#MasterclassMonday is a collaboration between Horse Network and NOELLEFLOYD.com to empower equestrians. Every Monday we’ll bring you a new lesson from a leading trainer or professional to help you troubleshoot your training, master your mindset and up your game. This month’s instructor: Olympic groom Max Corcoran.

Maybe you put boots on your horse without really knowing the “when, how, and why” behind that choice. If that sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place.

In general, leg protection is crucial to your horse’s performance and longevity, especially if you are jumping or galloping frequently. Within a horse’s leg, there are a web of structures including soft tissue and nerves that can be damaged or injured during work, as well as skin and bone that can be bruised easily by the knock of a hoof or jump rail. Without added protection during practice and performance, your horse runs the risk of damaging one of these structures, which can result in sometimes serious and long-term injuries.

So, where do you start? Lucky for you (and your horse) there are tons of boots out there to choose from. Some of the most common types are: 

  • Everyday Brushing Boot
  • Jumping Boot
  • Cross-country Boot 

An everyday brushing boot is exactly what it sounds like: It’s used for your everyday work. These are great because they are versatile, can be used in any type of weather, they are easy to wash, and come in all different sizes. Although they are a softer, more flexible material, they do typically have a more durable protective side that goes over the inside of the leg for extra protection of the tendons and ligaments. 

This is just the teaser! Learn to care for your horse like an Olympic groom with Max’s Equestrian Masterclasses: Horse Care for All Seasons, and Leg Protection 101.

Cross country boot.

When it comes to cross-country boots, the longevity of the boot is everything. These boots have a hard shell on the back and front, since these horses can frequently hit their cannon bone on the back of the jump. These boots typically fit the same way as other boots and also come in all different sizes to ensure proper fit. 

An important thing to consider when using cross-country boots is the security of the boot. When horses are galloping long distances, we want to ensure the boot stays put. A good rule of thumb for boot application would be to put on the boots, let them sit, then do a ‘snug’ up to make sure the boots stay put without being too tight. 

Jumping boots.

One of the most commonly seen boots, jumping boots, are known for their great range of motion. These boots usually have an open front on the front boots and allow for more movement while also not prohibiting the horse from feeling if they knocked a rail. These boots do have more protection in the back in case they strike themselves over the jump. Overall, these boots offer amazing mobility, are easy to wash, and provide great support for those jumping frequently.

Next week, we’re talking polo wraps! Stay tuned.

Want to learn more? Check out Olympic groom Max Corcoran’s Equestrian Masterclasses: Horse Care for All Seasons, and Leg Protection 101.