Horse boots for dressage

Boots for dressage horses

Is it really necessary to cover the horse's legs when schooling or doing flatwork?  And do dressage horses need the same sort of protection as show jumpers?  So many questions!  In this article we look at what offers the best protection for dressage horses?  Boots, bandages or wraps? As a rider it’s difficult for you to know what to choose as your decision could be influenced by appearance, brand, reputation or price.

Why use protection?

Protection is particularly important if your horse has big movement in his gaits, has sustained an injury, or if he ‘interferes’- meaning he has a tendency for one or more hooves to strike another leg during movement.  If you’ve ever watched a dressage horse move laterally across the arena, crossing his front and hind legs, you’ll appreciate how ‘interference’ injuries can occur.

Wearing boots will not necessarily mean that your horse will be injury free. However studies have shown that protection also helps to absorb some of the shock on impact.

What area needs to be protected?

The inside of the area from below the knee down to the fetlock needs to be protected.

What boots should I buy?

Before you buy you need to consider the amount of work your horse is doing along with the complexity too.  You might also need to bear in mind how much time you’ve got as some options are quicker than others!

Bandages, or polo wraps as they’re sometimes called, are typically the protection of choice for the classic dressage look for schooling sessions, warm ups and prize giving if you’re lucky enough!  However these take longer to put on and take off and only really offer a modest amount of support. The LeMieux Luxury Polo Bandages are popular with all dressage riders particularly as they come in a range of colours with matching saddle pads and ear bonnets to complete the look.

                                                LeMieux Luxury Polo BandagesLeMieux ProSport Dressage Work Pad

Brushing boots combine a tough strike pad on the inside of all four boots for protection with a comfortable lining.  They’re quick and easy to put on.  Use them if you suspect that your horse ‘brushing’ the hoof of one leg against the inside of the opposite leg.  For brushing boots, you can’t beat Woof Wear’s Club Brushing Boot which now comes in a variety of colours.

                            Woof Wear Club Brushing Boots WhiteWoof Wear Club Brushing Boots RedWoof Wear Club Brushing Boots BrownWoof Wear Club Brushing Boots BurgundyWoof Wear Club Brushing Boots GreenWoof Wear Club Brushing Boots RoyalWoof Wear Club Brushing Boots Black

If you’re looking for the supreme level of support because your horse needs , Leg Wraps protect from below the knee right down to the fetlock joint.  They feature a ‘sling strap’ that cradles the horse’s fetlock joint.  The science that goes in to Equilibrium products is second to none, so their Stretch and Flex Training Wrap are the best choice in our opinion.

                                                             Equilibrium Stretch and Flex Flatwork WrapEquilibrium Stretch and Flex Training Wrap

Overreach Boots, or "Bell Boots' as they're sometimes known, protect the horse from striking the back of his front leg or heel with the toe of his hind leg.   Most brands offer them in black only but HKM offer a Comfort Padded Overreach Boots in a matt or patent finish in a great selection of colours. Or if you prefer a plainer look, LeMieux have a basic style that's great for everyday schooling and turn out.

                                                            LeMieux Soft Shell Over Reach Boots HKM Comfort Padded Over Reach Boots

At whatever level you ride at for dressage, you should consider whether your horse needs some form of protection.  It’s actually very rare, that horses don’t.  SO take a good look at your horse the next time you school him, for example. To ensure that he’s got the protection he needs.

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Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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