Le Mieux Teknique Fetlock Stud Boots Review

I mentioned last week that I have been looking for solutions for Eli’s hind interference. Other than the pastern wraps that are on the way, I think I may have found a good one! I looked at Country and Stable’s selection of tendon and fetlock boots — they have an excellent selection of well-known, popular brands — and started really getting curious about the open front hind fetlock boots. I decided to try the Le Mieux Teknique boots because they met a lot of my criteria for the kind of fetlock boots I am looking for.

 

 

First of all, I wanted something with stud closures. No more Velcro, I am so irritated with trying to keep that clean and also sticky/grabby enough to keep working properly.

The Le Mieux boots meet that criteria right away, obviously. Honestly, beyond that, I have to say I was not familiar enough with the Le Mieux brand and I thought they basically did saddle pads and polos. I had no idea they made horse boots so I was curious about the boots’ features. The boots have a soft, squishy gel liner, but also a mesh layer to release heat through vents built into the boots.

 

Le Mieux also incorporates reinforced strike plates on the sides and back of the boot for extra protection, perfect for a horse that interferes.

 

Of course, the most important aspect of these boots is whether they fit my horse. I had reservations at first, because Eli fell on the line between size medium and size large — I went with large because I was concerned he would find the mediums too tight and uncomfortable. He does still rooster walk in these for a few steps after I put them on, but under saddle I can tell the boots don’t change anything about his way of going. The elastic straps have a good bit of stretch in them, so I think the larges would fit a range of larger horses, including big-boned warmbloods. One last thing I had to make sure of is whether the boots collect the arena footing inside while riding. I hate that, and it’s been the main reason I’ve been looking for different boots for Eli. While his sheepskin Eskadrons may be comfortable to him and offer good protection, they collect footing like they’re trying to build a sandcastle.

brass studs from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Some dust collecting inside the boots is going to be inevitable, but I am very pleased that there are no chunks of arena footing piling up in his boots, which also tells me they are a good, snug fit.

Overall, I am impressed by the quality and function of these Le Mieux fetlock boots. I think they are a good option for any jumping horses, offering protection while leaving the fronts open to remind the horse he doesn’t want to catch any rails. I can recommend these boots for sure! And now I am interested in other Le Mieux stuff, too, based on such quality and thoughtfulness behind the design.

Country and Stable carries a large selection of Le Mieux products, and based the the quality of these fetlock boots, I would definitely consider picking up other Le Mieux products from Country and Stable.

Roeckl Madrid Gloves Review

I am pretty sure that if you have found your way to this blog, you most likely are at least vaguely familiar with the Roeckl brand of riding gloves. I have a few pairs (gotta keep one pair nice for shows!) of the Roeck-Grip model and I love them. I welcomed the opportunity to try a different model of the Roeckl equestrian line. I have been wearing the Roeckl Madrid gloves while riding all last week and over the weekend, and like my other pairs, they brilliantly exceed my expectations.

Quality
We all know how hard riding is on our riding gloves. Gloves are a daily staple of my riding wardrobe, so they see a lot of use. I have been riding for over a year now with laced reins, which I think can sometimes be a little tougher on gloves than rubber reins (unless they have stops). Years before I switched to Roeckls, I went through gloves fairly quickly, seeing how many brands and materials just didn’t stand up to daily wear. The seams would pop, or the gloves would wear through between the ring and pinkie fingers, or — and this was the worst pair — they would develop a gross smell that couldn’t be washed out (TMI, but I don’t recommend the Heritage Premier Show gloves). Yes, this is Texas, I sweat when I ride sometimes. The gloves have to hold up to that, too!

And then I switched to Roeckl gloves. I am never going back to another brand. They are exceptionally well-made, and I haven’t ever popped a seam on them, and it takes a few years of wear before mine get shredded, rather than just a few months of wear other gloves got before falling apart. The Madrid gloves are no exception. You can scrutinize the seams and stitching and find no faults. The Madrid gloves have a few different types of material incorporated, and they all come together very well, without any wonky, uneven, or loose stitching. Parts of the gloves that typically see the most wear are strategically reinforced, too.

Gold piping on patent? Don’t mind if I do.

