April 25, 2015

EasyCare Glove Fit Kit: The Trial

After many failed attempts, I finally made it out to the barn to try the Fit Kit this afternoon. You can get the kit from EasyCare directly or through Riding Warehouse, both for the same price. The difference? EasyCare gives you 30 days to try them versus 7 days with RW. RW however lets you pick any three sizes whereas EasyCare has you chose one size and then sends half a size larger and smaller as your three boots to trial. In the end, I went with EC because I knew I needed more than a 7 day window.

I ordered the size 1 kit which gave me a 0.5, 1, and 1.5 to try.

One disclaimer: it has been 3 weeks, (maybe even 4 I would have to go back and look) since her trim and you really are supposed to do it right after a fresh trim. I knew this going in, so figured her feet might be a bit too big for the right size, but again things prevented me from getting there any sooner so I was left with what I had.

I pulled her in and man she is looking gorgeous this spring!! It had just finished raining yet again and so I used the cross ties in the barn.

From my previous measurements, I was pretty confident that the 0.5 would fit on her hinds, so I started there. I began with the 1.0 figuring they would be too big, but since this was my first time using these I wanted an easier fit to practice with. As I figured, it slid right on without any effort and the front wedge didn't form the V it needed to.

Right hind in the Easyboot Glove #1.You can see the front wedge hasn't sprung open at all and there is a gap along the upper hoof wall. Much too big. 

Right hind in the #1. You can see from his angle the gap between the boot and the hoof wall. Too big. 

I wasn't concerned about this lack of fit knowing I had measured her as a solid 0.5 and so I grabbed that boot next. It was a little more snug to get on, but with a small amount of twisting it slid onto the hoof. I had watched all the videos and they didn't use a mallet on any of the demo horses and just twisted, so I thought maybe this was ok.

Right hind in the 0.5. A little more of a V shape to the front and less gap to the side wall, but still too big.
Right hind in the 0.5. A little better fit, but still too big.
Huh? Seriously, when I measured she was a solid 0.5. If anything these should have been too snug given 3 weeks of hoof growth. Apparently, I can't measured with a darn. 

A bit sullen, I moved to the front. From my, now fairly meaningless, prior measurements the front right hoof should be my biggest pain in the rear. I started there and grabbed the #1 boot again. I had been worried that she would need a 1.5 or 2 for the length of this hoof. Well, the #1 slid on easily and looked a bit large. I ditched it without snapping any shots and moved on to the 0.5 on the right front. 

It fit perfectly. It took a little muscle and twisting to get it on and the front formed the perfect V with no gap on the side walls and the rear coming to the perfect hight on her heel bulbs. 

From right in the 0.5. Side wall is nice and tight. Should the rear come up higher on her heel bulbs??

Front right in the 0.5. Tight side walls, but should it come up higher?

Front right in the 0.5. Nice front V and no gap at the side walls.

I tried to pry it off and it was on there super tight. As I fought to get the darn thing off, I had an idea. Why not give her a run through in the muddy round pen to see how it stays on? We headed off and I let her loose and ran her through her gaits both direction. She was being an absolute pistol and gave several massive bucking fits letting me know that it had been way too long since I rode her last. 

The boot stayed put through it all and was still exceptionally difficult to get back off. I used the hoof pick to pry it off and thanks to advice from Karen, I made sure to check her heel bulbs for rubs. She had none. At her current foot shape and size, I think the 0.5 is a pretty good fit for her front right unless others see any glaring issues?

Once I got that one off, I moved to the front left and began again with the #1. 

It slid on with twisting and a bit of a push, so I was hopeful it would fit. I noticed that the hoof is much steeper in angle than her other 3 and that the overall fit wasn't as nice as on the right front. Overall though, there were not any side gaps and the back came up to a nice level. 

Left front in the #1. No gaps in the side wall

Left front in #1. Notice the nice V in the front.

