|so fancy in white polos|
First off, I use leg protection on Courage for two primary reasons. The biggest one is that conformationally, Courage is VERY narrow behind. I tell people that his back legs pretty much come out of the same hole, and I'm actually not joking. Because of how close his hind legs are, interference is a fact of life for us. I think letting my horse interfere and hurt himself is a shitty thing to do, so he wears leg protection.
|dressage: the bootless sport!|
Bear in mind--some noted professionals (Lucinda Green comes to mind) absolutely refuse to use leg protection and there are studies indicating that hear buildup is the number one indicator surrounding lower-limb injuries in horses. To those objections I say:
'1) If I could ride like Lucinda Green, especially on the caliber of horses that LG rides, HAHA well I can't. Just remember that far more noted pros boot up than do not.
2) This is a very valid concern, especially if you live in a hot place. I avoid riding in the heat of the day (flexible job ftw) and make my own value judgments. Your mileage may vary.
|contrasting color polos for sportsball|
Ok, so if we've covered why we use protection, next we need to cover HOW. There are two primary types of leg protection on the market: boots and wraps. There is a huge variety. Jumping horses primarily use boots--open fronts for jumping over things that fall down and closed front for things that do not. Dressage horses occasionally wear boots, but are most frequently seen in wraps. Let's talk about why.
|open front jumping boots|
|sometimes you have to use fluffy boots|
|black BOT polos|
Aside from being the classiest-looking option, polo wraps provide the most customized and flexible level of protection. They are my favorite for dressage for this reason. They're soft, which never impedes movement, they lay nicely around cuts and scrapes that might be aggravated by a boot, and they provide simple coverage to cushion incidental interference. Quite honestly, for dressage, they are my favorite. Especially with my narrow-behind horse, I love that they are almost flush with the leg and don't contribute to him tripping himself.
That said, polos take longer to roll and wrap and are a pain to wash. They take some skill to put on, though it's not rocket science.
And that's my basic philosophy of leg protection. Boots and wraps have a very specific function. If we're going to use (or omit) a piece of gear on a horse, I think we need to have a systematic reason for it beyond "they're trendy"*.
PS I haven't covered bell boots at all. In my mind, they are shoe protection, not leg protection, and if you don't have a good understand of what I'm talking about, count yourself very lucky.
PPS As per the usual, I refer to all horses as he because I have a gelding and dislike mares. If that offends you, remember that mares offend me.