I've heard good and bad about the SMBs
I have as well. I actually spent quite allot of time last night after this discussion, sitting up in bed with the laptop on my lap....lol......going through articles. I didn't get to sleep till 4:00am....how sad.....
I found articles written by Veterinarians and University Studdies on all types of boots - ranging from the Splints to SMB's to Woof's to Polo's and Open Fronts.
No matter what boots was discussed, the Vets always stressed how important proper and thorough conditioning is for our horses.
There's some others that do a great job of dissipating heat as well as providing support and protection that I prefer over the SMBs
I will agree with you. SMB's aren't that great for allowing the heat to escape, due to the 3 layer system that they offer.
I found this one studdy in particular where they discussed the heat absorbtion and how it can lead to negative effects on our horses legs. David Marlin, BSc, PhD says that the heat caused by some boots can lead to tendon inflammation and even cell death. "Example of a test researchers used to determine release of heat. On left, thermographic images of a cold boot applied to a hot leg show that heat is kept in. On right, a hot boot applied to a cool leg releases heat."
NOW on that note - I look at allot of Eventing Boots that are on the market. Boots that I do see Mid to Higher Level Eventers using - and majority of them are lined with Neoprene.
Look at the Porter Protector - these are BIG with eventers. They are a wrap made out of Neoprene with holes in them - looks like a big slice of Swiss Cheese, instead black. Porter Protector - Dover Saddlery...
When you wrap them up with that thin elastic wrap - now you have the same idea as the SMB.
So isn't that retaining the heat as well?
There are many boots on the market, even a new Eventing Boot that Woof has made, that is even lined with Neoprene. What the Neoprene does, is aid in the shock absorption. So that is why Event boots are designed with this in them.
Another studdy done by Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Professor of large animal clinical sciences at Michigan State University and the first incumbent of the McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine, says that "Mainly we use boots for protection from knocks," says Clayton. "For this purpose, boots work quite well. People also use boots for support; however, this doesn't work. Tight wraps or boots will limit flexion of the joints during the swing phase, but they have not been shown to restrict sinking of the fetlock for more than a few strides. According to my definition, support of the leg can be equated with the ability to limit sinking of the fetlock during weight-bearing. People who use boots are those who anticipate their horse may be subject to traumatic injury--polo players and eventers for sure. And boots are appropriate for young horses that are not yet well coordinated. Boots and wraps may be useful for other horses, but to my mind that's more an issue of what the individual trainer believes." Boots and wraps can actually cause damage in some cases. "It has been hypothesized that overheating of the tendon core is one of the factors predisposing to tendon damage," says Clayton. "When a horse wears wraps or boots, the heat produced in the tendon has less opportunity to dissipate by radiation, conduction, or convection--so there may be more heat buildup. Certainly when you take off sports medicine-type boots, the horse's legs are very hot and sweaty. That's not to say these boots are totally bad--I think they give good protection against direct trauma--much better than polo wraps. But I do advise people to take them off as soon as possible after exercise and to cold-hose or ice the legs to get rid of excess heat as quickly as possible." "Sports medicine boots are touted to extend the working lives of horses which might otherwise face long rehabilitation, and to prevent injuries to working horses. This is mainly because they work to absorb shock from interference and hoof concussion. They do that by encasing the leg from the knee down and surround the fetlock in high-density neoprene that can take a hit and dissipate the energy. The sports medicine boot is the only type of boot to have university studies supporting its use. The University of Oklahoma did a study for the first sports medicine boot company, Professional's Choice. They found that this company's boot absorbed 26% of hoof concussion, which is four times more than traditional boots and wraps. "
So again, we go back to what Vets are stressing - one vet who works at Rolex every year wrote an article on this - conditioning is really important. He also mentioned these new fandangled pads that are out, that you put on your horses feet, which aid in absorbing the shock. Interesting.
Anyways - as I read in another article:
"No matter what type of boots or wraps you use on your horse, you must be careful that they don't cause harm. Inspect the horse's leg(s) before and after each workout, and check that the boot or wrap is still functioning to protect the horse and hasn't developed cracks or broken fasteners. Be cautious using a new boot or wrap for the first time during a competition, as a new boot can feel different to the horse and alter his way of going. All equipment should be tried at home to make sure it fits properly and is durable."