Front left in the #1.
I tried to take it back off and it wasn't near as hard as the front right had been, but it still didn't come off easily. I decided to take her back to the round pen and give the #1 a try. It failed. It flew off her when she transitioned from a trot to a canter. 

Back in the barn we went and the 0.5 was tried. Holy crap was it hard to get on! Her toe would not seat into the boot very well given the steep angle of her hoof wall and I needed a mallet to get it on. It still seemed excessively snug, but we headed out to the round pen one last time. It stayed on through all her antics just fine. 

Front left 0.5

Front left 0.5. No gaps.

Front left 0.5. Nice V and no gapping.
The problem? When I went to remove them she had already had her heel bulbs mangled a bit from the boot being so tight. Now, her heels are very wet right now from the rain, but still this was after 5 minutes of work in the round pen. Imagine what would happen after 50 miles on varied terrain.

So....after all of that.....

  1. Her hind feet are definitely better shaped for hoof boots in general, but I already knew that. I know her fronts are too vertical, but if I can get boots to fit well enough to not hurt her and stay on it is a win. 
  2. I completely messed up my measurements some how and none of the boots I ordered are small enough for her hinds. She will need either a 0 or 0.05 back there. Next time I will get a 0 fit kit to have the 0.05, 0 and 0.5. 
  3. The front right fit the 0.5 near perfect and that is 3 weeks out from a trim. Question is will it still work so nice right after a trim? Probably not, but I think the 0 will be way too tight on her. I'm thinking 0.5 with a powerstrap on the front right should be just about right. 
  4. The front left at this length is too large for the 0.5 and too small for the 1. I'm thinking that right after a trim the 0.5 may fit just right and not need the powerstrap. This should allow the boot to fit without rubbing her raw. Also, I can have the farrier try to fix that high angle some as well. 
  5. Renegades would probably actually fit her rears just fine, but honestly I would rather her be in the same boot for all 4 if possible.
My plan...

Figure out when the farrier is coming out next. Probably in another 3-4 weeks. Once I have him scheduled, I will order the Fit Kit size 0 which will allow me to have smaller sizes to try on her hinds and still keep the 0.5 for her front. I will try them on her immediately after the trim and see the difference it makes on the fit on the front. If I can't get the Gloves to work well on her fronts without causing issues, I will then try the Epics on those and keep gloves for her hinds. 

Thoughts, advice, suggestions etc...are all welcomed and needed please!!!!!

April 20, 2015

Trail Conditions

Ok...I try really hard not to go off on rants here because few people really want to read that kind of stuff, but I need to make an exception. My blood was boiling on Saturday.

Trust me when I say that know how it feels to really, really want to ride and not be able to. Between work, Wyatt and a host of other responsibilities my trail time is significantly limited. It really sucks when the little time I do have gets squashed by bad weather. I 100% get it.

But I don't think heading out anyway and ruining the trails is the answer.  What am I talking about?

Saturday afternoon we took the pups for a hike at Sumter National Forest. I love hiking there because it is generally void of anyone else. It has an extensive bridle trail system and a horse camping area which aren't used very much. We were very surprised to see two horse trailers and another car parked there when we showed up in the late afternoon in between rain storms.

We entered the woods along a horse trail and I was appalled at the condition of the trail. Muddy, deep hoof prints were everywhere. It has rained the entire last week and the trails were soft and fragile. In fact they were nearly impassable.

As we made our way along I saw two people on horse back with a filthy scruffy white dog come barreling down the trail towards us. The horses were sinking 6" to a foot into the mud and they just didn't give a crap about it. They were eating that trail apart. I even saw where people bypassed the really muddy spots going off trail and creating even bigger holes and mud alongside it.

Seriously people?

Look...I know you want to ride. I know it has been super rainy lately and you haven't been out. Maybe you have planned this ride for a long time. Maybe you just figured it would be empty so your scruffy dog could come along. I don't know what went through their minds, but I know trail conditions didn't enter it.

