Poll Recap: Equine Leg Protection

Of the 756 respondents, 231 people (28%) said their horses wear boots when exercising.

Photo: Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor

Does your horse wear leg protection when exercising? Last week we posed this question to our readers in our online poll. More than 750 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 756 respondents, 231 people (28%) said their horses wear some type of boot when exercising, while 117 respondents (15%) indicated their horses wear both boots and wraps at different times. Another 57 respondents (8%) said their horses wear some type of wrap when working. The remaining 369 individuals (49%) said their horses do not wear any leg protection when exercising. 

Additionally, more than 50 readers commented on leg protection for their horse. 

Many readers commented that their horse wears some type of boot when exercising:

Poll Results

  • “I like to protect my horse's legs especially when jumping and sporting, (and) always have boots on.”
  • “I use splint boots, but probably not necessary all the time.”
  • “Both my wear brushing (and) bell boots when working.”
  • “(My horse) also wears hind turn out boots after a serious paddock mishap.”
  • “Normally not, but we do add boots if planning a ride in rougher terrain for support and protection.”
  • “(I use) protective boots only when cutting or doing dry work with stops and turns.”
  • “Neoprene boots saved his legs many times, so I will not ride him without them.”
  • “I have a very good pair of front boots for my horse, but sometimes they are more of a hassle than anything.”

A few indicated that they use wraps to protect their horse’s legs while exercising:

  • “I use polos all the way around.”
  • “I plan on using wraps this season.”

Several people indicated that they use different types of leg protection for specific cases

  • “We only use boots for jumping!”
  • “(We only use leg protection) in high competition speeds.”
  • “Only when work is strenuous, especially with slippery or deep footing. But for normal work outs, no.”
  • “Normally not. But we do add boots if planning a ride in rougher terrain for support and protection.”
  • “Only for cross country.”
  • “Only on rough terrain.”
  • “Not unless the footing is deep or muddy. Then I use wraps and bell boots.”

Some said they use a combination of boots and wraps at different times:

  • “We do dressage and my horse wears leg wraps while working and bell boots in turnout.”
  • “Splint/brushing boots and/or polo wraps depending on what type of work we are doing.”
  • “My gelding wears front boots every ride, hind boots to jump, and hind wraps in cold weather.”
  • “Always bell boots, and usually splint boots or polos, as well.”
  • “Ever since (my horse) fractured a splint bone I've used boots, and also wraps in colder weather.”

Others commented that their horses do not wear leg protection:

  • “My horse does not brush or overreach. I feel wraps can do more harm than good.”
  • “My mare is barefoot so we don't need boots or wraps.”
  • “We do endurance and trail ride, so there's no need for leg protection.”
  • “We do lower level dressage; there's no need for leg protection.”
  • “(My horse) doesn't do disciplines that require (or allow) protection.”
  • “I don't do anything to my horse that would require his legs to be protected.”

A few people left comments about leg protection in general:

  • “Yes, my horses all wear protection on their legs at all times when working. I do not care for splints!”
  • “We need to protect our horses legs as much as possible during shipping and working.”
  • “Athletic activities demand a variety of decisions based on conditions/training/etc. We use them when needed.”
  • “If the horse needs it for a specific reason, then fine. But a crutch over time may create weakness.”

Want more information? Learn more about the research behind horse boots, review bandaging fundamentals, and watch a video on how to choose hind leg protection for your horse on TheHorse.com! 

This week we want to know: How much do you spend per horse on regular hoof care each time the farrier or trimmer visits? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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