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Boots and wraps

From: Laure

Dear Jessica I ride a 22 year old gelding. He is in great condition and he jumps, gallops ect. When i jump or do flat work I wrap his back legs with polo wraps for support and put splint boots on his front legs because he will hit himself with the other leg. I don't put anything on him when we trail ride. This is what his previous owners did. Am I over booting him? Thanks. Your Friend Lauren

Hi Lauren! The polo wraps don't actually provide any support; all they can do is offer a little protection in case he hits himself. If he doesn't tend to do this with his hind legs, you can safely leave off the polos (and if he DOES tend to do this, you probably don't want to jump him anyway!).

As for the front legs, you are sensible to use splint boots so that he can hit the boot rather than his leg. If he's not very fit, you may find that as he becomes more fit, he gets more muscles in his chest and body and upper legs, and that this keeps his front legs farther apart and makes it less likely that he will hit himself. But as long as he DOES hit himself, the splint boots are a very good idea. If he hits himself regularly, talk to your vet and your farrier; there may be a way to help him NOT hit himself so much, or even at all. ;-)

You're also very sensible to put NO boots or bandages on him for trail riding. It's very easy for a bit of sand or dirt or a pebble to get under a boot on the trail, and when that happens, the boot will hold it in place and it can rub the horse raw and make him lame. Bandages get dirty and pick up all sorts of debris -- leaves, dirt, small sticks, etc. -- and can get loose if they become water-logged and heavy, either because you ride through tall wet grass or because you cross water on the trail. Heavy, wet bandages can trip a horse that steps on them if they're loose; even when they don't get loose, they can slide down and create wrinkles and folds that will make the horse sore. Bare legs on the trail are a much better idea.

Have fun with your horse!


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