All this can damage the horse’s hoof. 

What Type of Bell Boots Does my Horse Need?

There are three main types of bell boots; overreach boots, rubber-pull on boots, and line bell boots. 

The right bell boot is determined by the activities your horse will be doing when wearing them.  

Here are the three types of bell-boot and when they’re appropriate for your horse. 

FYI, the examples that we give for each one uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

1.Rubber Pull-On Bell Boots 

Cashel No Turn Rubber Bell Boots for Horses, Equine, Pair, Colors

When you start researching bell-boots, this will be the one you’ll likely come across frequently. They’re the type that horses wear all day long. 

Rubber pull-on bell boots (like these on Amazon) offer protection for your foot’s horses during high performance.

They’re effective because they stay put during winter weather or wet footing regardless of the environment.

They’re usually made of rubber and don’t have an opening (which many people see as a deal breaker), which reduces their chances of slipping off.

You can make the application process easier by placing the boots in warm water to allow expansion or turning them inside out before slipping them to the toe of the foot.

Since rubber pull-on bell boots can’t be adjusted, ensure you get the right size.

Cashel Rubber Bell Boots, Black, Large
  • Large No Turn Rubber Bell Boots
  • Constructed of strong pliant rubber
  • Provides protection against over reaching and forging.
  • Will not attract stickers or trap burs and grass
  • Sturdy leather hook-and-loop closure for easy application

2. Open Bell Boots 


If using a rubber bell boot seems too daunting, then you can consider open bell boots.

They come with a simple hook and loop closure that you can easily adjust to fit. 

Unfortunately, that freedom comes at a cost.

For instance, since the closer doesn’t have a very strong grip, the open bell boots can have issues with burrs, mud, and stickers.

You should also be prepared to replace the open bell boots more often because of the failing launch.

Also, due to the design, the open bell boots can be a bit more costly than other types.

However, this model by Sampson isn’t terribly pricey (only a few bucks more than the rubber boots). Plus, it comes in a great selection of colors!

sampson Bell Boots for Horses, Prevent Overreach Horse Bell Boots, Durable and Lightweight, Professional Horse hoof Boots(Pink,Large)
  • IMPACT/SHOCK RESISTANT DESIGN: Professional hoof shock resistant design adds extraordinary protection and comfort.Prevent injury from overstretching for horse.

  • DURABLE MATERIAL: Made with Ballistic nylon - a material used in the manufacturing of bulletproof vests,durable; lightweight hold water.

  • ANTI-SLIP: Precise design of the anatomical set-piece helps prevent turning,keeps bell boot securely in place.

  • EASY ON/OFF: The Pro Velcro makes the boots more stable,easy on/off.

  • EASY CARE: Easy to clean and can be recycled.

3. Lined Bell Boots 

Shires Arma Fleece Trim Bell Boots

Lined bell boots are exactly what they sound like- sheepskin-lined or fleece boots that are either on a protective boot, an open option, or a rubber bell boot. 

The lining helps the boot fit comfortably and avoid rubbing marks on the coronary band, protecting your horse from getting sores. 

The Shires Arma Fleece Trim Bell Boots are a well-rated example. They come in several styles and colors.

Shires Arma Fleece-Topped Over Reach Boots Bright Green Full
  • Gum Rubber. Sold in pairs
  • Protect: The rubber boots help deflect scuffs and protect against blows to the hoof area
  • Silky: Feature silky soft cushioning synthetic fleece trims which protect the pasterns against rubbing and discomfort
  • Adjustable: Touch close fastenings feature rubber covering for a smart appearance
  • Come in various sizes and colors

READ MORE: Why Do Horses Need Shoes?

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are other commonly asked questions regarding bell boots. 

Do bell boots help keep the shoes on?

Yes, if your horse tends to overreach, a bell boot can significantly reduce shoe loss. Just ensure it fits properly. 

What is the difference between bell boots and overreach boots?

Overreach boots and bell boots are typically the same things.

Bell boots are round boots designed to prevent your horse from hurting their sensitive bulb and damaging their heels.

The term overreaching is used to describe how the horse “grabs” his front heels with the toes of his back feet. 

How do you know if the bell boot fits?

Your horse’s bell boots should be sized so that their boot’s bottom rim doesn’t touch the ground when they’re standing on a flat surface.

You should also easily slide two fingers into the boot’s top trim between the pastern and the boot. 

How do you clean bell boots?

This may vary from one manufacturer to another, so we recommend checking the instructions. You can either hose the products with a pressure nozzle or hand wash.

final thoughts

Protecting a horse or any other pet is always cheaper than paying for their medical bills.

When the cost of some accessories such as bell boots may seem too much and end up being written off – they provide so much value. 

I hope you now understand the purpose of bell boots for horses from my simple blog post. 

Now back to you, what bell boot do you prefer and why? 

Want to know what are bell boots used for on horses? Dive in as we give you the purpose and types of bell boots perfect for your steed!

do you have other ideas on what are bell boots used for on horses? share below!


Sylvia Kha
Sylvia Kha


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