Horses that tend to strike themselves during rest or competition are prone to self-injuries that can take a long time to heal. It’s not always possible to train a horse out of self-striking because their conformation makes it hard to avoid.
This is where a bell boot comes into play as it reduces the potential for a strike injury, and minimizes the trauma caused by a strike when it does happen. The bell boot is used to protect your horse’s hooves from a strike from an object or interference during turnout or when being ridden.
Bell boots also prevent a horse from overreaching and grabbing their front hooves, pastern joint, or fetlock. This can lead to an injury that causes lameness and requires a lengthy recovery period.
When it comes down to it, there’s not a whole lot to a bell boot in terms of its construction. The most common bell boot design consists of a round shape that resembles an upside-down cup with ribs and is either pulled over the hoof or put on and secured with a Velcro closure or two.
They’re also available in durable fabrics that breathe and prevents heat and moisture from building up.
The following is a list of bell boots that feature different styles, materials, and designs. They even vary in how they’re put onto the hoof.
Some of them feature a design that keeps them from twisting around on the hoof, while others are the classic upside down cup design with ribs that provide basic protection, support for a horse that overreaches on the regular, and reduction of risk of injury during competition.
P.S. To learn about other types of horse boots, check out this article.
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The Best Bell Boots for Horses:
Eskadron® Bell Boots
Eskadron is a German brand that’s known for making quality boots, and they deliver on their reputation with these bell boots.
They’re are made of high-quality rubber that resists tearing, but are soft and flexible. They’re easily put into place and close with a single wide strap of Velcro. The top of the boots feature a flange that prevents the boots from falling off the hoof and protects the coronet band from contact with another hoof.
The boots are suitable for turnout or exercise, and are easily cleaned with soap and water or wiped down with a damp cloth.
Professional’s Choice® Ballistic Overreach Boots
The Ballistic Overreach boots from Professional’s Choice are designed to stay in place and feature a no-turn knob on the inside to keep them from spinning.
The exterior is made from Dupont’s Original Ballistic nylon for the ultimate in toughness and tear resistance. Its UltraShock lining absorbs shock energy and protects the hoof, heel bulbs, and coronet band from strikes.
The boots feature an ergonomic design that helps them stay in place and provide maximum coverage. They close in the front with a single Velcro strap and have a rolled collar to protect the coronet band and pastern. Machine wash in a gentle cycle and hang dry or clean with a brush and damp cloth.
LeMieux® Ballistic Overreach Boots
The Ballistic overreach boots from LeMieux are similar to the Professional’s Choice boots in terms of the materials used in their construction.
They also feature a bump in the rear of the boot to hold the boot in place. They feature a neoprene lining and soft ribbed cuff at the top to protect skin. A single Velcro strap closes the boots in the front.
These boots use a panel design to surround the hoof and provide a good fit. They provide excellent protection to the horse’s hooves in the form of shock absorption and strike protection.
They can be washed in a machine at low temperatures and the Velcro fasteners closed. It’s best to place the boots in a net washing bag, then hang the boots to dry.
Harrison Howard Horse Bell Boots
Harrison Howard bell boots feature quality construction and materials at a reasonable price.
They’re made using shock absorbing materials that minimize shock transmission to the hoof. The outer shell is made from heavy nylon fabric that resists tearing and ripping, and features a stretch nylon lining that extends to the cuff. A pyramid-shaped bump out in the rear of the boot serves to keep the boot in place during movement and prevents turning. The boots feature a neoprene core that gives the boot its cushion.
An ergonomic design allows the boot to easily shape to the hoof and makes fitting easy. A single, reinforced stitched Velcro strap secures the boot in front, making it easy to get the boot on and off the horse. The boots are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns for flash and excitement, or just for fun.
Shires One Piece Ribbed Bell Boot
Shires one piece ribbed bell boot features the traditional design of a ribbed exterior and narrow top to prevent a horse from pulling off or flipping up the boot when worn.
Its one-piece construction means that the boot has to be pulled over the hoof to apply, and it’s made from stretchy gum rubber to make application easy. The ribs are designed to provide structural support to the boot and protect against strikes.
The design of these boots ensures that the horse can’t pull the boot off when a strike happens. They can be used in a trailer, stall, pasture setting, or during riding. Clean with a hose or damp cloth.
Tough 1 Performers 1St Choice No Turn Bell Boots
Tough 1 Performers bell boots are made from a dual layer of perforated neoprene for breathability and to prevent heat build-up. The one-piece design goes easily around the hoof, and is simple to attach with a single Velcro tab at the top. The closure is at a 45-degree angle that resists pulling and helps keep the boot in place. These boots stay in place and won’t turn or twist at high speeds.
The boots can be used during turnout or during stall time. Heavy-duty construction means the boots can hold up to the roughest of competition. They come in a variety of colors for fun, matching an outfit, or just standing out from the crowd. Machine washable on a cool setting and hang dry.
HORZE Pro Overreach Neoprene Horse Bell Boots
HORZE’s overreach neoprene bell boots are siple in design, but sturdy enough to provide cushion against a strike and resistant to tear. They feature a one-piece design that’s made out of thick neoprene and attaches with heavy-duty Velcro in the front. The neoprene features a density that cushions the hoof and causes the interfering hoof to bounce off. The material won’t rub and is comfortable for the horse to wear.
The boots are shaped to stay in place and won’t rotate or twist. They can be used for training, trail riding, and turnout. Measure the diameter of your horse’s hoof to get the correct size. Spray with a hose or wash in the machine on a cool cycle, then hang dry.
Weaver Leather Double Hook & Loop Bell Boots
Weaver Leather’s bell boots feature the timeless design of a rubber bell boot with a double Velcro strap closure. The ribbed design keeps the boots from getting flipped up and protects the hoof from an interfering hoof.
A rolled lip protects the coronet band and lower pastern. The boots are made from soft, flexible rubber that makes it easy to put them on. Clean with a damp cloth or soap and water.
Classic Equine Dyno Turn Bell Boots
The Dyno Turn bell boots from Classic Equine feature an ergonomic shape that follows the contours of a horse’s hoof.
They’re made from 2520 denier DynoHyde material, has a shock absorbing center, and a jersey lining. The fabric is tough, resists damage, and is water-repellent and stain-resistant. A contoured top is covered in the lining material to protect the coronet band. The boots are closed with a double Velcro closure. Wash by hand or use a brush to clean.
The bell boot delivers reliable protection against a horse grabbing itself with its own hoof in just about any scenario. Use them for protection from knocks in the trailer, overreaching during a barrel pattern, a leg misfire during a dressage movement, or to protect against injury while turned out in pasture.
Bell boots come in different designs and different ways of applying them to the hoof. The basic bell boot with no opening is the most difficult to put on, but prevents the horse from pulling them off.
Other designs feature a front Velcro closure to hold the boot in place and avoid opening at an inopportune time.
Some feature a bump in the rear to rest on the back of the pastern and hoof to keep them from turning, while others are simple designs that can turn without injuring the leg. The fabrics used for the bell boots range from rubber to ballistic materials for longevity and resistance against damage.
What makes the best bell boots for horses comes down to your horse’s needs and what works best for your discipline!