The trails are horrendous now and even when they dry up the damage done by people riding when they shouldn't be won't be fixed for a long time. If ever. Trails need maintenance and they need care or they won't last. Erosion is a big problem and multi use trails that are destroyed by riders when they really should have stayed home and waited for them to dry out a little are easy pickings to hikers/hunters/bikers who want riders kicked out. I won't ride when it is like this. I wait. A little wet? Sure no harm done. But sloppy muddy and fragile, no way. The same people that tear up the train in muddy conditions are the ones who complain how terrible the trails are when they finally dry out and are so rutted and gross you can barely even walk down them. Who is to blame?? You are!!!

I love riding and yes I would have liked to get a ride in this weekend, but destroying the trail just to get a few miles in isn't worth it. When it has been raining for so very long and the trails are sopping wet, stay home. Or ride the gravel roads. Or anything other than ruining a nice trail system because for some reason you just had to ride that day. It will dry up. You will have another chance to ride there. If you wait until they are dry and able to take the abuse riding causes to the land, you would have had a more enjoyable ride anyway instead of slogging through knee deep mud and creating absolute havoc.

Before you tack up and fit in those few miles, please be mindful of the damage your horse is creating as you do it. It doesn't take much for other users to get angry and file a complaint and it isn't hard detective work to figure out who ruined the trail. Unless you plan on being out there grading it, packing in the ruts and figuring out ways to make it more sustainable, stay home and wait until the conditions improve.

Ok...rant over....

April 15, 2015

Measurements and Boot Sizing: Opinions, please!

Right Hind: 110 mm W x 118 mm L
Right Front: 112 x 130
Left Hind: 112 x 120
Left Front: 118 x 125

Epic Sizing:
Taken from the Easy Care Website

RH: Probably a 00? She is 2 weeks out from her trim, but still looks pretty good. I could probably take a millimeter off the length and width.

RF: ?? Width wise she would fit in the 0, but length she would need a 1. Again she is two weeks out, but even taking 2 mm off she still stays a solid 1 in length.

LH: A solid 0.

LF: Probably a 1.

Looking at Glove sizing:

Again, taken from Easy Care website
RH: a pretty good 0.5

RF: ??. Width she is a 1, but length she would need a 1.5 or 2.

LH: a good  0.5

LF: a solid  1.5

And looking at Renegades:

Taken from Renegade website
RH:  it would have to be the  0 and probably a cut back would be needed as it would be really long

RF: ?? Ugh. Width is a 0, but length is a 1.

LH: a pretty good  0

LF: probably a 1, but is between a  1 and a  0.


Ugh. That darn right front hoof is going to be a real problem, isn't it? It just doesn't seem to want to fit any of the sizes. The problem is that it is pretty narrow and long. Do you think that with some time I could get that to change? She has been barefoot for 5 years now and it hasn't changed yet. This was a big problem I had with the Fusion Jogging boots. The length fit great in size 13 fronts and 12 hinds, but they were just too wide and rubbed her.

I was leaning more towards the Epics for more flexibility in fit than the gloves provide although looking at the sizing she may actually fit the gloves better. Per the website, if they are a size different tin L vs W then you should go to the larger size and a difference of more than 1 size isn't going to work.

I don't think Renegades will work as most of her hooves seem to not really be a good fit per the chart. I know they don't need to fit super snug to work, but it just seems like her hoof shape isn't really working well with the chart. Vipers are made for an even rounder hoof than the originals, so those aren't even a option.

All you boot people, what would you try??

I will probably order a fit kit for the gloves in a size 0 so that I can try the 00 and 1 on her and see, but unfortunately they don't have a fit kit of the epics.


