What is the best kind?
Do they really work?
How do you determine the size?
Do they last?
I have never bought any but I am making a long haul of 6 hours to drop my horse off at the trainers and figured it would be the smart thing to do because after his haul up here he was very stiff and sore.
Not sure how shipping boots would prevent stiffness or soreness. The only kind I know is fleece lined to prevent bumps and scrapes. And is totally worthless, at that, because they always slide and fall off and get caught in things. For protection, if you're concerned, I'd just slap bell boots on all four feet.
I think your horse's soreness was unrelated to the travel. I have both used shipping boots for travel and thick quilts with wraps. I like good, thick Velcro on either. I usually wash and bleach MINE, then I store them, clean, in one of those athletic/dorm lockers to which I triple-varnished the particle board interior (it would otherwise rot with humidity in my barn.) I keep this closed in my tack room, at the ready.
I recommend that you always use either bc the one time we didn't wrap our friend's mare found the one spot on the back under the opening on our steel stock trailer (circa 1987) where it was sharp, and ripped the muscle in front of a rear leg tendon down to the bone. (The mare started unloading without being untied, her owner pulled her back in and that caused the injury.) This happened at the Vet's (for Coggins, etc.), but it never should have happened at all. Ironically it was the owner's idea to not wrap any of the horses and get us there faster, so we could ride in the afternoon at the state park. I still see people with horses in trailers NOT wrapped with anything, and I shudder.
I you go with polo wraps, PM me and I'll explain how to wrap correctly--direction of wrap is key to comfort. =D
Reagarding size, if your horse is 14"hh to about 15"2hh, horse size shipping boots fit. If he is taller, they make larger wraps. This is an example of good, hard-wearing shipping boot:
Cashel Boomers Combo Standing Wraps - Statelinetack.com
Re: a previous post--the Velcro DOES wear out. I've saved the oldest (1986 vintage) shipping boots bc they've been washed so much that they are baby soft. I used those sometimes as a substitue for quilts for long-distance hauling, but I use polos on top of them bc the Velcro is way past it.
Caution: IF you horse has NEVER been wrapped you will want to teach it to him. If he's a calm guy, he'll pick his back feet up like he's walking through the mud, the very first time he has them on. If he's spooky, you'll need to wrap him with polos on the front legs first, then lead him around to get used to them. It will take several sessions to teach him to handle the front and back polos, and then he'll be ready for shipping boots and polos with quilts.
IF you go with shipping boots, the key is wrap as tightly as is possible. If you used quilts and polos, you MUST wrap 'inside to outside' or you will put pressure on the tendon, and not the bone.
My Vet taught us to wrap a long time ago when I took a Horse Health Care Class at his clinic. I've even wrapped 4 horses, with quilts and polos in a RECORD 25 minutes flat!! The total time for wrapping and loading was 35 minutes--MY personal best.
Can you haul him backwards? Mine is loose in half a stock trailer and he's always facing out back. Your horse may be stiff if standing in a straightload as he can't really move around.
Boots are unlikely to help with the stiffness. Maybe talk to your vet about giving your horse half a tablet of bute or something similar to help with pain from the haul.
However, a set of shipping boots or quilts with wraps will provide protection against accidental scrapes and cuts in the trailer - just make sure they fit properly otherwise they may slide down and get tangled around your horse's legs and hooves.
I'd be interested in the gel inserts, if you could find the link. =D
If you are going on a six hour haul I would defiantly recommend shipping boots. I only haul my horse about 3 miles down the road to the trainers and he always has his boots on (though he is a bit spoiled being my competition horse, I never really used shipping boots on our other ‘pleasure mounts.’) Horses do have a tendency to walk funny when you first put them on though (kind of like a dog wearing booties for the first time.) So I would suggest giving him a few minutes to get used to them before loading. As for me I just purchased the type that my trainer had, weaver. (link for website that sells them: Weaver Leather, LLCShipping Boots, Large ) The boots are really nice and lined they fit my 17hh Hano pretty well. My trainer is a firm believe in shipping boots and has converted me lol! They are a good way to help protect your horses legs.
Thank you everyone! I should have gone into more detail. When we had him hauled here by a professional service it was a nightmare.. he gashed his eyebrow open and had to have 7 stitches, had cuts down the backs of his legs, and it was a nightmare for him im sure. That being said, he trailers perfectly fine for short distance shows. They hauler had ran out of hay and he was in a box stall... which i never got a full look at but im guessing it wasnt completely hugging him in. He was very sore. So I figured shipping boots would be a good option. I will be pulling him in a 2 horse slant load bumper pull. So shipping boots do nothing for soreness ? Just to prevent cuts and scrapes correct? I was thinking of giving him some bute before the haul.. wasnt sure if that was safe or not. I will be hauling him with a magnetic blanket which I have never used but was suckered into buying one with the thought that it does quick muscle recovery and calms your horse down... some magic blanket... Anyways.. It was such a nightmare last time that I am wanting to do this is best way possible for my boy!
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