Thank You, Dover Saddlery!

I forgot to mention yesterday, Eli’s RF lameness from a while back resolved with two days of soaking and wrapping with Epsom salt paste. He never blew an abscess, so I think he may have just stepped on himself in the trailer or something like that on the way back from the vet clinic. He is ok now!

Lots of horses live 24/7 in bell boots, and Eli falls into that category. He usually keeps shoes on (unless they are bar shoes ugh don’t remind me) but he does have a tendency to grab his heels A LOT in turn out. So hooray for mitigating with bell boots. Because he wears them full time, they need to be durable but also “soft” enough to not give him rubs. The pull on Italian jumper bell boots meet these requirements. Does it pain me to spend $40 on bell boots that may only last a few months? Not as much as a lame horse from a grabbed heel. Amazingly, I got about 10 months out of Eli’s last pair until he finally pulled one off in a rippy sort of way. I usually have a spare, but not this time.

Okay. I needed Italian jumper bell boots ASAP. But oh, we are in a pandemic and some stuff isn’t open and other stuff is only open for limited hours and really only Dover in town would maybe have these but let’s see what the internet and overnight shipping have to offer so I don’t have to go somewhere unnecessarily.

While I did check a few other online tack stores, Dover is offering OVERNIGHT shipping for $14.95 on orders over $75 (and $19.95 for orders under $75). Find a tack store online that offers that for less, I dare/challenge you. Oh, and it has to be one that carries the Italian jumper bell boots in size III in black. In stock. Now bonus points to Dover for carrying them at $34.95. Not the lowest price I could find online, but the second lowest (and tied with Beval). The lowest was from a tack shop that did not offer such inexpensive overnight shipping (it was more like $75 haha no). I had to buy a few other grooming supplies for Eli anyway, so getting the Dover order up to $75 did not take much. (Maybe I should have ordered second pair of bell boots, actually …) Dover has instituted these shipping rates primarily, it seems, as a result of the pandemic — so THANK YOU, DOVER for recognizing how complicated it can be to get necessary horse stuff right now and offering reduced shipping rates.

As promised, Eli got his new Italian jumper bell boots the next day (an addition to some potions and cookies).

I have not always been a fan of Dover in the past, but recently they have really stepped up their customer service game with some new policies and they have moderated a lot of their prices on popular items that horse people buy ALL THE TIME. (I am almost positive a few years ago I paid $37.95 in store at Dover for these same bell boots.) No, obviously, they are not the only game in town. But for this order, and the overnight shipping rate — I am happy to be a satisfied Dover Saddlery customer. That overnight shipping saved my horse’s heels!

 

 

Incrediwear Circulation Exercise Bandages Review

I still have not figured out why it feels like I have less time instead of more time while this working-from-home lifestyle continues. I have neglected blogland as a result.

The pony and the puppy still get a lot of my free time, though, and those are the priority components of my lifestyle, so I can’t say I am too bothered by not blogging. I try to keep up on Instagram, at least. Eli has had his Gastrogard and seems to love the Purina Outlast and he has been doing well under saddle. As you can see in the above picture, he is wearing some grey polo wraps that are the Incrediwear Circulation Exercise Bandages (the mouthful of a name comes from the Incrediwear Equine website ).

I wound up buying these partly because the big top-lid freezer at the barn ate it, so I brought my ice boots home. I was looking for alternatives to hauling ice boots in ice in an ice chest to the barn every day in case I felt like Eli needed icing that day. Although, the freezer in the barn refrigerator still works, so my ice boots may end up in there. But too late for my wallet, the search for icing alternatives was on, and I had seen these Incrediwear products a few times on Instagram and was curious about them.

The Incrediwear bandages can be used for exercise similarly to polo wraps, but then can also be hosed down after exercise for an icing effect (yes, it says this on the website, these are the actual instructions). Can I just tell you right now how unbelievably weird and difficult and cognitively dissonant it was to leave these things on and hose them down while rinsing off Eli after a ride? Wet polo wraps? My brain was breaking a little. However, it is important to remember two things: these wraps were designed specifically for this, and these wraps are not regular polo wraps. The material handles water differently than regular polo wrap material. So there is (I keep reminding myself) no danger of bowing a tendon, or causing some other injury like chafing or something, if these wraps are used as directed and applied properly. There is a TON of information on the Incrediwear Equine website, and if you are at all interested in these, I encourage you to read it and judge for yourself what you think and how you feel about the science behind them. (But don’t forget to recognize generally that science is true whether you believe in it or not.)

