What is over-reaching?
The term ‘over-reaching’ means both the action and the subsequent injury. 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 over reach boots?
Overreach boots are designed to protect the front foot from the striking action of the hind leg. Over-reach boots are worn on front feet and are designed to prevent the injuries described above. The level of protection required will vary between horses and activities.
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 different materials with rubber and neoprene being the most popular.
How do you fit over reach boots?
In order to give maximum possible protection, overreach boots must be fitted correctly and use an appropriate size for the horse/pony. Most companies will provide a size guide to help you find the right boot size.
The overreach boot should be fitted snug enough around the pastern to prevent it from moving too much. 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.
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, or ripping the boot. A boot which is too large will also touch the ground every time the horse puts its foot down resulting in the constant rubbing up and down on the pastern, which should be avoided.
If the boot being used has an anti-spin device, (a small lump on the inside of the overreach boot) you must ensure that the device is located snugly in between the bulbs of the heel.