PER­FOR­MANCE BOOT SAFETY

EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

Boots can be a great boon for equine per­for­mance, pro­tect­ing a horse’s legs from out­side forces---such as a bang against a fence rail---as well as im­pact with his other limbs. Boots in bad re­pair, how­ever, can pose haz­ards that out­weigh their ben­e­fits. A worn-out lin­ing may rub a horse raw, while a loose, dangling strap could trip him, lead­ing to an ac­ci­dent. Fol­low th­ese tips to en­sure your horse’s boots are ready to wear.

• -AKE SURE THEY FIT. Too-large or too-small boots are dan­ger­ous from their first wear­ing. Fol­low the man­u­fac­turer’s guide­lines for fit and don’t hes­i­tate to call the com­pany if you have ques­tions.

• KEEP THEM CLEAN. Not only will reg­u­lar clean­ing ex­tend the life of your boots, the process pro­vides you the op­por­tu­nity to spot any dam­age to them early on.

• IN­SPECT THE AT­TACH­MENT SYS­TEM EV­ERY TIME YOU USE THE BOOTS. Most th­ese days are se­cured with Vel­cro, so make sure the “hook” side is free from hair, dirt and arena foot­ing and that the “loop” side is still fuzzy. When there’s good con­tact there will be a sat­is­fy­ing rip­ping noise as you pull the two sides apart. If the Vel­cro has a weak hold, you can clean the hook side with a flea comb. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to re­pair or re­place the boots.

• TAKE A LOOK AT THE LIN­ING. Foam, neo­prene, fleece and other lin­ings in­tended to pro­tect your horse’s skin can do the op­po­site when they are dirty, torn, fray­ing or “flat.” In­spect the in­side of the boots reg­u­larly, look­ing for signs of trou­ble. Also take a look at your horse’s legs af­ter each ride. Even with good lin­ings, some horses are sen­si­tive enough to de­velop rub marks from par­tic­u­lar types of boots. You’ll need to look for al­ter­na­tive leg pro­tec­tion for those horses.

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