When you’re not an Advanced level eventer (yet), it’s difficult to find the right cross country boot without feeling like it’s overkill. Do I really need to gallop around (canter around) in the exact same tack that Boyd Martin uses? Probably not. I used to have a huge mental block with appearances and what the “cool” kids are doing. Call it a character flaw.
It wasn’t until I started really trying to actually learn about the products I was using that I began to let go of that image obsession. Sure, I like to look well turned out and professional whenever I ride. Does that always happen? No. But when it comes to my tack, I want it to be safe and functional for my needs.
I’ve always been a Woof Wear fan. Their boots have always fit my budget and my needs, and so I was really excited when I saw that they were coming out with a new line of Smart Event Boots. It was like a next-level deal, offering newer technology and top of the line design.
Now, let me preface this by saying that I use these on my baby, just-turned-5-year-old OTTB, who is not going to be galloping around Rolex anytime soon. So, sure, maybe getting the latest and greatest boots may look funny to someone. But there I go again getting on my image obsession bandwagon. What is the most important to me is the level of protection I am offering my young horse, who is still growing and developing, while he tests out new terrain and obstacles.
It’s been a very wet spring here, and while I’m not really complaining about the cooler temperatures, it’s definitely made life at the barn interesting with the sheer amount of mud that seems omnipresent. So I was excited to take the new boots, along with the Smart Overreach Boots, for a spin to see how they felt and held up.
Obviously, a huge feature of every cross country boot worth its salt is the fact that it offers 360 degree protection around your horse’s lower leg. While open fronts are fantastic for show jumping and hacking in the arena, I prefer to have cross country boots for times when I’m on uneven ground or going off the property to school cross country. There’s just something about knowing that your horse is protected from the unexpected makes my anxiety subside a little.
The Woof Wear Smart Event Boots are incredibly easy to put on and adjust to your horse. These boots come in small, medium, and large sizes. Jesse is right at 16 hands with average sized bone structure and took a medium easily.
These boots feature D30 impact protection within an anatomically designed PU shell on 7mm thick neoprene. Lots of layers of protection there — but what about ventilation? Not to worry. The outer shell is well ventilated (without compromising coverage), allowing for plenty of airflow while the boots are on. This is extremely important, as the airflow keeps the tendons and ligaments cool and prevents overheating and, subsequently, injury.
The D30 impact protection is pretty cool. While lightweight, this technology still provides great protection, and while, thankfully, I didn’t have any moments where I felt my horse would have hit himself, I felt very comfortable knowing that a funny step or trip would meet with the ultimate protection. But what’s really cool is how the D30 technology works. Here’s the description:
D30 impact protection is a patented technology used to create a soft and flexible shock absorbing barrier featuring unique molecular properties. At rest, its molecules flow freely, but on impact, they lock together to absorb impact energy and reduce the force transmitted. This reaction is counter intuitive. The greater the force of the impact, the more the molecules lock together and the greater the protection.
Pretty cool, right? I thought so, too.
The boots also feature Repel Technology, which adds a water resistant factor to the boots. There’s nothing worse than running around with water-logged boots that slip down and attract dirt and other unmentionables. I’m pleased to say that even through mud and water, these boots stayed in place and, though they were damp when I pulled them off, did not seem to hold water.
Nor were my horse’s legs abnormally wet to the point where I felt like they weren’t getting the ventilation needed. The tendons were not overheated and quickly cooled back to normal temperature as if it were a normal workout with no boots or open fronts.
The Smart Overreach Boots were also a hit, especially for my horse who tends to overreach quite a bit. While he is barefoot at the moment (somehow I’ve been blessed with a Thoroughbred with decent feet!), I still don’t want a wayward hoof to fit a strike point in the wrong area. The Overreach Boots feature Poron Xrd foam in the strike area, which also offers the “protection on demand” concept of the D30 impact protection.
The Overreach boots fit Jesse comfortably and did not turn while in use, which is also a huge plus. Jesse also took a medium in the Overreach Boots, although if he were shod I would probably think about getting him a Large to be safe.
Overall, I was very pleased with this new offering from Woof Wear. I really think this is a great product for both amateur and professional riders, no matter what level their horses are competing. Protection is of the utmost importance, and it’s something you can’t skimp on. While I know that “image” isn’t everything, these boots come from a well-known line in Woof Wear and they look very stylish and polished as well. Icing on the cake when you’re talking state of the art protection, if you ask me.
You can find more information on the Toklat website on the Smart Event Boots (Front, Hind) and the Smart Overreach Boots, and you can also order some for yourself! Trust me, your horse will thank you!