I have been using the Incrediwear wraps for about a month now, and have left them on to get wet for “icing” on Eli maybe 3 or 4 times. First, I’ll talk about using them during exercise, and then I will go over using them while wet for icing.

For exercise, color me impressed. These simply do not compare to other wraps I have tried, including regular polo wraps, Eskadron combo bandages, and Back on Track polo wraps (still love you, BoT). Be warned, however, that these things are hard to get used to at first as far as being able to wrap competently with them. The material is stretchy and I had a hard time with how snugly I should wrap them. I didn’t do it tight enough the first few times and one of those times the wraps almost slid off. So maybe pull them a little tighter than you are comfortable with? Or not? I don’t know how tight y’all wrap, sooo … anyway, I am pretty confident in my wrapping skills and these things took me a few times to really get them on in a way that felt right to me. I am STILL (after a month of use) occasionally wrapping, hating, and redoing the wrap while tacking up Eli. The fabric can bunch and fold on top of itself while wrapping around the fetlock so get comfortable redoing wraps until you figure these out. Like I said, I still redo them sometimes before I am satisfied they are on Eli’s legs safely. If you aren’t confident in your wrapping skills, these may not be for you or you may want to ask someone who can wrap well to help you.

It’s not a German muffin so he isn’t too excited

Okay, so once they are on, Eli-of-the-rooster-walk tolerates them well. I know this because he walks normally in them (I mean, thanks for the big clue, buddy), even when I have wrapped his hind legs. (Yes. I know. My horse spooks at wearing hind leg wraps sometimes. He has unique sensory processing abilities. Just let it go.) Once I figured out how snugly to wrap them, they do not shift around while we ride. Eli has been feeling good under saddle lately, so I don’t have much to add related to use during our ride.

But after the ride? First, I have observed that his legs don’t get very hot and sweaty under these wraps. He sweats some, of course, because it’s like 94 degrees here until 8 o’clock at night and too humid in the mornings for me to tolerate. The wraps seem to wick moisture to a certain extent. But more importantly I can directly observe that these seem to regulate surface temperature extremely well. Like I am shocked at how not-hot his legs feel after a ride when I pull these off. It makes me want another pair so I can just wrap all four legs. Caveat: Eli and I don’t work too hard when we work. It’s a light ride of about 20-25 minutes with maybe a canter pole or two and a cross rail or two but that’s where we’re at right now. I certainly would not hesitate to jump in these, though. And it really is in the 90s when I am able to ride. It’s interesting. The wraps themselves feel super warm on the outside after a ride, but Eli’s legs feel normal. Based on personal experience, this would not be a result after using BoT polos or regular polos. So that ion transfer thing does seem to do its job.

And then there’s leaving them on after a ride and hosing them down for that icing effect. I have done this 3 or 4 times and left them on for just about 15 minutes or so, although the claim is they can be left on for 45 minutes while wet. Does this actually ice the legs? Not exactly. These wraps reportedly do not cause vasoconstriction, the way true icing would and the benefit of that is that blood flow is not slowed. And we all know how important blood flow is in the horse’s lower extremities. The wraps do seem to draw heat away from the leg even more quickly when wet than when dry. I am wondering whether this could be a good substitute for icing in all cases? What about after harder or longer work? And again, upon removing the wraps, the wraps themselves feel very warm but Eli’s legs feel very cool. Not really cold like icing with actual ice, but completely cooled down and a bit beyond that. I have some skepticism, but the product does seem to work very much like the product information claims. And they make stuff for people that works the same way (and I am tempted by the elbow sleeve …). Eli’s hind legs look and feel great, though. Very tight after using the wraps, holding up that tightness day after day now with continued use. He does experience some fill/windpuffiness/minor stocking up in his hind legs if he ends up stuck in his stall for a day due to weather but by all appearances these Incrediwear wraps have helped him enough for me to keep using them. And buy the hoof socks (review forthcoming, only used them once so far), and want a second pair of the wraps.

