Horse owners always want what’s best for their horses and one of the many aspects owners always look into when it comes to their horse’s overall health and condition is its feet (hooves).
It’s obvious enough how important the role of hooves play in a horse’s life. Their legs and hooves are the most used body parts since they make motion possible for horses, of course.
Having healthy legs and hooves is essential for horses so that they maintain their performance in regards to certain activities like transporting people, joining in competitions, or simply grazing and galloping about.
With that being said, what can we do as owners, to protect the feet of our horses? Are we supposed to buy some sort of fancy shoe to keep their hooves protected? This is where bell boots come into the picture.
Bell boots are a type of shoe for horses wherein it protects their front legs from being overreached by the hind legs.
Bell boots are also known as overreach boots, and this helps protect the front hooves and legs from being injured by the hind legs whenever horses run fast. Derived from the name itself, bell boots look like bells since they cover the area above the coronary band down to the heel of the hoof.
The hind legs do tend to overreach the front legs and hooves, especially during situations such as turnout or riding.
If readers want a more specific answer to which parts of the front legs are being injured by a horse’s toe, which is connected to its hind limb, then we will gladly provide the answers.
It’s common for the hind legs to overreach and hit the back of the pastern (sloping part of a horse’s foot) and the bulb of the hooves, and that ultimately leads to injuries.
These injuries are called overreach injuries. These injuries can range from non-lethal to life-threatening since the injuries that the hooves sustain have the possibility to cause further damage to crucial parts of their hooves. These crucial parts make up the majority of the important structures on the back of the leg of a horse.
So to avoid these unwanted circumstances from happening, overreach boots or bell boots are recommended. The bell boots must also not be too big because this might result in a horse falling due to the accidental trodding of the hind legs while wearing big bell boots.
In addition, there are also other ways to avoid overreach injuries, for instance, the hooves of a horse must be shod and well-trimmed as well so that the length won’t be long enough to touch the pastern or heel bulbs.
Bell boots are used for protecting the front legs, specifically the pastern and heel bulbs, also, bell boots prevent overreach injuries from happening.
Furthermore, bell boots also lessen the likelihood of the shoes in a horse’s front hooves from accidentally falling off due to overreach.
Bell boots are also being used for a variety of things such as sports and competitions. Horses equipped with bell boots will make you worry less about them sustaining any injuries on their hooves.
Also, this assures owners that even though they compete in demanding events, their horses will not tower down due to overreaching.
No. Bell boots aren’t supposed to be worn for a long time since these can irritate a horse’s coronary band and cause sores.
While bell boots do provide a significant amount of benefits, leaving them on for too long would do more damage than good.
Bell boots aren’t supposed to be big, so expect them to lean towards the tighter fit. With that being said, too much airflow restriction in their legs would make them suffer.
After using bell boots for a certain purpose (e.g. competing in a show jumping event for instance), take the boots off and give the legs some time to breathe.
Also, owners must be wary when it comes to leaving the bell boots on for a long time, especially in an environment where they are at risk of getting bacterial infections, thrush, and chafing of the legs.
Yes, bell boots are allowed in dressage. There are bell boots specifically created for the sport of dressage itself.
Since bell boots are used to protect the crucial parts of a horse’s front legs, these would be allowed in an equine event such as dressage. Bell boots are given to horses for protective purposes only, so there is no reason for equine events to ban such equipment.
Yes, bell boots can be worn on a horse’s hind feet to protect their hind feet from abrasions during situations where their hind shoes accidentally fall off.
Who said hind feet don’t need any protection? The hind feet are as exposed to injuries as the front feet are. Again, there are instances where horses accidentally lose their shoes and just fall off, this would expose the feet to abrasions from muddy terrain and other rough surfaces.
Also, this would prevent injuries when the hind feet accidentally hit hard objects when jumping and running.
Not necessarily. Bell boots are only used on horses if owners are aware of the fact that their horses are prone to overreaching. The best option for barefoot horses would have to be hoof boots.
