I guess to do this review, I have to explain how this all came about.
Basically, I have a shopping addiction. What girl doesn't, but more than that, I'm picky about what I put on my horse Rory.
For years I used SMB's (sports medicine boots) on my horses, but neoprene doesn't breath causing the legs to get hot and sweat thereby increasing the chance of injury. At the time I also had a neoprene western saddle pad, which I also ditched in favour of a felt bottomed pad. Looking back, I imagine my horse wearing that pad was like me running with a neoprene stomach sweat. If you haven't tried one of those, it makes your run exhausting, much quicker than you're used to. So all in all, neoprene didn't seem fair to my horse.
As I rode her more, I became concerned of her hitting herself, or whatever she seemed to be doing to keep popping splints. Naturally she only popped splints while out in the field, but I didn't want to stress her legs more with an increased workload and improper support boots. (Sidenote: She's on a Smarpaks Smartflex supplement, so I'm already managing her joints from the inside)
In the past when I worked at Frankland's Farm, they used Eskadron Climatex underpads with polos which I really liked. Conveniently I found a combo of the underpads and their training bandage in one handy wrap. Unfortunately my mare has very narrow short legs and I think Eskadron caters to the warmblood types so getting these wraps to work was proving difficult.
From there I found an awesome deal on just underpads that I could pair with polos or saratoga wraps.
This is when things got tricky.
My mare started tripping and at one point it was so bad that she almost fell on her pretty face. She fell one way and caught herself just in time and I went the other way. Lucky for me, the fence was kind enough to catch me. I didn't exactly send it flowers in gratitude though. After that, every time she tripped I tensed up like it was a near death experience.
She wasn't lame and while she is very clumsy anyways, I couldn't figure it out. The next time I rode, she tripped four times in one circle around the ring. I hopped off immediately, checked her legs and pulled off her wraps and bell boots, in case she was catching on them. She was better after that.
She does currently have different shoes on than she's used to and it's possible that she needs to be checked by the farrier to see if she's breaking over correctly (as my amazing boarding stable owner suggested). In the meantime, my only other option was to get more form-fitting boots instead of wraps, and I ditched the bell boots just in case.
Which meant another research/shopping excursion!
After a lot of reviews and reading, I found that Thinline seemed to make the only non-neoprene boots. On the plus side, their material is amazing! It's breathable, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, thin, supple, strong, shock absorbing, anti-slip, doesn't absorb water and is basically genius.
I ordered the Thinline Cobra Boots which are most similar to SMB's but they also have other models, like splint boots and sport boots.
Since I was ordering, I also got a white Thinline Half Pad to try out. Currently I was using a perforated gel pad, which seemed shock absorbing.
I bought them from Equestrian International. The Cobra Boots were $59.95 USD and the halfpad was $70.20 USD. It was difficult to find a place that sold both items, other than the Thinline site, which was more expensive.
Today I finally got to try my new buys! And I cannot say enough how amazing they are! The boots conformed to her legs, she only tripped once (which I'm blaming on her needing a reset), and when I took them off, her legs weren't hot or sweaty. They also effectively kept the sand out. I did buy white which I might later regret, but I couldn't help myself.
The halfpad was an even bigger surprise. Sadly, it was the golf ball video on Thinline's website that sold me and I was worried I'd been duped but apparently not! I recently switched back to riding english after years of riding western, so I'm not naive to the fact that building the right muscles and getting my seat back will take time. I assumed my gel pad was doing its job, but apparently not like a Thinline pad can! My lower back muscles felt relaxed and loose while riding, which means I must have been tensing them before. I can only assume Rory feels the difference in shock absorbing my graceless attempt at riding. Rory maintained a more cadenced trot and while I told her to let me know how the boots and pad were feeling, I think she forgot due to the invisible arena gremlin at the 'evil end' of the ring. Otherwise I know she would have told me how awesome they were.
I wish I could fully express how happy I am with Thinline but I'm still a bit speechless. By the by, on their website they have Thinline saddles, which I would have laughed at before, but not so much now. I don't seem to have $3395.00 lying around though.