The price seems exorbitant for polo wraps. But consider they have multiple uses. I purchased these via FarmVet and used a 10% off coupon code, which helped a little. However, FarmVet seems to be out of stock and is not taking back orders. These can, however, be ordered directly from the Incrediwear Equine website. I have noticed that these and the hoof socks seem to sell out quickly. I bought the hoof socks right when they had been restocked in early July and they are also sold out on FarmVet, but appear to be available on the Incrediwear website.

Once I have used the hoof socks more, I will review them, too. But tomorrow, look for a kind of ode to bell boots:

Oh, OF COURSE you take the right one out, Eli. Anyway. Final word on the Incrediwear circulation wraps? 10/10 would buy again.

Fluffy Stuff

I like the Premier Equine saddle pad so much (and Eli seems to, too) …

The saddle pad is really plush. But. Um. How do I wash it? It’s “fully machine washable” but I can’t imagine fitting this thing in a washing machine.

… that I picked up some fluffy open front boots that were also on sale.

His legs have been getting a bit more beat up than usual in turnout (I presume he is not doing this in his stall). I got concerned about his regular open front boots, that they would cause rubs on areas with tiny scrapes. Polo wraps worked in a pinch, but that’s not quite the level of protection I like for Eli since I know he interferes periodically, sometimes badly.

Can you see the scuffs already? From a grand total of two rides?

Fluffy open fronts to the rescue!

I think he likes them?

Eli is trying to figure out if they taste good.

They run a tad large, but Eli has long legs so they still fit well enough. The “Techno Wool,” as it it called on the Premier Equine website, really is luxuriously soft. I don’t think it’s actual wool, though, as the boots are described as machine washable. The boots have also shed a few small tufts of Techno Wool, but I am hoping that over time this stops, and that it’s just incidental to the boots being new. Otherwise eventually the lining will lose it’s fluffiness, negating its purpose.

No less than four kinds of fluff: synthetic fleece girth, Merino wool saddle pad, “Techno Wool” open front boots, and real sheepskin hind fetlock boots.

For the price, these boots seems to be worth it so far.

Casual Friday Ramble

Walking with purpose is actually a pretty good workout. That’s not what Eli & I did yesterday, and probably won’t be today, either.

 

It’s more like we wandered aimlessly, but in an arena. I had been hand walking him the last few days, waiting for him to get a new set of shoes. The shoes weren’t sprung, but they were a bit loose and his toes were ridiculously long, so riding didn’t seem appropriate considering we are in recovery mode.

I do use boots on Eli, even though we are only walking. They are basically extra insurance in case anything dramatic happens and I fall off and he takes off. Not that they would help much, but he likes to bang his legs up so a little extra protection makes me feel better. And of course he wears boots or wraps in regular work because he is crooked and interferes. And he lives in his bell boots.

I have a few new shirts, and one I wore last night. It is an It’s a Haggerty’s, a brand I had not yet tried. Based on other reviews, I sized up, and I love it. The material is very comfortable. The sleeves are long enough. The shirt is long enough. And It’s a Haggerty’s sun shirts don’t just stop at solids and color blocking. The sleeves of this shirt are like a blue rose & leopard/cheetah print. I am kind of obsessed. Even better, the shirt pairs amazingly well with the Kate Botoris. I could sleep in this outfit, it’s so comfortable!

Eli also has a “new” bit, and I can’t remember if I mentioned it before? I got it shortly before he got injured, so it has mostly seen a lot of walking. But Eli does seem very, very comfortable in it. It’s a custom Myler that I picked up used. If I were to order him a new custom Myler, it would basically be this one. Except way more expensive. Yay for the resale market!

 

It’s a 5″ dee, double-jointed with a copper roller and a contoured sweet iron mouthpiece with copper inlays. It may be a tad on the thin side, but I am a firm believer in fitting a horse’s mouth based on the horse’s actual mouth. It means the finer-boned, smaller-mouthed TBs with narrow palettes might find fat bits – that people think of as soft – as totally annoying and uncomfortable. So don’t let preconceived notions about bitting fool you into thinking certain bits are “soft” while others are “harsh.” Try different bits, and whichever one your horse takes up well and doesn’t fuss in, is the right bit. I had a fat KK Ultra loose ring that Eli HATED. You’d of thought it was bike chain for how he acted. A thinner mouthpiece made all the difference. The double-jointed bits seem to work well for sensitive horses that have narrow palettes or might be offended by the nutcracker action of a single-jointed bit. Add in a contoured mouthpiece that rests in a neutral position on the horse’s mouth bars and you’re set. Bitting is easy!! Haha just kidding. I spend a ton of brain power just thinking about bits and how they might or might not work on a particular horse. It’s one of my favorite training topics.

