Q: Does my horse need to be wearing overreach boots?
A: Overreach boots, also known as bell boots, are worn over the pastern and hoof. They are usually made from synthetic material or rubber and are either pulled over the foot or fastened with a Velcro strap.
Overreach boots help to protect the heels of the horse’s front feet from being struck by the hooves of the hind feet. They can therefore also reduce the chance of a horse pulling his front shoes with his hind feet. Only some horses are prone to overreaching, however, so if your horse does not overreach, they you should not need these boots.
Even in horses who do need overreach boots, they should only be worn when needed, such as in the paddock or during work. If your horse wears overreach boots that are pulled over the hoof, which can be difficult to remove, rather than those with Velcro, they should be turned up at night and during grooming, so that the foot and pastern can ‘breathe’. You must also make sure that you clean the area under the boot every single day and check that the leg is not wet or injured underneath.
NOTE: The overreach boots featured in the image are ideal for horses who need these boots, as they can just be put on when needed and then removed.