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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Shipping Boots, Wraps, or Naked Legs?

The debate over whether or not to wrap my horse's legs while trailering hasn't really been an issue until recently.  I always wrapped with pillows and standing wraps as a kid, and then with Dreamy, I always used shipping boots which she had zero issues with.  It was a no brainer for me to wrap legs while shipping a horse.

However, Ellie presents an entirely different situation for me because she is young and came to me with no experience.  Last spring, about a year ago now, I started introducing her to bell boots, splint boots, and standing wraps.  It all went smoothly and without issue.  


bell boots are no big thing
The shipping boots I own are too large for Ellie, despite the fact they are cob sized.  I did try them on her a few times and walked her around to get used to them, but it was clear they would not work for hauling her.  I was afraid the fronts especially were going to slide right off.  And I feel that no wraps are better than wraps that are in danger of coming off and creating an issue.

dressage boots are fine too

But trailering her all last year naked legged really made me nervous.  Horse legs are so fragile!  And Ellie has proven to be a good hauler, so I am feeling as though she would be ok with properly fitted wraps.  I figured maybe she needed pony sized shipping boots to fit properly, so I set off on an internet search.  I found a pair from Rambo and thought they looked like they might work.

Sadly, when they arrived, while the height was good, the circumference/width wasn't right, so the front of her legs was exposed.  Ugggg.  This wasn't going to work either.

I exchanged the pony-sized Rambos for cob sized Rambos and they do fit better.  The fronts still seem a tad large to me, but they are definitely better fitting than the Dover boots.

Part of me feels like maybe I should just stick with pillow wraps and standing wraps of my childhood days.  We would even add bell boots for added protection.  The problem is there is STILL going to be an exposed area with this setup.

random internet pic, but you can at least see the exposed pastern area between
the bottom of the standing wrap and the top of the bell boot
I really love shipping boots because of the amount of protection they provide, even going up over the hocks.  I am obviously completely overthinking this situation and should probably just put the cob sized Rambo shipping boots on her this year and be done with it haha.  But of course, this is me you are talking about (overthinker extraordinaire) and late winter means I have had PLENTY of time to overthink about this issue.  

So throw me some opinions, blog land.  What are your thoughts on using shipping boots versus standing wraps/bells versus naked legs when trailering??

Comments

  1. I think because our hauls were usually relatively short and we lived in a hot climate, we hauled with naked legs most of the time. When we hauled to big shows that were 6+ hr hauls, we usually did standing wraps, if anything to help with stocking up. I'm not a huge fan of shipping boots for the exact reason you described - I can never find them to fit just right.

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    1. Ellie's leg size is definitely posing a problem with the shipping boots. I agree about them being super hot, too!

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  2. I have always shipped Remus naked. There is no center wall (It is open) in my trailer so banging is minimum. He has never hurt himself (knock on wood) and had no issues. Even to haul him from KY to TN (he of course wasnt wrapped on the big rig) i just threw him in and hauled him 5-6 hours. But if i were you and want to wrap I would just do whaty ou are talking about and wrap with bells. Unless you were hauling long distances. I am not much help am I sorry? :)

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    1. I have a large box stall in my trailer, so like Remus, Ellie has a lot of room. I just feel so nervous shipping her bare legged! But she was fine all last year. Ugggg I am too much of an overthinker LOL!

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  3. i use Back on Track quick wraps for most travel, tho i'll generally use standing wraps for compression after an event like running xc or something.

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    1. I have seen a few others also use the BoT quick wraps for trailering. Maybe those would fit her better than shipping boots? Hmmmm....

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  4. It's a big topic. I used to haul in wraps and then the boots. Now I only put a pair of bell boots on the front and that's it. I think that the boots cause heat and on long hauls might not be good. I know that commercial hauler often don't do shipping wraps/boots because they can come unwrapped or slip.

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    1. That is exactly my thinking. I think bells on the front is a good idea for sure.

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    2. ha this is the first year Remus has not LIVED in bell boots for turnout and trailering. This is also the year of MUD FROM HELL SOOOOOO :)

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    3. You could look at these: https://www.sprucewoodtack.com/lemieux-turnout-boots.html. I have always thought that they would make good shipping boots.