I am so glad it’s Friday! Work has not slowed down AT ALL and I am hanging on by a thread here. I can’t wait to get out to the barn tonight and play with Eli and then enjoy a glass of champagne while sitting with Conrad in a comfortable chair.

Summer-Ready Tack

We left the arena. There was much rejoicing.

It’s about time to get back to truly horsey things up in here. Eli may not be in full work, but I wanted to get him an open front boot with more ventilation compared to his Veredus, which have none. I also wanted to pick up another nylon girth for him, as his oldest one is getting a bit too stretched out in the elastic area. I was able to find both at breeches.com which I had a 30% code for, so I got a really good deal on both the boots and the girth.

Starting with the boots … did you know breeches.com carries Majyk Equipe boots? That was certainly a nice surprise. And they have the Boyd Martin show jumping series, which have both ventilation and a non-neoprene lining. Plus they have my favorite hook/stud closures for easy on and off.

They are on sale for $60 right now, and I got the 30% off on top of that! I don’t know if anywhere else can beat that price. Of course, at the time of this writing, they only had 1 pair left in full … and 3 pairs left of the matching hind boots.

Breeches.com also has a good selection of girths. They have my favorite, the Lettia Clik Coolmax nylon/fleece girth. I wasn’t ready to commit to that price again when Eli has one already that is in good shape, but breeches.com also have a Henri de Rivel Equicool fleece girth that met my expectations in price and features.

I ordered the 52. Eli typically wears a 50 or 52 in the Lettia girths, so knowing he’s a bit fat (for once in his life) I thought a 52 would be the way to go.

I actually probably could have got a 54 — the Henri de Rivel Equicool girth seems to run a bit small, so I would recommend sizing up. But of course, a lot depends on the billets of your saddle, too. I would say this 52 fits like a Lettia 50. I also LOVE the dark navy elastic.

And right now you can get 20% off Henri de Rivel products at breeches.com with the code HENRIDERIVEL20S or even 20% off the entire site with SASBR20! I wonder if the 20% off Equine Couture coupon code means I should buy the Beatta breeches in berry?

I got myself ready for summer, too, of course. I started wearing my Trauma Void helmet again because it’s lightweight and fairly well ventilated, plus the Equivisor.

The black actually cuts down on glare quite a bit. And I need all the help I can get with that!

For Sale

I have just a few things I’m selling, and I thought I’d list them here before posting them where ever else.

Ogilvy cover $75

Green base, brown binding, lilac piping. Standard size (for 16.5 – 18). Some fading at the back of the cover.

 

Goode Rider denim breeches $25

The tag may say 30, but these fit like a 26. Worn once.

 

Lettia Clik girth SOLD.

Size 48 synthetic girth, textured neoprene with gel insert for comfort. Used once.

Free shipping on all of it.

AND if you haven’t looked at the Asmar sale section lately, check it out — lots of great stuff at 50% off, including that belt purse I can’t live without!

 

 

Bit Thoughts

Strap yourself into the ramble seat.

Let me just say at the outset that this post is not advice or counsel or applicable to horses in general. This is my experience with one bit for my slightly quirky horse. Anything I write here applies to me and to him. Only.

Myler bits have been a curiosity to me for a little while now. I know some equestrians lament the sale of the Myler imprint to Toklat, and I have no experience with the Myler bits of ye good olde days. I also recognize that Myler is an aggressively marketed brand and any claims surrounding the action of the bit should probably be questioned. I am not saying the claims are wrong, but no bit will fix training issues.

And I didn’t think a Myler bit would “fix” anything Eli is doing or not doing. He goes quite well in the Dynamic RS (yes, Herm Sprenger is also an aggressively marketed brand but I have years of experience with the bits and I am not shy about being a devotee). Our biggest struggle right now is Eli getting flat and on the forehand through the corners while jumping a course. We do lots of flat work and exercises over fences to address this, and a lot of the issue is more my upper body position than anything else (LEEEEEAAAANN what why not).

