I already own two pairs of Davis Manufacturing's splint boots. After using, dirtying, and tearing a set of generic tack shop brand fleece-lined boots, I wanted something that was easy to clean and didn't use plain vinyl on the outside -- something that was stronger and would stand up to use. The Davis boots are made of a stronger PVC, lined with cushioning rather than fleece, and looked easy to clean, plus I liked the idea of the Shock Absorption tubes. I was not disappointed in the least! They have held up beautifully, are quite protective, and they clean up easily. I'm confident enough in these boots that when we had a hangup over a cross-country fence, I didn't worry too much about Rev's legs because she had her splint boots on. I just stayed out of her way and let her sort out her feet. Here's a pic of Reveille in her white Davis boots on that same day:
So when I found Davis Manufacturing on Facebook and clicked Like, I was happy to tell them how much I like their products.
And I was even happier when they offered the opportunity to test out their new, improved splint boots! I love the non-improved boots, so the improved boots are something I'm VERY interested in!
The boots arrived in the mail yesterday, causing me to scare the corgis with a loud "EEEEEEEEEE!", and I was surprised at how gorgeous they were just coming out of the box. They're shiny, sleek, and obviously made of pretty stern stuff.
They're smooth on the outside, rather than showing the support tubes in their contours from the outside. They're so glossy! I would SO put those on Rev for a show. Flashy. From the inside, the support structure is obvious. There's an air support tube in the center, over the splint bone. It doesn't seem to have the other two tubes that the original splint boots have, but I suspect they're there and I just don't see them:
When I took them out to the barn, I showed them to everybody, and got the appropriate "ooh, nice!" from folks. And they even garnered an unprompted "Hey, whose boots are those?!" So they're definitely attention-getting. I think it's the shiny.
They fit Rev nicely, not too long, not too short, and just wide enough. Rev is a sturdy-boned girl, with average horse length legs, and the Medium fits her well. The improved boots are made of less pliable material than the originals, so they didn't mold precisely to Rev's legs, but they did contour well. (The picture I took of this came out terribly; my apologies.) It was easy to adjust them to her legs with the velcro loops.
Which reminds me: one of my biggest boot pet peeves is when the velcro crumples and the metal anchor gets wonky on its binding. I want the boot to fit flat and square without any strange pulling, with the pressure evenly distributed. The usual neoprene galloping boots you can get anywhere are really susceptible to this, but the Davis boots don't do this at all. Maybe it's because this pair is newer, but it seems to me that the improved version is going to keep its velcro flatter than the original set.
Boots on Rev, ready to go:
And a close-up of the boots on her legs. (I probably should have borrowed a gray horse to take this picture on, but alas. You'll have to cope with the gorgeous bay mare!)
So off we went to longe in the sandy, dry indoor arena and then ride in the sandy, wet outdoor arena. Rev didn't show any discomfort in the boots at any time. Because we're eventers, I also made a point of going through the water jump a couple of times, just to see how the boots would do when wet.
When I took the boots off after our ride, there was no grit underneath them. The PVC and cushioning fits closely enough that it keeps everything out (though I wouldn't expect 100% exclusion all the time), but it didn't bind or rub any of her hair. Her tendons were only slightly warm, about as warm as her muscles. I might think they'd be hotter if I were riding in the heat of the day in the dead of summer, but I wouldn't worry too terribly much about it. The boots rinsed clean immediately, and there was no evidence than anything had shifted or had any change due to water. Her legs were quite dry, too!
Verdict? I really like these boots! As soon as Davis releases them in colors, I am SO buying a set in royal blue, and I'll recommend them to anyone. The only concern I'd have would be the slight lack of contouring, but that's a minor concern.
Wishlist? I wish Davis would make open-front boots. I'd want them to be the same material as the splint boots on the outside and the inside, with either air support tubes along the tendons or a harder composite material, and thin elastic in front, like the EquiFit T-boot. If Davis made that kind of boot, I would be all. over. it.