Horse Boots: Everything You Need To Know

What do horse boots do for horses?

Morven is a groom at Strathorn. She has ridden her whole life and has competed for Scotland in dressage. She has 4 of her own horses which she competes in working hunter, eventing and dressage.

Why should you use horse boots?

Before we step into the large array of different horse boots, why do we use them?

Overall, horse boots are used to prevent a horse’s lower leg or hoof from experiencing trauma. Horses as we know are very athletic, strong animals and are capable of injuring themselves like humans are too, therefore we use protection such as boots to prevent this as best we can.

Horse boots offer protection to the horse

Horse boots offer protection and also absorb shock when a horse’s hoof hits the ground, as well as protecting their legs from abrasions and splints.

Should you put boots on a Horse?

Some people turn horses out in turnout boots to protect the cannon bone, splint bone and soft tissue from the knee below, but this is more common in top class performance horses, as they can’t afford an injury!

What are the different horse boots for?

The horse boot market is a huge market with countless different technologies and innovations, I have simplified this into what boots I have personally found the best (for money and quality!).

Brushing boots

To begin with, the most popular boot on the market are brushing boots. These boots are arguably the most versatile boots, they can be used for training, flatwork, lunging, hacking, or turnout. They protect the lower part of the horse’s leg from the opposite hoof knocking into it, which is referred to as brushing. These boots are very affordable, ranging from £10-£20 for a decent pair.

A horse wearing brushing boots

It is important when fastening brushing boots that the Velcro is pointing backwards, just to make sure the boot is secure!

Le Mieux have a large range of brushing boots and colours., although, my personal favourite boots are Woof Wear brushing boots as they’re well-made, comfortable and are a fit for purpose.

Woof wear brushing boots

The Woof Wear brushing boots are breathable too which prevents the horses legs from heating up! I have 3 pairs now for my horses, with one pair I got 7 years ago and they’re still in very good condition.

Woof wear horse boots

Woof wear horse boots. 7 years old and still going strong

Woof wear horse boots

The stitching is all still intact and the velco still holds well on my Woof Wear boots

Tendon Boots

Showjumpers are the main consumers of tendon boots. These boots are composed of a harder material because they are intended to be worn for jumping and cross-country running, protecting them from more damaging impacts and blows. Tendon boots shield the horse’s front legs from any blows from the back hooves as a jump is landed.

Scott Brash

This image is of Scott Brash, who is an international showjumper from Peebles, Scottish borders. He won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in 2015 after his consecutive grand prix victories in Geneva (2014), Aachen (2015) and Spruce Meadows (2015).

Veredus Carbon Gel Boot

As you can see he uses tendon boots on his horses. He uses Veredus boots which are the highest end of tendon boots, which are hard and protective when there is an impact on the boots (a pole or a strike from another leg) yet extremely flexible and breathable.

Best horse boots on the market

These are the best boots on the market but at £215 they are not cheap, and this is just for the front legs, once you’ve purchased fetlock boots for the hind legs too it is definitely an investment! But those who are jumping the bigger heights, the horses safety is very important .

Best value horse boots

On a more affordable price point, I also have Woof Wear tendon boots which I use on front for show jumping on all horses. I don’t use fetlock boots for show jumping as I am more concerned about my horses striking a tendon (which can lead to 1-2 years off work!) so I invested in front boots.

Best horse boots for Cross Country

I use brushing boots for cross country as those jumps are solid and sturdy so I don’t want my horse to cut themselves or bang their leg by accident.

I have heard very good reviews on Shire Arma tendon boots. These are under £20 and feature flexible impact-resistant hard outer shell, Breathable cooling system, Lightweight and ergonomically shaped and have elasticated straps so they can still move in the boot.

Shire arma tendon boots

Shire Arma tendon boots. Under £20 and great for cross country

Overreach boots

Personally, I would say overreach boots are an essential to riding, especially when jumping or galloping. Every horse is capable of overreaching, I use them on my thoroughbred as he is very athletic and catches his front heel with his back hoof easily, and even my highland as he’s also capable of this when galloping up hills!

What are Bell Boots?

