Sometimes the cowboy culture that we know and love can be a little hard nosed when it comes to progressing horse care. Just because our grandpas never owned a pair of bell boots doesn’t mean that it’s not an excellent, if not necessary investment.
In today’s day and age we now know that you don’t have a horse without a hoof. And how better to give it the protection it needs than a quality pair of bell boot!
So, Just WHY do you need bell boots ?
The bell boot or overreach boot was created to protect a horse from the overreaching of the back legs hitting the front legs which may cause lacerations, bruised heels bulbs, and shoe pulling.
In severe cases the coronary band can actually be damaged, which will have a negative effect on the hoof structure. Overreaching is a common problem among performance and working horses due to the demand of quick movement in the horses body position.
The above picture gives you a good look at the horse’s heel bulbs to portray how they are an easy target for overreaching injury.
All is not lost however, with the development of bell boots you can maximize your horse’s safety and rest easy knowing your are avoiding these issues.
These boots are really handy for working horses of all kinds. There are no negative effects of using bell boots if they are the correct size and do not rub the horse.
ALSO SEE: Can Horses eat Avocado Leaves?
When Should You use Bell Boots?
Some horse owners leave bell boots on their horse even while turned out; while there is nothing wrong with this if the boots do not rub it’s probably not necessary for the average horse.
Most horses can benefit from the protection of bell boots during light exercise (trotting) or anything above a stroll through the pasture. If your horse has a predisposition to overreach you may want to go ahead and put them on.
You absolutely should use bell boots during heavy exercise and during competition.
How Should Bell Boots Fit?
Choosing the right size bell boots is very important to maximize protection and reduce chafing. As your horse is standing level the bottom of the backside of the boot should barely brush the ground.
If too long your horse could potentially trip, while too short jeopardizes complete protection.
You should also be able to insert one or two fingers between the top rim of the boot and your horse’s pastern. This is important to reduce chafing, while holding the boot in place.
ALSO SEE: Can Horses eat Alfalfa Grass?
How to Prevent Chafing?
- Brush away all dirt before putting on bell boots.
- Keep bell boots washed to prevent grime from caking.
- Remove bell boots from horse after exercise and/or traveling to allow the skin and hair to dry.
These tips combined with the proper fit should prevent chafing and itching problems commonly caused by bell boots.
What kind of Bell Boot do I Need?
The kind of bell boot you will need is entirely dependent on your horse and what you will be doing. Horses that are turned out will most likely benefit from using Gum or rubber boots.
If your horse has sensitivity issues you should consider the fleece lined option. Horses that are competing or undergoing heavy exercise would most likely benefit from a no-turn nylon option that will provide maximum shock absorption.