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I am bent on getting an expensive pair of smb boots just for pleasure trail riding and occasional flat work. But there are mixed reuses everywhere on how useful booting and wrapping legs actually is. What is everyone's thoughts? Helpful or waste of money and time?
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JMO SMBs are actually harmful to the legs because they trap heat. And I have read of the neoprene in them actually causing bad infections.

Nothing you put on the leg will support it. The horses front legs can withstand the entire 1200 lbs landing off a 5' fence on one leg. 1/4" of neoprene is doing nothing.

If you need to do something because of an interference problem, a breathable boot is your best option. Opt for wicking fabrics and a vented boot. For a good comparison (and interesting looks from the non horse folk) put different boots on your legs on a warm day and go for a jog.
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These boots are very similar to the SMBs, but more breathable: All About Pegasus EquiCare and what we do!

Supposedly they are also easier to use and distribute pressure more evenly. I don't own a pair myself, but I'm thinking about getting them for my older mare (her legs get stocked up some of the time and I have found that the compression provided by boots while she is being ridden helps move the fluid out).
 

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I don't think you really needs SMBs for the riding you described. I have SMBs for my mare because we barrel race. I don't want her to kick her self while running or get burned from the ground. And even if they're helping support the littlest bit they're worth it to me. Everyone either rides in polos or SMBs in my area. There is the issue of heat to be aware of for what ever boots you get. At long shows I warm up, run, then take off the boots. there isn't a lot of time for heat to build up. The packaging says to not leave them on for more than 4 hours(I think). I do daily rides in them as well. Nothing bad has ever happens to my horse from them. After long rides on hot days I well spray of her legs with cold water.

If I were just doing flat work and tail rides I would probably look into a less protective boot. Maybe polos. I don't know enough about other brands to tell you what to get. If you're hell bent on SMBs, get them. Just don't leave them on all day.
 

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I'm with Anebel, if she's not brushing or having any other interference in that way, leave well alone. Unless you're riding in extreme temperatures I doubt her tendons will get hot enough to cause much damage. Just found my notes for tomorrows Fitness and Performance exam ( :shock: ) - the core temperature of the the tendon needs to reach 42 degrees for the proteins in the tendon to begin to denature.

Back on topic - in my opinion, a waste of time for your use.
 

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I put a hard shell protective boot on my horse's front legs because she over-reaches and kicks herself. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't wrap her legs. I do some pretty crazy trails and never had a problem.
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I am bent on getting an expensive pair of smb boots just for pleasure trail riding and occasional flat work.
For what you are doing (trail riding and occasional flat work), I would not invest in boots.

Myself personally, I barrel race with my horses. I use Professional's Choice SMB 3 boots on all 4 legs and Classic Equine Dyno-Turn bell boots on the front legs. I use the boots when I am doing barrel exercises/drills and when I am competing. I do not use the boots at any other time, and most of my riding is trail riding for conditioning.

The boots are the last thing that gets put on before I work/compete. And they are the very first thing that comes off when I am done. I was a little heat build-up as possible.

While the boots do offer a small amount of support to the fetlock joint, that's not the reason why I use them. They are cheap physical insurance against cuts and scrapes that my horse is at a higher risk of sustaining during barrel racing. It's easy to replace one set of $80 boots that get torn during a run. Not so easy to dish out $$$$ for a vet visit and possibly lame horse, who gashes a leg open.



SMBs are actually harmful to the legs because they trap heat.
You statement is somewhat incomplete Anebel. Yes, if you leave the sport boots on for hours on end, you bet the heat will build up and can cause damage to the tendons and ligaments. But when they are used briefly and correctly like they were designed to be used, they don't cause damage.

As a general rule, sport boots should not be left on a horse's legs for longer than 2 hours.

And I would apply that rule to the "so called" breathable boots like the Pegasus. The air holes don't go all the way through the material, so I have a hard time believing that they are truly breathable. I don't buy it.

And I have read of the neoprene in them actually causing bad infections.
I have never heard of the neoprene causing an infection, although I suppose it would be possible with if you never wash the boots and left them dirty all the time. But shame on the person who continually puts a nasty DIRTY sport boot on their horse's legs without washing them.

Nothing you put on the leg will support it. The horses front legs can withstand the entire 1200 lbs landing off a 5' fence on one leg. 1/4" of neoprene is doing nothing.
Incorrect. They have done studies to confirm that sport boots and polo wraps will provide support to the fetlock joint. I made a post about it a while back.

http://www.horseforum.com/western-riding/boots-vs-polos-here-professionals-choice-115044/

However, the support is often not near what the companies claim. One result showed 45% shock absorption (and so that's the selling point companies will point out). Well another result showed as little as 4.7% shock absorption. Regardless of the number, there is a small amount of support that is supplied to the fetlock joint.

Sport boots support slightly more than polo wraps. But when we are dealing with single percentages, it doesn't amount to a huge difference.

Take home message:
Boots (and polo wraps) do provide a small amount of physical support for the fetlock joint.
 

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Eh, I'm of a mind that you shouldn't really use boots unless you are doing something strenuous enough that there is a real risk of the horse getting knocked or cut.

I have a few pair of boots but I only ever use them when I'm schooling higher speed maneuvers like spins, rollbacks, and hard/fast turns in an arena or weed free area. Maneuvers where it is entirely possible for the horse to knock themselves with a hoof and pop a splint or cut themselves.

I've tried boots when trail riding and all I found was that the horse's legs get hot and the boots trap all kinds of dirt and debris...no matter how well they fit or how "debris-proof" they are designed.
 

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Eh, I'm of a mind that you shouldn't really use boots unless you are doing something strenuous enough that there is a real risk of the horse getting knocked or cut.

I have a few pair of boots but I only ever use them when I'm schooling higher speed maneuvers like spins, rollbacks, and hard/fast turns in an arena or weed free area. Maneuvers where it is entirely possible for the horse to knock themselves with a hoof and pop a splint or cut themselves.

I've tried boots when trail riding and all I found was that the horse's legs get hot and the boots trap all kinds of dirt and debris...no matter how well they fit or how "debris-proof" they are designed.
Totally agree. On my yard we use brushing boots when doing schooling on the horses who are built close (some on just fronts, some all round), and more likely to brush. We actually had one mare come into schooling who you could we put boots on straight away for schooling due to the way she was built and moved, and when she had them on you could audibly hear her brush, and yet it hadn't even been considered by her owner because she thought "only Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods needed boots because of their legs" :shock:

For anything other than that, no boots, unless they need them for continual brushing. We don't so much have issues with debris, mainly just heat in the summer and them getting waterlogged and freezing cold in the winter.

Even our itty bitty Thoroughbred/Warmblood prettyboys/girls don't get boots on when they go for a full day hunting :lol: More trouble than they're worth, they'll only get lost in the mud in this British weather.
 

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I've seen a horse's legs be drenched in sweat from a 45 min long lesson in the evening (70 degrees), and that's just flat work with a few (4-5) cross rails, definitely don't have to be on long to build up heat. They were SMB's, I use open fronts and ankle boots only for protection from my horse knocking himself, they are just for that though. As are most boots, I don't believe any boots actually provide support.
 
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