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We Are Flying Solo

September 21, 2011

This Is How We Roll: Bell Boots

Every time I sit on this young horse, I get more excited about him. He has all the goods to take me wherever I want to go and he just blows me away anew each day. I feel sure he will go lame very soon, he IS a horse! After some transition work tonight, I did a few little jumps and pointed him at a 2'3" vertical with a mess of hay bales and orange cones piled beneath. He had not been presented to it before so I grabbed some mane. He analyzed the rail in one breath, sat back on his hocks and hopped right over. After I got over being weirded out by feeling a horse who sits on his hocks at the base of a fence, I hugged his awesome little neck. Kickass.

But what I am SUPPOSED to be talking about now is bell boots. With Solo, it is always a conundrum as he wears them full-time when he is in work. The best ones to use were the gum pull-on type. However, when competing on a regular basis and changeing boots around all the time, it is a MASSIVE COLOSSAL ANNOYING PAIN to pull those on and off over shoes all the time. I tried the velcro type for a while, but we shredded about a pair a month and buying bell boots in large lots got old quick. The no-turn kind pretty much always turned and stayed too wet for my liking.

I settled on this solution: petal bell boots. Yup, retro to the max. But they are inexpensive and were more durable than anything else I put on him. They moved constantly which kept air moving in and let dampness dry out. You can replace petals and straps individually; I love things with spare parts. And the most fun: you can colour coordinate! Well, to a point -- thus far I have only been able to find them in red, black, white, navy, and grey. But you can mix and match petals should you so desire. I got them from VTO Saddlery and always keep a pair in the trailer.


  1. If you are willing to order from Britain, more colors:

  2. Retro Chic! Such a blast from the past. I haven't seen these in any of the catalogs for a while and seeing them brings back memories of how I'd nearly memorize tack catalogs when I was a kid. I remember seeing them sold in lots of colors.

    So glad you're having a great time with Encore!

  3. Ask and ye shall receive, folks -- Seema hath offered you more colours!!!

    Thanks, SP! I know, I remember seeing them on all the racking horses at the county fair as a kid, I had no idea they were still around until someone in a forum clued me in!

  4. I love petals because of the thwappity thwappity they make when a horse is cantering around!
    But I also am a pull-on convert.... used to do the velco thing but my old barn manager from when I was a WS totally changed me for life! Ever since, I pulled on bells every day to ride AND to turnout.... so at least twice a day, every day. Maybe I'm weird but I kinda like it!

  5. Oh no, I HATE the thwapity-thwap petal bells! Those things were quickly vetoed at my h/j barn and I have to agree. :-)

  6. AHAHAH, the hunters can't take it. Woohoo, now I have a new reason to love them: they annoy hunter people!

    I like the sound too, Andrea, although honestly, at this point, I don't even notice it. I've got way too many other things I'm thinking about!

  7. I hate pull on bell boots :) I always end up with a black eye. Yay, on jumping scary stuff.

  8. Petals. wow. pony club flashback time. Love dthe noise, loved rethreading them to match xc colors...

    But I remember there being a safety issue with them? I can't remember what specifically happened, but a barnmate's horse got hung up on a jump with them and did some pretty nasty damage since the plastic "belt" didn't break free.
    That might have been a total fluke but I remember garnering some serious scowls when I opted to still flappity-flap around in my OH SO CUTE petal boots on my pony..

  9. Jess, glad to hear I am not the only one who punches myself in the face while using pull-ons!

    Gingham, never heard about that. But I can't think it would be any riskier than using any other bell boot. Solo has proven the straps can break, so I'd chalk the jump catch up as a terrible fluke. I would say chances of catching boots on things are pretty dang slim.

  10. He sounds like an awesome horse, especially for a baby! Love the petal bell boots too. I bet they look super cute on him :)

  11. I keep wanting those, but haven't actually splurged yet. Any trouble with horses getting used to the noise?

  12. Nah, SB, they don't seem to even notice it. Go ahead, make a $10 splurge, I give you permission!

    Ellie, Encore hasn't tried them yet, but oh he will!

  13. Confirmed gum pull-on girl here.

    I've always had good luck with using the Dover Easy Stretch bell boots

    As for removing (which I only did before dressage and the farrier), I would pick up the foot into the normal "picking" position, put my fingers through between pastern and boot on the sides of the hoof, thumbs holding the outside, and start pulling/walking to the rear, telling the horse "Pull".

    Every horse I've done this with, even if they never had pull-ons before, learns pretty quickly to pull their leg forward while you walk towards the rear. Since you keep your hands low, they shouldn't fly up into your face. Really, the horse learns to do the pulling, so you don't have to work hard.

    Dover's are great because the neck has just the right stretch... I have nicked my fingers up from clinches a few times, though. =)