Protect Horse Heels With Over Reach Boots
Over reaching is a gait fault resulting from a timing problem between the movement of the horse's hind limbs and front limbs. This faulty gait can lead to the hind feet striking the back of the front legs when he walks, trots or gallops. The hind feet striking the back of the forefeet whilst still on the ground can cause injury to the lower limbs, especially on the heel bulb. Severe bruises, cuts and abrasions can be the result. Over reaching can also lead to shoes being pulled off. This is where over reach boots come in.
Over reaching most often occurs during fast exercise and jumping, however, it can also happen when walking too. Over reaching has many possible causes, including the form of the horse (horses that over reach tend to have short backs and long legs), discomfort in the front limbs, age, fatigue and poor riding techniques. Many horse owners, including myself, have opted to purchase over reach boots.
What are over reach boots?
Over reach boots are circular shaped boots worn around the pastern on the front legs in order to prevent injury to a horse's lower limbs. The level of protection that is required from these boots will vary between horses and activities. If you're unsure about the right type of boot for your horse, it's a good idea to ask other more experienced equestrians who can share their expertise with you.
I don't know where I would have been without my horsey friends when I first started to look for boots for my horse Henry – there's so many of them on the market that is can get really confusing!
Over reach boots can be used during schooling, hacking, eventing, show jumping, turnout and even transporting. They are available to buy in a range of materials, with rubber and neoprene being two of the most popular. I personally chose the Woof Wear Kevlar over reach boots for Henry due to the fact that they're very tough and durable. A few pals have opted for the Equilibrium Tri Zone over reach boots which are just as tough as well as being waterproof and rot-proof.
How do I fit them?
Over reach boots must be fitted in the correct manner in order to provide the maximum possible protection to your horse's legs. It's also essential that they're the right size. Many companies will provide a size guide to help you find the right boot size according to the height of your horse. The boot must be fitted snugly around the pastern so as to prevent it from moving too much.
The boots should cover the bulbs of the heel, having around 1cm of clearance from the ground (when the horse is stood on a hard, flat surface). If the boot is too low down, there's the risk of the horse stepping onto the boot and tripping. A boot that is too large will touch the ground each time he puts his foot down, which can lead to constant rubbing up and down the pastern.