Tendon Boots are one of the most commonly used types of horse boots all over the world. Riders from various disciplines value the benefit of tendon boots for protecting their horses' front legs from injury. More precisely it is the tendon running down the back of the front leg (Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon) that needs protection, especially during high energy activities, when the hind foot can extend far forward and strike that front tendon.
Additionally Tendon Boots offer protection to the fetlock joint from strikes and brushing injuries. These occur when the horse's front legs get close together during canter or over a jump and knock against each other. A tendon boot that combines a hard-wearing outer shell with good impact absorbing material can prevent subsequent concussions and abrasions.
Two different types of tendon boots - open front and closed front - are available on the market; each with their own advantages and purpose of use.
Show Jumpers often prefer an open front design as it might make the horse jump more carefully because it can feel if its legs are getting too close to the pole.
(left: Kitty King Show Jumping in open front Pro Tendon Boots)
When going Cross Country however, rider should always use closed front boots because in addition to tendon and fetlock the front of the leg (that is the Cannon Bone and Common Digital Extensor Tendon in front of it) is at risk in this discipline, too. Due to the solid fences on a Cross Country course, the front of the horse's leg needs protection from possible injuries caused by sliding into or brushing through a fence. This applies especially to the cannon bone which as a substantial structure of the horse's skeleton provides important stability to support the body weight.
(above: Kitty King Eventing in closed front Ultra Boots)