I must confess that 80% of the time we ride, her big, pretty legs are totally naked. On top of that, nearly 100% of the time we jump her little legs are boot/wrap free. Exceptions are when we travel for lessons or schooling, but that's predominantly because white polos make my blurry videos easier to watch and let's be honest, that is a priority.
Given the vast amount of horse crap that is packed into my lockers (note the plural), my garage, my trailer and my car, one would think that there would be no possible way that Prairie could be wanting for anything, but really, that's just not quite true. We have extra saddles... bridles for every occasion... more clothing than most families of five... and certainly more than our fair share of darling saddles pads/half pads/quarter sheets etc.
But, my collection is shockingly modest in one category - Horse Boots. This has (naturally) started an amount of research and googling rivaled only by the effort put toward my thesis or horse shopping. Fascinating really, how little care or consideration I put into other purchases in my life... but I'll be damned if I buy a piece of horse tack without knowing every feature, review, and coupon that may be available somewhere in the depths of internet.. so here goes:
When I first bought Pia, she got a set of Eskadron open fronts and full hind boots along with some new polos and bells. But as our focus sashayed to almost entirely dressage, there was no need for additional boots (okay fine, one set of fleecey boots on sale), and we pretty much just polo wrapped all the time. I am a sucker for polos. It's embedded deeply in my brain.
Then Pia went to Summer Camp and Cowboy Man gave me a weird look when I even asked if he wanted her boots and Pia's legs were naked for the next 18 months...
Prairie justified another new set of polos (no such thing as too many of those things..) and has gotten by using Pia's fleecey boots which actually fit Prair better than they ever fit Pia (Pia has delicate little baby legs the size of pencils). The fleecey boots are great when we ride inside, but are a nightmare in the outdoor with wet sand...
Pia's Eskadron's however are slightly too petite to strap onto Prairie, which means aside from polos I don't really even have a good option to put on Prairie's legs for basic protection over fences.
In theory this shouldn't be an issue for my "new dressage horse," But now that we are working grids and small courses twice a week I think it might be prudent to acquire something. True, she doesn't interfere with her own legs, and true she's barefoot which makes it less disastrous if she ever were to whack herself... but still. Horses are big, their legs are little, and peace of mind is not (that) expensive.
So, boot hunting we go.
Being a slight priss, I want Prairie's new accessories to be both stylish and functional, and durable and pretty enough to be used in "dressy" situations such as lessons, schooling shows and clinics.
What I've found is that the boots I seem to gravitate toward are a far cry from the old $20 neoprene splint boots I used to happily duct tape onto my pony for cross country. While I appreciate the progress in both form and function I wouldn't mind a slightly less inflated price tag to go with...
Right now I think the top contender for the open fronts is the EquiFit T-Boot EXP2. For one, it has "P2" in the name, so... duh. But more importantly I like the reviews, I love a removable liner and I enjoy the look. The EXP2 also comes in a velcro closure, which I like but it doesn't look quite so polished. At $174 its more money than I've ever spent on a boot, but in surveying the options, it seemed like it's priced in the middle of the current market. Realistically, the biggest downsides are the price, and a lack of personal experience with the brand.
|pretty sexy for a boot|
Growing up eventing, the little hind ankle boots that hunters and jumpers wear have never made sense to me, and I've always just opted for a full XC boot in the back. But if I'm acknowledging our exploration of Hunter Land, and all the absurd (to me) tack and traditions that go with that, I have to at least consider the "match set." I still don't really understand why a 2" ankle boot costs almost as much as a full boot, but some mysteries are just best left to the universe.
The current second place option is by Eskadron, who I've had mostly positive experiences with in the past. I say mostly because I had one pair of boots totally crap out within a week of purchase, but Dover happily sent a new set which fared better. From a functional perspective they last a long time, but whatever PVC, space material stuff they have on the outside of their older boots scratches really easily in sand (which I ride in) and thus it's impossible to keep them super clean or have them looking new/nice/polished. It looks like the Flexisoft Air Front Boots might have a new shell material, which is would be good - and on sale at $99 they are more affordable than the EquiFits:
|picture this, in black.|
Another contender from Eskadron is their Memo series. It also falls into the "sporty not polished" category but could be a good one:
So, any thoughts out there? anyone have any of these boots or watched a barnmate love or destroy them? Help a Tack Ho out....