The discipline of dressage is one that engages all of the horse’s body in a way to produce a movement that’s beautiful to observe. Horse and rider work together to create lift, deliver extension, and make it look like the horse is tip-toeing through each movement in the pattern.
The discipline strives to get a horse to balance itself equally from front to back with little noticeable involvement from the rider. It’s a fact that there’s less impact and strain on the horse’s lower legs in dressage, but they need protection and support the same as if they were in any other discipline.
Dressage boots are not as heavily constructed or padded as jumping boots, but they do provide protection and support, just at a lower level. Compare a dressage boot with a jumping boot, and you quickly see the difference.
However, using a jumping boot for dressage is overkill as the extra protection is unnecessary. Instead, consider what the following list of dressage boots has to offer for your horse during training and competition. The goal of a dressage boot is to keep the tendons loose and supported, protect from interference, and keep the lower legs warm during colder weather.
This list covers the best dressage boots for horses, takes a look at their differences, and discusses their proper application. Read on to learn more about how they help your horse stay sound.
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Related Guides to Riding Dressage:
Why Is Wearing Dressage Boots Important For Horses?
Dressage puts less strain on a horse’s lower legs than other riding disciplines, but protection is key to preventing injuries at all levels of severity. The type of collection used for dressage movements has the horse bringing its hindquarters underneath itself and frees up its shoulders to extend the front legs. In turn, a horse can strain its tendons if it’s not properly warmed up or wearing a supportive boot to prevent injury.
(P.S. Although this support is very important, you also want to be careful not to leave boots on your horse for too many hours in a row. You can read more about how to make sure you’re using your boots properly here.)
The Best Dressage Boots for Horses
This list of dressage boots features ones that provide protection at the lower and upper levels, and help your horse perform its movements with support and comfort.
LeMieux® Grafter Boots (Most Affordable)
The Grafter boots from LeMieux feature a basic design that provides light support and protection for front and rear legs. They’re excellent for everyday use, during training, or regular exercise. However, their protection is limited, and should not be used for strenuous work.
Even though the design is standard, these boots from LeMieux feature high-quality materials and construction throughout for the best in protection and durability. The boots feature a contoured strike pad on the inside that’s reinforced for shock absorption. Heavy-duty Velcro straps are pulled around from the back to the front for a fit that conforms to the leg.
The boots are made from polyurethane, nylon, and neoprene to hold up to the pressures of daily use. They can be put into the washing machine on a low temperature, but the straps need to be closed prior to putting them into the machine. For the best results, put them into a mesh laundry bag.
P.S. You can also check out a full review of LeMieux stirrups here.
Dover Saddlery Premium Sport Boots with Fleece Lining (Best for General Everyday Use)
Dover Saddlery’s premium sport boots look great on your horse and deliver support and comfort. These lightweight boots use heavy duty construction for longevity and resistance to wear and tear.
The outer shell is made from synthetic leather to deliver a luxurious appearance and features a snow white polyester fleece lining for contrast. The boots conform to the horse’s leg and are easily put on and taken off with elasticized straps and Velcro fasteners.
The boots fit both front and rear, but make sure to measure before buying to get the right size. They’re machine washable as long as a cool temperature setting is used. Hang dry only.
Dressage Sport Boots (Best Overall, with Fleece)
These dressage sport boots protect the lower leg and provide moderate protection. They’re stylish boots made with a black vinyl exterior, a Coverlight strike area, and a polyester fleece lining to wick sweat away from the leg.
The Coverlight material is puncture and tear resistant, and it’s pretty durable! The boots are designed to fit both front and back legs, but make sure to order a larger size for proper fit on the back legs.
These boots are easy to apply and won’t twist during activity. They look simple in terms of design and construction, but they’re tough and provide good support for schooling lower level movements. The boots feature stitch-down construction for durability and wear resistance, and are machine washable.
All Sport Boots from Dressage Sport Boots (Best Overall without Fleece)
These sport boots from Dressage Sport Boots are an alternative to their fleece-lined boots and provide the same protection with less flash. Their design is deceptively simple as they look like a standard boot.
What makes this brand of dressage boots a good buy is the fact that they’re made with highly durable materials that are breathable, easily applied, and don’t twist.
The boots are made from neoprene, feature a lining and have a tough vinyl exterior. The strike area uses Coverlight, a material that resists abrasion and tears, yet is flexible and soft. The boots use three self-fabric straps for closure and use Velcro tabs to secure in place. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Catago Fir Tech Dressage Boots (Best High Tech Boots)
The Catago Fir Tech dressage boots are a pair of highly technical boots that deliver full support and then some. The boots combine a hard shell in the back and sides for strike protection, and tendon and joint support. The shell is cut away to reveal the liner in the front and allow for breathability.
The lining of the boot uses FIR-Tech technical fabric that contains ceramic particles. These ceramic particles will not be felt by your horse, but they reflect heat back into the leg to keep the tendon supple and soft and blood circulation flowing.
The boots feature a fetlock strap and close with hook and stud straps. Clean with a damp cloth or brush.
Woof Wear Training Wraps (Most Color Options)
Woof Wear training wraps are a lightweight boot made from breathable neoprene, and provide medium support for workouts. A pair of boots can fit the front and hind legs, but measure before buying a pair. The boots feature a lower strap to go underneath the fetlock and provide support. They’re stretchy but firm enough to provide compression without binding.
These boots are closed with three velcro straps and help create a secure fit that contours to the leg. The boots come in multiple color options with the majority consisting of a black body with contrasting edging. They can be washed on a cool setting in the washing machine, and hung to dry.
Centaur Classic Dressage Boots (Best for the Winter)
The classic dressage boots by Centaur are full-coverage boots that provide medium support during exercise sessions and training. The boots are made from vinyl and feature an ergonomic design that contours to your horse’s legs. A strike plate is built into the boot, and they close with three fixed Velcro straps.
The biggest drawback to the boots is the fact they’re made from vinyl that doesn’t breath and vents are not built into them. What this means is that they’re too hot for riding when there’s a little warmth in the air, but they’re great for keeping tendons warm and loose during colder temperatures.
If you live in a climate that sees all four seasons, you’ll want to keep them in your tack box for winter. Otherwise, they might get too hot during the warmer months. Clean with a brush or damp cloth.
Kavallerie Dressage Horse Boots (Best for Low-Impact Movements)
The Kavallierie dressage boots feature an anatomical design with light support and comfortable materials. They’re perfect for schooling lower-level movements. However, they’re not intended for high-impact or highly-collected movements. The boots do a nice job of absorbing shock and protecting the legs from interference.
The outer shell of the boots are made from faux leather and lined with breathable polyester fleece for a comfortable fit. Three wide Velcro straps with elastic are used to secure the boot in place. A splint guard adds an additional layer of protection to the inside of the horse’s legs.
These boots are machine washable using a cool temperature and gentle detergent. Hang to dry to prevent the exterior shell from cracking.
HORZE Protection Boots (with Glitter!)
HORZE’s protection boots are a pair of fun and functional boots for those days you want to add flash to your horse’s dressage movements. They provide light to moderate protection. The outer shell is made from flexible plastic with a metallic sheen and closed with wide Velcro straps topped with glittery fabric. A breathable mesh lining helps keep your horse’s legs cool as you practice your extended trot.
Each pair of boots fits the front and rear legs, provided the right size is ordered. Make sure to measure before you buy. Clean with a damp rag only to preserve the coating and metallic fabric.