What are tendon boots used for?
Horse boots seem silly at first glance, but as you’ll find out, a tendon boot has a specific purpose and reduces the risk of injury.
Below, you’ll learn more about their purpose and why your horse might need leg protection.
Let’s get started!
What Are Tendon Boots Used for?
Before we talk about horse tendon boots, let’s talk about horse boots and why they are so popular among horse owners.
What Are Horse Boots?
It’s easy for horses to experience traumatic injuries when performing on rough terrains or during show competitions.
And it can take months for the animal to recover if recovery is possible.
So, a horse boot or a wrap is more than a fashion accessory.
It’s designed to protect your horse’s lower legs/ hooves, reduce the risk of leg injuries, and correct gait irregularity.
Depending on the area you want to protect, several types of horse boots exist. We’re going to talk about them in a bit. But first, let’s answer, “What are tendon foots for?”
What Do Tendon Boots Do?
Imagine a horse jumping over an obstacle. The hind hooves or the jumping pole can strike the front legs’ tendons when the animal is landing.
Moreover, one hoof can strike the opposite leg when the horse is running at full speed or jumping an obstacle, causing what’s known as a brushing injury.
Such “accidents” are more common than you think, which is why many people use tendon boots for show jumping horse breeds.
But what are tendon boots for?
Horses wear tendon boots on their front legs for protection against tendon injuries or brushing injuries.
The boots soften the blow to the tendon area, decrease the chance of tendon inflammation, and provide additional support for the ligaments.
These protective boots are made from different materials, such as neoprene, leather, synthetic fabric, sheepskins, etc. Tendon support boots for horses can be open-fronted or closed.
Usually, you’ll see horses wearing tendon boots in show jumping and eventing, but rarely in racing.
Here are some of the best tendon boots for horses:
Why Use Tendon Boots for Horses?
Let’s talk a bit more about why using tendon boots for horses is so important, especially when you show jumping.
#1 Reduce the Risks of Tendon Injuries
A tendon injury doesn’t sound like a big deal to inexperienced horse owners. But it’s one of the most common injuries in horses.
As an equine specialist explains, “Tendons are near their breaking strength at a gallop, over fences, and in other full athletic endeavors.”
And anything that collides with the tendons can cause a serious injury, especially when the horse is running at full speed or jumping an obstacle.
Moreover, a superficial injury or tendon inflammation is nothing to ignore because damage accumulates over time.
As such, it’s better to use tendon boots to soften the impact injuries your horse might suffer when jumping or running.
#2 Extra Leg Protection
When a horse jumps or turns rapidly, pebbles, stones, and other sharp objects fly around the ground. These can strike the front legs and cause cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
Moreover, when your horse competes against other equines, there’s always the risk of brushing injuries.
#3 Clear the Jump
Usually, specialists recommend tendon boots with an open-fronted design for jumping, not closed ones. There’s a good reason for it.
A horse wearing closed-tendon boots won’t be inclined to clear the obstacle because the boots soften the blow. But it’s also not a good idea to go without boots, for the reasons above.
That’s why we have open-fronted boots. They have an opening on the front so that the horse can feel the obstacles when jumping.
In this way, your animal is encouraged to clear the jump and is still protected from tendon injuries when landing.
Other Types of Horse Boots
Horses are often at risk of a lower leg injury, especially when running/walking on rough terrain. As such, we have several types of boots for hoof and leg protection.
A bell boot with its bell shape covers the entire hoof and heel to protect the front legs from hind leg interference during turnout or riding. That’s why people also call them overreach boots.
Like a tendon boot, a fetlock boot protects the hind legs and hind fetlocks from brushing injuries when jumping or running. They’re also known as ankle boots.
Hoof boots for barefoot horses are a popular alternative to horseshoes because they’re more affordable and allow natural horse movement.
Therapeutic and medicine boots for horses help the animal recover from a hoof/lower leg injury. They are made from heat-retaining material to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
Some boots are designed to deal with specific conditions, such as hoof boots for horses with navicular diseases.
Travel boots protect the horse’s hocks and lower legs from injuries when they’re traveling in a trailer. They’re easier to apply than a bandage or a wrap.
Brushing Boots/Splint Boots
A splint boot protects the leg from brushing injuries, focusing on the cannon bone and fetlock joint. They’re very similar to tendon boots.
What’s the Difference Between Tendon and Brushing Boots?
Tendon and brush boots are similar in design and purpose. But tendon boots are worn on the front legs and are made of sturdier material to absorb the shock.
On the other hand, brushing boots have extra padding to protect the cannon bone and fetlock joint from impact.
Can You Wear Brushing Boots in Dressage?
In general, your horse can’t wear any boots, wraps, or bandages during the performance. But you should check the rules of the event.
How to Put on Tendon Boots?
Place the tendon boot just below the back of the knee and ensure that it’s covering the fetlock. Then you secure the straps and ensure that they aren’t too tight to pinch or chafe.
Watch this video for a demonstration.
Tendon boots are great for protecting your animal’s front legs from tendon or brushing injuries when competing.
To be effective, tendon boots shouldn’t be too tight to cut blood circulation or too loose to slip when your horse is running.
Ensure you’ve got the right size before you start wondering how to put on tendon boots. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for tendon injuries.
What do you think about tendon boots’ purpose? Did you know what tendon boots are used for? Share your thoughts in the comments.
- “Functional Anatomy of the Horse Foot.” 2021. Missouri.edu. 2021. https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g2740.
- “How to Put on Tendon Boots | Horsemart.” 2021. Horsemart.co.uk. 2021. https://www.horsemart.co.uk/community/equestrian-advice-guides/tack-equipment/how-to-put-on-tendon-boots.
- Lloyd, Ané. 2020. “5 Signs Your Horse Might Have a Tendon Injury | Onlinepethealth Sales.” Onlinepethealth.com. October 29, 2020. https://onlinepethealth.com/2020/10/29/5-signs-your-horse-might-have-a-tendon-injury/.
- Sushil Dulai Wenholz. 2017. “Tendon Injury FAQs.” Expert How-to for English Riders. Expert how-to for English Riders. August 31, 2017. https://practicalhorsemanmag.com/health-archive/tendon-injury-faqs.
- “Types of Boots to Protect and Support Your Horse’s Legs.” 2021. The Spruce Pets. 2021. https://www.thesprucepets.com/protective-leg-boots-for-horses-1886294.
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