Protection and Style Delivered
So you’re giving your horse the boot?! Let’s get you started on the right foot. There are many boot designs, materials, sizes, colors and levels of protection out there—it can be overwhelming to decide which to choose!
Splint boots are used for a variety of purposes and offer different levels of defense against impact; it’s important to think about how you want to use the boot before opening your wallet.
Splint boots provide an added level of protection to the delicate lower leg. They are a helpful tool for horses recovering from injuries or those with conformation causing undesired interactions between legs. Consider size, weight, material, and cooling ability to make the right boot selection for your horse.
Leg Wrap Basics
What’s a leg wrap?
Leg wraps are a type of leg protection that some horse owners use, primarily in the stable or when shipping.
A lot of times you will see leg wraps in two parts, the outer bandage that holds the tension of the wrap together and a larger pillow-type wrap underneath to prevent bowed tendons which can be caused from an improperly applied wrap.
When might you use a leg wrap?
Leg wraps are used in a variety of circumstances:
- Fighting swelling in the lower leg
- Polo wraps for riding or longing protection
- When hauling a horse
- To stabilize or restrict movement in an injured horse’s joint (like the fetlock)
- To protect open or healing wounds, sutures or sores
- Overnight to prevent a horse from stocking up in the stall
Splint boots tend to come in a few different materials and styles, but are often fastened with a few velcro straps or buckles around the lower part of the leg and provide protection from the horse hitting themselves on the inside of the leg with their other legs.
Are splint boots and tendon boots the same thing?
Splint boots and tendon boots are not the same thing. Unlike splint boots, tendon boots are typically made of a harder shell. Their purpose is to protect mostly the tendons that run down the back of the legs and are typically open at the front.
Splint boots are designed with a strike pad to protect the delicate splint bones and skin on the inside of the horse’s leg.
What to Look for When Shopping for Splint Boots
You really want to tailor your boot to the type of riding you’ll be doing, your horse’s size, and the level of protection you want.
A soft neoprene boot might work well for a turnout boot but might not be a good option for a horse working on fast barrel turns, for instance.
- Protection – what are the boots made of? Can the material, especially the striking surface, withstand the type of work you intend to use them for?
- Ventilation – tendons and ligaments that run through the horse’s lower leg can become damaged and less efficient at supporting the horse’s body if they get overheated.
- Size and length of the boot – too short or small and it could cause injury or poor circulation, too big and you risk rubs, the boot falling off, or shifting out of place.
- Closure type – velcro vs. buckle.
- Material – fleece, or felt lined boots might carry more water or be harder to clean than a leather or neoprene boot. They also may retain more heat than other types.
- Durability – how long will these boots last under average wear?
- Color – everyone loves a good matching set! Headed out to competitions? You might be limited to more conservative colors.
Top Splint Boot Options
Most splint boots (or brushing boots) are sold in pairs, so note that these price ranges listed below are per pair, not for a whole set of 4. These boots have top reviews and desirable features for a variety of uses!
|Turnout Boot Name/Brand||Price Point||Key Features|
|Woof Wear Double lock brushing boots||$$||Extra secure 3 strap velcro attachment with double-lock feature|
|Woof Wear Sport brushing boot||$$||Colors galore! 2 strap or 5 strap options depending on which you prefer and lots of color options here too!|
|Professional’s Choice Sports Medicine Hybrid splint boot||$$||Extra soft faux fleece padding without losing the benefits of a heavily vented boot|
|Professional’s Choice Pro Performance splint boots||$$||Low profile and flexible boot design for light to moderate work|
|Shires ARMA Air Motion brushing boots||$||Wider strike pad than other designs, highly durable and sturdy for everyday use without breaking the bank|
|Professional’s Choice VenTECH splint boots||$||Sleek design and a quality starter boot for a variety of disciplines|
|Majyck Equipe sport boot||$$$||Unique and sporty look with high impact protection and eco-friendly materials|
|Valena Front and Hind boots||$$$||Classic looking fleece lined boots without the bulk. Machine washable and dryer safe, these are super easy to care for!|
|Classic Equine Leather splint boots||$$$$||Made of thick leather these boots are buckle closed and offer additional fetlock protection on top of a leather strike pad for the splint bones.|
$: 1 – 50, $$: 51 – 100, $$$: 101 – 150, $$$$: 151+
Best Splint Boots for Horses
Woof Wear Double Lock Brushing Boots
Made of durable neoprene and nylon, Woof Wear boots are often seen out on cross country courses and trails. They are both reliable and made from lightweight, waterproof materials.
The strike pad is shaped to fit the anatomy of the horse, optimizing fit and reducing the chances of the boot rotating or shifting.
