Boots on just front?
I was planning on using SMB/bell boots combo on my barrel horse's front legs, but what about the back legs? Also, just making sure, but SMB boots are much better than splint boots right?
SMBs are for protection and support. Splint boots are only for protection from bumping or scraping their legs, they do not provide support at all. So yes, SMBs are better than splint boots.
To answer your other question, you can leave the back legs bare if you want. A lot of people do. Or you can get SMBs for the back legs too. It's up to you. (haha that rhymes)
You *can* just use front boots, I did for years. As for being superior, it depends in what your needs are. I do find that SMBs tend to heat up the leg, which is not good for the tendons. I'd prefer to splurge on boots that have the technology to not cause heat damage.
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Sport boots are a matter of personal preference, so you are going to get a lot of answers to this question.
Personally, I like to use Professional's Choice SMB 3 sport boots on all four legs, plus ballistic bell boots on the front legs.
SMB3 Sports Medicine Boots
Professionals Choice Ballistic Overreach Boots
Some people prefer to use polos because they feel they cover more of the leg than a boot does. There's really not a right or a wrong opinion.
Sport boots will provide more support than a polo wrap (and certainly more than a splint boot which provides no support), but sport boots don't absorb as much shock as the companies claim (I've read the actual studies myself), but they do help to support a little bit.
You definately want to get a name-brand sport boot such as Classic Equine, Professionals Choice, Iconoclast, etc. They are expensive, yes. But they hold up for years of use, if you take care of them. Plus they are relatively inexpensive when you would compare it to vet bills from an injury. Just do not buy the cheap $20 boots. They do not fit well and they are garbage.
Yes, as JustDressageIt said, sport boots will build up heat inside of them. It says right on the label for the boots that they should be worn no more than 2 hours. Which is true, because they do build up heat which is not good on tendons and ligaments.
I use SMB boots on just the front legs, along with bell boots. I use them just in case my mare was to ever over reach and hit her front leg with her back leg...I've never really thought of them to be much support though. I prefer SMBs to splint boots because they cover more of the leg. I don't like polo wraps at all for barrel racing, so nervous they will come undone while the horse is running. Not safe.
I also have boots for the front and im working at getting ones for the back
I just personally prefer boots over polos because I feel the boots are "thicker" and provide more physical protection in that sense. Plus they are much easier to apply.
I use SMBs on the fronts with bell boots then I wrap the backs with Polos when running. I prefer Polos because I can wrap a little bit higher where Boots won't go up to.
And Polos I ALWAYS wrap around the velcro a couple times with Electrical tape. If your wraps are wrapped correctly (not too loose) then your wrap won't come undone, especially with ET securing the velcro.
As far as the support talk goes....no boot or wrap is going to truely support a 1200lb leg no matter how much smoke they try to blow up our butts.
The back legs to me are just as valuable as the front.
The front is going to absorb a lot more impact and be in more danger than the hind in most cases, but I always do hind boots or hind polos for support unless I'm not doing anything strenuous. You get a horse that really digs in and that's a lot of impact and a lot of stress that could be helped with some kind of protection.
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