Useful or unnecessary?

Horse boots explained

Gaiters are a type of leg protection for horses. They are placed around the fetlock and the cannon bone and fastened with Velcro or button closures. They are made of an impact-resistant material such as plastic or leather, with a padding filling of neoprene or fur.

Veredus Hard shell gaiter on white background

Which types are there?

The most popular type is Hard shell gaiters. They are usually made of plastic and are lined with neoprene or synthetic fur/lambskin on the inside. The horse's fetlock and flexor tendons are effectively protected against impacts, kicks and scratches. 

There are also models made of imitation leather or leather that are high-cut and cover the fetlock and cannon bone. They are usually closed with Velcro or button fasteners.

Fetlock boots / wrap-around boots

  • enclose the entire fetlock and the cannon bone up to the carpal joint 
  • particularly suitable as dressage boots
  • are rather soft and flexible, without a solid plastic plate
  • often lined with lambskin, faux fur
  • often available to match collections

Spoon gaiters

  • consist of plastic or leather part in spoon shape on the inside
  • Outside is made of neoprene with velcro fasteners
  • Inside is anatomically shaped
  • particularly suitable for horses that graze
  • less suitable for show jumping or cross country, as only the inside effectively protects

Transport gaiters

  • protect beyond the coronary band
  • rear gaiters are cut particularly high
  • protect during transport, as well as during loading and unloading
  • should fit tightly and not slip

Therapy gaiters

In addition, there are stable boots and therapy boots. These are only used in phases.

On the one hand, therapy gaiters can be used for cooling, such as the Ice Vice cooling gaiters or the Cyro gaiters.

On the other hand, there are also gaiters with ion technology, which promote blood circulation and thus the removal of toxins and waste products.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about gaiters

What is the difference between a gaiter and fetlock boots?

Tendon boots are cut much longer than fetlock boots. Both versions are suitable for leg protection. Fetlock boots are just as easy to put on and take off as tendon boots. Fetlock boots are usually only used on the hind leg.

Gaiter or bandage: which is better?

In contrast to bandages, gaiters are made of much harder material such as plastic or leather and are often used for jumping, eventing and cross-country disciplines. Bandages, on the other hand, are mostly used in dressage.

Gaiters are of course easier to put on and take off than bandages. However, they also have the major disadvantage that they can chafe if the fit is not tailored to the horse's leg. However, the shock-absorbing effect of gaiters is higher than that of bandages.

Which gaiters are suitable for dressage?

  • Boots with a soft but durable outer material such as fetlock boots or wrap-around boots
  • Hard shell boots in combination with fetlock boots
  • specially developed dressage boots

Which boots are recommended for eventing?

For versatility, mainly for riding off-road, you should choose closed models and bell boots. The risk of injury from branches or undergrowth lying around is highest here, so the outer shell should be shock-absorbing.

Which boots are suitable for jumping?

Jumping boots should protect the fetlock and knuckle bones from falling poles. You can also use bell boots to prevent horseshoes from stepping into the ball of the foot and causing serious injury. The outer shell should provide good impact protection and be shock absorbing. You should also use closed leg protection here so that the horse's leg is protected all around.

Does my horse have to wear gaiters during transport?

To protect your horse when driving on the trailer or transporter, you can use transport gaiters. These protect the horse's leg from the pastern joint or from the hock joint to over the coronet border to the hoof. Bell boots are not necessary here.

Why is it forbidden for horses to wear bandages or gaiters in dressage competitions?

Since the appearance of the horse's leg changes with bandages or gaiters, this makes it difficult for the judges to judge. Therefore, you must remove any leg protection before entering the dressage test.

Gaiters for pasture protection?

If you want to protect your horse's leg in the pasture, you can use gaiters. However, these should only be created if absolutely necessary. For example, if your horse is very wild and rages and plays a lot with other horses. In order to prevent chafing and pressure points, as well as damage caused by heat build-up, you should put on the gaiters as little as possible. If your horse wears horseshoes, you can try hoof bells first to protect the sensitive ball of the hoof.