Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The benefits of hunting and how to reduce the risks - boots or not?....

Apart from the moral issues which continue to fly around, albeit in a different form, hunting is still going strong.  Plus, with a free vote anticipated in the House of Commons to repeal  the hunting act hunting is going from strength to strength.  So there's those of us who have always hunted and always will do but what about the eventers and showjumpers of the world? What can be gained from hunting competition horses.


Everyone's come across the event horse or jumper who doesn't quite have the 'grit' or 'guts' to go up the grades and just looses it's nerve at higher levels.  Once horses get the idea of hunting, usually after a couple of outings, they get into the swing of it.  Now, take them jumping and see the difference.  A full seasons  hunting  will hopefully engrain the forward thinking herd instinct of horses. Quite why it is I'm not sure but once horses get into the hunting environment of large groups all jumping and cantering they suddenly seem to think life's a lot more fun!


What about the risks involved?  People seem very wary of taking horses hunting - they might get kicked or take some wear and tear from less than even surfaces.  People also have qualms about horses wearing boots out hunting as they feel that mud gets stuck under them.... Equishopping's got an answer though.  With such a wide range of boots there's definitely a type of boot to combat every concern.  If you're not going to wear boots then over reach boots could be a good compromise to protect the vulnerable heels of the foot, coronary band and help stop shoes being pulled off as mud doesn't tend to get stuck behind them.


If drainage through the boot is a concern check out the NEW equine range of boots which offer a range of choices from totally open fronted to let everything drain through, to completely closed with a range of linings to suit the most sensitive of horses. If you really want to go for the all round defense option try Westropp's knee and brushing boot combination although they do look slightly funny...


With decent boots you can stop worrying about half the issues you might have with hunting.  The most important thing with boots is that they fit well - that way less grit and mud gets down behind them and rubbing will be less of an issue.  Stopping mud getting behind the boots is a major issue for another reason in some areas of the country.Some mud isn't that nice and contains bacteria which can lead to mud fever.  It's just a question of weighing up the benefits and the risks - Oh God, that sounds a bit like health and safety....



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