Although man has used shoes on horses for centuries to protect their hooves, actual leg boots are a relatively new invention, only coming in the last 100 years or so. When first developed, the were purely protective in nature. However, as horses moved away from being beasts of burden and transportation with the advent of the combustion engine. Horses became more and more animals of leisure, pleasure and sport. Prior to this, horses used for pure sport were most likely owned by the wealthy upper classes and royalty that used them for fox hunting and racing types of endeavors.
The outlook for horses changed even more toward the end of the industrial revolution here in America. Fading fast were the need for the horse and buggy and the need for long and dangerous cattle drives to the rail heads of Kansas. The railroad simply came to the cattle producer. However, this did not negate the need of the horse by the working cowboy on the larger ranches. What the rail, the horseless carriage and barbed wire did do was to bring more leisure time to the working cowboys of the west. What did these cowboys and cowgirls do with their leisure time? Well, to put in frank terms, the bet with each other on how well their horse and them as a team could complete ranch related skills using time as the measuring factor. Today, we call that bet our “entry fee”. Out of these local competitions grew inter-ranch rivalries and out of them were born regional competitions and from all of this, grew, roping, cutting, barrel racing, reining and the list goes on.
Why is this history lesson relevant to the development of the modern horse boot? The answer is simple, MONEY. Horses that performed well in competitions began to have associated values with their performance. Meaning others would either want to buy the animal, breed to it or buy it’s offspring. This is where the market started and the product that we know today began. If you had a horse of some value back then, you could not simply call your agent and insure him. Modern Horse Insurance did not exist. What you did was look for ways to protect his health and welfare with the means available to you. Protective Boots were one of the first products that helped insure your horse’s health….