Overreach boots are also known as bell boots because of their shape. Overreach boots surround the entire hoof offering protection from overreaching and other strikes.

What is overreaching?

Overreaching is referred to as when a hind hoof strikes the soft heel of the front hoof. Over reach boots can also prevent your horse from pulling of their front shoes! A small investment to save calling out your farrier again!

You can buy rubber overreach boots or neoprene overreach boots.

Rubber overreach boots

Rubber overreach boots

These are rubber over reach boots, they cost £5-£10 and work well. Although in sensitive skinned horses such as warmbloods and thoroughbreds, sometimes the rubber can rub their heals when they’re muddy or hot, so in that case I use neoprene overreach boots.

Hy impact boots

These are Arma neoprene over reach boots, as you can see they are a softer material and are more snug around the heal. Still lightweight and more ideal for your sensitive horses! These range from £10-£15.

HY impact is a good budget brand for these boots, but Arma, Le Mieux, and Woof Wear also do great over reach boots. You can’t really go wrong!

Cross Country Boots (XC)

Many people (especially at the lower levels) use brushing boots for Cross country (XC). XC boots are more expensive but very protective if you’re regularly training over xc fences or out eventing, especially if you’re on a thoroughbred.

XC boots act as shock absorbers

The most important feature of a cross country boot is that they help to absorb any impact or shock should your Horse or Pony’s legs come in to contact with a cross country jump and also provide protection to the Tendon from over reaching.

XC Boot features

XC boots have a strike guard, protection for the tendon, quick dry material so tendons don’t heat up if it’s a hot day and it doesn’t hold the water in if you’re doing water jumps. XC boots offer a higher level of protection, and are often teamed with overreach boots where necessary. Although there are many boots on the market, my personal favourites are Premier Equine.

Premier equine boots

I have the front boots and the back boots from Premier Equine. I have had these 6 years now and there are quite a lot of scratches and scrapes in the strike guard, making me glad I bought them!

Horse Travel Boots

Moving away from riding boots, these are protective and lightweight boots for travelling horses in trailers or lorries. Travel boots are designed to be used when travelling a horse. Travel boots are much taller by design as they offer full protection from the hock all the way down to the fetlock. More expensive styles may include PVC strike pads to also protect the hooves from impact.

Should you use travel boots on your horse?

Many people (including myself) don’t use travel boots as my horses are ‘perfect’ travellers and my highland especially does not need any more layers in his hairy legs! Many horses also don’t like the hind boots which stretch over the hock and you find they walk a bit fun the first few steps! Travel boots can cause the horse to overheat in hot weather, and certain horses are not happy to wear them.

Although if your horse isn’t a great traveller, or they are thin skinned- travel boots are a great idea. These Horze travel boots are good value and well made

Horse wearing travel boots

Why should you use Bandages for horses legs

Bandages can aid in shielding a horse’s legs from harm, inflammation, the cold, and other issues. The fundamental distinction between the two is that boots may be fastened by slipping them over the legs, whereas bandages must be twisted around the legs and frequently need padding underneath.

Although boots offer greater protection Horse bandages reduce the possibility of injuries and protect against cuts. A lot of people also agree that horses who are wrapped up look very classy, especially if the fly veil and nummnah match.

Use bandages to keep your horse’s legs clean while warming up

Bandages are very popular with dressage riders! When I used to do a lot of dressage I would put bandages on my horses legs in the warmup as he was chestnut with white socks, so I didn’t want his legs to get dirty in the warmup arena. The bandages made sure he went into the arena gleaming white! You cannot compete with bandages on.

Lemieux bandages

The most popular bandages are Le Mieux as they come in so many different colours and you can match this with your numnah too!.

Horse wearing lemieux bandages

Charlotte Dujardin and world champion Grand Prix dressage horse Valegro training in Le Mieux bandages and over reach boots.

Horse wearing lemieux bandages

International Grand Prix rider Ellie McCarthy also wearing bandages and over reach boots from Le Mieux


I hope you have learnt something or been swayed by horse boots! As I said, the market is huge, these are only a few of the most popular types of boots. They all come with their own purpose and can be very helpful when used correctly.


Similar Posts