Bell boots, sometimes called overreach boots, cover a horse’s front ft from the pastern over the coronary band and the hoof wall down to the heel. Bell boots provide protection from interference from the hind feet, which can overreach or clip the front feet during riding or turnout. Overreaching causes injury because the hind feet strike the tender heel bulbs of the entrance ft, or because the hind feet step on the backs of the front shoes and loosen or pull them off. In case your horse tends to lose shoes in turnout, or finishes a ride with dust marks, scrapes or bruises on his heels or pasterns, he could benefit from wearing bell boots.
Bell boots additionally provide protection to the coronary band throughout activities in which a horse might tend to step on its own toes, equivalent to during lungeing or trucking if shipping bandages do not cover the horse’s pasterns or heels. Bell boots ought to always be positioned on a horse when horseshoe studs are in place, and could also be obligatory for a horse wearing corrective shoeing.
In some situations, bell boots could also be helpful when placed on a horse’s hind toes, corresponding to on a horse that tends to lose its hind shoes or that develops clip marks or abrasions above the coronary band on its hind feet. Properly fitted bell boots can temporarily lessen these problems, however a farrier should be consulted for a more everlasting resolution.
Bell Boot Kinds
Pull-on bell boots are considered by some riders, especially those doing rigorous bounce courses, to provide the greatest measure of security towards the bell boot coming off during a ride. Additionally they provide the greatest level of protection as the boots have no opening to expose an area of the heel or pastern. Pull-on bell boots might be slightly difficult to pull on and take off, so many riders favor open bell boots with hook and loop closures for convenience.
Open bell boots are simple to put on and take off because they merely wrap around the hoof and shut in place with hook and loop fasteners. Care must be taken to make sure that the ends of the open sides of the boot meet to completely protect the hoof wall, and that the hook and loop fasteners are kept clean and intact in order that the boots shut securely.
Within these predominant kinds, you’ll discover that the majority of bell boots on the market rotate freely because the horse moves. Most horses don’t mind wearing bell boots, and rotation does not pose a problem. Nonetheless, some sensitive horses, corresponding to those prone to chafing or these participating in rigorous activity, may benefit from a no-flip style.
No-flip bell boots, such as the Professional’ s Selection Ballistic Overreach Boots, provide a molded area on the interior of the boot that rests against the back of the pastern just above the bulbs of the heel— this design prevents the boot from turning. It places the hook-and-loop closure at the entrance of the boot to ensure full protection at the back of the boot. A second no-turn design features a pliable pull-on style that conforms to the hoof and heel bulbs for protection, such because the Acavallo No-Flip Bell Boots.
Bell Boot Materials
Understanding how varied materials are fashioned into bell boot kinds will enable you to choose the very best boot for your horse. Materials are waterproof or water-repellant and offer varying degrees of durability.
Gum – Traditional gum rubber bell boots, such because the Easy-Stretch Bell Boots are very lightweight and stretchy, and have a characteristic caramel color. Gum bell boots are generally available in pull-on type, and within that type some have double thickness at the bottom for added strength towards tearing. In case your horse is extremely hard on bell boots, you might discover that heavier rubber bell boots or PVC bell boots final longer.
Tip: When utilizing gum rubber pull-on bell boots, flip them inside out and hold the bottom rim while pulling the boot over the toe of the hoof. When the upper rim reaches the pastern, flip the bell boot down, right side out. For those who discover the bell boots are difficult to stretch over the hoof, soak them in warm water and they’ll become more pliable.
Rubber – Rubber bell boots, such because the Equi-Stretch Ribbed Bell Boots, are slightly heavier than gum boots. Rubber bell boots are available in both open and closed types, and because rubber may be dyed you’ll discover them in lots of shiny and traditional colors. Consider a Fleece-Lined Bell Boot with artificial fleece lining for a horse with sensitive skin, but be sure you keep the fleece clean and dry for optimum effectiveness.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – Heavy-duty PVC is a troublesome, artificial materials that is molded into bell boots with double-locking hook and loop closures, as might be seen with the Davis Bell Boots. Like rubber bell boots, PVC boots are available in a variety of both conservative and enjoyable colors. PVC may be a good option for your horse in case you are looking for economical boots with sturdy sides to deflect hoof strikes.
Nylon – Several kinds of no-turn bell boots are made of nylon, an especially durable and lightweight material. An example of this type of boot is the Professional’s Alternative Ballistic Overreach Boot, which has a really dense center designed to absorb impact and a soft nylon lining.
Neoprene – Some boot manufacturers incorporate neoprene, a soft, flexible and resilient materials, into their bell boots for comfort towards the horse. For example, Back on Track Bell Boot pair a faux leather exterior with neoprene interior, and Eskadron presents the Pikosoft Bell Boot with a strong suede-like material on the outside and a neoprene lining.
Open Cell Foam – Strong artificial outer shell lined with open cell foam, a lightweight and breathable materials that disperses shock and heat. As the horse wears these bell boots, its body heat warms the foam and allows it to mold to the horse to help soak up impact.
Carbon-fiber – Horses which might be extremely hard on bell boots while engaged in vigorous jumping activity could benefit from bell boots such as the Woof Kevlar Overreach Bell Boots which incorporate carbon fiber strike pads. Carbon fiber is lightweight however extremely sturdy to offer a high level of impact protection.