But would a different bit get Eli’s attention in the corners? A bit with a different type of action and a smidge of leverage? Faster than my leg, seat, and atrocious posture could?

I do remember when I first started riding Eli, the leg confused and startled him. The seat was a bad idea. But he wasn’t my horse and I rode him in what I was told to ride him in — usually my Sprenger snaffles were readily approved. A few times I was told to ride him in draw reins.

But then I bought him, and I could experiment wholeheartedly with my little psycho shark project that jumps so willingly and relatively well. I ditched the draw reins and the short version is after years of work and care, Eli gets the leg. He even understands the leg WELL. He accepts a deeper seat (or, erm, not when his back is tight and it’s 40 degrees but whatever). He is very light in the bridle at the trot. Can be a bit heavier at the canter but seems well-balanced enough for our purposes. The journey to adequate gaits has no end.

What I am getting to is that the Myler with hooks is not a bit I would have used on Eli early on in our relationship. He didn’t understand the leg, and a bit with a little leverage and independent action on each side would have been counter-productive; at least that is what I believe. I wanted to keep it simple and comfortable, so that when he did take up the bit and respond to leg, there was not a question in his mind about what I was telling him. He needed a bit with basic, straightforward snaffle action that wouldn’t pinch his tongue or nail him in the palette.

But he’s a different horse now, and at least a little more sophisticated in his understanding and acceptance of the seat and leg. I can play with a different bit now as a tool of communication without causing confusion in Eli. We pretty much trust each other. He knows I am not heavy-handed, and that I am not going to put anything drastic in his mouth. (Can we melt down all the double twisted wire bits yet?)

I picked up a Myler dee “comfort” snaffle with hooks, the exact variety of which I am not sure. It doesn’t seem to have a port and I don’t know what “level” it is or whether it’s what Myler calls a wide barrel. I bought it used knowing I could easily sell it if I hated it. (Doesn’t all that “level” stuff seem a little gimmicky?)

Ultimately the hooks offer a little bit of leverage and tongue relief at the same time. Slight poll pressure, but nothing extreme. (I cringe at the thought of using a Cheltenham gag with rope cheeks on Eli, although I did use one with leather cheeks on a different horse with excellent results. It’s interesting to me how individuals respond to leverage.)

But the hooks do something else, and this is my primary reservation about the Myler with hooks: provided the horse is at or behind the vertical, the top hooks hold the mouthpiece off the tongue. So yes, the horse gets relief from tongue pressure. But maybe not if he’s poking his nose out a bit, which we like to see in a hunter flat class (for example). Like. Whoa. What if someone puts one of these on a young horse, a green horse, a horse that is not well educated to the aids? That hasn’t accepted tongue pressure well yet? This in my mind is an invitation to evasion and could potentially encourage a false head set and hollow back. All to avoid tongue pressure, rather than encourage it, which in some instances is necessary. That’s how a lot of bits work! It’s not a wonder the hooks aren’t dressage legal. This is not a bit for the inexperienced, in my mind — horse or rider. I could not have used this bit on Eli with any success 4 or 5 years ago. My preference is for a bit that relieves some tongue pressure but doesn’t remove it entirely regardless of how the horse carries his head. I think a horse has to learn that a little tongue pressure is okay and part of a concert of aids from the rider.

But Eli’s 15 and he is what he is, so knowing what I know, I tried the bit on him. I have ridden him in it 4 or 5 times now, to really get a feel of the action in my hand, on my horse, before passing further judgment. And this is a truly interesting bit. Eli did not and does not seem bothered by the changes in tongue relief and pressure, and half the time I’m riding him on a loopy rein anyway. I took him over a few jumps the first time we rode with the bit, just to get a sense of how Eli might respond. While the bit seems to add a boost to our power steering, and a bit more of a check to our half halts, it also exacerbates our problems in downward transitions. While Eli doesn’t seem to mind a little poll pressure during work in a gait, changing that gait is perhaps too big a move, too inelegant in terms of my own faulty aids and he tosses his head — a thing he does not do anymore while working on downward transitions in the Dynamic RS. He does lean and poke his nose out in downward transitions (working on it for all eternity) and I think when he tried to do that in the Myler, he was like wait wtf was that, lady?