Hoof boots differ from bell boots since the former provides more coverage than the latter. Letting horses roam around barefooted isn’t bad since this allows their legs to breathe from wearing so much equipment.
Yes, bell boots help in keeping shoes on.
Since bell boots reach the heel, it’s still able to prevent shoes from coming off and getting lost in the paddock. This also applies to the hind feet as well since there’s a tendency wherein horses lose the shoes they have on there.
This is extremely helpful not only for the horse but for the owner or rider as well. There’s nothing more annoying than losing a horseshoe in a paddock. The search process would be tedious since the shoe can get buried beneath the soil in a paddock easily, especially if the paddock is in use.
The bell boot size for a Thoroughbred would be large.
Thoroughbred horses are big in size, to be specific, they measure from 15.2 to 17.0 hands. So of course, this horse’s body proportions would be big as well. This is why owners would need to buy their thoroughbreds large bell boots.
The bell boot size for a Quarter Horse would be medium.
Quarter Horses are not that big of a horse but they’re not small either, they stand in the middle when it comes to size. Medium bell boots would be the most accurate fit for these horses.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of bell boots being sold be it online or not. This makes it a bit hard for people, especially beginners, to figure out which bell boots are of the best quality, durability, and performance.
The different kinds of bell boots below will help you narrow down your search for the best bell boots for your horse. We have searched across multiple platforms and researched to which bell boots are the best for each type.
Bell boots are the type of bell boots commonly seen in horses and there’s no surprise there since these are sturdy and provide complete protection. These are usually made out of rubber and have no openings (e.g. velcro) so these are harder to remove, meaning, it would protect the hooves more and slippage is less likely to happen.
Also, pull-on bell boots perform well and can withstand any type of environment.
The Centaur Double Thick Bottom Bell Boots have lots of good reviews and it comes at a decent price as well.
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From the name itself, these types of bell boots don’t turn no matter what the horse is doing. This is recommended for horses that compete and do rigorous activities since bell boots that turn can cause chafing on their coronary band.
The Weaver Leather No-Turn Bell Boots is a great product since it has a special feature called the anatomical positioning bulb which helps prevent turning. It also has a shock-absorbing material that protects the coronary band and hooves.
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No rub bell boots are usually boots that have fleece that covers the topmost portion of the boot and goes around the ankle of the horse. The fleece helps prevent rubbing, however, this type of bell boot should always be clean because dirt and mud build-up on the fleece can cause rubbing.
The Professional Equine Choice Overreach Bell Boots is made out of ballistic nylon which is durable enough to protect a horse’s hooves even during rigorous activities.
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The Professional Choice Ballistic Spartan is a great equine bell boot because of the features it has. The TPU shell helps with shock absorption and the no-turn knob prevents spinning.
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Velcro bell boots can be classified under open bell boots since most open bell boots sport the velcro feature. Velcro bell boots are easy to put on and easy to remove and they provide the same overreach protection as other types of bell boots too.
The HORZE Pro Overreach Bell Boots have hook and loop fasteners ( a fancy way of saying velcro), that contribute to the overall security of the bell boot to the hooves.
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Rubber bell boots make great paddock bell boots since rubber is a durable material that can withstand any kind of environment.
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Magnetic bell boots have healing benefits that would be of great use to horses, especially when they are healing from a wound.
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After expounding the use of bell boots, it is highly recommended for owners to get bell boots for their horses in order to protect them from injuries and such.
Bell boots may look uncomfortable at first, but a lot of horses actually pay no mind to bell boots attached to their feet. However, there are sensitive horses that don’t like the feel of bell boots on their feet.
Make sure to gradually introduce bell boots to your horse until it gets used to the feeling. This way, the hooves, coronary band, and pastern of a horse will stay protected at all times. Also, this prevents shoes from falling off and getting lost in the paddock. It’s a win-win situation for both the horse and the owner.