Style
But are they pretty? Um … see for yourself. These may not be to everyone’s tastes, but personally I love how these look. Black and gold is never not appropriate. (Okay, okay, I really need the all-black ones for the hunter ring.) This is a subjective category — I picked a style I knew I would like. Once I got them in my hands, I could see I made the right choice. I especially like the tone on tone details of these gloves, the use of mixed materials and subtle patterns, and with that pop of gold at the closure. They come in a lot of different color options, so if black and gold isn’t your thing, maybe you’d wear navy and silver.

Fit
The Roeckl fit seems very consistent across different models. I wear a ladies 7.5 and these Madrid gloves offer a very close fit without being uncomfortably tight. The fit is pretty much the same as the Roeck-grip gloves, and I know at least a few of you readers have a pair or two of those, so you wouldn’t have to wonder about size when ordering these.

Function
This is the really important part of the review–do these gloves live up to the Roeckl brand reputation? So far, yes. The impeccable fit goes a long way to ensure a very close contact feel on the reins. While it is not quite like not wearing gloves because your hands are somewhat protected, the feel is almost there. I am not compromising my feel on those lines of communication to the horse’s mouth when I wear these gloves. Bonus feature: touchscreen compatible. I tested that out and could easily take pictures without taking my gloves off. I didn’t try to type anything on my phone’s soft keys, but I am a lousy typist without gloves as it is.

There is a second functional aspect of the Madrid gloves that is almost a necessity in Texas, or any warm climate–breathability. The glove backs are mesh — not gapy or see-through, really, but a very close-knit, lightweight mesh. It was 80-something during my lesson on Saturday, and my hands didn’t get hot or even sweat very much. If you are looking for a well-made and stylish summer glove, this would be it. They are even machine-washable. I haven’t tested that out on this pair, but my other pairs wash up fine and dry pretty quickly when I set them out to air dry.

These Madrid gloves are so sporty, both in how they look and how they feel with the reins in my hands. I am glad I have this pair to use throughout this summer. I can recommend these to anyone wanting a lightweight or mesh summer glove.

Rides This Week

All of 2 so far … After Eli jumped pretty well on Sunday, he got a bit of a break on Monday and I rode him pretty much just to let him stretch out and get some exercise. And he got a day off on Tuesday.

Wednesday would be the most notable ride of the week thus far, ha. I was able to get the ride in before sunset, which was a nice change from the regular weekday routine. Eli is a little easier to deal with in daylight. He is plenty fine to ride at night, but it does take longer to get his attention at the outset. On Wednesday, we worked on transitions within the canter for a little bit but mostly focused on developing a strong forward trot. I always start Eli on a loose rein and just ask him to move out first. This makes it easier to keep him coming from his hind end when I do ask for contact on the bit. I am using my seat more and more with him and he seems to get it. Posting deep and sitting longer while posting helps to moderate his trot and still allows him to go forward, but not faster. And that’s pretty much what he does — bigger steps in the same rhythm. I think I am much better with my shoulders in the trot than in the canter, so Eli’s trot comes along much faster as far as developing it goes, than his canter does. I am trying to work more in the canter, but not much more. Just enough more to get done what I am asking. Eli seems to understand the seat at the canter now, too. Not that any of this is automatic — as if.

a bridle fairy came to my house

After riding on Wednesday, I just happened to have a brand new figure 8 and a bit I have meaning to try on Eli (for a very specific reason, not an everyday bit) so I thought I had better try on the bit and the figure 8 at the same time. Both fit. I am very reluctant to use the figure 8 on Eli, even though it’s padded. Even adjusting it slightly lower than I normally would, it hits just across the dent in his face from the sinus surgeries. That seems like a bad idea to me. But I have some work-arounds that might keep him comfortable. I am not in a hurry to use either the bit or the new bridle, but I’m glad to see they both fit Eli. And ideally the bit would be used in conjunction with either a flash or a figure 8. You couldn’t pay me to put a flash on my horse (I’m not a fan) so figure 8 it is.

I didn’t ride Thursday because of high winds. It was cold and I don’t even want to know what the wind chills were, but jumps were blowing over.

