By Joanna Byrne
I have never been crazy about sports medicine boots. Since my first horse was allergic to neoprene, I avoided it, even when lined with something. I quickly drifted toward polo wraps, and have used them successfully for about eighteen years. My biggest concern with polos is that they offer minimal impact protection for horses that over reach or crossfire. However, they have been adequate protection and budget friendly for the horses I have that tear through wraps regularly.
I have looked for several years at padding options that go under polos, and finally purchased a set of Richland boots. Here I will list my impressions of them through the process.
Initially, I was surprised at how light they were. I had expected them to feel heavier, despite knowing their actual weight.
I attempted to fit them to Leonidas (Primoris Prognatus), using vet wrap as I do not yet have a set of Saratoga wraps. Fortunately, he is more patient with me than I was with the boots. In attempting to get them situated to determine if they needed trimming, I managed to tear one of them… Not the best first impression, but I reminded myself they were second-hand new and had been in storage for a few years.
I decided they were a project for another day and rode for what little daylight was left without them.
After trimming the torn front ones down where I should have cut them to start with, and leaving my Richland boots rolled up and wrapped in vet wrap for a few days, they were easier to manage and successfully set them up on my boy’s front legs. I did not finish trimming them yet since they were close to fitting. I secured them with vet wrap, then added a standing style polo over them in the front because I was planning on doing some work that would have a high risk of my brand new boots getting torn up. Polos are hands down too bulky over them, I’ll be pulling out some track wraps until I get Saratoga wraps.
Leonidas was not fussy about them like he is with boots that have a noticeable weight to them, and he was more comfortable crossing over on his spins. After we rode, the Richland boots were soft and had shaped nicely to his legs. I got a good idea of where I need to trim them now that they are leg-shaped.
I trimmed the fronts, the backs were perfect, and we had a nice work on fence day. After the ride, I decided that the fronts will need a little more trimming, maybe a half inch, and should be perfect. I am quite pleased with them, they did not pick up a lot of dirt, and were easy to clean.
I am satisfied with the Richland boots for the short term and will give my long-term impressions of them after I use them for a while. Time is the best determination of value for the dollar spent.