My mare has a past injury with a rear tendon getting cut in her lower leg and I want to have all the prevention I can while riding her. She had to relearn how to flip her foot as she lost some nerves and sometimes a dip in the ground or a rock can trip her up. I started to do a barrel pattern just for fun with her, but I cringe every time we make a sharp turn. I just keep thinking that her leg is somehow going to get hurt or sprained. I need some actual supportive boots that can keep her leg steady. I’m also thinking about bell boots, but those might also hinder her flipping of the foot? And, I’ve never seen bell boots on rear legs. Thanks for any input!
I can’t say anything about whether a bell boot would alter flipping of the foot but I will say that I had a horse with bell boots on all 4 legs and we had no issues. I will add that boots aren’t really supportive, they mainly just provide protection from brushing impact. Granted, there’s definitely very little research on exercise boots but there’s not much evidence that they’re supportive.
There is no “boot” or “bandage” that adds “support” to a leg- no matter what the advertisement claims. To strengthen a leg with a previous injury issue takes “exercise”, it is use of the limb and the fitness and development of tissues within those structures that makes the support structures as strong, fit and ready for extreme stress as they can be. A horse with a previous serious injury to limb support structures may not be a good prospect to use as a mount in a rigorous, high speed event. Sharp, sudden turns are especially hard on support structures in limbs.
Horse boots and bandages are used to protect the leg from blows, either blows from opposing legs (“brushing” or “overreaching”) or from inanimate nearby structures (jump poles). They do nothing for “support” of the limb.
A properly applied Saratoga bandage may offer support against hyperflexion and help the tendons resist lateral strain, but it depends on the injury and they need to be wrapped properly as they can bow a tendon if applied wrong. Ask your vet if they would offer a benefit. I’m assuming the vet knows what the horse is doing with her life and has cleared her for this type of exercise, so they should be able to advise how to best equip her for success. If you haven’t already had a conversation about whether barrel patterns are a good idea for this horse, now’s a good time. I’ve done rehab on extensor tendon injuries over the fetlock joint and my vet liked straight lines and gentle turns on good footing for awhile until the surrounding structures were strengthened to compensate for the tendon and then until the tendon recovered.
No boots offer support.
I personally love tendon boots for protection, something like a Woof or Boogaloo boot.
However, are you sure this horse is sound to be ridden?
Yes, the injury was over three years ago. She has been worked with a year after her injury and is not lame.