- Double locking closure for more security
- Easy to clean
- Suitable for everyday or sport use
- Sizing runs big
- Not easy or quick to put on or take off
- Stitching tends to wear out underneath the strike pad
Woof Wear Sport Brushing Boots
Another hit from Woof Wear – purchasers love these brushing boots and use them for everything from turnout to 30+ mile endurance rides, One reviewer mentioned using a single pair for 9 years!
These are slightly less complex than the double locking pair mentioned above, but have many of the same features; neoprene, velcro straps, lightweight, and waterproof features.
- Tons of color options!
- Size options for small ponies up to extra large horses
- Foam strike pad
- May run small
- Single lock closure
Professional’s Choice Sports Medicine Hybrid Splint boots
These fleece lined, vented splint boots from Professional’s Choice look so comfortable! They feature a soft fleece interior and ventilated outer shell to reduce heat retention.
Available in two color and size options, these are a great choice from a trusted brand.
- Fleece lined
- Integrated strike pad
- Easy to put on
- Harder to clean
- Limited sizing and color options
- May run small
- Single lock velcro
Professional’s Choice Pro Performance Splint Boots
These simple but sturdy splint boots offer a flexible material with ventilation holes throughout to help disperse the heat away from your horse’s legs. Reviews say that these are great for turnout, everyday riding and even endurance or trails.
They might not, however, be suitable for cross country due to the thinner profile of the boot.
- Integrated strike pad
- Well ventilated for air circulation
- Front or hind leg use
- Easy on and off
- Stays clean
- Run large
- Splinters or other debris can get stuck in the ventilation holes
- No elastic on the straps
- Strike pad is not as sturdy
- Limited color options
Shires ARMA air motion brushing boots
This boot features a thick strike pad and a proprietary material from Shires to keep the horse’s legs cool when in work. The Arma boots seem to be a great bang for your buck. Users of these boots say they are really easy to clean and to put on and take off.
Known to last, these come in several different colors, including hard to find plum and teal!
- Durable enough for everyday use
- Easy to clean
- Don’t hold water or dirt
- Legs seem to stay cooler
- Sizing runs large
- Sizing stops at size “full”
Professional’s Choice VenTECH Splint Boots
Professional’s Choice makes our list again with the VenTECH Splint Boots.
These are a reliable and easy-to-use splint boot with a comfortable, memory foam-like interior and lycra binding.
- VenTECH lining promotes air circulation
- Waterproof exterior
- Non-slip interior
- Contoured plastic strike pad
- Not suitable for heavy work
- Limited size options
- Limited color options
Majyk Equipe Sport Boot
This sporty-looking boot has a unique 4 layer design that the manufacturer claims prevents buildup of dust, moisture and heat under the boot.
They also have an eco-friendly, bio-foam interior rather than using neoprene.
- Dust, dirt, water, and burr-resistant
- Ideal for trail riding or outdoor use
- Proprietary strike pad that is flexible and durable
- Double stitched
- Rough side of velcro can sometimes come in contact with opposing leg, causing sores
- Velcro can wear out after heavy regular use
- Some slipping down the leg reported in reviews
Valena Front and Hind boots
Looking for a classic design for your splint boots, but don’t want to deal with fleece and leather maintenance? These wool-lined vinyl boots are machine washable, dryer safe, and can be used for riding or turnout.
If you have a fine-boned horse, it sounds like you might struggle with the elastic stretching long term, though.
- Come in hard to find brown and creme colors as well as classic white and black
- Wool lined
- Easy to care for
- Not overly padded
- Comes in sizes small – x large
- Suitable for turnout or riding
- Available in both front and hind boot sizes
- Material is more likely to trap mud, dirt and dust
- Elastic wears out easily
- Vinyl rather than leather
Classic Equine Leather Splint Boots
The only leather-and-buckle-closure splint boots on this list, these are a high-end option for a horse that needs a bit more substantial protection. These boots offer protection for both the splint bones and the sesamoid bones.
The leather’s added thickness improves impact protection.
- Added protection for the fetlock
- Can withstand harder impact
- Material requires special care
- Cumbersome to put on
- Will take time to break in
- Less adjustability with buckles
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do splint boots help horses?
They definitely can! Splint boots are used in a variety of situations, most commonly to protect the horse from hurting themselves on… themselves! Whether they have a conformation defect that makes them accidentally whack their legs, or they’re recovering from an injury that we don’t want to reaggravate, splint boots are a helpful tool to have.
Q: When should you use splint boots on a horse?
Splint boots are a great “all around” boot and can be used in a ton of different ways. Most often I see splint boots used to protect horses in the following circumstances:
- for horses that are base-narrow
- horses that paddle or toe-walk
- horses with shoes
- trail riding
- protecting healing injuries
- many more!
Splint boots are truly one of the most versatile leg protection options that you can have in your tack room. Consider material, ventilation, durability, ease of use, clean-ability, and the level of protection you need. With so many excellent choices, you’re sure to find a boot that is well suited for whatever you decide to use them for.
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