The "Boot Rule" - How Have Things Changed?

Jamie Dieterich, Rules Interpreter, describes how rule changes over the past few years allow competitors a few more options for their equines "footwear:"

The boot rule was changed a few years ago to allow gaiters and attachments above the coronet. One key aspect has been whether the extra "parts" or attachments are an integral part of the boot, necessary for its function of protecting the sole, or if they are "accessories" and thus leg protection, which is not allowed.

In practice, this distinction between "allowed" and "not allowed" was very hard to make and has caused frustration among rules interpreters and riders alike. In considering the initial change to allow attachments, straps and gaiters for hoof boots, most of the Judges Committee believed that any type of hoof boot conferred minimal, if any, competitive advantage. Likewise, many think there is there is no competitive advantage in using an optional sock or wrap under a boot or gaiter, and that trying to make the distinction is splitting hairs.

The most recent change is to allow socks or wraps under the hoof boot or their parts, which gives the rider more options to choose what works best for the horse.

The actual wording of the rule is as follows:

E. Hoof Protection/ Leg Protection

  1. There are no shoeing restrictions.
  2. All types of hoof boots that provide sole protection are allowed. However, any attached strap, keeper, gaiter, or accessory must not extend above the pastern. Socks and wraps under hoof boots or any of their parts are allowed if they do not extend above the pastern. The judges may request to observe the area covered by the attached strap, keeper, gaiter, or accessory.
  3. Protective devices, such as bell boots, splint boots or wraps, are not permissible on the legs of horses except as part of hoof sole protections as allowed under Section 5 E2. The leg is defined as all structures above and including the coronet.

It's hard to imagine every scenario that might come up. Feel free to ask questions of your particular judge.

The Judge's Corner

List of Region 1 Leisure Division Judges

The following people are approved Leisure Division judges:

  • Jamie Dieterich
  • Angie Meroshnekoff
If you need to get in touch with one of them and don't have contact info, drop us a note and we'll get you the info.

Articles about Judging

Jamie Dieterich, a Region 1 Horsemanship Judge, has provided us with a couple of high-level articles about what judges are looking for in general, and how to approach a ride to meet the judge's expectations.

  • Horsemanship Judging Explained. (By the way, I gave it that title - not Jamie!) is an overview of how points are allocated in horsemanship judging, and some specifics on what the judges are looking for.
  • Ride Your Own Ride is a set of tips on how to stay with your horse, and make decisions based on his behavior, rather than just following the leader.
  • Judging Q and A is just that: Jamie answers a couple of often-asked (and mysterious to some of us) horsemanship questions.