April 14, 2015

Gemmie's Birthday Gift To Me

I am still grinning from it :)

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday and I spent it doing the one thing I haven't done in 2.5 years: absolutely nothing. I stayed in my jammies until 4 pm when I finally wrestled myself off the couch and away from the easter chocolate to pick Wyatt up from school. I binge watched the first season of Glee which I had never seen, snuggled with my cats and puppies and enjoyed being a complete waste of oxygen. It was magnificent.

Sunday was a different story. It was about time that I gathered the motivation back to hook up the truck and trailer and hit the real trails. I've had my eye on a new trail at Croft State Park that we have hiked with Wyatt numerous times, but since he is only just over 2 we only make it a little ways down the trail. To add to my mojo, Dusty gave me my gift: a new Garmin 310xt to replace my Garmin Forerunner 410. I'll write up my comparison/review later. I really wanted to try it out and so with the sun playing peek a boo with the clouds all morning we headed out with Wyatt and the two dogs.

Forest Mills Loop is 6.5 miles and from the little I had previously hiked there is a super nice climb early on. The park itself hosts many horse shows in the ginormous arena, has hot water showers, camping and a 30 stall barn. My heart is set on hosting an e-ride there some day when life permits. It also hosts tons of running events such as the Blind Pig that had ended before we got there and was a 100 mile run. Dusty was pretty bummed he hadn't known about it beforehand. Can you say perfect RnT event as well??


I tacked up and headed out to find the trail head beside the barn. The trail sneaks off to the left beside the barn and heads down a steep hill to kick it off. Unfortunately I left my camera in the tack room door of the trailer so I have no pictures to share. I will get some the next time I head out there.

The footing was iffy to start with, but I knew this section from hiking. They take good care of the trails here and put gravel down on some of the hills and slicker sections. I let Gem walk down the gravel hill and had hoped to pick up a lovely trot or canter over the next section which is a beautiful two lane dirt path alongside Craig Lake. It just screams gallop at you. Unfortunately, the big sink hole/drain pipe that drains the lake into the creek below screamed horse eating monster at Gem. I was very pleased with her reaction though. Instead of bolting or becoming a freak, she just stopped and stared. And stared. And stared. The lane is a bit dangerous in the fact that the lake is to the left and the creek is waaaaay below on the right creating a raised up lane with steep drop offs on either side. I didn't want her backing off the ledge or spinning on it, so I hopped off and jogged her down the lane to show her it wasn't so scary. At the end I got back on and we got to work.

The first 2 miles are a great incline. It just keeps going up and up and up at a steep enough grade to get you breathing hard. It is also a single track trail with a lot of turns so is very technical. I pushed Gemmie a bit to trot most of it, but once I heard her blowing hard I let her slow and walk. She was a little spooky with the trees so close on either side but moved mostly forward and I was happy. We put in a slow first couple of miles and I figured we would be in for a 2 hour ride.

Once we got past the section I was familiar with, my own focus snapped back in. I love new places and it keeps me way more interested in the ride than the same old boring trails time and again. The trail led up yet another steep grade to a TV station out building which she didn't like either. It then led down a steep granite hill. The entire trail was one big rock. You couldn't get off it and the only way through was walking over top this massive rock which lasted about 1/4 mile. She picked her way and never slipped or slid once. That's the beauty of barefoot hooves. They don't tend to slide much.

Once we hit the bottom the trail became a glorious two lane track with dirt footing again and she simply took off on her own. She gave me a lovely extended trot that read out at 8 mph on my watch. 8 MPH!!! On a solo conditioning ride! On new trails!!! We floated down that lane and she was being so good. I asked for a canter and we rocketed up to nearly 14 mph without any effort. I was grinning from ear to ear and at the far end gave her a ton of praise and loving.

From here on out the trail made for a great pace and we made up for lost time without me having to nag or ask at all. She just gave me this soft and supple trot that moved us down the trail. I think she was really enjoying herself.

