Open vs closed tendon boots: which ones to choose?

Protecting your horse’s front legs should be every rider’s priority. Tendon boots are among the most popular horse boots around the world. Those boots can effectively protect your horse from getting injured. In fact, the tendon running down the back of your horse’s leg needs protection since it can get quite easily hurt in case of a fall-down. If your horse takes part in high energy activities, like show jumping, it is vital that it receives the highest possible protection. Nowadays, there are two different types of tendon boots: open and closed ones. So, when we compare open vs closed boots, which ones are the best for your beloved horse?

What exactly are tendon boots?

Tendon boots are specifically designed to be used on the front legs of a horse in order to protect them from potent injuries. Those boots normally offer double protection. They protect the inside of your horse’s legs from brushing injuries and they also, protect the front legs from strikes occurring when the hind leg extends forward approaching the front leg. Choosing the best type of tendon boots will guarantee that you offer your horse the highest protection against injuries.

Open vs closed tendon boots

Open tendon boots are the most popular type of boots for show jumpers. They protect both the inside, outside and back of your horse’s front leg and they can effectively protect your horse’s major tendon from getting injured. The unique feature of those boots is the fact that they offer no protection to the cannon bone, so horses will still feel a pole if they knock it or brush it while they are performing a jump. That in turn, encourages horses to be more careful in the future and therefore, they can further develop their skills and technique towards jimping without fear of getting hurt.

On the other hand, closed tendon boots offer some extra protection, since they effectively shelter your horse’s front legs from getting injured due to hitting on solid fences or similar surfaces. The cannon bone is a really important part of a horse’s structure and if damaged, your horse may be unable to ride for a long time. It is also, capable of providing your horse with the stability it is in need of in order to support its body weight. Therefore, when your horse takes part in races or shows that include solid fences, like the Cross Country course, it is much preferable to opt for this type of tendon boots.

What are the materials for each type of boots?

Typically, open tendon boots are made of hard plastic or linen outer material and enriched with neoprene, gel or even shock-absorbing foams. Some open tendon boots combine a hardwearing, nylon-laminated outer material with a soft neoprene interior that offers not only comfort but extra ventilation and airflow within the boot, as well. The high-density materials used to make this type of horse boots ensure that the pressure will be evenly distributed during a jump and the impact will be mostly absorbed. Traditionally, leather lined with sheepskin are some materials that have been used a lot in the past, but a series of resistant synthetic materials have made their appearance on the global market, nowadays.

Closed tendon boots are usually made of a hard plastic exterior, leather-looking and extremely durable. They feature polycarbonate shields that can both protect your horse’s legs and make the boots lightweight at the same time. Closed tendon boots are specifically designed to avoid holding water during use. Therefore, cross country courses and hunting can be performed without fear. Their interior high-density foam ensures added tendon protection and provides your horse with a feeling of comfort.

How to choose the best type of boots for your horse?

Whe you wish to purchase a high-quality and effective type of boots for your horse, the first thing you should consider is their purpose. Are they intended to offer some basic protection to your horse’s tendons? Does your horse suffer from some type of injury and you wish to offer it some extra security and comfort? The specific type of use is gonna determine the type of boots you should purchase. If your horse takes part in jump courses, then an open tendon boot is the best option, because apart from protection, it offers the additional benefit of enabling the horse to feel its legs and develop his concentration skills. On the other hand, for a cross country road or any type of shows that include solid fences and other similar obstacles, it is vital that you opt for a closed tendon pair of boots. Then you can rest assured that no significant damage will occur even if your horse falls or hits such an obstacle.

What are the pros and cons of open tendon boots?

Open tendon boots can safely shield your horse’s front legs from getting hurt during jumping. They provide some solid protection to the front tendons that exist in the back of a horse’s legs in case his back hooves move too close to the front legs. There is a variety of available materials on the market, but all of them guarantee comfort and protection all at the same time. Since the front of the horse’s leg stays open, this type of boots offer the unique benefit of letting the horse feel a fence pole if it hits it. After all, the lightweight poles existing in showjumping courses do not pose a serious danger for your horse even if he hits them. Another benefit of these boots is the fact that in most cases they are easy-to-wear and they fit the horse’s legs perfectly. They usually have some elastic straps and hook closures that make it easy for any rider to put them on his horse’s legs and secure them properly.

Although open tendon boots are a great option for showjumping courses, they are not allowed in the hunting ring or in a cross counry road. The reason is that they cannot protect your horse’s legs if they hit on a solid surface, like a metal fence. That’s a serious drawback of this type of boots. Another common problem with open tendon boots is the fact that their durability and quality can vary a lot. Consumers should be really careful to choose a pair of boots that guarantees heat protection, soft interior lining and a hard exterior. Cheap quality of the used materials can result in insufficient protection or worse, more stress to the horse.

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What are the pros and cons of closed tendon boots?

Closed tendon boots are a must if your horse takes part in cross country courses, hunting rounds or high-energy activities. They can effectively protect the horse’s precious front legs from getting severly hurt and they can guarantee your hourse’s safety even if he hits a solid and hard surface, like a wooden or metal fence. They are typically made of a sturdy, yet extremely lightweight material that will not put much extra weight to your hourse’s front legs. Their durable strike pads promise to offer your horse protection to the interior side of their leg, as well. Moreover, this type of boots is easy-to-clean and maintain, and most importantly, they do not absorb water. They come in a variety of colors and designs and they are also, a good option for horses with a predisposition to injuries, thanks to their ability to offer some good protection and stability, as well.

On the other hand, closed tendon boots limit the sensations a horse can feel during a course and for this reason, they should not be used during training for a showjumping course. Despite being lightweigh in general, consumers should be really careful and ask about the boot’s weight and its heat-insulation rating to avoid putting some unnecessary extra weight upon their horse.

Choosing the best tendon boots online...

After you have decided on the type of boots that matches your horse’s needs best, you should then inquire about the specific features of each product. With so many available choices on the market nowadays, horse owners may feel overwhelmed and concerned about their final choice. Here is a list of some of the best and most highly rated boots of each category you can purchase on

Back on Track Royal Tnedon Boot: Back Track Royal Tendon

Professional’s Choice Tendon Open Front: Professionals Choice Tendon Front Shock

Roma Magnetic Open Front Boots: Roma Magnetic Open Front Boots

Closed tendon boots

-Professional’s Choice Boots Flexor Tendon: Professional’s Choice Boots Flexor Tendon

Horze Tendon Boots: Horze Tendon Boots Black

Kavallerie Dressage Boots for Horses: Dressage Boots Horses Kavallerie Lightweight

Tendon boots can play an important role in protecting your horse from unfortunate injuries. There are two major type of tendon boots on the market nowadays: open and closed ones. Each type should be used under different circumstances and each horse owner should determine the type of boots that matches his horse’s needs at the moment. The quality of the product, its durability and lightweight nature along with the materials it is made of are really important factors when choosing the best tendon boot. Most importantly, each pair of boots should match your horse’s legs perfectly and make him feel secure and comfortable while riding.