No Neoprene for New Equine Wear – Why?
Neoprene is used widely across the equestrian industry, in boots and wraps. The affordable material can be cut to shape with ease, is flexible enough to provide support without restricting movement, and is soft to the touch. It has its place in leg wraps, where depending on the type of neoprene used, it can keep out moisture.
However, in performance boots, neoprene isn’t always the best choice. The fabric is famous for warmth; accumulated body heat is retained – which although ideal when used in wetsuits, isn’t the best choice when placed directly against a horse’s leg! Elevations of temperature of the tendon can lead to a breakdown of their associates fibres, which is why it’s important to be careful with the amount of time horses spend wearing boots, particularly when these boots actively hold heat. By carefully choosing which fabrics are best suited to the horse’s leg, riders are able to reduce the risk of the horse’s leg over-heating, and confidently use boots for longer periods of time – which is particularly useful when hacking, competing and taking part in endurance rides.
Despite the number of products on offer that use neoprene, there’s still a percentage of horses that present allergies to the fabric. Rashes, irritation and scabbing have been reported due to the horse’s direct contact with neoprene – reactions vary from contact from the fabric itself, and the water/heat build up caused by the use of neoprene, that once against the skin, can cause irritation and rubbing as the leg moves.
Some horses cope well with neoprene – for many owners, it is an inexpensive choice. However, for the reasons detailed above, New Equine Wear avoids the use of neoprene in all brushing, XC and Show Jumping boots, where the boot is used whilst the horse is in work. Instead, a soft foam lining is used that provides the soft cushioning required, without the heat retention of neoprene. The outer fabric varies between the smooth hear wearing outer and the ventilated airoflow, which is best suited to horses that requires extra cooling to the tendons – particularly useful for longer rides, or where the horse is working extremely hard, such as eventing.
Next time you buy a set of boots, make sure you consider their material, fit and longevity, and the amount of time you plan on your horse working in them for.