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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

August 6, 2013

Boot Testing

Here was the deal.  I wanted to watch Journey's movement wearing the two different brands of boots.   My choices were grass or gravel.  I had more room on the grass which was very, very short.  Long lunge-line, circling both directions at the walk, trot, and canter.  Then over six inch elevated poles.   I wanted to see if I could pick up an anomaly on her LF, and just generally see how she moves in the various boots and how she watches her feet.  It turned out to be a kind of interesting experiment.  I didn't get all the information I was looking for, but I clearly found that boots (whatever brand) + grass (which was dry) is a good way to injure your horse.  We never made it to a full circle canter as I thought she was going to kill herself the first lap, and it was a lazy old canter.  Her front feet were slipping and sliding, and we made a quick end to that.  So we did some trotting on a circle and she is not as comfortable on her left lead, as she is on her right.  Not head bobbing or lame necessarily, just not forward or reaching as well as she does on the right.   So grass is bad, even dry grass with a booted horse.   I know someone will think, yeah, but you should know better to ride a horse in a circle on grass.  I'd agree, but there are times that something happens and you might need a one-rein stop.  What then?  It is not enough to cure me of boots, but just something one should keep in mind if you are using boots for the first time.

The poles were very interesting.  I put the Renegades on her fronts, bare on the back, and a large circle in the grass with six inch pole height,  six poles total.  The idea, to make the Spotted Wonder think about her feet.  She cleared the poles with her fronts cleanly for the most part, and would click a hind now and then.  Four hours later, she was wearing the sized O Gloves, and she was just murdering those poles.  Again the fronts were going over pretty well, but the hinds were clanging and banging like crazy.  I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

We tried an O.5 Glove on her fronts wrapped with vet wrap, and were able to get the boot seated nicely, secured, and have a bit of a V.    The beat up gloves were slit at the quarters with a razor knife which allows the shell to expand a little, and sure enough you could see that her widest point on the hoof had indeed pushed that out.  So my theory that the boots were not fitting properly, hence the wear on the toe all of a sudden, was correct.  Once the boots were slit, I had a full velcro attachment where previously I had about half the length of the velcro secured.  Now how long a boot will remain functional with two razor slits...I don't know.

She continues to need an O on her hinds. 

Now here is another question I am asking myself.  If the Gloves make her interfere and clip her pastern on the left hind, will the Renegades be more or less likely to do this?  If I go with Renegades I'll have to piece my set together a boot at a time until I have three fronts, and three hinds so I always have a spare.  I think Vipers would be the best choice for the hinds, but have no way of knowing if she will still interfere.

I'm so sitting on the fence.  I currently have eight Glove 0's, three Glove 0.5's (these are actually Big Cree's), and somewhere some like new Epics, and the two Renegades. 

Maybe I'll try limping along on the supply I have until I'm able to order five Renegades.

Or I can try an O wide in the Glove, then I would only need to buy a couple.

I think I'm terribly conflicted. 


  1. No one will ever be able to convince me that a horse travels the same with boots as without them. My first experience was trotting next to my best friend when she was trotting her horse in boots, and I couldn't believe how differently her horse was trotting. Then I got boots for those CTRs that are too rocky. I definitely feel a difference in his stride, and I never canter Arie in his boots. It just doesn't feel "safe" to me. Since I don't run for points, I usually just avoid rides where I need to boot. There is one Wisconsin ride that I love, and I've completed 25-milers with boots, but I prefer to avoid. I think that the extremely light, low-profile glue-on Easyboots might be the least interfering, but you don't want to mess with glue-ons.

  2. Rose also always moved different in boots. Generally she was a little bit of a rougher ride but she was also less likely to pin pong all over the trail avoiding stuff and would just tramp/slosh right through so it evened itself out I guess. She also sometimes slid a bit on grass if we cantered but usually I don't trust grass canters as I can't see holes in the grass so we saved canters for dirt and gravel trails. Oh... and boots slid on asphalt or concrete until broken in and a bit textured by rocks on the bottom.

    With all that said I'm considering trying the Renegades and the new Renegade Vipers out again as I liked the sole and frog protection and I'm not putting enough miles on my rehabing pony yet to warrant shoes any time soon.