How do I clean leg protectors correctly?
Boots, bandages etc. no longer look so nice and clean after just a few uses. But dirt and scratches on the horse’s leg equipment not only have aesthetic consequences, but can also have a negative impact on the horse’s leg and skin health. Read this guide to find out what these are and how to correctly clean and care for your horse’s leg and hoof protection.
Why is the care of leg and hoof protection so important?
Cleanliness in horse equipment is not only for aesthetic reasons, but also affects the horse’s skin health. Small dust particles plus moisture and sweat from the horse can mix together to form a sandpaper-like mass that rubs against the horse’s fine skin. This is not only uncomfortable for the horse, but also opens the door for bacteria. One reason for mud fever are fine lesions on the skin that are not visible to the naked eye. So it is part of caring for the horse to also keep the horse’s equipment clean, to maintain it and to clean it. Even if boots, bandages and bell boots are among the most minor of all the horse’s equipment, great importance should be attached to their care and cleanliness.
The material of the bandages and boots dictates their care
Many boots and bandages can easily be cleaned in the washing machine. If your horse’s leg protection is not too dirty, you can hose it off under the shower or a jet of water at the yard. Special attention should be paid to the inner lining of the leg protection: This must be as free as possible from dust and sand grains that could rub against the skin. Before cleaning, always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.
You can read below what you should pay special attention to when cleaning the leg protectors for horses:
Cleaning hard shell boots correctly
Many hard shell boots are equipped with an inner lining made of chloroprene rubber. The outer shell made of plastic can look unsightly and become porous after only a few uses. In general, hard shell boots can be easily rinsed with water after riding or cleaned in a bucket of water with a brush.
A scratched outer shell can easily be freshened up by massaging in a moisturising skin cream after cleaning. After a few hours, remove the cream with a sponge or cloth. Afterwards, the boots will look almost as good as new.
You can remove hair from the Velcro fasteners with a Velcro cleaner or shedding brush.
Sheepskin or teddy fleece boots require special care. You can find out how to clean riding equipment with teddy fleece and sheepskin correctly and gently in our sheepskin care guide.
Fleece bandages for horses
When bandages are made of fleece, they can usually be washed in the washing machine at 30°C without any problems. Close the Velcro fasteners before washing. If you do not do this, the bandages may pile undesirably. Our tip: Put the bandages in a sealed bedsheet to avoid the formation of fluff. To dry, hang the bandages up in an airy place.
Caution with elastic bandages: These are less suitable for the washing machine, as they lose their elasticity very quickly. Elastic bandages should rather be cleaned by hand in lukewarm water.
Cleaning stable and travel boots
Some horses sweat a lot during transport due to stress, which is why travel boots can also become soaked with sweat. As a rule, travel boots are machine-washable, although you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you can clean them with a hand wash, but this is not as effective as in the washing machine.
First remove coarse dirt with a soft brush or water spray. Close the Velcro fasteners and wash the boots at 30°C in the machine. For drying, please follow the instructions in the care label.
Gentle cleaning of therapy boots with ceramic fibres
Of course, therapy boots also need to be cleaned at some point. But then the question arises as to whether therapy boots with incorporated ceramic fibres can be washed in the washing machine without any problems. The answer to this question is: Yes, therapy boots can be washed gently at a maximum of 40°C. However, you should avoid using a tumble dryer; therapy boots should only be air-dried.
Caution: Do not expose the therapy boots to direct sunlight. Also, do not use bleach or other chemical detergents for washing!
Correct hoof boot care is important for longevity
Hoof boots should be cared for in the same way as the rest of the horse’s leg protection. Regular care can significantly extend the durability of the hoof boots and thus also prevents them from breaking unexpectedly. Check the hoof boots regularly to ensure that they are in good working order, so that the boot does not get lost during a ride and accidents may even occur.
Velcro fasteners should be cleaned with a Velcro brush or wire brush after each. Then clean the hoof boots in lukewarm water with an old dish brush or something comparable. Especially the heel pad and the inside must be meticulously cleaned of sand grains. Otherwise they can rub unpleasantly at the pastern and cause fine cracks in the skin, which can even lead to mud fever.
After that, drying the hoof boots is very important for their longevity. If they are not dried completely, the hoof boots can wear out. After wet cleaning, place the boots upside down so that the excess water can run out. Or put them on a fence so that they can air-dry better. In summer, the hoof boots can also be left in the sun, which can reduce the drying time to about 2 hours. In the wet and cold season, it is best to place the boots in a heated indoor area so that they do not get mouldy.
Not all hoof boots dry equally fast. This is due to their different materials. With some hoof boot models, one night’s drying is sometimes not enough. Hoof boots should only be put back on the horse’s hoof when they are completely dry, so that they do not wear out or rub unpleasantly along the coronet and the pastern.
When not in use, the boots should be folded up and closed so that they do not lose their shape. If you want to store the hoof boots for a longer period of time, choose a dry, light-protected room so that the boots do not become brittle.
You can find more information on hoof boot models in our hoof boot guide.