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    4. Ooooh, those are interesting boots! I will have to do some searching and reading!

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  5. Definitely not bandages as I am far too lazy. I used them all the time when I was younger, and they are tricky to wrap low enough to cover everything but not be able to be stepped on.
    I generally use shipping boots these days. I still find them tough to get on tight enough that they stay where I want them, I saw a pro-groom video tip about putting them on a bit high and then sliding them down, so I will try that next time.
    But at the very least, front bell boots.

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    1. I agree it is so hard to get the standing wraps down low enough to cover and that shipping boots like to slide down. Good tip about putting them on high to start with!

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  6. I've always used standing wraps and bell boots to ship in. I like that they give a bit of compression and that I can slather liniment or poultice under there as needed for the ride home.

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  7. Pillow wraps + bell boots for us. My guy simply cannot horse with shipping boots. The theatrics that ensue when I try to make him wear them (and then God forbid get on the trailer) are more dangerous than a trailer ride with a small area unprotected. I also bed deeply with shavings, hoping that traction might factor in...

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    1. Hahahaha omg some horses definitely do NOT like the feeling of the high shipping boots.

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  8. Mine don't wear anything on their legs when shipping. I do it mostly out of laziness, partly out of it was usually too hot (in CA in the summer) to wrap. We own the shipping wraps and they kept falling off/getting kicked off by the end of a drive so I just stopped bothering. When Nilla broke her leg kicking in the trailer, the vet actually said it would have been worse if she'd been wrapped because the wrap would have gotten stuck in the metal and then she probably would have torn something getting the leg back. Breaks heal faster/better than soft tissue injuries. Obviously that was a really specific anecdote, but it's food for though. I'm sure for every horror story about a wrap making something worse, there's an equal story of a horse who was protected from an injury by wraps. If you're going to spend all your drive worrying though, go ahead and wrap.

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    1. See, Nilla's story is exactly why I wonder about just going naked. There are pros and cons to both sides, and it is hard to decide what to do!

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  9. Growing up, my pony club old lady mentor insisted on shipping bandages, wrapped old school, every time. And we never left the state of Connecticut and lived fairly centrally, so drive times were not excessive.

    Honestly, after shipping Gwyn cross country and being told 'nothing on the legs' and her arrive just fine, twice, being bare, I don't wrap any more for local hauls.

    If I've done something strenuous (endurance rides) and am hauling soon after, I will poultice and wrap for the trailer, but that's more for my recovery routine and not for the traveling specifically.

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    1. I grew up as you did and I think that is why the idea of shipping naked made me so worried all last year haha. Good point about the cross country rides and nothing on legs for that.

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  10. All my life my trainer had me never wrap my horses legs and I understood her reasoning. Then I got Dante and wanted to also leave him naked in the trailer and the other horse clipped him and it cut one of our horse shows very early, Now I just wrap Dante even going 10 minutes down the road lol.

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    1. See, that is why I worry! It just takes one little moment to make it an issue. A friend of mine always shipped with naked legs while I had my horse in shipping boots. We arrived back in Maine one early morning from NJ around 3am and her horse stepped off my trailer and SLICED his leg. It was just a small misstep that ended up being a huge deal. She shipped him in wraps after that! But then again, I have heard horror stories about wraps coming off and causing more damage. There really doesn't seem to be a solid, decisive answer. :-(

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  11. So, I guess for me I look at it as "would I rather my horse have hot, safe legs?" Or, cool, unprotected legs?"
    June isn't great about anything on her back legs, but she is getting better! So, currently, in cool weather, I do shipping boots on front, wraps on the back.
    In hot weather I'll probably wrap all her legs and skip shipping boots, especially for longer hauls. It takes some extra time, and washing afterwards of the wraps, if she makes a mess, but I think it's worth it. Plus, in my experience I've not taken wraps off and had horses legs be overly sweaty or gross.
    Again, this is all opinion based, and there are so many different options!

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    1. I think you are right, the idea of hot, safe legs versus cool, unprotected legs. I am definitely leaning towards wraps instead of boots right now. I think I might put the boots on her in her stall and watch to see how well they stay on.

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