When shopping for tendon boots or other types of exercise boots, it can be difficult to know how to select the best boots for your horse. Many horse owners will look for exercise boots that are breathable and allow airflow as well as the all-important protection. Horse boots, like most equestrian equipment, benefit from some degree of airflow and breathability. While the primary purpose of horse boots is protection, ensuring adequate airflow and breathability can help maintain the horse’s comfort and overall leg health. This article explains why airflow and breathability are important factors when shopping for exercise boots for your horse.
Why Airflow and Breathability are Important Qualities
Whilst horse owners will naturally look for exercise boots that provide protection, airflow and breathability are also important. Here’s why airflow and breathability are important when using exercise boots:
- Preventing Moisture Accumulation: Excessive moisture inside boots can create an environment conducive to skin issues, including fungal or bacterial infections. Plus, wet legs mean soft skin and an increased chance of rubbing. Proper airflow can help wick away sweat and moisture from the horse’s skin, reducing the risk of skin problems.
- Temperature Regulation: Adequate airflow helps regulate the temperature around the horse’s legs. The horse’s tendons produce huge amounts of heat as they contract and relax and having significant air flow around the leg helps keep the leg from overheating and possibly causing tendon issues if the legs are continually being overheated.
- Comfort: If the legs are kept cooler, then hopefully this means that this will not cause the discomfort of hot sweaty legs.
- Skin Health: As we have mentioned, if the legs do become wet and the skin becomes soft there is more chance of rubbing. Once you have a rub, firstly this may be prone to infection but it will also be incredibly hard to cure if you carry on using the same boots as they will continue to rub the same area. Proper breathability can help mitigate rubs happening in the first place.
What to Look for When Searching for Breathable Tendon Boots and Exercise Boots
If you are looking for a set of exercise boots and you want something that will allow airflow and is breathable, it can be tricky to know what specific features to look for. To ensure that your chosen exercise boots provide adequate airflow and breathability, consider the following tips:
- Select Breathable Materials: Choose boots made from materials that allow air to pass through, such as mesh.
- Check for Ventilation Features: Some boot designs include built-in vents. Make sure these are big enough to create sufficient air flow and – to enhance breathability – make sure you can see through the boot. A vent created in the outer protective layer, if sealed off by internal padding, will not create air flow. Perforated padding is sometimes used but once tightened onto the leg the holes get closed off, therefore no air flow is possible.
- Monitor Moisture: Regularly check the horse’s legs for signs of sweat accumulation. If the horse is getting sweaty legs, this will suggest your boots do not have enough airflow. Make sure the boots are dried out thoroughly before reusing.
- Proper Sizing and Fit: Ensure that the boots are the correct size and fit snugly without being too tight. Ill-fitting boots can cause rubbing or chafing, which may be exacerbated by poor airflow.
- Regular Cleaning and Maintenance: Keep the boots clean and well-maintained. Any dirt or sweat build up could create a rough surface and cause rubbing.
- Use Boots Appropriately: Use boots for their intended purpose and in conditions for which they are suitable or not at all. Some horses just do not need them.
- Rotate Boots: Consider rotating different pairs of boots to allow time for proper cleaning and drying between uses. Many horse owners have an extensive saddle pad collection, which allows them to clean and rotate their saddle pads regularly. The same could be applied to exercise boots!
Remember the Primary Function of Your Horse’s Exercise Boots
Ultimately, while airflow and breathability are important considerations for exercise boots, they should be balanced with the primary goal of providing protection to the horse’s legs. Deciding whether your horse requires tendon boots, brushing boots or another type of exercise boot (and which model to purchase) should involve consideration of a range of factors. Careful selection, proper sizing, and regular monitoring of your horse’s leg health can help ensure that the boots are a beneficial addition to your horse’s equipment.