Tendon boots are a type of horse boot that’s used primarily for jumping sports.
They’re always open in the front, feature a strike plate on the inside, cover the fetlock joint, and are made from a material that’s stretchy, breathable, and supportive.
A tendon boot is secured with Velcro or hook and loop straps that draw across the front of the boot and fasten to the side so the horse can’t grab the closure with an opposing hoof. The main purpose of a tendon boot is to let the horse feel when they hit a pole, but won’t suffer an injury from the impact.
The best tendon boots for horses are ones that contain all of these features in one boot. You want your horse’s legs to have protection and support as they go over poles, but you don’t want them to be restricted in their movement.
The following is a look at different types of tendon boots, how they work, their appropriate use, and what you can expect from them.
P.S. To learn about other types of horse boots, check out this article.
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LeMieux Tendon Boots
LeMieux horse tendon boots offer great value, construction quality, and support for your horse. They allow for a full range of motion, but prevent overextension of the tendons. It could be argued that they’re the best tendon boots for horses because of how well they work and their price point.
The exterior of the boot features a TPU shell with vents to prevent heat build-up, and uses a double Velcro closure that locks vertically and horizontally. Inside is a soft interior lining that moves with the horse and provides a comfortable yet close fit.
The tendon boots from LeMieux come in different configurations and levels of support. Choose the Derby ProJump tendon boots for schooling or shows where the jumps are lower. For higher jumps and tight technical courses, go with the Impact Responsive style for the ultimate in protection.
The Capella Comfort style is perfect for those days where you want to hack out and maybe take a couple of jumps along the way, but prefer to keep your horse’s tendons supported.
Professional’s Choice Open Front Boots
These tendon boots from Professional’s Choice provide heavy-duty support through the use of a hard outer shell that dissipates energy when the horse’s legs land. An air cushion inside each boot delivers an ergonomic fit and supports the tendons as it shapes itself to the movement.
This air cushion design also protects the structures of the leg from impact and torsion, and the hard outer shell protects the legs from strikes from an opposite leg. TPU fasteners with elastic straps are designed to provide a strong closure while allowing for movement.
The open front boots are easily cleaned with a damp cloth and won’t absorb water. Simply wipe them down, then lay them out to dry before putting them back on the horse.
Harrison Howard Horse Sport Medicine Front Shock-Absorbing Boots
Harrison Howard’s sport medicine boots for horses build upon a classic tendon-supporting design that’s used in a variety of equine disciplines. They’re designed for heavy duty workouts such as eventing and endurance training.
The boots cover from just below the horse’s knee to the fetlock, and feature a separate sling strap that goes underneath the fetlock to “pick” it up and keep it stable. They feature neoprene construction with Velcro closures that move with the horse while providing tension to support tendons as they stretch and contract during a movement.
The neoprene used for the boot’s construction is breathable, resists heat buildup, and draws moisture away from the legs. It also protects the horse’s legs from impacts such as interference, hitting jump poles, and any other objects the horse has to negotiate.
They’re available in medium, large, and extra-large sizes, and a variety of colors. Clean the boots with a damp cloth and allow to dry before being used again.
HORZE Chicago Protective Tendon Boots
HORZE Chicago protective boots are intended for use during turnout, trail riding, and light jumping. They provide minimal support, but feature a hard exterior shell that gives the horse something to lean into as they’re working.
The shell also protects the horse’s legs from interference and overreaches that can cause bumps and bruises. The boots close with two Velcro straps that feature a vertical strap to help the straps stay in place while the horse moves. A neoprene lining helps the boots contour around the leg for a snug but stretchy fit.
The boots come in multiple sizes and colors to fit just about every breed of horse. The sizes include Shetland, pony, cob, horse, and warmblood. All that’s needed to clean the boots is a damp cloth to wipe out the dirt.
Iconoclast Front Orthopedic Support Boots
The Iconoclast boots feature a design that supports the suspensory and sesamoidial areas of a horse’s front legs. They feature a unique design in that they look like a sports medicine boot, but close to the side and have a double support sling for the fetlock.
What makes these boots stand apart from similar styles is the fact that the support straps lift and cradle a horse’s lower leg to protect the lower joints during strenuous activities such as jumping and reining. Iconoclast’s orthopedic boots can also be used to help a horse recover from an injury.
These boots are designed for use in all disciplines and are suitable for daily use. Heavy-duty Velcro is used for the closure, and is easily applied to the leg. They can also be used as a tendon support aid to help a horse recover from a tendon injury. The body of the boot is made from open cell foam, which can be cleaned with a soft brush or damp rag.
Weaver Leather Equestrian Splint Boots
Weaver’s splint boots are an all-time classic that’s found in pretty much every horse owner’s tack box!
These boots provide basic protection to the tendons, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. What they do is protect the lower leg during light workouts over jumps, on the flat, during trail rides, and any low-impact equine activity. The boots come in multiple colors that are perfect for matching your horse’s gear.
The body of the boot is made from neoprene and has real suede padding over the splint. They’re closed with three wide and heavy duty Velcro straps in the front. When used properly, the boot has a gap in the front for ventilation. Weaver’s splint boots come in three different sizes, and a size chart is available to aid with fit.
The boots can be cleaned using water, soap and a brush, then hung out to dry to ensure they keep their shape.
Harrison Howard Horse Tendon Boots
Harrison Howard’s horse tendon boot set consist of open front tendon boots and fetlock boots for the rear.
The boots are made from a hardened polyurethane shell and use two wide elastic and Velcro straps for closure. The straps are locked into place on the outside with a vertical Velcro strap. An anatomical design ensures that the boots fit properly and won’t slide out of place. A cushioned elastic liner won’t rub the skin and allows the boot to conform against the horse’s leg without binding.
This versatile set of boots are designed for fast-paced activities, but can be used during turnout. The contoured open front allows a horse to feel a rap from a pole, but won’t get injured if it interferes with itself. The boots are easily put into place and removed. Clean them with a brush or a damp cloth.
Back on Track Royal Work Boots
These full coverage tendon boots from Back on Track are intended for flat work only, and are an excellent alternative to using polo wraps. While these boots are excellent for flat riding and dressage, they’re not designed to support the legs during jumping.
The boots feature a molded nylon laminated outer shell in the rear and a liner made from neoprene and Welltex material. This allows the boot to conform to the cannon bone and fetlock as well as allowing heat and moisture buildup to escape, keeping your horse’s legs cool.
They’re lightweight, easy to apply, and use a hook and stud closure with elastic straps. Full fetlock protection is included in the design, but the fetlock strap does not pick up the joint from behind. The use of heavy duty materials in their construction enable the boots to last a long time, and they’re easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
The tendon boots you put on your horse need to reflect the activity you’re engaging in that day. If you’re competing, you want the best tendon boots for horses that provide full coverage, won’t overheat the leg, give the horse something to lean into when it’s going over a jump or after a cow, and has strong construction.
In contrast, a lightly built tendon boot is sufficient for days where you’re not competing or working hard and looking for average protection for your horse’s legs.
There’s nothing wrong with putting on your competition boots for a ride on the trails, but why? Save your good boots for when they’re needed and pick up a pair or two of budget boots for reasonable protection when you’re not doing more than a walk, trot, or canter, or going out on the trails.
Your horse’s legs are protected in all of these scenarios, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing the best to preserve your horse’s soundness.