All too soon we came across the bridge that leads back to the barn. There is an off shoot trail that I have hiked before that come off this main loop at about mile 5 and has a super great hill in it. It then plops back out on the other side of the Craig Lake Lane of Terror and back to the start. I briefly thought about taking this to add another 1-2 miles on, but Dusty was waiting for me with the troops. Next time I will add this in for an extra hard work out.

We made it back to the trailer at 1 hour 14 minutes and I was absolutely thrilled with that time given the extremely slow start we had. She really picked it up the last half of the ride. She was such a good girl and I know she was upset that we ended so soon. In fact, while she self loaded like a champ to leave the barn she flat out refused to get back on to head home. Dis I mention she was such a good girl???

I can't wait to get back out there and explore when I have more time. Our next ride seems to be May 9th although I am not quite sure if it will be the 30 mile RnT or Equathon just yet. It all depends on finding a babysitter.

After we finished. Perfect sweat pattern from the Advantage with ThinLine Endurance Pad. I am loving this set up.

Perfect sweat pattern. After years of fighting saddle fit this is definitely a sight for sore eyes.

April 8, 2015

Anyone Remember the Bia?

Dusty had searched high a low for a new GPS watch for me around Christmas time and had settled on the new Bia sports watch due to numerous features that sounded very interesting and useful. You can read my two reviews here and here.

In the end I decided to return it due to a much less predictable and reliable tracking system than my Garmin and at a $250 price tag it just wasn't worth it. The company was very nice and refunded all the money easily enough.

Well, I am sure glad I returned it when I did. Apparently I wasn't the only person who didn't like the tracks they were getting from it and the business is now no longer. I've read some pretty angry posts about people going off for a major run only to find out that the data wasn't being recorded and there is no longer a website to look it up on.

I guess that is the risk you take when you decide to go with a start up and honestly I find it a little sad that they couldn't make a go of it. The watch itself was extremely comfortable and the features were really nice and well thought out. But if you are going to go up against the big boys such as Garmin you better have some pretty darn accurate GPS tracks and they just didn't match up.

April 7, 2015

After Her Trim

I measure things for work all the time. Moles that look funny, diabetic foot ulcers, warts, soft tissue masses. Anything that I want to keep track of the progress or that needs a specific measurement to determine what billing code to use. I am very proficient at getting precise and accurate measurements.

In metric units.

Apparently I have completely forgotten how to, or never knew in the first place,  read an english ruler. Metric is 1000 times easier.

I had asked Dusty to bring me a tape measure and asked that it had metric units knowing that the boots and shoes I was looking at either take both or just metric. Apparently we don't have a metric one at home, so he brought what he could.

I grabbed the following pictures to send to whatever company I decide on as well as post here. She was trimmed on Monday of last week and these were taken Sunday, so nearly a week out. I am really pleased with them.

Back Right

Front Left

Back Left

Front Right
The heels are definitely no longer like stilts or stilettos and if I can get the miles on her I think her frogs with start to respond fairly quickly and widen back out. What I am still concerned about and what I doubt will ever change is how vertical her hoof wall is if you look from her toe to the coronary band. Thats what precludes us from most boots: the angle of her hoof is just much steeper than that of the boot and her toe doesn't seat well. Even with her heels as low as they should naturally go she still doesn't fit well.

I grabbed some shots of her soles as well:

Right Front

Right Hind

Left Front

Left Hind
I'm no expert, but to me it seems as though the bars have been trimmed as mush as possible right now. They are either even with or slightly lower than her frog height. From research I know that the frog will grow to "reach out to" the ground when the bars are really long and this can create a thicker than needed frog that really isn't very supportive as it also contracts. Keeping the bars lower can allow the frog the shed and become thinner while actually also becoming stronger and more supportive. With time I can get the bars down some more, but really her heels have always been slightly higher than the "normal" and that is a reality I will always deal with.

Overall though I am really happy with they way they are looking right now. I have taken all of your suggestions and will be trimming them myself for now. I will probably have a farrier come look at my handy work in the near future to make sure I am on the right track. I will get a rasp and do a little every week or so to maintain. I know I am not an expert, but I know her hooves like my own feet and have enough research base to at least hopefully not make her lame.

