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Over-reach Boots for the jumping phases: yes or no?

This is such a difficult decision, and opinion seems to be split fairly 50/50 in the eventing world. If you’ve ever had a fall because a horse trod on an overreach boot, it makes sense that you are very wary of them. But there’s always the issue of trying to protect the horse too…Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 11.43.41

The last 2 times one of my horses has left the ground without over-reach boots on, they have overreached badly. I always use OR boots. I am fanatical about it, but these 2 times I got caught out and my horses paid the price…
The first time was back in about 1990. I am unfortunately not kidding. Someone was riding my (big, lanky, young) TB gelding in SJ competition because I was injured. We had a stand-up row in the collecting ring because I thought the horse should have OR boots on, and he didn’t. Eventually I caved in, he went triumphantly into the ring. The horse landed over the first SJ, overreached badly, and was on 3 legs, he’d taken a big chunk out of the bulb of his heel and was bleeding. The rider had to dismount and lead him from the ring. That was the end of that, and I took no pleasure at all in saying “I told you so.”

Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 11.44.09My horses continued to wear OR boots any time they left the ground, and I never had  a problem. Then, tacking up and getting ready at Highclere OI in 1996, distracted by friends chatting to me, I forgot to put the OR boots on, and ran xc without them. My good mare overreached, and the ensuing suspiciously puffy leg scuppered our plans to got to Boekelo CCI***. Another tough lesson.

Since then my horses ALWAYS wear OR boots, even just to pop small things at home, if they are shod.

I use long rubber or neoprene OR boots for turnout, sacrificially, so the horse treads on the boot before it treads on its shoe. For jumping, I always use short fabric OR boots, about as short as I can find. Westropp fabric ones, and Kieffer anti-twist short ones, both pictured, are my favourites.



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