Horse bell boots can be of great help to horses, especially those that overreach or have higher activity levels. What is overreach? Well, the term overreach refers to when the horse’s hind feet strike the front feet, causing injuries of varying degrees. If your horse shows cut marks, bruises, and wounds on its pastern or heel bulbs, then bell boots can be very helpful.
Overreaching can be a result of many factors. The most common factors include a rigorous routine and a naturally faulty gait. Bell boots for horses act as a barrier, protecting the frontal heel bulb and pastern because overreaching for a prolonged duration can even lacerate your horse’s front foot.
In this article, we’ll go through all the benefits, types, and uses of overreach bell boots and will review some of the top brands out there in the market.
What are Horse Bell Boots?
Horse bell boots are, in fact, a protective covering around the horse’s ankles, pastern, and down to front heels. They stop the hind feet from striking the front feet.
Some types of horses are naturally inclined to overreach due to lack of balance while others are not. If your horse gets dirt marks, scratches, or wounds of any nature on his heels or pastern after a ride, then overreach boots will certainly prove beneficial.
If we take horse anatomy into consideration, there’s no covering of muscle tissues in the lower legs. Soft bones, like the splint bone, along with ligaments and tendons don’t have any natural protection down there. Horse boots serve the purpose of protecting these delicate structures.
There are lots of major benefits of bell boots for horses. Firstly, bell boots protect the coronary band. This is the area where the hairline meets the hoof capsule. This structure is responsible for continuous hoof growth and repeated damage to it can cause problems related to hoof soundness. Overreach boots prevent this from happening.
Also, perfectly fitted overreached boots. as mentioned earlier, interfere in the clashing of hind feet with the front. This prevents the pulling of horseshoes.
Types of Bell Boots
Before we move on to the reviews, you should have a clear idea about the different types of overreach boots.
The following are the types of horse Bell Boots available.
1. Pull-on Bell Boots
These are the types of bell boots that are known for their ability to stay on, even during excessive riding. These horse boots provide maximum protection, leaving no area of the heel or pastern exposed.
The main material utilized in its production is rubber and it doesn’t have any type of opening present.
However, pull-on bell boots cannot be adjusted and it is quite a task taking them on and off. Since they cannot be adjusted, it is absolutely essential to purchase the right size. Large size pull-on bell boots can be easily torn off while the shorter size is damaging to the pastern.
2. No-Turn Bell Boots
The majority of the bell boots for horses available have designs that allow them to rotate freely as horses move. This might not be a convenient option for those horses which are conditioned to chafing or subjected to rigorous activity because rotation can cause damage. Such horses can benefit from no-turn style overreach boots. These types of bell boots are present in a variety of styles with different anti-spin designs and shock-absorbing materials.
In general, no-turn bell boots have a molded area present inside that fits the pastern and the tender heel bulbs in a comfortable manner, providing maximum protection.
3. Open Bell Boots
As compared to pull-on bell boots which, ironically, are quite difficult to pull on and take off, open bell boots can be a better option as they easily wrap around the hoof.
Most open bell boots are designed in a way that they have hook-and-loop closure mechanisms that allow easy adjustment. These bell boots for horses are available in a number of materials with better protective covering and shock absorbing powers.
Open bell boots are quite expensive as compared to the pull-on type. They provide a much lesser grip as compared to pull-on bell boots and are much less resistant to drastic environmental conditions. Moreover, they have to be replaced regularly because they can be easily damaged.
How to Choose the Right Horse Bell Boots?
The following are the factors you should consider when buying horse bell boots.
The most important factor you should consider while buying bell boots for your horse is their size. Finding a size that fits best for your horse is essential for your horse’s comfort and optimum performance while riding.
While checking if your horse’s bell boots fit, make sure it’s standing on an unruffled surface. The boots should be barely touching the ground at this time. Make sure there is enough space in the opening to fit in a couple of fingers between the shoe and the pastern.
Here’s a good video for measuring bell boots.
A lot of materials are used to make bell boots. Whether or not the material is waterproof and its durability are the two most important factors to consider while deciding on one. Materials like Gum and Rubber are more stretchable. They are light-weight and can be padded heavily near the heel bulbs to provide the required safety. However, precautions should be taken in damp, watery conditions because these materials are not that water repellent.
The majority of the manufacturers prefer synthetic materials like PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), Nylon, Neoprene because their production is economical. Synthetic materials also provide a wider range of styles and greater resistance against water damage.
If your horse is extremely hard on bell boots and is subjected to rigorous activity, then bell boots having carbon-fiber pads can be a convenient option as well. The material is light-weight and offers maximum protection to a horse with a high activity level.
Style of boots
A variety of overreach boot styles are available out there in the market. Before selecting a boot style for your horse, you should consider your horse’s activity level and your own convenience. Horses with a much lower level of activity can benefit from pull-on bell boot styles and open bell boots. Open bell boots are more convenient because they can be easily pulled on and taken off as compared to pull-on bell boots.
If your horse is involved in a rigorous routine, then no-turn bell boots are the best option. These bell boots are available in a variety of anti-spin designs and don’t rotate when your horse is running.
After you have figured out the right size, material and design for your horse’s bell boots, make sure it feels comfortable to your horse. A lot of horses are extremely hard on bell boots while others are not. Not having comfortable horse boots can create lots of problems.