I'm nervous and excited!!

I grabbed the measurements, but seriously I really stink at reading the ruler and had to take a lot of time figuring out the 1/8" and lower marks. I plan on snagging one of my rulers from work and redoing it in metric before ordering anything.

Here is what I got:


Apparently I didn't save the memo on my phone so it is all lost :( Well, I said I wanted to do it again anyway, didn't I?

From what I recall of my quick reference to Easycare she would be in either 0 or 00 for epics, but gloves were in metric only so I couldn't look those up. Guess I will just have to go back out and try again. Sigh.

At the moment I am leaning towards trying the Epics out. I know the cables can really stink but they seem to provide the most flexibility in fit while still staying on. Maybe I am just wishful thinking. I would love boots to work though because after watching all the Epona and Easycare videos on gluing shoes it is a royal PITA and I doubt whether I have the patience to go through the 100  steps it takes to get them on.

I also remembered to grab my Fusion boots to get cleaned up and put online for sale. Hopefully someone wants them as they really are a good boot. If they made their new slim version in her size I would gladly use them as she moved out super well even on gravel and they stayed on through mud, creeks, clay, roots, logs, jumps and at every gait (minus gallop). They did cause rubs though and so they are going up for sale with only 22 miles on them and little to no wear. Someone buy them, please!!!

April 6, 2015

What I Didn't Do On Sunday


I don't like this new trend one bit.

Sunday was my day to hit the trails for the first time in 2 months. I was prepared. I was excited. I was, like always, on a time line, but that didn't matter. The sun was shining, the trails were dry and I had a new route planned on a brand new (to me) trail system and was ready. The Universe smiled down on me and put Wyatt in a horrendous mood where he honestly didn't even blink an eye when I changed into riding clothes and said goodbye. Everything was aligning and we were finally going to lay down some tracks.

I pulled into the barnyard and hooked the trailer up on the first go. In fact it was so easy that I became nervous that it wasn't correct and pulled the trailer forward and back a few times then got out and unhitched it and did it again to make sure.

Gem was waiting for me in the far back corner of her 35 acres, but I didn't mind. It was absolutely gorgeous out. I walked her back to the trailer and began my ritual of fully grooming her from head to tail.

That's when I noticed this:

A small but firm lump right near the girth area

It was firm, but had no heat or drainage and all the pushing and prodding I did created no response from Gem. It was at the very edge of where her girth would hit. Maybe I could still go?

I moved to her left side and continued to ignore the lump that was rising in my throat telling me that my day was shot. I picked out her hooves and then went back to the right.

And saw this:
Not one but two rather large firm swellings right smack in the girth area

Crap. Absolutely no trails for us.

I poked and prodded both areas, but she wasn't reactive and there was no heat or drainage so I am chalking it down to unfortunate placement of bug bite reactions. I took some other views to track them:

I then slathered them with Belly Balm and the rest of her with bug spray and pouted. I texted Dusty a picture and told him bring Wyatt out to play. I wasn't going riding. At the last minute I thought to ask him to bring over a tape measure as well. I might as well use this day to get a measurement of her hooves.

Once he came he helped me measure and I was about to turn her back out when I realized that I needn't sulk and waste the entire morning. I could in fact still get something done.

Let's back track:

I had planend a 1 hour 6.5 mile hilly trail ride. The morning was brisk, so I wore my black thicker riding tights with adidas pants over top, a long sleeve shirt and fleece vest. I always wear my running shoes to ride in these days. What I didn't think to wear was my sports bra. Bad idea any day, but at this time of my month it is particularly unpleasant but ok if I am just riding.

