“ Brand: Shires / Type: Equestrian - Horse Boots „
In a few of my horsey related reviews I've mentioned that my one horse suffers with various problems and that I try and do everything to make him as comfortable as possible. Since he was diagnosed with most of his issues about two years ago I can now focus on what he actually needs instead of trying things for the sake of it which is quite an expensive way of doing things. Not everything has to be expensive with horses and simple things are sometimes the most affective.
Because of his main disorder (navicular) which affects his feet and legs he has special metal shoes fitted every 6 weeks. Instead of the bog standard horse shoe he has a shoe designed to balance his feet and give him more support. These shoes aren't the cheapest but certainly not the most expensive and he has been known to lose shoes in the field so as soon as he had his brand spanking new shoes I wanted to try and do everything I could for them to stay on!
Now there isn't much you can do to keep a horse's shoe on yourself (obviously!) but one thing I use (as well as many other horse owners) are over reach boots. Over reach boots are commonly made from rubber making them incredibly durable but flexible. They are worn around the pastern and cover the hoof, almost to the floor. They are to protect the horse from an over reach injury which is when a horse's back foot strikes into the back of the front foot causing deep cuts which take time to heel due to the region where the skin has cut. However, over reach boots are regularly worn when riding (horses can over reach at any time) and from preventing a horse to pull their front shoes off.
I have quite a few pairs of over reach boots and the ones that I have bought and are still going strong are Shires Over Reach Boots. Shires are a huge brand which sells a large range of horse, rider and stable related products. Basically anything you want for yourself or your horse you can get from Shires. My local equestrian shop is a Shires stockist and had a large range of their over reach boots in all different colours. I opted for white and baby blue as they would be the easiest colours to spot in a field.
Shires over reach boots are a soft flexible rubber and are slightly ribbed on the outside. They fasten by two Velcro straps, one is larger than the other and secure well over the hoof. My horse is a rather slim build with slim legs and small hooves for his size (he is 16.3hh) so I had to opt for a smaller size than I should of done for a horse this size. They fit my horse really well and after making sure they were fully secure I turned him out in the field and hoped they would still be on him when I came to get him back in for the night.
Fortunately they were still on 8 hours later (horses can tear them off!) albeit a bit grubby but they were on and the Velcro still securely fastened. Taking them off is easy as you simply undo the Velcro which is actually quite tough which is fine by me as they are secure. I wash mine off every time I take them off him just by dunking into a bucket of water as if there was a lot of mud on the underneath of the over reach boot it could irritate the horses skin.
So far I have had these over reach boots for about two years and albeit they are looking worn and a bit scruffy they have not torn and the Velcro is still stitched on securely. However, the Velcro fastening despite being still in place is not as secure when they are on the horse due to getting clogged up with bits of hay, straw, mud etc but this is easily removed.
Shires Over Reach Boots are available in quite a few colours; baby blue, black, white, brown and pink. They are available in four sizes; small, medium, large and extra large. The boots cost around £6.99 - £7.99 and are available from Shires stockists both online and in store.
I think these boots are a cheap way of keeping my horses shoes on and they considering they are relatively cheap they have lasted me for nearly 2 years and I have no doubts I will be choosing them again when the time comes to replace them. I'd recommend them to anyone who has a horse prone to pulling shoes or over reaching. However, please note that over reach boots can rub if worn for long periods of time, although you can use Vaseline on the pasterns to reduce this.