And second, where the heck do I even find a scientist to answer this question? Keep reading because High Point is run by one!
I took the adult ammy route to horses and pursued (and still am pursuing) a career in animal and environmental science. We've all heard that insulating tendons in the lower limb of our horses can cause long-term damage, shorten their sport career, and induce thousands of dollars of maintenance. A lot of brands counteract this problem and claim that their products are antimicrobial, "tendon-supporting", magnetic therapeutic, patented tumeric infused magic...
That isn't for me because I am a scientist. If I can't prove it, I'm not going to claim it.
So far, as equestrians who care about our horses' lower limb health we only have two peer-reviewed scientific studies on the effects of leg protection and heat retained in your horse's leg after exercise. You can read the abstracts (summary) here and here. Let me save you the statistical jargon and summarize for you:
Neoprene retains heat. Avoid neoprene-based boots to avoid heat retention. Wetsuits for diving and swimming are made of neoprene because it retains heat- why would you make your horse wear it?
Polo wraps retain the most heat and humidity (gross). I get it...I love my matchy sets and have no less than one dozen sets of polo wraps. But now that two studies warn against them, I save polos only for clinics and special occassions.
Post-exercise care matters. Icing or cold-hosing your horse's legs is the best way to reduce leg temperature after a ride, even if you use no leg protection at all!
Perforated boots are cooler. Perforations increase air flow to the legs which helps carry heat away from the legs.
Knowing all that...where do I find this magic boot?
High Point has you covered! I created the Ocala mesh boot with these concepts in mind. It is neoprene-free and made with a perforated 3D air mesh fabric which allows air flow to the leg. When held up to a light, it is so breathable that you can see through it but still durable enough for riding. Plus, it dries much faster than fleece-based boots to prevent microbial growth and mildew (ew). Since the fabric is so lightweight, a flexible reinforced plate inside the leg adds strike protection
But I didn't want my boot to look like a technological medical device...you wouldn't be reading still if that was your aesthetic. That's why I added a faux-fur trim to the top and bottom of the boot. It looks fur-lined when on your horse, but won't turn their legs into an oven!
Ready to level up your horse's leg wear? Check out the Ocala mesh boot available now in Black or Navy!