Izzy has approved this message.
Since my review of the Eskadron Climatex Wraps, we've had a little discussion about the appropriate use of leg protection and it's application. I figured that I might as well discuss my theory and practice on that topic instead of summarize another stirrupless dressage ride (although I did have my best sitting trot ever!!).
I see leg protection as specific to an individual horse. In my case, I'm dealing with a mature-bodied diva mare who really doesn't interfere much under normal circumstances. Since she is a horse, normal circumstances involve standing in the pasture, moving around the pasture, and eating a lot of the pasture.
Thus, when I ride her and she is standing around, eating, and moving in a generally straight direction, I see precious little need to boot or wrap.
However, not all of our rides are trail rides.
I believe in leg protection for rides on which I'm asking her to do something new or difficult that would increase her chance of injuring herself. In addition, I always weigh the risk of leg protection gear vs the risk of bare legs.
For example, Izzy is pretty new to the whole trail thing, which would qualify us for leg protection EXCEPT that I think the risk of heat buildup and sand/weeds accumulating under the boots and rubbing her is greater than the risk of the occasional misplaced hoof.
When we had our absolutely fabulous dressage ride on Saturday, I had her wrapped all around. I knew that we were going to be going at a much faster clip than usual, and with the addition of lateral movements, I wanted that extra bit of protection.
I always boot for jumping. I use open fronts so that she can feel the rail if she knocks if, but if anything else knocks her, she should have protection. When doing grid work or cross country, I will boot all around. If we're just jumping single fences, I see front boots as plenty.
All that is held in the balance with the current weather. I live in Idaho, and it is warm in the summer time. Heat build up is a major risk for soft tissue injuries, so I always weigh the risk of that versus the risk of the activity we are doing. Generally, I'm more worried about heat than an occasional knock. Then there's winter. We get that here, albeit a lot less than most of you. That means that I switch almost entirely from wraps to boots, because my fingers are too cold to wrap properly, and an improper wrap is definitely worse than no wrap at all.
In case you're looking for product recommendations, here are mine:
Eskadron Climatex, obviously. Best hot weather polos on the market.
Classic Equine 3DX Bell Boots. The high neck gives gives extra protection and they are sized for actual horses, so they fit Izzy.
Roma Open Front Boots. They're cheap, they look good, they fit Izzy. I actually had Eskadrons here and sold them because I just didn't care for them.
Tack of the Day dressage boots. Don't have a link because they're only periodically available, but they cost $20, look like the more expensive models, hold up well, and are easy to clean.
PSA: If you do not know how to wrap, just don't do it. Boots are easier and safer.
So... thoughts? Agree? Disagree?