The 6 Best Horse Bell Boots
So far, we’ve covered all the types of bell boots for horses and the factors you should know when buying a pair for your horse.
Now, here are the best horse bell boots:
Manufactured by Professional’s Choice, these no-turn style bell boots are one of the best out there. The outer covering is made of ballistic nylon which is extremely durable and the binding style makes the boots resistant to coming off. These overreach boots are able to survive the damage resulting from daily riding routines. The ultra shock lining present around the front heels absorbs the overreaching impact, providing maximum protection to your horse.
Horse owners living in drastic environmental conditions such as damp areas are quite impressed with the durability of these boots. However, you may experience a bit of trouble finding the accurate size for your horse when buying these bell boots for the first time. So, make sure you’re taking proper measurements before buying one.
These overreach boots are manufactured by the Weaver Leather Company. They are designed with an anatomical positioning bulb that helps prevent turning. The material used in its production is 2520D ballistic nylon with a lining of neoprene that provides extreme comfort. These bell boots have a double-ply hook and loop for a secure, firm fit. They are specifically designed to withstand aggressive use.
Horse owners are very impressed with the anti-spin design used in these bell boots. The double-ply hook and loop is not only secure, but is also very convenient to use. These heavy-duty boots are definitely good for the money.
However, a few customers have stated some complaints regarding the colors of the bell boots being offered.
These overreach boots are advertised by Kavallerie. These bell boots use a strong and thick strap band for closure which holds them firmly in their place. The strike plates have non-slippage properties. The soft rolled lining around the heel bulbs prevents bruises due to friction and provides maximum comfort to the horse. Lightweight Neoprene is used in their manufacture which is water-resistant and heavy-duty. The feature that I like the most about this product is that these boots have micro-perforated holes that prevent overheating resulting from riding.
What impressed a lot of customers was the durability that these overreach boots offered under an affordable price tag. Also, the design is very convenient to pull on and take off.
Even though these bell boots most definitely provide protection to the frontal heels and pastern, but they might not be that good an option for horses that pull off their frontal shoes.
For horses that are not subjected to a rigorous routine, these bell boots are a very good option. Their hook and loop closures are designed for light work or simple turnout. The tough-ribbed pattern on the sides helps deflect hoof strikes. The sides of the boots are double stitched and the material used is PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) that provides extra strength and protection.
Customers, in particular, have been very impressed with the quality and comfort they’re getting at such cheap rates.
These overreach boots, however, don’t last long enough as compared to other products present in the market. So, they’re not suitable for extra-active horses.
These horse bell boots are manufactured with 2520 Denier Dyno-Hyde material with a layered shock absorbing center to fit in the heels and soft jersey lining to provide a comfortable feeling. The feature I love about these bell boots is that not only are they water-resistant, but stain-resistant as well. Double hook and loop mechanism assures long-lasting grip, keeping the boots in place.
The bell boots are very economical and last out over a long period. They are designed to withstand the stresses of harsh environmental conditions.
The customer reviews for this product are great. Horse owners who like keeping bell boots on their horses for longer periods can benefit from this product. They last long and don’t get damaged from water.
However, they might not be the most comfortable option in the market.
Manufactured by TGW, these overreach boots are made of 1680D Nylon. The outer covering and binding make them qualified to endure stress from daily riding. These bell boots have an ultra shock lining that serves in absorbing overreaching impact from the hindfoot.
Customers are in awe of this product. They are very economical and most importantly, easy to clean as the bell boots are washable.
However, the color might fade after regular washing. So, make sure you’re not washing the boots too much.
In this article, we discussed everything related to horse bell boots. However, readers often ask a few common questions that we’ll be answering here.
Should my horse wear bell boots?
Your horse should wear bell boots if it tends to overreach or is subject to lots of riding in the day. Horses naturally don’t have any covering of muscle tissues in their lower legs. Many breeds of horses, especially those with a higher level of activity tend to ‘overreach’, which means to strike the front heel bulbs with the hindfoot while riding or turnout.
Bell boots for horses are used to protect those parts from injuries. Most backyard horses who are not subjected to a vigorous routine usually don’t need protection.
How to properly size bell boots for horses?
In order to properly size bell boots for horses, make sure that your horse is standing on a level surface. Once you have pulled the shoes on, check the inside rim. It should not be touching the ground. Make sure there is enough space between the inside of the boot and the horse pastern so that it doesn’t get over-heated due to continuous usage.
Can my horse wear bell boots on its hind feet?
No, your horse can’t wear bell boots on its hind feet. That’s because bell boots are used to keep the front hooves padded, in case your horse overreaches. No such padding is needed for the back hooves.
It’s not very common you’ll see horses wearing bell boots on their hind feet. However, in some cases, this might prove to be helpful. Horses that tend to lose their hind shoes or that develop clip marks or bruises above the coronary band might get some help from them. Horses don’t really mind wearing bell boots so putting them on the hind feet doesn’t seem to pose any problem.
What is the difference between bell boots and overreach boots?
Horse Bell boots or overreach boots are two different names for the same products. Both these terms refer to the round, bell-shaped horse boots that protect the horse’s pastern, heels, and the coronary band from overreaching. The term ‘overreach’ is used to describe the action of a horse’s hind feet striking the front heel.