The Easy Guide to Bell Boots
The simple answer to all your horse boot questions.
What is the purpose of bell boots?
Overreach boots or bell boots purpose are used to protect a horse from grabbing his front heels with the back toes. Not only can doing that cause pain and injury it can also pull or loosen a shoe.
Does My Horse Need Boots?
Some signs that your horse is overreaching are constant loose or lost shoes when on turn out, scratches, dust marks, or tenderness on the front heels after a ride. Sometimes a “clink” noise may be audible when youre riding which can indicate the hind shoe is hitting the front.
Also a horse with corrective shoeing may need protective boots until normal shoes can be put on.
Types of Overreach Boots
The 2 main kinds of bellboots are pull-on and open. The biggest benefit of pull on boots are also their downfall. They are known to stay on and are favored by those going on treachurous trails or rigorous jump courses. However the slip on method can sometimes be difficult to apply and remove and if you have a horse who doesnt like his feet being touched or is fidegty it might increase the difficulty. These are also the preferred type of bell boots for turnout.
Open bell boots provide protection while being much easier to put on and take off. If using these it is important to make sure both end meets and are secured. Maintenace is also important, every so often check the fasteners and ensure there arent any rips or frays
No turn bell boots are another option and are recommended for a sensitive horse who may be annoyed with the boots moving when he does or is prone to chafing on their cornet band
How to Put on Bell Boots
A proven method to ease the struggle of putting on pullon boots is to flip them inside out and then pull them onto your horses hoof with the bell end first (larger end), once are on roll them down so they are fitting appropriately. Otherwise the open ones are pretty easy, just kneel to the side of your horses leg (not in front to avoid accidental kicks) wrap the boot around the horses pastern and fasten. You should be able to fit 1 or 2 fingers in the top.
How Should Bell Boots Fit?
Have your horse stand on a level surface. When the bell boot is on, whether it be pull on or open, the boot should barely be touching the ground. A 2 finger rule can be applied here – you should be able to fit 2 fingers into the top of the bell boot between boot and pastern.Boots that are too big can cause a horse to trip or step on it with the back foot and pull him down. It can also cause irritation on the skin. To small will be uncomfortable and may not perform the job of fully protecting the pastern
Here are some of the best bell boots for your horse
Acavallo® No-Turn Bell Boots – Awesome no turn pull on boots
Chimera Equine – Quality and a little more budget friendly
Professional Choice Bell Boots- Great if doing intense riding
Centaur Rubber Pull On – Budget friendly and durable.