What front boots are the best bubble wrap?

I am looking for new front boots for my horse… She was my junior hunter for a few years and when I went off to school she was leased out, then she had some minor lameness issues off and on for a year. I moved her to a barn near me at school this last December, she had all winter off, and now she’s 100% sound and the vet gave us the OK to go back into work. I’m hoping to get her back into shape and possibly start jumping (small) this fall. I want something for her front legs that’s protective and supportive. I have open front boots and originally was thinking I need something more protective than that, but what are your opinions?

There are a couple of back on track boots I like and was wondering about everyone’s experiences with them… and I’m open to others as well :slight_smile:


the part where boots provide any support is repeatedly debunked myth, so if you have a boot you like for protection (overreach, etc.), that should do as much as a boot can do. Bonus points if you get a more breathable boot since there is some preliminary evidence to suggest that excessive heat may do some cellular level damage to tendons and ligaments (VERY prelim evidence, like tendon cells in a petri dish preliminary)


I am using Professionals Choice Ventech Elite boots on a horse I have that needs some extra support as he comes back from an injury. Like the poster above, I have heard that studies have been debunked. However, this company has a scientific study fro a University to back their claims. Not some internal study but an external study - and there is a difference when it comes to research. But better than that, I actually SAW a difference in how my horse walked and how well he did post ride after using these. They are more like a compression sock when properly fitted. I was honestly skeptical when I bought them but have been very impressed with how well they support my horse. Now I understand why these are the go-to boots of the reining industry.


I always found these made the legs unbearably hot, which is why I never used them for my personal horses.


I find they do too, I use them only on cooler days because on hot days? Woohoo, his legs are super hot when they come off.

But I guess on super hot days, not much will be keeping their legs cool no matter what the ‘science’ says. Their skin is covered up, how can it be cooler than the air outside??

The Majyk equipe boots are really breathable; plus, they are tested by an independent company to ensure that the boots will protect against blunt force trauma. I used them for turnout on my horse who had serious skills for obtaining puncture wounds. He wore them in the heat for 12 hours a day and they didn’t slip, rub, or overheat his legs. And no puncture wounds!


1 Like

I have heard that from some people. Fortunately, I have not encountered that issue, and this horse is getting iced pre-ride so perhaps that is why. What we have all noticed is that he does much better with them. So perhaps they aren’t ideal for all horses in all situation, but they are the perfect boot for this horse at this time. May need to reconsider as he improves. Thank you for letting me know so I can watch for that!

Actually I found another study a few years back while working on my senior design project where someone did an entire scientific thesis on support provided by these boots and polo wraps vs no boots and there was absolutely no data showing these boots provide any support. Its great if they work for you but I don’t think there is any boot on the market that can claim to providing a measurable amount of support.


Sounds like a cool senior project! Would you mind sending me the link to the research if you happen to be able to find it? I would love to read about it. No worries if it’s a hassle or it’s been too long to find it again. I have yet to find the holy grail of research - the peer reviewed third party published study - that confirms or denies whether boots can be supportive or not. But would love to find what conclusions have been made.

I may also reach out to the manufacturer to better understand how they are substantiating their claim. I have seen their study, but I am not sure if they have updated it with any new research or when the research took place.

Personally, I didn’t believe the claims, raised an eyebrow, and figured worst case I could sell them on eBay if they didn’t work. But figured it was worth a try. On this particular horse there is a huge difference. It makes me wish there was a compression style sock that was designed for riding as I think that would offer the support this horse needs as he continues to recover and rehab. Perhaps I see a difference as the horse is injured, and the studies are on sound working horses? I have no clue as there are always variable to consider.

I don’t have it on my computer but I think I might have saved everything from the project on an external hard drive. I’ll look when I get home if I remember. It was a very cool project! I was a mechanical engineer and they let me do my own project which was designing a new, better open front jumping boot. I was trying to add support to it the way smb’s do until I found that research.

They do make a compression sock for horses! https://www.sstack.com/product/Equiflexsleeve-Horse/?gclid=CjwKCAjw4uXaBRAcEiwAuAUz8MMWNKWu9oJQivW_ZzhaRx0kkHvVy24Xs8C833CbkXA7GI9-SVu3nhoCAyYQAvD_BwE

I’ve never personally used them but I’ve heard good things about them. They’re pretty inexpensive so may be worth a try! Seems like these could be used under boots as well

Thank you for sending that link. I want to give those a try! I love the idea that you can add the open front tendon boot over it as the SMB Elite boots don’t offer protection from strikes, and he’s a bit of a tripper.

I’m so glad I bumped into you on here! Maybe someday in the future you can revisit the idea of a better boot. I will help you trade trial it if you do!

No problem! I agree I feel like these should provide that support he does seem to get from the smb’s but allow you to add a better boot for protection.

I would like to revisit my boot project. I opened a tack shop about a year and a half ago as a stepping stone to get into manufacturing. So hopefully that will be my end goal one day!

I think it is a bit of careful wordsmithing. They say research proves the boot absorbs energy. But absorbing energy is not the same thing as providing support for bony or soft tissue structures. However it is tossed in there with the claim that it prevents hyperextension of the ankle (so does a cast, preventing fetlock hyperextension says you are restricting fetlock movement which may or may not be a good thing) and I think some careful wordsmithing lends itself to an if/then conclusion that isn’t exactly correct.

