Why do show jumpers tape their horses’ hooves?

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  • Many show jumpers wrap their horse’s hooves in a wide black tape. H&H asked Robert Maguire to explain why.

    Why is the tape there?

    Robert uses it to secure his horses’ overreach bands, and to prevent them from pulling off shoes — the theory being that if the horse were to tread on a hoof, his foot would slip off the tape rather than catch on the shoe.

    “I’ve been using this tape for a few years, after I noticed lots of other people doing it,” says Robert. “I have a few horses that are prone to pulling their shoes off and this certainly seems to help.”

    The tape is made from an adhesive fabric, and a strip can only be used once.

    What are overreach ‘bands’?

    These stretchy rubber bands, which are becoming very popular in show jumping, differ from traditional bell-shaped overreach boots by sitting closely around the bulbs of the heel and across the front of the hoof.

    They pull over the hoof, so there are no fastenings. They do not move much around the horse’s hoof, reducing rubbing.

    “With overreach bands, there is nothing at the front of the hoof that might otherwise catch on a pole,” explains Robert. “In a way, it’s like using open-fronted tendon boots.

    “Unlike traditional overreach boots, the bands don’t flap around or get ripped off.”

    Robert does say he has found that the overreach bands can occasionally ride up — but using them in conjunction with hoof tape keeps them more securely in place.

    Who else uses them?

    Peter Charles and Ben Maher have used the hoof tape, and Geoff Luckett and David McPherson have opted for the overreach bands, to name just a few.

    Where can I buy them?

    TESA hoof tape costs around £18 a roll. Contact Culmer Drees (tel: 01892 863785).
    The overreach bands cost around £15 a pair. Contact (tel: 01606 351685) www.equiport.co.uk

    This feature was first published in Horse & Hound (5 October ’06)

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