I am determined to ride this evening. We’ll see if that determination endures beyond sunset.

Whimsical Wish List

Oh, the shopping you’ll do after Thanksgiving, right? Mostly I avoid Black Friday, because stuff goes on sale even more steeply discounted closer to Christmas, or what I intend to gift never goes on sale ever, or I gift gift cards. Also the crowds are an emphatic no for me. I actually went inside a grocery store Sunday night and I wanted to run over everyone with the little two-tiered shopping cart.

I am pretty much 3/4th of the way to full blown Scroogedom, but I do like all the Christmas lights. In deference to the pretty twinkly icicle lights, I have put together an outlandish list, primarily of things I would not really ever buy for myself but wouldn’t mind if they magically showed up on my doorstep. Although I would not actually expect anybody to buy such things for me, as they are all a bit extravagant. Trying to stay festive here, people.

Have you seen the Equestrian Stockholm breeches? Well, now you have.  I have no idea what size I would wear, and they are outside of my breeches budget. But they are pretty.

 

Okay, so this next one … you know how buying in bulk often means a better value? But you know how you feel like spending $120 on poultice seems a bit ridiculous if you only have one horse and you use poultice just every once in a while? And you know how no one wants to leave me a 23lbs bucket of Sore No More on the top of my tack trunk? (Seriously, I wouldn’t want to lift this anyway but it IS a better value than the 5lbs tub.)

I can’t get through a wish list without something Asmar, apparently.  They are killing it with their color palette this season. I must be entering a blue period …

This next one is for Conrad– a Friday Fox coat. Honestly, the price isn’t what’s giving me paws pause here. It’s the international shipping, plus how am I supposed to return it for a reasonable shipping cost if it doesn’t fit? But oh my gahd Conrad would look so cute in it!

And last, these things … WHY DO THEY EXIST? Purely to torment me, I think … why do I even want them? Eli told me he needed them, that’s what it must be.

Lund Saddlery Calfskin Stirrup Leathers Review

Stirrup leathers are arguably one of the most important pieces of tack — if you are going to use them, they better be durable, right? When I had an opportunity to try the new Lund Saddlery stirrup leathers I jumped at it. I have been so impressed by the bridle that Eli now wears it every ride. The breastplates and girth are equally well-designed and high quality. Why should the stirrup leathers be any different? I had been using a pair of 54″ Toulouse nylon core leathers that served quite well for a number of years — not exactly sure when I bought them, but it’s been years. But they were in pretty bad shape at this point — no major fraying or breakage, but definitely on the cusp of failure.

And once I had the Lund leathers in hand, I knew immediately I liked them better than the Toulouse. While the Toulouse are nice, the Lund stirrup leathers are absolutely high-end, buttery, fine-grained calf, with a nylon core. They were not stiff at all and honestly I think I could have gotten away with using them without any oiling or conditioning, but I don’t like to do that to nice leather. At $88USD, $115CAD these are a steal. I have also used the Beval nylon core leathers that run for $120 and these are completely comparable, if not a little nicer. I find they have a feel more like CWD or Devoucoux leathers, although I have only picked those up in passing and never purchased because my money tree died in the drought.

Length: Lund stirrup leathers come in a handful of lengths, so if you aren’t interested in trimming excess stirrup leather (as George Morris likes to advise) you can probably get the right length for your leg and discipline. I chose the 52″ ones. The holes are also numbered for convenience, although if you’re like me your legs aren’t all that even so you might not have your stirrup leathers on the same number on both sides …

Thickness: Thickness is actually a really important factor to me in stirrup leathers. I want thick enough that I know they’ll hold weight and won’t wear too thin at pressure points like at the top of the stirrup iron or at the stirrup bars on the saddle, or the holes themselves. Most stirrup leathers fit this profile. At the same time I don’t want them too thick. The Toulouse were so thick I could not adjust them while sitting in the saddle at all. I tested that the first time I rode using the Lund stirrup leathers. I tried to approximate how long they would need to be before mounting, but of course I like my stirrups hiked up so I had to shorten them a few holes from in the saddle. I had no problem at all doing this. Huge advantage right there of the Lund leathers!

