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When you spend six hours or more in the saddle, which is often the case when out hunting, equipping your horse with comfortable tack is more important than ever.

“Beware of the leg protection you put on,” warns hunting vet Bob Baskerville MRCVS.

“People are always conscious of protecting their horses’ legs, but often hunting for long periods of time with boots on can do more harm than good, as the legs will heat up and the material can rub.

“Next time you’re out, look at what the most experienced huntsmen and followers are wearing — you will rarely see their horses wearing boots.

“I would rather be sitting on something with a good action that is well shod.”

Bob also advises that the saddle should be well fitted and balanced to avoid a sore back and rub marks.

“If you study the saddle from behind, both panels should look identical and symmetrical.

“Avoid saddlecloths with too many seams as these can rub — use a plain numnah instead.”

This is an extract from a veterinary feature on hunting injuries, published in full in Horse & Hound (14 October, ’10)

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