Bell boots for horses
I have a love/hate relationship with bell boots – I love the idea of them, and it drives me bonkers to put them on and off. Hoof protection comes in many forms, colors, and styles, and if your horse needs help keeping horseshoes on and heels happy, bell boots may be your answer.
Why use bells?
- The main purpose of using bell boots is to protect the hoof. The heel can get caught by the hind legs, also known as interference. Bell boots also help to prevent the front shoes from accidental removal by the hind feet.
- Horses might also brush their front hooves together.
- Some horses are ridden with bell boots, and some are turned out with them. Just in case for those moments of shenanigans and tomfoolery.
- You can also put bell boots on your horse for an added layer of protection for a trailer ride. Many shipping boots have “built-in” hoof protection.
Horses with all sorts of jobs benefit from bell boots.
Pick the best bell boots for your horse
- How long will your horse be wearing them? The coronary band is a sensitive area, and prolonged rubbing by bells can cause sores. How about a fur-lined pair? (Not kidding here!) The choices of material also range from stiff fabrics to rubbery types of materials. Be diligent in noticing any potential rub marks if your horse is to wear them for prolonged periods of time. Also, know that fuzzy linings around the coronary band may prevent sores, but you will pick out many shavings, burrs, and stickers.
- How easy do you want them to be to use? Velcro closure or pull on/off? I find the velcro closures easy to use, and I’ve also seen horses undo them lickety-split! The pull-on/off types are trickier to apply, but they seem to stay on better than any other type of bell boot.
Soak these bad boys in hot water before you put them on for a perfect fit.
- How about cleaning? Rubber is super easy – rinse and go! Some of the fabric ones can also be tossed in the washer. There are also a few styles where the fabric is essentially the loop part of the velcro, which is excellent for fitting but awful for stickers and burrs. These can also be tossed in the washer.
How they fit your horse’s hoof
- How do you need them to fit? Most rubber-type bell boots are uniform the whole way around so that they can twirl about your horse’s pastern. These also usually come in a few sizes, so you can grab a pair that covers to the ground to protect those shoes. Some great bell boots have a little rounded nubby thing that fits snugly into the back of the pastern to prevent spinning (like the bell boot above). I have found that these bell boots are great for the heels but not so great for covering the backs of the shoes. If you buy them to cover the shoe, you usually end up with a pair that’s too big and will spin, even with that little rounded thingy.
These are easy, simple, and don’t twist around.
These bell boots are high-tech and designed for maximum heel protection.
- Some styles of bell boots are really more like a rubber ring, that just covers the heels and are stretched over the hoof. Great for the jumper ring, and a bit easier to put on than the traditional pull-on model.
These shopping links are a great way to see what’s out there in hoof protection – for all budgets. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, and this is ZIPPO extra charge to you! I thank you for your support!
Professionals Choice Equine Ballistic Hoof Overreach Bell Boot, Pair – these are the “no-turn” variety of bell boot.
CENTAUR PVC Ribbed Double Hook and Loop Bell Boots – simple and easy to wash.
Intrepid International Fleece Top Bell Boots – with fuzz, for pastern protection.
VEREDUS Unisex Carbon Shield Heel Protector – DEFINITELY more expensive, but very specifically designed for heel protection.