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Brushing Boots for Cobs? Pros and Cons

Brushing boots are great protective devices for horses, especially when they are being exercised or trained. For very small horses such as cobs, owners often wonder if brushing boots are even necessary, and there are, in fact, pros and cons to letting your cob wear any type of boots on its legs. Horse owners seem to go back and forth about whether or not brushing boots are needed on cobs, but the truth is that for the most part, it’s up to each owner to decide for themself because in essence, there are advantages and disadvantages to your cob wearing brushing boots, or any other type of boots for that matter.

Why Bandages and Boots?

Horses of all sizes and ages are often found wearing bandages or boots on their legs, and the reasons why are plentiful. Whether you’re training them for competition or just taking them out for exercise, horses’ legs can rub up against each other and against poles and fences, so protecting them can make a big difference in the horse’s comfort level. Bandages are usually used to provide compression and support so that the horse’s legs don’t become inflamed over time. The bandages are good because they are long and flexible, so you can use them on your horse regardless of its size or leg length.

Boots, on the other hand, usually come in various sizes to fit all types of horses, and they are not stretchy but instead, they are usually made out of some type of shock-absorbing material and enclosed with something like Velcro so that the perfect fit can be achieved. They are especially useful for very active horses because they provide the support those horses need and protect their legs from the pain that is felt when horses’ legs are brushed up against something. But, if you’re curious whether you should place any type of brushing boots on a cob, the opinions vary depending on which horse owner you’re listening to.

In short, boots are usually used for a horse’s protection, whereas bandages are usually used when the horse is recovering from an injury of some type. Bandages are stretchy and soft, while boots are usually a little firmer, so when trying to choose between the two, you need to keep in mind the main purpose of each of them and make your decision accordingly.

What Are the Best Reasons for Choosing Brushing Boots for Your Cob?

Since cobs are smaller horses, it is usually more important that you choose to provide them with brushing boots because their legs are often a little more sensitive to scrapes or bumps against wooden fences and anything else they may bump up against when the horse is exercising or training. Many horse owners, in fact, choose to keep brushing boots on all of their horses most of the time, simply because they provide the extra support and protection they need anytime they’re doing anything outside.

Because of this, brushing boots can be found in various colors and even in various materials, including boots that have fleece linings for extra comfort and protection. Putting brushing boots on a cob is effective for many reasons, and they are made more for support than anything else, so the sets of boots you find in stores and online always provide great support to give the horse more comfort during any type of activity.

Why Would People Not Use Brushing Boots?

Of course, as with anything else, there are also some disadvantages of placing brushing boots on any type of horse, including a cob. For one thing, when training a horse to jump over fences, having any type of boots on the horse’s legs may make the horse more hesitant to jump on its own because of the support the boots provide. This is why many experts recommend that when training a cob, you either not use boots during the training period or you use the open-front type of boots. This way, the horse can “feel” what it’s supposed to be doing and won’t be as hesitant to pick up its legs and jump over the fence the way it’s supposed to.

Simply put, training without boots reminds the horse to pick up its feet when it gets near a fence, whereas the boots often make the horse feel a little too much support and it’s not as likely to get used to jumping over the fences as quickly. This is also why many experts recommend only wearing boots at certain times. If the horse is used to having the boots on at all times, it will become too used to them and won’t be as likely to learn things such as jumping and lunging quickly.

When horses wear brushing boots, they can become a bit lazy. They know they are wearing the boots and that it won’t hurt when they brush up against something, such as a fence or even their other leg. Therefore, many of them won’t lift their leg high enough to jump over the fence, so it can actually hinder training. On the other hand, some horses feel a little more confident wearing the boots and, therefore, lift their legs higher and learn to jump over fences a lot faster. So as you can see, wearing boots depends a lot on your horse’s personality, and you have to become familiar with that personality to determine whether or not you should use boots on your own horse.

Do Brushing Boots Hurt a Young Horse?

Brushing boots will not hurt a horse unless they are the wrong size or they are fitted too tightly on the horse’s legs. When you’re considering placing brushing boots on a cob, it is good to keep this in mind because with young or smaller horses, there is a tendency among some owners to tighten up the boots just a little too much. Boots that are too tight can hurt the tendons and make any type of exercise or training more painful for the horse, instead of making it less painful for it.

Another reason to make sure the boot fits properly is because you don’t want the boot to slip while the horse is running or jumping. This can cause numerous problems, the most obvious one being that the horse’s legs won’t be protected and you may not even realize this while you’re riding it. While some owners claim they use brushing boots only during training and others claiming they only use them after the horse is already trained, it is clear that each “expert” may have a different opinion on this topic, but the one constant is this: if you’re going to put boots on your horse, you have to make sure they fit properly and are neither too tight nor too loose.

Injuries and Brushing Boots

Of course, one of the main reasons many horse owners choose to place brushing boots on a cob or any other horse is protection from injuries. Especially in younger or smaller horses, injuries happen more often than they do in older or bigger horses, and even if an accident does occur while a horse is being trained or exercised, the injury sustained can be much worse if the horse wasn’t wearing boots during the ride. When a cob brushes against a fence or his legs brush against one another, damage to tendons and even bones can occur, but if the horse is wearing boots of any type, the damages can be much less severe.

Fortunately, reputable companies that make all types of riding boots for horses offer the boots in many different sizes, which includes boots made specifically for a cob. In fact, today’s riding boots can be very fancy indeed, even being made with special magnets that provide the ultimate in comfort. The magnets are set in the right position in the boots and cover the two main blood vessels in the horse’s lower leg area, giving the horse the perfect combination of support and comfort, not to mention protection, so that both riding and training produce the best results.

Some Final Thoughts

Brushing and other types of boots for horses are made to protect and support the horses’ legs, and they provide a lot of advantages when using them on younger or smaller horses. Using brushing boots on a cob is usually advantageous, but there are things you need to keep in mind when deciding if this is something you wish to do, including your horse’s own distinct personality. Since orthopedic injuries, especially in the lower leg area, are often seen in a vet’s office, most horse owners’ decision to use brushing or other boot types is usually a good decision to make.

Although there are downsides to using brushing boots, especially while training the horse, the consensus seems to be that allowing your horse to wear these boots is a good idea. They provide the support and comfort your horse needs while training or exercising, and they do a great job at protecting the horse’s legs from scratches, bruises, and other damages that can occur when they brush up against fences or poles, making them very useful items.

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