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At the end of November I ended up taking on a horse for a friend who was having a few family issues and didn't have the time to look after him so I agreed I would keep him at my yard until she was ready to ride and sort him out herself. Introducing a new horse to my three is a bit of a nightmare, they are all tall, big horses who can all have a tendency to bully making it slightly hard to introduce a new horse so it has to be done gradually. As lots of running around would be happening I wanted to ensure that all four horses had protection on their legs as no doubt they would be bucking, rearing and galloping around and they would no doubt knock their legs.
Normally for schooling my horses I like to use lightweight wraps or boots but for the field I prefer something sturdier and tougher as the field is where they really let their hair down. My boot of choice is the Double Lock Brushing Boot by Woof Wear. They have been making these boots for years and two of my three pairs are around five years old and are still going strong.
Brushing boots are designed to protect the inside of the horse's leg. Brushing is when the opposite leg brushes into the inside of the leg. This can cause bruising, cuts and abrasions which can be very uncomfortable to the horse and lead to further problems. Therefore the brushing boots help to prevent this.
The Double Lock Brushing Boots are made to be suitable for day to day use (riding and field wear) and for competition suitable for use on all terrains. The brushing boots are made from 5.5mm neoprene which is breathable and doesn't retain water when wet. On the inside of the boots there is a hard wearing padded strike pad which absorbs knocks or bangs and protects the leg. The strike pad is the length of the boot so it protects a lot of the leg. The boots have an ergonomic design and you don't have to buy different shaped boots for the front and back legs which is good.
The straps are what give the boots their name. They are double lock meaning you fasten them once and they have an enclosure which goes over the top of the middle velcro layer making them incredibly secure. Also having these high density straps make them ideal for riding a horse on artificial surfaces or deep going.
The boots are easy to fit and should be placed so they are just about the heel and just below the knee for front legs and on the back legs they just sit above the heel and below the horse's hocks. You need to make sure you have the right size as if they are too big they can be uncomfortable and restrict the horse's movement.
I use these boots on my horses in the field quite a lot especially on my one who has arthritis in his legs as they protect his legs. I also used the boots when I introduced the new horse with my lot. The boots are incredibly tough and rigid which is ideal for field wear as they really do go through the mill especially when a horse is galloping around and knocking into eachother when they play. Even though mine are not particularly new they have certainly lasted well, the neoprene hasn't ripped and the strike pad is still intact albeit with some marks and scratches on. What is great about the boots is that the neoprene is breathable so if my horses do sweat then this is wicked away and the sweat won't irritate their skin with the boots rubbing. The neoprene doesn't retain water which is ideal when they are out in the field as I know the boots won't get wet and rub their legs.
One thing I don't like is how rigid they are as I am concerned that this restricts my horses movements and they are not as fluid as they should be. But as they wear them in the field this doesn't worry me so much but I choose not to use them when I am schooling in the arena but I do like to use them out on the roads when hacking because they are tough and on the roads they need to wear something a bit tough than neoprene alone. The Double Lock Boots are easily washed and can be put in the washing machine on a cool wash. They should be left to dry naturally (they dry very quickly).
For me these boots really do protect the legs well. The neoprene is a great material to use to keep the legs dry and looked after whilst the strike pad will take any heavy knocks or bangs. As I said my boots are quite old now but don't need replacing as they are still in great condition. These boots are definitely a good investment.
The Woof Wear Double Lock Brushing Boots can be purchased both online or in store at all good Woof Wear retailers. They come in either black or white and the sizes available are: small, medium, medium extra wide, large and extra large. Prices are around £33.00 for a pair but this does depend on the retailer.