Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Perth, Western Australia
The competion stable I work at uses Roma open front jump boots and fetlock boots when the eventers are ridden/lunged and polo wraps and pads when the dressage horses are ridden and lunged.
If put on incorrectly, boots or bandages can damage the tendons, however when used correctly they do provide protection and support. Like strapping your ankle before exercise if you have ankle problems, or wearing shin pads playing soccor... They offer extra protection and support for your legs and joints.
I use open fronts on both my horses for general riding and lunging for leg and tendon protection, especially as one of my horses has an old suspensory ligament injury. I use polo wraps when in lessons and when increasing the intensity of work to add a bit of extra support. If I didn't already have the bandages and pads though, I would probably use dressage wraps or brushing boots.
I don't like the sports medicine boots as they are made out of neoprene which isn't breathable and gets hot quickly - which isn't good for the tendons and ligaments. I also don't like how they come down under the fetlock joint, which IMO restricts the ROM of the joint. Just like trying to exercise in a wetsuit...