I intend to make a little foray into eventing this coming summer, so I figured I'd best ask my question here. I am getting to the point where I want more protection on my mare's legs when we work. She is well into 2nd level dressage and although we're both still in the popping over logs stage, I don't want her to hurt herself - I've had enough of lameness this year!
She never strikes hard, but does occasionally leave streaks of dirt so I know she's hitting herself. The thing is, I haven't ever bought real brushing boots before. I have always used an old cheap pair of neoprene splints or an ancient set of leather splint boots that are older than I am. The leather ones are finally dead and the neoprene ones don't even come close to fitting her legs; they're too small. I've been looking at boots online, but I'm just confusing myself more and more.
Here's the long and short of it: I need an inexpensive, quality set of brushing boots for all four legs. She has nice, short cannons and can't use a super-tall boot (not over 10" tall) but she's pretty stout for 15.3hh; over 9" cannon diameter. I cannot use fleece, and I don't want to overheat her legs or get thorns/burrs/sticks/grass stuck everywhere. I don't even know where to begin looking at all the materials available. I am willing to care for leather, but it needs to be able to take a beating. Anything I get needs to be able to take a beating and last. Can you use front brushing boots like these on the hind legs if you size up? Or do you need to use ankle boots instead? Any recommendations or advice? Thanks!
I would just go with Woofs, the Nunn Finer knock offs (or any of the various Nunn Finer brushing boots), or Bar Fs. They are all decent to good quality and hold up pretty well. The price range varies, but expect to pay anywhere from $30-60 a pair for any of the above mentioned brands.
I, personally, find leather boots with buckles far to fiddly for every day use, so prefer velcro straps (I use high end cross country boots for jumping xc). My horse has a neoprene allergy, so I typically use inexpensive fleece lined boots for every day, though I covet a full set of EquiFit brushing boots instead! But, at almost $100 a pair, I can't stomach the cost.
Woof boots are great. I am using a pair of the weatherbetta molded galloping boots (link) and they run big around while not being that tall (fit my 15.3hh guy nicely). They are a plastic-like material so they can occasionally rub but my guy wears them all day in turnout and he hasn't rubbed at all.
So generally with brushing boots, you use the same pair but size up for the hind legs? You don't need another pair specifically for the hind legs?
Depends on the boot, but for the everyday or non-xc ones, the answer is yes.
And I also vote for Woofs or the knock offs. Easy to clean, easy to fit, last a long time, affordable. I prefer the double-lock ones but know others who hate them. I think they have a less expensive version called the "Club" and I like those as well.
I tend to use tendon and fetlock boots for everyday. They work just as effectively and I think are just a bit nicer for the horse to wear especially in the summer. My horse is at prelim level eventing and attempting to establish half pass in dressage. I find tendon and fetlock boots easier to clean and quicker to dry as well which is a massive plus in my books!
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
With a horse that size you may not need the 5 strap boots-- my young guy is a 15.3 chunk and there's no way he could wear them. I use the Horze tendon/ ankle boots a lot for lessons/ lateral work now-- they're a good cheap alternative. If you use boots almost every day it's nice to have two sets in case you have to wash them (I have a hind boot pooper.)
I like a nice cheapo pair of Roma open front on the front legs and the Nunn Finer brushing boots (5 velcro straps) on the hinds. For some reason I get along with the Nunn Finer and I hate the Woof. Not sure why but the feel and fit are different.
You should be able to find everything on ebay!
All in all the types I stated should cost about 100 bucks for all 4 legs.
I do my flat work in the tack mentioned--as well as jumping. I event up to Training Level in open fronts. Anything higher than Training level I use porters and saratogas.
Ok, thanks all. It's good to know I can just size up for her hind legs. I should be able to find what I need at a local tack swap; I do like to lay hands on something used, and used is always cheaper than new! I really have no use for open fronts, though. I ride on trails and in the woods (brushy and not always groomed) and don't want sticks getting wedged in there. Thanks for the recommendations! Now I get to shop!