Horses love being out in the open air and there are few things better for their physical and mental health than being turned out regularly for free movement, natural grazing and socialising with their equine companions.
However, for many owners this can be a cause for concern. While some horses are happy to trot around quietly, others have a tendency to more boisterous behaviour and end up getting themselves into trouble!
In addition to arranging horse insurance to guard against any scrapes your horse might get themselves into, investing in turnout boots could be a wise addition to your must-have horse care kit.
Here we give you the low-down on turnout boots and some of the pros and cons of using them to protect your equine friend.
What are turnout boots?
Turnout boots are seen by many horse owners as essential for preventing injuries and providing support to the horse’s tendons and ligaments whilst in the field.
They’re usually made out of breathable and ventilated fabric and cover the whole of the fetlock area on both the front and hind legs. They’re also contoured to fit the leg and often lined to provide maximum comfort.
As with many horse-related products, there’s a huge range of turnout boots available on the market.
They can offer everything from protection against cuts and abrasions to guarding against mud fever, bugs and flies and even the effects of the sun.
When should you use turnout boots?
It’s really a question of the personal preference of you and your horse. Whether a happy hacker or a professional showjumper, horses that are stabled and not on round-the-clock turnout are often more prone to field or paddock injuries.
The thrill of being turned out for stabled horses can often prove a bit too much and things can get a little rough and wild. Turnout boots help protect against some of the more common injuries arising from horseplay.
If your horse is prone to mud fever then turnout boots might also be the answer. Mud fever (also called pastern dermatitis) is a non-contagious skin condition that causes inflammation, irritation, soreness and matted areas of hair and scabs on the horse’s lower legs.
It’s usually caused by bacteria and is most common in the winter when the horse is exposed to persistent wet, muddy conditions.
The wet conditions cause the horse’s skin to soften and when mud rubs against this it can cause abrasions which allow bacteria to enter.
Turnout boots can also be worn to protect against sunburn or photodermatitis to your horse’s skin.
It’s important to contact your vet early to check that these conditions don’t indicate something even more serious – better safe than sorry.
Horse insurance through Equesure is a great way to protect you and your horse if your four-legged friend does need treatment.
Pros and cons of turnout boots
There’s a great deal of debate between horse lovers over whether or not to use turnout boots. Here we weigh up some of the pros and cons.
- Leg protection – they help stop the majority of self-inflicted wounds and other knocks whilst playing.
- Keep legs clean – particularly in wet and muddy conditions they’ll help keep the area clean and dry. Thereby reducing the amount of grooming you have to do and also help prevent mud fever.
- Provide support – excited boisterous horses can easily hurt the delicate structures in their legs. Turnout boots can provide extra support.
- Possible overheating – some boots could restrict movement and blood supply, as well as overheating the tendons and the surrounding structures. This can cause damage and injury.
- Risk of injury – there’s potential for the boot to slip and rub the leg. Or even for something to get trapped between the boot and leg and cause damage.
- Boots get muddy and lost – boots can get very dirty and need regular cleaning. It’s also possible you’ll spend many hours searching your field for lost boots!
5 top tips for making the best use of turnout boots
So, if you decide that turnout boots are a good fit for your horse, it's important to take the following into consideration.
- Most equine equipment manufacturers suggest boots shouldn’t be kept on for longer than 12 hours at a time.
- Make sure the boots fit correctly. It’s important to spend time doing this and sizing guides are readily available. Measure the length and circumference of the cannon bone to get the most accurate fit.
- Velcro-type closures tend to work best as they allow you a greater range of fitting options. They’re also less likely to come loose and slide down your horse’s leg. A loose turnout boot can be a tripping hazard.
- Ensure boots are washed and dried regularly. Particularly between uses in muddy, wet conditions to prevent chafing.
- Check the straps and attachments regularly to ensure the turnout boots stay in place. Some horses like to chew on them and will try to remove them.
Horse insurance through Equesure
Whatever your feelings on turnout boots, a surefire way to protect your horse is to call the team at Equesure to arrange insurance cover.
With over 60 years’ combined experience in the equine insurance market, our team of specialists can offer you a bespoke insurance policy with options tailored for the particular needs of your horse.
From veteran horses used for companionship to thoroughbred horses used for competition, we can help you protect your forever friend against any potential risks.
We can also arrange cover for you and your horse transport.
If you insure through Equesure you could benefit from the following:
- Vets’ fees up to £4,500 per incident, but with unlimited number of claims within the policy year.
- Public liability cover up to £5 million with some insurers.
We can even arrange cover for the popular sport of horseboarding!
Give our equine insurance team a call today on 01480 220089 – they’ll be happy to discuss the variety of horse insurance policies available to suit your individual requirements and budget.
Get a quick quote today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.