Leg Protection: To use or not to use?
What's everyone's opinions on using leg protection? If/when I start riding my TB regularly, I'm debating whether to put something on her. No matter how much I do it, I'm still not 100% satisfied with my polo wrapping ability, so if I used anything it would be boots. But I've heard a lot of people say that if they don't need anything, don't use it. Otherwise they'll become dependent on it.
This is just for flatwork...whenever we start jumping, I'll definitely use something!
I've been wondering the same thing for my horses. My newest gelding came to me with several types of leg protection (various boots and wraps), but I am not sure how to properly use them.
Some people think boots do more harm than good, while others feel they are necessary to prevent injury to your horse's legs. I guess everyone has opinions!
If I was training hard in a certain discipline I would use sport boots but for starting a horse or general riding I wouldn't bother and if the horse had a problem then I would get rid of the horse.
I almost always use protection on all four legs for my horses. I also do lateral work and "high impact" work so to speak. If you are using just a brushing boot or a splint boot, it won't hinder the horse what-so-ever. The only problem comes in when you start adding support to the picture. Support boots can make a horse dependent on them. I use Woof Wear brushing boots every time I ride (unless I know I'm doing something easy) just to protect my horses legs. I'd rather have them on and the horse not hit themselves than not have them on and have a horse bruise and scratch itself on acident.
regarding Tendon boots I recently read something that said only to use them if you are exercising the horse significantly more than you usually would because if you use them all the time, you end up using the boot in exchange for the horse using and developing it's tendon. This can cause the horse's tendon to need the boot 100% of the time when in reality, you're just putting it on to protect it from strain.
lol, I think the rumor that a horse will become dependant on the boot is silly. So, using boots for 1 hour on your out, out of a 24 hour day - means your horse is going to become dependant on it?
What a load of garbage. So out of the 23 hours that your horse doesn't have the boots on, while out in pasture or a paddock, moving around continuously grazing, and playing with their buddies - means that during that 1 hour, your horse is going to become dependant on the boot?
Who comes up with this stuff? There are no studdies showing this to be true. BUT there are studdies that show that our horses joints take alot of shock and wear and tear during strenuous activities under saddle - the biggest being jumping of any sort, whether it be a 1'0" fence or a 5'0" fence.
I use these alleged "support boots" quite often, and I can guarantee you that they do not cause the horse to become dependant on them.
Now flatwork, meh - I personally don't use boots on my guy, but jumping I most definately do.
Flatwork, there is little impact on the joints in compareson to the impact while jumping, so I personally don't use boots, but you can. If your horse conformationally hits himself while in work, then most definately - but if your horse doesn't need the boots, I don't have any issues with the rider not putting them on, nor putting them on. To each their own. The boots aren't doing any damage.
Jumping - most definately I have boots on my horse. Studdies show that neoprene helps in absorbing some of that shock % that our horses legs incur while on landing off of a fence, so I like to use boots that are lined in this material.
I believe that our horses legs are one of the most important factors to take care of. If they are lame, you don't have a horse. So I belive in Protection, Prevention and Preservation.
There are other important factors to consider in maintining the 3 P's - aside from using boots. There is proper contitioning, Feeding, Supplimenting and Care before and after you ride.
You want to aid in strengthening the joints, tendons and muscles that support the leg as best as you can on a daily basis.
After I ride, I hose Nelson's legs off for about 20 minutes with the hose in the washbay, and then I'll rub them down with liniment. I also use Magnetic Hock Boots on him for about 15 minutes a day *now that he has arthritus in his hind right hock, this helps him greatly* and he is on full turn out, 24/7 - he only comes in twice a day to eat his breakfast and his dinner. He is also on Adequan IM and is also getting MSM twice a day in his feed.
If you want to boot when you do flat work - that's your choice. You're not going to hurt anything by doing so *unless you boot incorrectly* I personally do not like Polo's wraps, they are a pain in the butt to put on and take off and clean. I use Splint/Brushing Boots, and SMB's. They are simple to put on, and simple to take off.
Polo Wraps have been studdied and proven to offer not much of anything - aside from a sore back from bending over to put them on :P
I personally don't use boots on any of my horses very often. For general riding or even cow work, I don't bother. Many places I ride would tear the boots up anyway and I don't want to get part of a thorn bush trapped inside to wear a sore on the horse's leg. However, when I work on small circles and stops and such for schooling (my schooling area isn't plowed, it's grass), I will sometimes put boots on, especially if the horse is prone to crossfiring or something like that. There is one exception in my pasture. My horse Denny has deformities on his front legs from numerous splint fractures. I use front boots on him everytime I ride just to protect him, while I can, from doing any more damage.
I just use boots when I'm schooling over fences. On flat I don't use them, and in shows I can't use them (hunters).
l always use boots, extra protection cant hurt, and sometimes not enough protection can hurt.
I always use boots or polo's depending on the horse.
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