Everything Else Tip of the day

Tip of the Day: Measure position of horse’s front boots on leg


measuring down from the lump at back of knee to the boot.

The e-Venting crew were having a discussion about the position of front jumping boots on a horse’s legs, and particularly the fact that certain horses are very fussy about the feel of different boots.

Someone even had one horse that only jumped well in one type of xc boot as he had ridiculously short cannon bones and could not stand the boot touching the back of his knee. He was super sensitive to it – if the boots so much as touched he’d hang his legs straight down!

Another said “I see lots of boots that come up too high on front legs, I had a saddler cut the tops off my Sabres for one horse. They need to be able to pick up the front leg, fold completely and it not pinch.”

I realised at that point that I always check my boots to make sure that they are low enough and are at exactly the same position on the leg. I honestly didn’t realise I did this until this conversation!

Thinking back, I started doing this after an eagle-eyed friend noticed that I’d put the boots on and one was a bit higher than the other. Oopsy. So, an automatic check ensued…


Checking that the boot doesn’t impinge on the back of the knee.

I measure from the distinct lump at the back of the horse’s knee (the accessory carpal bone). I have that just above my little finger, and then the boot clearly below my last finger. I do have quite large hands though (glove size 8) so this measurement won’t work for those with tiny hands! I measure about 10-11  cms beneath the bone, I guess.

It’s worth checking in hand that your horse can fully fold his front leg with his boots on, without any pinching. The accessory carpal bone is less prominent as the knee is flexed, but you still don’t want any pressure on the back of the joint, for obvious reasons.



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  • I’m always aware of this, but your article reminds me – why doesn’t someone do a boot that’s cut down at the back, like girths are contoured now boots could be too. Makes sense to me!

  • I have also found this to be true with overreach boots, those with a thick cuff can stop the horse wanting to curl their legs up properly, and can cause “preying mantis” jumps. It’s amazing how sensitive horses can be to the smallest difference in boot fit/feel.

  • Good points! Mel, I think some are shaped slightly at the back, I know the Kentucky Horse Wear ones are, but I guess if you shape them too much you might create a pinch point?
    Katy, I had never thought of that, I have gone super-minimal with overreach boots now and only use the narrowest ones I can find, but that’s a really good point, thanks!