What is Overreaching?
Overreaching is when the toe of the hind hoof strikes the back of the front foot. This can cause severe bruises, cuts and abrasions around your horse’s delicate heel and pastern area. It can also result in shoes being pulled off. Overreaching occurs especially during fast exercise and jumping but horses can overreach even in walk depending on different factors like their confirmation, length of stride and degree of fitness.
What are Overreach Boots?
Overreach boots are worn on front legs and are designed to prevent the injuries described above. The level of protection required will vary between horses and activities. If in doubt about the right type of boot please get advice from your local retailer or email email@example.com.
When should I use Overreach Boots?
Overreach boots can be used during general schooling, hacking, show jumping, eventing, turnout, and transport. They are available in a number of materials with rubber and neoprene being the most popular.
How do I fit Overreach Boots?
In order to give maximum possible protection, overreach boots must be fitted correctly and be used in an appropriate size. Most companies will provide a size guide going by the height of the horse to help you find the right boot size. (Woof Wears size guide can be found here.)
The overreach boot must be fitted snug enough around the pastern to prevent it from moving too much. The boots should then cover the bulbs of the heel and have approximately 1cm of clearance from the ground, when stood on a hard, flat surface. If the boot comes down too low there is a danger of the horse stepping onto the boot and tripping over. A large boot will also touch the ground every time the horse puts its foot down resulting in constant rubbing up and down the pastern which should be avoided.
If the boot being used has an anti-spin device, you must ensure that the device is located snugly in between the bulbs of the heel. Furthermore the straps must be done up tightly enough so that you can just get your index finger between the collar of the boot and the horses pastern.
As every horse’s hoof shape it different Woof Wear have developed some of their overreach boots to allow you to trim a section of the strike area to obtain a customised fit (see Kevlar Overreach Boot for example).
What is an Anti-spin device?
In some overreach boots (like the Club Overreach Boot for example) you will find an anti-spin device that locates snugly into the back of the heel to give the horse even greater protection from overreach injuries by preventing the boot from spinning around the hoof.
Having the fastening on the front of the boot also stops it from being opened when the horse overreaches and makes it much easier to fasten. Finally extra protection can be added to the back of the boot to offer reinforced protection to the horse’s heels at all times. Woof Wears Smart Overreach Boot for example features innovative Poron® Xrd™ foam in the key strike area.