If something absorbs energy, it might reduce fatigue and to the extent fatigue might be implicated in taking a bad step, you may get some protection there. On the other hand, it might all be undone if you are raising the tendon temperature by a degree or two (that study was at the petri dish level, but it was shocking how little the temp had to be raised to cause cell death). But absorbing energy doesn’t mean it is stopping 1200lbs of horse and all the associated torque involved in speed and mass from causing a tear in a tendon or a crack in a bone.


Yeah but have you actually asked them for a copy of the study? I have.

If my memory serves me, they used 6 (or could have been 9) cadaver legs. And ONE of the legs had shock absorption of 45%. The rest had under 10% and one only had 6%. So of course, they choose to use the verbage of “up to 45%” to make their boot sound better. And sure, an average of 26% is indeed an average between 45% and 6%, so they also advertise that. But when it was an extremely small sample size (under 10) and had wildly variable results … It just doesn’t sound as good when you actually know the details of the study and how they came up with those claims from the results.

So always be cautious of what you read. They can interpret the research however they see fit, instead of telling the REAL story.

Don’t get me wrong, I use Professionals Choice boots on my horses. But I use them for the purpose of physical protection; because I know the amount of support they provide is miniscule.


I totally agree with you - I work for a company who manufactures medical products, which is why I mentioned I was skeptical of the claim. While I am still skeptical of the claim (seems really a high percent), I honestly see a significant improvement in my horse’s movement when they are on. So, perhaps it is just the way I am putting them on (really stretching them around tightly) that is causing the actual benefit, which would then be support and not shock absorption as they claim. The horse is still off with them on, but visibly less off. These are the Elite VenTech boots for whatever that is worth. So maybe it’s one of those things where the reality is that there is only a benefit in the most obscure situations? I wish I had a thermography machine to see how hot his legs are really getting. That would be a fun study!!

This could explain why this horse in particular does so well with them. He has been out of work for 6 months and is in rehab. After not being able to stand square for months, he does not have his normal range of motion, and moving around does cause him fatigue - we have to slowly stretch all those constricted tissues.

He always get iced pre-ride so that is likely why I don’t see the heat issue. But as I mentioned above, a thermography unit would be a really cool tool here so I could truly see the before heat map, the after icing heat map, and the post ride heat map.

Since we started using the boots, the horse not only moves better, but also isn’t as sore the next day. I’m baffled as to why as we haven’t changed anything else. Maybe he just likes the darned things? Maybe it’s because we added a fancy ear bonnet the same day and he now gets to channel his inner jumper after years of doing the hunter thing, and it makes him happy? I have no clue at this point, but I will keep using them since they seem to be doing their job?

those thermography cameras are not nearly as helpful as we like to think, so you probably aren’t missing much.

My personal favorite was using it on a horse with a mystery lameness (conveniently after stalls were paid for in FL for the winter). Day 1 was a 3 legged lame horse who fell over if you touched his slightly but not too swollen ankle, x-ray was clean, but swelling can “hide” condyler fractures so that wasn’t a real comfort. We did stall rest, abx and nsaids. About 5 days later we did an ultrasound, but before that one of the vets wanted to try the new toy (thermographic camera) to see what lit up so we would know where to ultrasound. Sounds like a good idea right?

You know what lit up? The whole damn leg. Like a christmas tree. In fact the thing that was the problem was the least lit up thing on that leg LOL (he had a splinter floating between the collateral ligament and sesamoid joint that had probably traveled down from higher on the leg, so off to UGA to remove that little adorable winter show killing piece of wood… anything to get out of the 2nd years apparently).

Since then I’ve learned they really aren’t that useful as a dx tool so if it makes you feel better the chances are high you wouldn’t see or learn anything particularly useful.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried icing plus a different leg protection? Is it possibly the icing? The analgesic effect of icing is fairly significant… (Not to mess with you, but that is another time honored treatment that is now being called into question!)

But I totally feel you on the "I’m not sure why it is working but I’m not messing with it no matter what)

And there is always a benefit with the placebo effect!!! :cool::wink: If it works, don’t mess with it.

I wouldn’t worry about the heat, because I doubt you have them on for very long.

I like to use boots with strike pads, and my preference are the Veredus Carbon Gel Vento blah blah blah. I think they keep the legs the coolest of boots with comparable protection and they fit my guy perfectly. I have a set of Magyck Equip for my older guy but the elastic stretched out within the first year, so that sucked. After trying just about everything on the market with one horse or another, my go to are Veredus, and they hold up to abuse really well.

As for compression-type wraps, I think polos are a waste of time, but I do really like the Equifit T-sport Wraps, which I use on my older horse if he comes out of the stall with his hinds stocked up, or if my younger horse has a cut that a boot might rub or something. They are a bit of a pita to take care of, but they work great and you can wash them so long as you are careful that you hang them so they are flat when they dry (otherwise they stick to themselves and can rip).

I use boots as a matter of habit and preference every time I ride to protect against knocks, but the idea that a 1400lb animal coming off a big fence would get support from a piece of plastic composite wrapped around his leg has never made much sense to me. :winkgrin:


May or may not be relevant to the discussion but for cooling the legs down after a ride or icing an injury, I bought a pair of the CoolAide equine wraps this year and I love them. They freeze up in the freezer (but don’t leave them in too long, LOL, learned that!) and work fantastic to ice the legs and add compression at the same time. And 10 minutes is all you need.