So will I keep it? I think so, at least for now. I have no plans to jump in it, and I don’t think I will use it regularly for flat work, but just periodically. Because, somehow through the dynamic of the extra check in our half halt, the bit helps through those corners, and Eli takes fewer steps downhill with the Myler, in transitions within the gait. He seems quite comfortable with the action of it, and doesn’t even mind leaning on it a little (but don’t fear, he’s never heavy in my hand, never has been). It’s almost like that minute poll pressure is some kind of comfort to him.

I will say I do use this bit in a bridle that has a heavily-padded monocrown piece. That is probably a part of why the poll pressure is mostly acceptable to Eli. I am definitely interested in trying the same bit without hooks — although the independent side action intrigues me; Eli seems responsive to it. The mouthpiece itself is unquestionably forgiving.

But of course if I stayed tall, kept my inside leg on, and lifted and squared my shoulders through the corners, that might, you know, help some, too. None of that needs any kind of bit.

Current Tack Set Up

I have switched up what Eli goes in lately, partly in effort to help build up his back strength and partly because it’s freaking cold.

Eli wears many different things, and this is merely a fraction of Eli’s complete wardrobe. (I am going to talk about the CWD bridle and Myler snaffle in another post.)

The biggest change has been the saddle pads he’s wearing. I now use a Back on Track AP pad regularly, and switched to my Thinline half pad from the Ogilvy because the Ogilvy does not sit well on the Back on Track pad. I wish Ogilvy and Back on Track would team up to line the Oglivy baby pads with Welltex.

The sun may have been out on Monday, but I was chilled to the bone and Eli pretty much hates the cold. While I am sure some of you readers further to the north are wondering why the hell I’d use a quarter sheet when it’s 50F, just accept that I am a native Texan and total wuss when it comes to winter, and Eli is, too. He seems more comfortable wearing the quarter sheet than not when it’s chilly. I got this Amigo one last year on sale in a steel grey color with lime green piping. The outside is water resistant and the inside is a fleecy material that doesn’t seem very static-y. I’d buy the exact same one again in a heartbeat.

So it’s winter and the Thinline isn’t the only thing with sheepskin. I have multiple pairs of the Eskadron fetlock boots with sheepskin. Eli doesn’t walk like a rooster in them. So there’s that. I have also been using the Professional’s Choice girth that is washable and you can remove the sheepskin portion to hand wash that separately. Another concession to Eli’s comfort. Sheepskin is basically nature’s memory foam and it’s breathable.

What’s on his face? The Cashel fly mask, and he is also wearing a bonnet a lot with it. Warm ears protected from wind, and eyes protected from wind and glare. Perhaps I should call all of this my sensory deprivation set up …

I am sticking with jumping Eli in the Herm Sprenger Dynamic RS for now, and that one is on his Pessoa hunter bridle. I also now ride Eli regularly in his Edgewood standing (that I found used for $50 and it’s OS because Eli’s neck is that long).

Does your tack change from season to season? Or do you stick with the same thing year round?

Bits Are Like Jewelry

Is it possible for one horse to have too many bits? Too many bridles? No. This is most definitely not within the realm of possibility.

My Dad and I had a conversation about bits the other day, and how they are like jewelry to equestrians. And I sent my Dad pictures of Eli’s bits. Of which he has 7.

this one doesn’t get out much

We stick with the Herm Sprenger Dynamic RS Dee most of the time, but every once in a while, Eli gets reminded about something else with a different bit. This else is usually a little heaviness in the corners whilst jumping. I have tried a handful of different bits to see what gets the message across.

I just picked up a Myler, used for a decent price (the ones with hooks are weirdly expensive, even used) and might try that out soon.

As a result of this conversation, I now have a fourth bridle for Eli. Thanks a million, Dad!! Your grandhorse thanks you, too! I got the bridle from Redwood Tack. If you haven’t stalked that place, you need to get on that asap.

I am trying it on him today. If it fits (which I think it will) I am going to oil & condition the crap out of it before riding in it. The padded crown is SO padded. I think Eli will love that part of it.

So I hadn’t ridden Eli for a week, but did ride last night. It wasn’t too cold, and Eli was really, really good! Just in his Dynamic RS — it’s our go-to bit.

enjoying a cookie

How many bits do you have for your horse(s)?

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.