When do you put leg protection; leg wraps, bell boots, etc on your horses?

Question after watching Episode 27

“Stacy-Awesome, awesome Jac is going so well. Love his cute lead departure out of the turn.
I noticed you choose not to put boots on Jac, even with shoes on. Is this because you are allowing Jac to learn at his own pace and find he doesn’t loose his balance etc?-Janette”


I do eventually use boots on my horses. I base my need for boots on a couple of things; intensity of work and likelihood of the horse stepping on or bumping himself.

I think of it a bit like do with my kids. If I think about sending a kid out to play soccer in the back yard I don’t pad them all up. As the child become more intense and the speed increases so does the likelihood of collisions with other kids, etc. so the more they get padded up to play.

If I am going on a casual ride or if I am doing low intensity work I often skip the boots. Exceptions to this are when I know the horse may have an issue like over reaching, etc. Then I put boots on.

leg protection

Weaver Leather has a new line of leg care, Jac looks good in them!

If I am riding on inconsistent ground I will often put boots on much like I would put on hiking boots to go hiking.

Jac was barefoot in the front and had sliders in the rear. He was in a flat, sandy arena where I could happily run around barefoot myself. His level of work was just beginning to border on me using boots but…
I often leave my horses barefoot in the front and skip the leg protection during the early spin training. This changes as they gain speed but early on I want them to learn where their feet are…including if they step on themselves.

Back when I trained for the public I would have people who brought their own boots and asked me to use them always. And I did.
I noticed that often these horses seemed to drag their legs across each other and step on their own feet more than their ‘unwrapped’ buddies.

Jac’s worst leg injury to date came from over reaching and tearing a chunk out of his heel…while he was turned out.
Goof ball.
I am hoping he remembers where all four of his feet are next time…and when I ride him. I don’t put boots on for turnout. I have had horses with special shoes on that required me to keep bell boots on even during turn out. That is a special case thing.

If you watch the last video posted of Jac where he is running and stopping you will notice he has on bell boots and leg protection including padding up the inside of his knees for when I spin. Full front leg body armor!

Jac is not stopping quite hard enough yet to require skid boots in the rear. That will be the next boots that are added.

Here is the video with Jac wearing his leg protection.

Here is the video that caused the question to be asked:



  1. abetta on April 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Jac seems like a great horse. Pretty too!

  2. Sandra on March 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I was kind of hit or miss with boots–would round pen my gelding (also pigeon-toed) w/o them on the way to the tack-up area at our barn, then put them on to ride. Then, I watched a video of a horse’s forelimb dissected, mounted in vice to place psi on it equal to a gallop. The tendons that run down the back of the leg were then gently touched by a scalpel and the tendon snapped like a rubber band. It was horrifying. Granted, my horse only moves at a gallop in the pasture w/his buddies, but…I could imagine w/the weight of a so-so rider (me), he could bring a hind foot up and clip that tendon. From then on, I vowed to put splint boots on the front every time I work with him. The video is “Inside Nature’s Giants – Racehorses”. At about 16:05, they load the pressure, at about 18:00, they cut the tendon. It’s pretty graphic.

  3. Janette on March 29, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Awesome (again), thank you so much for such a comprehensive reply. The time you GIVE to share your wisdom is greatly appreciated.

  4. Krissy on March 28, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    My Paint gelding is 10 years old and wears smbs on his front legs every time I ride him. Why? He’s pigeon-toed. The one time I didn’t put boots on, he sliced open the inside of his leg. That was when he was barefoot. Now that he’s shod, boots whenever we ride. I add rear smbs when we’re riding more high impact where he’d need the support, such as long days on border patrol at the horse fair, or extensive work where circled patterns come into play. He knows where his legs and feet should go, I just make sure on case he trips up, he won’t slice a tendon!

  5. Farrah miller on March 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Stacy jac is the exact type of horse I have. I rescued this 2yr old and have no clue what kinda horse he is. Please help!!! I can send a pic if needed!!!

  6. Lesia Lowe on March 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Stacy…. from the very beginning since you have been training JAC… you mentioned about his head tilting….and said you would be watching it….. and then in Episode 26 you said you still noticed it…. did you ever “fix” it or find out what was causing it???

  7. Tanja Caravatti on March 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    As we say in itlay….your adult and vaccinated…so you decide what to do with your head/brain/life…I personally go for a country trail with helmet but ride without in my little arena!

  8. Lor on March 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    So, depending on intensity boots for horses and pads for kids, but NO helmet for you? You’re only gifted with one brain in the life.

    • Stacy on March 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Lor- Point well made….

    • Ruth 'Olson' Munn on March 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      I have rode horses since I was five I’m now fifty I have never worn a helmet and non of my riding friends wear helmets. I have never known any one who has had a head injury related horse riding. Is that 45 years a good luck with a lot of horse people I know????

      • Debbie Sharkey on November 10, 2014 at 9:09 am

        When I was 16 I had a friend who worked for a stables,one day while she was riding she had an accident,she fell off her horse and Brock her neck. she was paralyzed from the arm pits down and could not use her hands,she is now nearly 50 …..They said if she had a hat on this would probably not have happened…so now I always wear a hat and so does my daughter….its just not worth it..

Leave a Comment




100% Private - 0% Spam

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

No one taught you the skills you need to work through these things.

Riders often encounter self-doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, and other challenging emotions at the barn. The emotions coursing through your body can add clarity, or can make your cues indistinguishable for your horse.

Learning these skills and begin communicating clearly with your horse.

Click here to learn more.



Get the free printable guide

    Download now. Unsubscribe at anytime.