Knock Knees

Driving home the other day I passed two women riding. One of the horses was wearing knee boots. I haven’t seen them for ages. Probably not since my Stage 2 exam.

So why are knee boots a dying trend? Is it because roads are a better quality and without cobblestones, which makes them less slippery or trip-upable? Or perhaps advances in shoeing styles and techniques, such as natural balance shoes, mean that domestic horses have better foot confirmation and their toes don’t get as long. It could be that our breeding programmes means hooves are a better shape and front legs are a better conformation. Perhaps horses are all better schooled and thus better balanced. Added to the introduction of travel boots, there is less of a requirement for knee boots.

I remember fitting knee boots; top strap just above the chestnut and as tight as possible. I think one finger gap. And the lower strap very loose so that it doesn’t impede the movement of the horse. Hock boots had been removed from the BHS syllabus by the time I trained for it so I’m afraid I’m rather ignorant of the fitting of them. They have almost definitely been replaced by travel boots, which cover and protect the hock.

Thinking about it, I haven’t seen many horses with “broken knees”, which are scarred and knobbly with thick scar tissue.

I’d be interested in knowing who still uses either hock or knee boots and why.

9 thoughts on “Knock Knees

  1. Sparrowgrass Jun 7, 2014 / 4:27 pm

    On our yard every horse or pony that’s hacked wears knee boots. Obviously when is your own horse they couldn’t stop you going without, but they’d try hard to convince you not to, so in practice we all wear them. I have a woofwear pair that are modern looking but still geeky looking. I doubt it is possible to make knee boots that don’t look geeky!

    • therubbercurrycomb Jun 7, 2014 / 5:55 pm

      Cool 🙂 I remember being told that used to be the process. What’s your hacking like? Lots of hills and roads?

      • Sparrowgrass Jun 7, 2014 / 7:04 pm

        No hills but it’s all roads 😦

  2. Susan Friedland-Smith Jun 8, 2014 / 1:55 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever even seen knees boots. Shipping boots, yes, but nothing else that high up. Maybe not in the States? Interesting.

  3. firnhyde Jun 8, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    I know what they are, but also have never seen them out here in the sticks (of Africa). Then again, in our area there is so much farmland that you would have to be looking for a challenge or somewhat daft to do a lot of hacking on the roads. I assume there would be more in the very urban areas where people have no choice but to ride on the roads.

  4. Becky Jun 10, 2014 / 5:42 pm

    The only time I’ve seen hock boots recently is on my Buck Brannaman DVD when they’re used to illustrate the use of hock hobbles 😦

  5. therubbercurrycomb Jun 16, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    Reblogged this on The Rubber Curry Comb and commented:

    One of the horses I hack wears knee boots, and the modern type are much better fitting than the ancient canvas ones with leather pads that we used in my Stage 2 exam.
    Re-reading the original post, I guess knee boots are out of fashion because roads are a better quality, not as slippery, and we don’t have as many cobbled streets! Also advancements in shoeing and road nails will also affect their use as horses are less likely to slip over or trip.

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