Sometimes a horse loses track of where its legs are and uses them out of order. It’s something that happens to horses at all ages, levels of training, and experience doing their jobs.
A fetlock boot is used to protect this sensitive joint and help the horse keep moving forward instead of flinching in pain. Repeated impacts can lead to long-term damage and cause a horse to associate a specific movement with pain. Using a fetlock boot avoids these issues and keeps a horse comfortable even if they interfere with themselves.
Fetlock boots have the job of protecting a horse’s fetlock joints from being struck by the hoof or fetlock of the opposite or diagonal leg. They use anything from a hard shell on the inside of the leg to a soft cushion that absorbs shock and impact. Horses who have traction on their shoes need a hard shell for protection against cuts, while less protection works for a horse that wears normal shoes or none at all.
There are numerous types of fetlock boots for horses, and while they all have the same purpose of protecting the fetlock, there are different reasons why a horse needs a fetlock boot.
The following is a look at the different types of fetlock rings and boots that provide protection for various needs.
P.S. To learn about other types of horse boots, check out this article.
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These Are the Best Fetlock Boots for Horses:
HORZE Chicago Protective Horse Fetlock Boots
The HORZE Chicago protective fetlock boots feature a simple construction, yet are comfortable for a horse to wear for hours.
They’re made with neoprene lining that conforms to the fetlock and cushions it against a blow. The lining won’t rub or cause discomfort. The polyurethane protective shell is ergonomically shaped to provide maximum coverage to the fetlock joint and protect against hoof interference.
The closure consists of a single, wide Velcro strap that wraps around the pastern to hold it in place. The boots come in a range of colors to suit your mood or needs, and are easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
Intrepid International Coronet Fetlock Shield
The fetlock shield from Intrepid International is a versatile boot that can be worn during riding, used for turnout, and to help heal a fetlock sore. They’re not intended to be used as protection from strikes, but they are useful when riding to protect a sore that’s difficult to heal.
When the boots are in place, they look like an upside-down cone that surrounds the fetlock and pastern. They can also be used as an aid to keep flies and bugs away from an open sore.
The boots are closed with two Velcro straps and stay in place without assistance. They’re made from neoprene for durability and breathability, and can be washed in the machine on a low temperature.
Tinkare Coronet Fetlock Shield
The Tinkare coronet fetlock shield is an alternative to fetlock rings, and intended to be used for horses who get bedsores on their fetlock or have a sore that needs healing assistance.
The cone-shaped boots rest on top of the coronet band and opens up at the top to go around the pastern joint without binding. They can be used in turnout and in the stall, and are made of neoprene so they won’t chafe.
The boots feature a turnback Velcro strap closure for easy adjustment and fitting. They’re tall enough to provide complete coverage and fit up to a 12-inch fetlock. Machine washable on a cool setting or wipe down with a damp rag and hang to dry.
Saxon Contoured Fetlock Boots
The Saxon contoured fetlock boots are simple in design and offer average protection for a budget price. They’re best used for schooling and trail riding as they’re not constructed to withstand a hard strike.
They’re great for when you’re riding casually and want to save your better fetlock boots for competition or intense training. It’s worth having a pair of these fetlock boots handy for peace of mind.
These boots have a wide Velcro strap for a closure, and have a neoprene lining. The strike plate is also made from neoprene. The body of the boot is black and features Velcro in different contrasting colors. Wipe clean with a damp rag only.
Weaver Leather Fetlock Boots with Xtended Life Closure System
Weaver Leather’s fetlock boots feature a long-wearing closure that extends the life of the boots and makes it simple to adjust to a proper fit.
The closure system is replaceable and was designed in conjunction with Brett Mills, a horseman and inventor. The boots themselves feature a simple design of a leather strike plate on the inside and a wide strap that goes around the fetlock joint.
The body is made of neoprene and the strike plate is made of leather. They’re suitable for everyday use for any kind of riding activity.
The highlight of the boot is the closure system. It consists of a double D-ring system that works by drawing the strap through one D-ring, then bringing it back on top of the opposite side of the Velcro fastener.
Oftentimes, the strap wears out long before the boot does, rendering it useless. The Xtended Life Closure System changes all of that with a replaceable strap. When the strap wears out, simply take it out of its carrier and insert a new one!
Dover Pro Ankle Boots
Dover Pro ankle or fetlock boots feature a hard outer shell with a soft neoprene lining for strike protection and shock absorption.
The molded outer shell features an ergonomic shape that covers the fetlock on both sides. The neoprene lining is soft and conforms to the contour of the fetlock, helping to create a secure fit that doesn’t bind. The boots are secured in place with a single wide Velcro strap and are locked in place with a vertical strip of Velcro.
They’re easily cleaned with a hose and brush or cloth, then hung out to dry.
Kavallerie Classic Fetlock Boots
The Kavallierie classic fetlock boots are designed for use during high-impact activities such as show jumping. They’re designed to provide maximum ventilation and protection.
These boots feature a flexible outer shell that protects against strikes while supporting the joint, and is vented for airflow. The lining features a mesh exterior for ventilation and uses a cushioning fabric for compression and additional shock absorption.
The boots use a double Velcro system and a fastening button to keep the boots in place and preventing movement or twisting during use. Clean the boots with a brush, hose, or damp cloth, or put them into the washing machine on a low temperature and hang to dry.
Shires ARMA Carbon Fetlock Boots
Shires ARMA Carbon fetlock boots are a little misleading in that they don’t contain carbon fiber in the strike plate, BUT they do provide excellent protection all the same!
The boots are an open front design that absorb shock and cover the areas of the fetlock that are vulnerable to strikes. The boots feature Shires triple impact support system that consists of a TPU outer shell that’s resistant to dirt and scrapes.
A foam center that features a honeycomb structure absorbs shock, and a Coolmax lining wicks away sweat so the fetlock area stays cool and dry.
These boots also feature mesh vents in the tendon area to minimize heat build-up while providing maximum ventilation. The strike place features an ergonomic shape that contours to the inside of the fetlock and delivers solid support to the tendons and the joint. Double lock Velcro straps help to fasten the boot.
Clean with a damp cloth or brush.
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Equipro Horse Scalping Boots
Equipro’s scalping boots, or fetlock rings, are a simple design made of neoprene that provides basic protection against a strike.
The boot covers the fetlock joint to the sides and rear while featuring a partially open front. A single strip of Velcro closes the boots at the top.
The major benefit of this design comes in the form of usability and insurance against a strike. They’re not recommended for use on horses who are prone to striking.
Jack’s Manufacturing Rubber Fetlock Ring
Jack’s Manufacturing make a simple rubber fetlock ring, or donut, that goes on top of or underneath the fetlock joint to protect from interference. The ring is a simple protective measure that features a rubber tube with a nylon strap and buckle for adjustment.
It works by preventing the hind hoof from making contact with the fetlock joint, effectively bouncing it off when contact is made. The horse can wear the ring when it’s being ridden, in turnout, or in the stall. Clean with a hose or damp cloth.
A fetlock boot gives your horse’s sensitive joints protection from an accidental strike from interference or simply forgetting where they left their leg. It prevents an injury that can take weeks to heal and prevents you from enjoying your horse.
The type and style of boot you pick for your horse depends on the work you’re doing, how much of it the two of you engage in the activity, and even your horse’s conformation.
You may find that you get multiple types of fetlock boots to cover contingencies and for wearing on light riding days when less protection is fine. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong reason to have one or more pairs of fetlock boots in your tack box as you’ll find they’re handy to have ready and waiting for use!