* Prices may differ from that shown
As horses are prone to getting knocks and bumps on their legs, we use brushing boots to protect them. These are designed to wrap around the legs with a strike pad on the inside to protect the area most commonly knocked when the horse 'brushes' (or strikes one leg against the other).
However, I find that sometimes brushing boots can cause rubbing, particularly on one of my horses who has white legs which are more susceptible to rubbing. Sometimes this horse will need to wear brushing boots in the field all day and her legs can become sweaty underneath them which in turn causes them to rub. Similarly with exercise if we go for a long hack. In addition to this, bits of dirt and mud, or sometimes particles of sand from a school surface can track up inside the boot which can again cause problems.
Fleece lined brushing boots have been the answer to these problems for me and these Westropp ones fit the bill perfectly.
----- Materials -----
The Westropp brushing boots are made from 7mm neoprene which is a good thickness without being too thick. They are lined with fleece which fits snugly against the horse's legs and stops dirt or sand from getting between the boot and the leg.
The fleece also helps by absorbing sweat and therefore reduces the chance of the boot rubbing. However, because with neoprene and fleece these boots are quite thick, they can be warm and I've found that in warm weather they are a bit damp with sweat when I take them off. Still no rubbing though, but it isn't good for a horse's legs to produce excess heat when working so I tend to keep these boots more for the colder months.
The strike pads are made from a cushioned, moulded PVC and seem to be hardy enough to protect from most situations.
The fastenings are wide Velcro straps - 3 for the front boots and 4 for the back. The Velcro is very strong and fastens securely. This is great but makes it a little harder to remove them! On the back boots they are finished with an edging at the very ends of the straps, this I find very useful as it makes it a lot easier to grab hold of the Velcro to remove the boots.
----- Fit -----
I have the full size fronts and hinds for my horses. I find they fit really well with excellent coverage - some boots can be a bit skimpy but these extend long enough to cover almost all of the vulnerable cannon bone area. They are also a generous fit around the horse's leg with just the right amount of overlap, I do hate boots which have a gap where they meet. As both of my horses have quite chunky legs, these may be a bit wide for some finer types, and in this case you may find that there is too much overlap.
----- Durability and Washing -----
I have had a couple of sets of these boots for a few years now. They have been used and abused a LOT so I think I can qualify as having given them a full testing! I've used them for turnout all day in the field, hacking and jumping. They have been covered in mud, sand and sweat. Sometimes I hose them off and leave them hanging up to dry - they don't take very long to dry if the weather isn't too damp. Sometimes I will leave them hanging up dirty and then when they are dry I just brush off any mud etc. Every so often I bung them in the washing machine on a 30 or 40 degree wash and then dry them in the house. If I wash them in the evening they are always dry by morning.
After all this, they hardly show any signs of wear and tear and after a wash they look pretty much as good as new. One has a slight rip but this doesn't interfere with the fit or protection it offers. I am very impressed with the durability of these boots.
----- Value for Money -----
These will usually cost around £20-25 a pair, but I did manage to get a couple of pairs from Equestrian Clearance for £15 so it is worth shopping around. Even at full price I think these represent excellent value for money as they will last you for years and are easily the best quality fleece lined brushing boots I have found.
An essential part of my every day equipment kit