The Effects of Weighted Boots on Horses

Written by melissa mccormick
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The Effects of Weighted Boots on Horses
Weighted boots can increase performance in sport horses. (Horse Riding Girl - Horse stopped in front of obstacle image by Kradsmit from Fotolia.com)

Weighted boots are used often on show horses to enhance horse performance. While the boots have proven to increase the jump stride of a horse, some research suggests weighted boots could pose health risks.

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Function

The purpose of weighted boots is to control a horse's jump stride kinematics. More specifically, the weighted boots help to control a horse's hind limbs for cleaner and higher jumps over fences. The boots, which are attached to a horse's hind limbs, can be used during training and during shows.

Show Effects

Weighted boots have a positive effect on horse performance during shows. A Cambridge Journal study found weighted boots on the hind limbs strengthens the lumbar back and increases back extension. Poor performance in shows often is attributed to bad back movement. The study also found that horses wearing weighted or pressure boots gained 30cm more clearance on fences.

Musculoskeletal Effects

Although weighted boots can have positive effects on show performance, research conducted by the University College Dublin suggests weighted boots also could possibly lead to musculoskeletal problems in horses. In the one study conducted, the college found that the horses that wore weighted or pressure boots had more musculoskeletal problems in the limbs than those that did not wear boots. However, although the study shows a correlation between weighted boots and musculoskeletal problems, it still is unclear if the boots are, in fact, the direct cause of those problems.

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