Back to the story:

I thought that running with her for 2 miles would be a great idea. Why not? I ditched the fleece vest, but kept my double pants on and headed down the hill. 100 yards later I recalled why it was a bad idea. The girls were most certainly not happy with me. I was committed to do at least the first half of it and so Gem and I made our way along the trail. Once I hit the trailer again at the 1 mile mark I was done.

After that I sulked some more and once again made my way to just put her back out when my dressage whip caught my eye. Hmmm...she hasn't been in a round pen in ages. Might be good for her.

Away to the round pen she went and we put in a good 25 minutes of effort in there. She w/t/c in both directions and I worked on a lot of transitions and whoas and changes in direction. By the end she was sweaty and breathing pretty good so at least she got some work in. I was very pleased with her and loved watching her move out. She was really extending those legs and landing heel first on all 4 with a beautiful little flick of the foot on her fronts. It was only afterward that I thought to grab some movie footage of her. Next time.

I put her back out with lots of pats and will keep and eye on those areas to make sure they are not getting any bigger of the next few days. Here is hoping that by next week she is rideable again!

April 2, 2015

Not Admitting Fault

Tuesday night was 77 and absolutely beautiful. It was also my night to ride and was the day after her new trim, so it was perfect to test out things and get some pictures to share. So where are the pictures? Ha!

For those of you who do not have a toddler at home, you probably have never been exposed to the massive amount of guilt that they can make you feel. Toddlers are smart little beasts that remember things like what day of the week it is and what outfit you wear to run in. They know exactly what to say and when to say it to both melt your heart and make you feel like the most horrible person on earth. And the best part? They do it with complete naiveté having no grasp of the concept of manipulation. 

I got a big old dose of this Tuesday night as I changed to go take Gem for a run. I figured running with her would a) help me get back into shape and b) let me watch those hooves in action. As I moved about the house to grab things a tiny little hand kept grabbing mine and leading me to the train table, the bubble bath, his bedroom. After he went to bed, I made my exit to get to the barn.

I was in a hurry. It was 7 pm and the sun was setting on me. If I left right then I could still get about 2 miles in. Maybe 3 if my legs moved fast enough. I pulled out slowly looking to the left and right to avoid running someone over. The truck is parked next to my van in the driveway and it is a tight fit, so I have to back nearly all the way out before I can turn.


Shit. What just happened?

I pulled the van back in and got out. The person living across the road had decided to park their tiny beige mini cooper on the street directly behind my driveway. Not forward where it would be avoided. Not back where I could see it. Right directly behind my van.

I'll admit. The tiny flickering thought floated through my brain that nobody saw me do it. I could sneak away and pretend it never happened. I couldn't live like that though, so I grabbed my insurance card and walked over to ring their door bell.

"Hi. I'm your neighbor. We haven't met yet in the last year. Yeah, I live in the drive you decided to park right behind. Anyway...I just hit it. Sorry about that. Here is my insurance card."

That is a fun conversation to have. Luckily for me she was super nice. I gave her my information and then walked back over to take some pictures and call my insurance company.

My van was perfectly fine. Her mini had a dent in the fender above the passenger tire and a wrinkle in the corner of the hood. Both will need replaced.

Want to know the best part? My insurance agent was mad that I admitted fault.

Sorry, but I fail to see how I could have done otherwise.

"Hi. We haven't met, but our two cars are now touching each other. I know you were in your house and the car was parked, but anything could have happened out there. Call your insurance and claim it because who knows what really caused this."

Or better yet

"Hi. So what's wrong with you? Your car just hit mine! Yes I know it looks like I backed into it, but I was the only one who witnessed it and I'm saying you managed to somehow hit the back left corner of my van with the side of your car. Strange I know, but that's how it is"

Well, anyway...instead of getting to check on Gem and get a run in I spent the night on the phone to my agency and then getting made fun of by the hubby. The people were extremely nice about it and if it comes in at $1000 or less we will just pay out of pocket and not bother our agency.

