Do Horses Become Reliant on Boots/Wraps?

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Do Horses Become Reliant on Boots/Wraps?

This is a discussion on Do Horses Become Reliant on Boots/Wraps? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Do tendon wraps work for horses
  • Smb boots for workouts

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    07-05-2011, 10:37 PM
Green Broke
Do Horses Become Reliant on Boots/Wraps?

My horse is coming back from a tendon injury. We recented started doing flat work and trail riding again at a walk/trot. I've never used boots before, and have decided that maybe I should look into them.

My horse has tiny little pixie legs, and I currently can't find a tendon boots/AP boots in her size locally. When I get them, I would feel safer using them every ride... But would this mean my horse's tendons never become strong enough to ride without them? Would she become "reliant" on boots? When I compete, we are allowed no leg protection. I can't have a horse who REQUIRES leg protection.

I mostly want to use boots so she doesn't over reach and bang her tendons on the front leg with her hind feet...

(For now, I use polo wraps on the two front legs... Similar question regarding these not allowing her tendons to strengthen.)
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    07-05-2011, 11:32 PM
In order to actually provide any measurable support for the tendons in a leg, one would have to wrap SMBs so tightly around the leg that circulation would or would nearly be cut off. It is very difficult for a horse to become "dependant" on boots, unless they have poor conformation and naturally interfere.

Boots are also not usually recommended for tendon rehab as they trap heat. It is unlikely that the horse will reach so far forward with the hind legs as to hit the front tendons without some serious leaping and/or bucking. It is far more likely that a striking injury would occur from the other front leg. What is recommended for tendons are eskadron (or other brand) wrap liners which serve to ventilate under the polo and wick moisture. They are around 50 for a set of 4 and I very highly recommend them. They don't protect as well as boots, but with a horse who doesn't interfere they are enough protection and they keep the legs cool. I have noticed a difference since switching from boots that my horse is stocking up less overnight even after a hard workout.
I also am not allowed to show with leg protection.
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    07-05-2011, 11:41 PM
Green Broke
Here is a thread I created a while back on the subject.

Myth or Fact? Your opinion.
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    07-05-2011, 11:45 PM
Green Broke
Thank you, Anabel! So you just use polos and liners for all your ridden work? Should I wrap all four legs? I usually only wrap the front two, but now that I've realized both front legs hit each other, it seems like the hind ones may just do the same thing, especially during lateral movements.

Sunny, thanks for the link! I'm reading it now.
    07-06-2011, 12:19 AM
Super Moderator
Well, I have drastically changed my practice of using standing wraps on horses after tough workouts.

In my big competition days, every time my horses jumped or worked XC, they would have standing wraps put on overnight to prevent stocking up. Most of the barn were in standing wraps most nights. Our international coach just considered it the only thing to do.

One of the things I started noticing, though, is that if a horse did NOT get wrapped, they often really stocked up...badly.

On a couple of horses I got in for training, I stopped wrapping them at night. I would cold hose and brace after a good workout and leave it at that. These horses never stocked up at all.


So, I have come to believe that if a horse relies on standing wraps at night, the lower leg tissues lose their "tone" making them more prone to swelling. In other words, they become dependent on the wraps.

OP, I'm not sure if this is what you meant about wrapping or if you were talking about wrapping during exercise for support. As for that, I believe working boots and wraps offer precious little support. For the wraps to offer much support, they would have to be more like standing wraps. These don't offer enough flexibility to be used while working.
    07-06-2011, 12:44 AM
Green Broke
I'm more concerned with wraps used during exercise, but your observations with the standing wraps overnight are interesting. I was at a ride once. Right after my horse was cooled and checked out, I standing wrapped her legs and trailered the eight hours back home. When I took them off, she was stocked up dramatically, even though she checked out with no fill in the legs. Maybe it is something about wrapping legs after exercise?
    07-06-2011, 03:34 AM
I ride mine in the Classic Equine Legacy boots on the fronts during rides, and either splint, or open fronts for his hind feet. For groundwork, I'll just put galloping/splint boots all around.

Sometimes, my boots will be in the house washing or they'll be too dirty to use, so I'll just go without. I notice no difference in my horse's movement, or anything else, he's just minus the protection. I think it'd be very unlikely for a horse to become dependent on them.
    07-06-2011, 11:30 AM
The rumor that using boots like SMB's, causes a horse to become reliant on them, is a load of hoo hoo. Seriously. I chuckle everytime I hear someone swear that it is true.

Lets do the math.........out of a 24 hour day, one would use the SMB's for hour ouf that day? So, that's 23 hours without the boots.....hmmmm. So by using boots for 1 hour out of the horses daily life, causes the horse to become reliant on them......interesting.

I'm still baffled as to how this garbage started? Lol.

No - it's a load of pthpthphthpt. Your horse cannot become reliant on a pair of boots.
    07-06-2011, 04:36 PM
Green Broke
Ha ha, when you say it like that. Thanks for the accurance! I guess there is nothing to fear.
    07-07-2011, 02:07 PM
...What about people that turn out their horses with boots? While I've never seen a horse turned out with SMBs, I've seen more than a few with bell boots, front boots and back boots.

Also, are SMBs the only boots that actually give some level of support to tendons and/or joints?

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