It is the norm for eventers to use closed-fronted tendon boots for the cross-country phase. However, open-fronted tendon boots are legal for FEI eventing and BE. Furthermore, it may be the case that the type of boots used could have a marginal impact on horse and rider safety during the cross country phase. This blog article outlines the findings presented to the FEI Eventing Forum and National Safety Offices Seminar in January 2023. It also explores why it may be worth eventers giving our open-fronted tendon boots a go.
The Role of Tendon Boots For Eventing
Tendon boots are designed to protect the horse’s legs against strike impacts. This may be as the horse hits an obstacle, brushes a leg with the opposite hoof or overreaches with the hind hooves. Many eventers will opt for closed-fronted tendon boots because of the additional protection given to the front of the cannon bone.
But do we need to use fully-enclosed boots for cross country? If a horse is going to hit a fence, it is most commonly above the knee, or on the knee, fetlock or hoof. Have a look at your cross-country boots; how much damage is to the very front of them?
Horse Boots and Rotational Falls
Horse and rider safety should always be of paramount importance. Event organisers, course designers and riders all take steps to minimise the chance of a fall or injury. This means constantly evaluating our equipment and assessing how we can make marginal improvements to safety.
MIM, who make the pins for cross-country fences have found that horse boots could be a contributing factor to rotational falls. Enclosed boots have between 10-15mm thickness of material at the top of the boot, which could cause a drag point or prevent the leg from sliding over the fence, so in effect the front leg is caught on the fence for a small period of time. This lessens the chance of the front legs getting over the fence and down in time. Hence, there is more chance of a rotational fall.
How Might Open-Fronted Tendon Boots Improve Horse & Rider Safety?
If the front material of the boot is removed, the force from the obstacle could be distributed gradually down the front of the leg, which reduces the risk of the leg getting left behind after contact with a fence. If the friction point is removed when contact is made with a fixed fence, the risk of rotational fall may be reduced.
Exoskeleton Open Fronted Tendon Boots For Horses
Would you consider using an open fronted boot? Especially if the boot had been tested against other boots on the market and had one of the best air flow and cooling properties, as well as the best protective properties against strike impact or interference? Do look at the Exoskeleton open fronted tendon boots – great for cross country, what do you say?