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 protective boots serve, keep reading. 

Below, we’ll learn how they work as well as the best types to choose. 

Let’s jump in!

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What Are Bell Boots Used For on Horses?

Being a first time 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 across 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, kicking the sensitive bulb of 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 for horses 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 its body during high performances can injure its 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; velcro closure overreach boots, rubber-pull on boots, and lined 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. 

1. Rubber Pull-On Bell Boots 

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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. They are ideal for turnout because they don’t come off easily.

Rubber pull-on bell boots 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. To be honest they are a real pain to out on and take off but work great for horses that like to lose a boot!

When you put them on, turn them inside out before slipping them over the toe. This makes them a little bit easier to get on. If you have time, stick the boots in warm water for a few minutes as this will help them stretch better over the hoof.

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

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2. Velcro Bell Boots 

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If using a pull-on bell boot seems too daunting, then you can consider velcro bell boots.

They come with a simple hook and loop closure that you can easily adjust to fit. You will find these boots in rubber or neoprene with ballistic nylon. Some have a no-turn feature, which I personally really like.

Unfortunately, that freedom comes at a cost.

Velcro boots aren’t as secure as pull-on styles. Over time the velcro can degrade from use and dirt. This reduces the grip and they can fall off more easily.

However, you can find velcro boots that offer more shock absorption than plain rubber pull-on.

You will have to replace velcro bell boots more often due to the velcro not holding well anymore.

Also, due to the design, velcro 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 and is a no-turn style!

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If you’re looking for the best protection for your horse’s tendons, don’t forget to also check out my article on the ‘best tendon boots‘. You’ll find helpful information and tips to keep your equine partner safe and sound!

3. Fleece Lined Bell Boots 

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

The lining helps the boot fit comfortably and avoid rub marks on the coronary band and fetlock, 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.

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CHECK: The Best Magnetic Horse Boots

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 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 its 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 will vary due to the boot material, but most can be cleaned with a hose or hand washed.

Final Thoughts

It is well worth the expense of bell boots to protect your horse. Overreach damage can be serious and even take months to heal with possible unwelcome vet bills.

Luckily, bells boots are pretty inexpensive. It is a good idea to have a pair handy, even if they are the cheapest pull-on ones.

I hope you now understand the purpose of bell boots for horses.

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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