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In a few of my previous horsey related reviews I have touched upon various products for a condition known as mud fever whereby a parasite will basically attach a horse's skin generally on their legs which can cause abrasions, cuts and hair loss. Some horses get it more than others especially with those who have white legs as their skin is a bit more delicate to say those with black legs. Mud fever isn't always severe and some horses may just have a few scabs but others can really suffer with it.
My one horse has four white legs and has been known to get it mildly during the winter months but for the past two years he hadn't suffered up till now! At the beginning of January I noticed a bit of hair loss and immediately started to put a barrier cream on but this didn't help so in the end I decided to purchase leg wraps for him which are suitable for field wear. I purchased Equilibrium Equi-Chaps Close Contact Chaps which are specifically designed to help prevent mud fever.
The chaps have been designed basically to keep a horse's legs dry and out of the mud to prevent the dreaded mud fever. They can be put on the front and back legs and fit like a second skin in order to prevent any irritation. The chaps are incredibly flexible so ideal for a horse walking around in the field. The material is breathable so they won't overheat with them on. The wraps should be on the horse for no longer than 12 hours.
The chaps are incredibly easy to put on (you have to make sure you get the right size) and they fasten with easy to open and close wide velcro straps which manage to keep the chaps in place and secure. When fitted correctly they should fit just below the horse's knee and fit just over the top of the heel and past the heel - they shouldn't be long enough to scrape the floor. On the back legs they just again fit over the top of the hoof and up to the horse's chestnut (this is only on the back legs and is before the hock). As I said it is important to get the right size, you will need to measure your horse's legs to ensure the best fit.
The chaps are made from Stomatex® which has been manufactured by Equilibrium and is helps to regulate the horse's temperature in order they do not overheat. The material is just like neoprene and is incredibly flexible, breathable and best of all tough which is needed when the horse is out in the field. Should the chaps get wet out in the field they do manage to dry quickly which is great as boots and wraps can irritate a horse's skin when they rub. The material does have a slightly raised pattern of little circles which is just part of the fabric and the item.
My horse has been wearing them now for nearly two months and his legs are certainly a lot less pink than they were and they haven't got any worse. It is important to note that these chaps need to be put on dry legs not wet legs. They are better off for horses which are stabled as when I put them on my horse in the morning his legs are already clean and dry and when he comes in on an evening I let them dry and store them again before I need them the next day. If your horse lives out and their legs are already wet you will need to wait until the legs are dry and clean before you put them on.
One thing that did concern me was any mud and debris going up the chaps which can obviously cause irritation but once they were on my horse's legs they really are like a second skin so nothing can get under the chaps at all. It also helps that my fields even though they are wet they are not overly muddy. I like the fact that they are so flexible they do not restrict my horse's movement in the field whatsoever which is great. They really are tough as he isn't the gentlest horse in the field and regularly gallops round and they still look as good as new and the velcro straps stay in place so the chaps don't slip or move. They also offer slight protection for overreaching and brushing.
I wash my set of chaps once a week and they wash well in a cool wash and dry in around 30 minutes which is great. You shouldn't put them in the tumble drier as this can affect the material so just leave them to dry naturally. I really wouldn't be without them now and knowing that his legs are getting better is the most important thing. They were a great investment.
Sizes: Extra small, small, medium, medium wide, large and extra large
Price: Around £56 to £62
Important: Not suitable for horses with neoprene