Of course this all came about the day after I asked the hubby if I could trade the van in for a Juke for my bday this month. I stated how it was a 2013 with no accidents or issues and could probably get a decent trade in for it. Yeah, not so much now.

April 1, 2015

What To Do During Competitions?

The biggest question on my mind right now isn't "Can Gem complete 50 mile e-rides barefoot" but "Should she?"

I think the answer is NO.

She has performed very well barefoot and I plan to continue to do all my conditioning bare and if I do a LD I would most likely do that bare too. She can do it and she can do it well. I just don't think I want to ask her to do another 50 miles barefoot.

I talked at length to the new farrier about my options. He is not a barefoot trimmer and is very much pro steel. In his opinion, it is more cost effective and no less stressful to Gem to throw steel shoes with nails on her prior to a ride and remove them right after. I didn't 100% agree with that and asked him a bunch of questions about the nail holes, change in strain on her ligaments, weight etc... He stayed firm in his belief that given the rock hardness of her hoof walls and sole that she could easily withstand steel shoes nailed on a day or two prior to a ride and then removed once we got home. Since I only do 2-3 rides in the year this wouldn't be an issue. If I was doing a whole lot more or riding closer together he would just keep shoes on her throughout the season and remove them once I was done.

This route is being held in the "in case every thing else out there fails" category. I just don't want to poke nail holes in her lovely feet just yet.

That leaves with me with a few options:
  1. Strap on boots
  2. Glue on boots
  3. Glue on shoes
Her foot shape doesn't fit boots. I've tried the Renegade/Viper and Easy Care lines and her heels are too high with too vertical a hoof angle to work in either even when her feet were in their prime. I could certainly file her feet down to make them match but that would put so much strain on her ligaments that I would more likely end up with a very lame horse that was retired from e-rides altogether. While the glue would help keep the glue on ones in place, her toe wouldn't seat well into the boot and that wouldn't be preferable. Plus Easy Care lists their glue ons at $104 a piece! Holy crap that's a lot of money for a one time deal. Renegade shows $15 which is more reasonable.

That leaves me with glue on shoes and I have been researching options. After looking at various options I have decided to give the Easy Care Sport shoe a try. I want a shoe that doesn't cover the frog and their other lines all do. Technically the shoe can be left in place just like a steel one for the entire cycle, but can't be re used do to the glue residue. I'd slap them on her a day or two before the ride and remove them when we returned home. I'm not looking forward to the $41 a piece price tag nor the hassle of removing all that glue from her hoof afterward, but I think for now it is my best option.

I asked FD (Farrier Dude) if she would need to have them placed a certain period of time prior to a ride to allow her to adjust to wearing them and he didn't think so. I think I would like to put them on and get some conditioning in them to see how she moves before toeing the starting line and ruining my entire ride.

On one hand I don't want to waste $165 on a set of shoes to ride around the grassy barn. Seems stupid to me. Since they last an entire cycle (supposedly) I could potentially place them on her a month prior to the ride and use them to condition that last month, but if they weaken or start to loosen in that time then I would need to very quickly remove these ones, sand down the glue residue, order new ones and get them placed. Too stressful before a first ride in them.

What I think I may do....

I have a RnT planned for early May on my favorite local trails. The hubby and I will be doing the 30 miler. The trails are mostly single track through the woods with roots, some gravel road, creek crossings and clay. Since I wont have a lot invested in the ride (no camping, less expensive entry fee, minimal gas, no extra food) I may order my first set 2-3 week prior to this ride. That will give me time to get them on her and test them out before hand so that if they are really messing her up I can rip them off and still go to the ride. If they stay on this gives me a great chance to test them out to see how she moves with them on since I am extremely familiar with how she moves on this terrain with them off.

I have a set of 4 boots I don't currently use at all because they were too wide for her hoof and rubbed her. They are the Fusion Jogging Boots which I really like in theory, but just don't fit her. If I sell those I could pay for the shoes for this ride.

This just might work....