|Sport orange all the way, baby.|
Lily models her Renegades.
In the meantime, you're supposed to have extra boots as backups. I originally was just going to get 2 pairs of Renegades, probably used, but ended up deciding to go the Easyboot Gloves route. Why? First of all, Liz let me borrow Q's backup Gloves for a couple of weeks and they had held up really well on Lily's hinds. They stayed on through the terrain of our trails, so I knew they worked with her hoof shape. Second, they are $20 less/boot and are supposed to fit better if they are tight, unlike Rennies which fit better if there is a little bit of extra room. If Lily outgrows the Rennies again, I'd hopefully be looking at just replacing the Rennies, not the backup boots as well, at least for a while, since they do stretch out with use.
Lily ended up being a size 1 in Gloves all the way around, except for her slightly smaller left front, in which she takes a 0.5. You get the same price in the boots whether you order them in fun colors or not, so I got them in blue. With orange power straps. I figured with the kind of terrain we have out here, she'd need them.
Not illustrated: the electric drill and the man (Charles). We could not get either one of those hole punchers to punch through the material of the boot itself. The hole punch on the right I got from Amazon for $10 -its actually a really good quality hole punch, and it did a GREAT job of punching through the harder plastic of straps. Piece of cake. But the material of the boots is more flexible (hence why they stretch and why you should get the smallest size that will fit your horse) and would give when squeezed with the punch. I refused to go out and buy a $50 Herm Sprenger leather punch, which btw is what they use in the instructional video on how to install these things. Yeah, that's why it looks so easy.
I drilled the initial holes with the electric drill, made them larger by poking a knife through them, then slid a screwdriver tip through them and cut off the excess to make an actual hole.
Once those were installed, I had to do a trial run.
The boots were a b*tch to get on as well, but that's how they are supposed to be. More points for Rennies, which only require two Velcro straps to take on and off...
What I didn't like is that the power straps, while making the boot a little smaller, also make it a little flatter. If you have a TB with flat pancake feet, these boots with power straps will work great. Lily's feet however, are not flat and pancakey anymore, so the straps actually seemed to affect fit. Grumbling about having to remove the straps after the supreme effort it had been to get them on, I left the boots on as is and tacked up. I thought maybe they'd stretch with use, right? And then they'd be perfect, right?
Lily and I did the back loop once with Phoebe and Kathy at the walk, then again with just Kathy, also at a walk. Since Lily was fired up, I decided to do the back loop one more time solo at trot & canter. Of course the boots stayed on during 6 miles at a walk. The real test would be at the trot and canter.
Well, the Percheron stallion over at the soybean farm had been put away by then, so I decided to just take Lily out in that direction and let her do as she pleased on the dirt roads of Four Corners. I wanted to see if she'd be as forward as she'd been with Q, and this way we could get some good trots and canters on nice flat footing over undulating terrain.
I noticed that Lily, while more confident in the boots than barefoot, was not as confident in the Gloves as she is in the Renegades. It took her a while to really start stepping out in them, I'm guessing as they stretched and fit on her feet better.
We turned right at Four Corners and Lily chose to trot out. She picked up a canter as the road followed a rise in the land and then dropped back to a trot on the other side of the hill. I looked down to check the boots and realized the left front had spun off and was hanging by the pastern strap. *sigh* I dismounted and replaced it, noting that the mud that we had had to go through to get to the bridle path at the barn had plastered itself to the Velcro of the strap in such a way that I started wondering how well would this boot hold up.
We walked for a bit, then trotted on. We followed the skinny trail that winds through the next soybean field over and went into the Rabbit Hole. Lily chose to trot all the way through. We did the same route we had taken with Liz 2 weekends ago, exiting the Rabbit Hole before the tree that blocks the trail lengthwise. Like she did with Liz and Q, Lily picked up a canter as we took the trail that leads around the perimeter of the field. I looked down as we reached the top of the hill and realized that the left front boot had spun off again. Cursing, I got off, re-attached the boot, noticing that now there was a small tear in the boot gaiter. Really? After only 4 miles of trot/canter?? Lily doesn't forge. I checked the other boots and realized the left hind boot was completely backwards. So I took that boot off and replaced it in its proper position as well. All 4 boots were caked with mud, inside and out, which is what was now making the fit more iffy. Despite having been super tight to begin with.
We trotted on, following the perimeter trail. Lily cantered up another hill and as we came onto the last stretch that would take us back to the dirt road, I stopped Lily again to check the boots. The left front had spun off AGAIN.
Furious at the boots, I dismounted and removed both fronts (I didn't want her working lopsided), hanging them from the saddle bags. The right front was on tight despite the mud, and I will inform you that this boot did NOT have a power strap. I lost one of the straps somehow and chose to use this strapless boot on the widest of Lily's feet. So I may be removing ALL the power straps after this trial run. ARRRRGGGHHH...
We trotted most of the way home after that and both hind boots stayed on uneventfully. Even though the gaiters were gaping with every stride, being as covered in mud as they were. Maybe I'll leave the power straps on the hinds? I dunno; I'll have to ride her more in them and see.
|Hind boots at the end of the ride. Note the gaping gaiters.|
|Front boot hanging from the saddle bags. If you "embiggen" the photo and look closely, you can see where the corner of the gaiter tore off of the edge of the boot itself.|
I can understand why people will put shoes on for endurance rides and keep their horses bare the rest of the time. Though shoes have their own potential problems as well.
Why so much concern with hoof protection? Because at the endurance rides in my area, hoof protection is mandatory. You CANNOT go in barefoot: that's how rocky the footing is. There is a reason why the Old Dominion rides are considered second only to Tevis.
*I have not received any kind of compensation from either EasyCare or Lander Industries; I'm just telling you guys about my experiences with both boots. This experience just helped sell me even more on Renegades!
Oh, and stats for this ride: if you include the 2 loops of the backwoods at the walk, we did a total of about 13 miles. I didn't start tracking pace and time until Lily and I were out by Four Corners, though. For that portion of the ride, we did 6.37 miles at an average speed of 5.78 mph, with our fastest speed being 11.19 mph for Lily's canters. The average speed does include the 3 times I had to dismount to adjust/remove boots. Not bad at all.