Color: The leathers come in what I would call a chestnut color, and I think the actual color name might be Australian Nut. If you like the color, I think just a coat of conditioning and you’d be good to go. I wanted to match the leathers to my saddle, which is a warm brown with reddish undertones.

Darkening process: I have a couple different ways to darken tack, depending on what that tack is. I typically do not soak leathers in a vat of oil, like you could do with the Sedgwick leather of Lund bridles (although I don’t do that to bridle leather either). So to make the color richer, I started with 3 or 4 coats of Hydrophane darkening oil. The leathers took the oil beautifully, and I finished up with conditioning with Belvoir. I still condition them regularly, and occasionally put on another coat of Hydrophane. They’re a nice, deeper chestnut color now, although I think I could get them even a little darker to match my saddle better, but I don’t want to go too dark, so I am doing this gradually.

Durability:  Obviously until you use a pair of leathers for years, you can’t speak to the durability. But there are some features that can indicate durability and quality in a pair of leathers, such as the feel of the leather and the stitching. Both leather quality — hello, calfskin — and the stitching of the Lund stirrup leathers stand up to scrutiny. The edges are also finished, and have not shown any signs of wear or fraying yet.

If you are looking for new leathers or know of an equestrian in the market for new leathers, I can’t recommend these enough AND they are under $100USD! I haven’t paid under $100 for leathers since I was like 12. And these could definitely be priced much higher for the quality.

If the Shoe Fits

I think I mentioned earlier that I had been stalking some things on eBay for some time. When I finally messaged the seller, she offered a great deal if I purchased both things. I felt morally obligated to purchase both things at the price she quoted to me (practically a 2-for-1 deal!).

I only had one operative pair of tall boots and needed a schooling pair to keep the black EGO7s in shape for shows. For day-to-day riding, I needed something else. So now I have two pair of DeNiros that were exactly my size, new in box, and the chocolate brown is gorgeous.

Three pairs of tall boots, two pairs of which I hope to keep in good shape for at least a few years — what a luxury! I got the chocolate brown DeNiros broken in, which took all of two rides, and now have moved on to using the “Cotto brown” pair for schooling.

“Cotto brown” is apparently Italian for “orange.”

I applied many coats of Hydrophane to the orange boots, and that did mellow the color somewhat. Now time will tell how well they wear and how the color will change with sweat, water, dust, glycerin soap, Belvoir, and frequent — almost daily — use. I will probably periodically wipe more Hydrophane on them, too. If that stuff can make Edgewood orange go away, I have a feeling these boots will get a few shades darker eventually. The fit is perfect and they are solely for schooling, so I am not too concerned with the color, although they will probably look pretty gross against the coat of a blood bay. Eli gets more mahogany during winter, so maybe that will look better?

More Bit Geek Stuff

Many thanks, everyone who commented on the French Link post — I am generally and genuinely interested in equestrian terminology and always find answers to a question about term usage illuminating.

Along these same lines, I could again ask questions about what you call certain types of bits, so I will. I will leave these questions very open-ended. (Keep in mind I am not asking what each bit is for, just what you’d call it. I am not trying to open the leverage can of worms.)

Fulmer or full cheek?

Elevator or gag?

See how open-ended that is?

I have pretty specific pictures in my mind of the difference between a fulmer and a full cheek, but I have seen either called both.

Elevator or gag … that’s more complicated! The bit that first comes to mind when I hear “gag” is a Cheltenham gag, but that is not the only type of gag bit out there–many bits have a gag action and aren’t what I or anyone else would call a Cheltenham gag.

When I hear “elevator” I picture those 3- or 4-ring bits that people call elevator, Dutch gag, bubble bit, or Pessoa bit. I know y’all know what I’m talking about–what do you call them? (Let’s skip talking about how and how many reins you use with these bits.)

I think this is what some people might refer to as a “true” elevator?

One final question– is it possible to use fulmer/bit loops on a Nelson gag? Like, how would that work? I can’t picture it because of how gag cheeks work, so I am thinking emphatically no.

See what I’m saying?

This post is pretty slanted toward the English disciplines (especially the over fences ones) as I am not at all familiar with bit names for Western, Gaited/Park, or Driving. I welcome any answers along those lines, too!