The founder of New Equine Wear, Richard Balfry, is selling the protective horse boot brand he developed 20 years ago.

Mr Balfry, 65, is retiring from the equestrian industry but will continue to run a Devon-based shipping company.

An engineer by training, Mr Balfry decided to develop his first equine boots after seeing his ex-wife’s horse severe a tendon out hunting and spend the next 15 months recovering.

“It started as a technical challenge to produce something lightweight that would be comfortable next to sensitive skin and able to protect the tendon from a direct strike,” said Mr Balfry.

After six months of development the final product was taken to the late racehorse trainer David Nicholson for testing on the horses at his yard.

A few modifications were made to the strap positions and the boots cut away slightly at the back of the knee to avoid rubbing. The boots were launched at BETA International in the spring of 1996.

The next year sales took off after Mr Mulligan, ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup wearing a pair of New Equine Wear boots.

Enquiries were further boosted a few weeks later when Lord Gyllene came home first in the Grand National, also in a pair of the company’s boots.

Mr Balfry has since worked with event riders Mary King, Zara Phillips and Andrew Hoy and supplied many of the national teams.

“It’s been a wonderful run and I have made a lot of friends, both in the industry and with professional riders,” said he added. “But I am now at the age and stage where I need to conquer a new frontier for the last part of my working career.”

New Equine Wear has always specialised in equine leg protection but Mr Balfry believes the brand has “huge potential” to expand into “almost any type of quality tack or rider clothing.”

The brand is being sold, with intellectual property, trademark and if required all the machinery and know how to make it.

For more information visit: www.newequinewear.co.uk