June 17, 2015

Its Not You...No..Wait...It Is You

It is probably all my fault. I jinxed it by pre writing a lovely blog post about how awesome Gem's feet now fit the Gloves and yada...yada..yada. Never do that.

(WARNING: This post has a ton of probably boring hoof pictures. I put them all at the end so you can avoid them if you wish, but I will still have the ability to look back through them for comparison in the future)

Let's back up.

Lady Farrier had been out two weeks prior and I had no interest in having her out ever again. Thanks to Liz over at In Omnia Paratus  I felt empowered to do the rasping every other week myself. This past Saturday saw me hunched over rasping away at her while cursing the heat and humidity. Thankfully I took Liz's advice and had on work gloves. Unlike some man in my life who told me "If I hit my hand instead of his hoof I deserve to get hurt" Well, wouldn't you know it he had big bloody abrasions all over his thumbs when he did Pete. Sometimes a man just has to learn the hard way. I was actually very proud of the job I did and felt confident enough to work on her for the foreseeable future.

By the time I was finished I had zero tolerance to mess with boots, so I put it off until Sunday after our ride. Well, then Sunday was hot and I was tired and had a headache and still had zero tolerance for messing with boots and I put it off until Tuesday night. Come Tuesday, I was ready to go.

I got to the barn and pulled Gem out to see this:

Can we just take a moment to look past the massive wound and focus on her big, shiny, bay butt? That is some serious shine pre grooming and after standing in the heat all day.  Gem is looking fantastic this year.

Ok...I panicked a bit. I mean seriously, that thing is big.  I called Dusty and had him come to the barn with Wyatt to take a look. She was standing evenly and there was no heat or swelling to the leg, but it was obviously tender to the touch. There is no barbed wire on property, so my best guess is that she cut it on the run in shelter in the pasture. Or a nail on a fence post. Or a broken off tree branch. Or any number of things horses find amusing to nearly kill themselves on. Hopefully it will heal quickly and without issue and for now she is still sound.

As I waited for the hubby to arrive, I figured I might as well try on the boots. I had thought ahead and just ordered two Fit Kits to give me every size from 00 to 1.5.

All the pretty boots
To avoid dragging this out ad nauseum, I will fast forward through all the fitting attempts, curse words and sweat dripping into my eyes and get to the point:


At least not for us and not for right now.

The only hoof that left me with confidence was her front right which nicely fit into the size 0.5 with the right amount of torque/mallet work to get it on and the right amount of torque/hoof pick use to get it off. It looked beautiful on her hoof: perfect splaying of the front central V, tight hoof wall match and nicely cupped heel bulbs.

The others just didn't work out. They were all between sizes: the size up fit perfect for length, but was way too easy to get on and off and the size down wouldn't go on right even with all the mallet pounding and twisting I was capable of. When the toe would eventually seat into the boot, it was obvious that the length was just too short for her hoof.

I've read enough articles/blogs/FB posts on Gloves to know my options. I could get the size up and get power straps to tighten the width. I could try the wide sizes. I could mummify her hoof in Mueller tape then apply the larger size boot. Yes, I could do any or all of those things. But you know what? I don't want to.

It goes against my #1 rule when it comes to Gem and horses in general: Keep it Simple.

All those things above add a layer of complexity and annoyance that I have no interest in doing. If it takes me an hour to tack up my horse, I'm doing it wrong.

Gem's hoof shape is vastly improved from the first time I tried the Gloves, but they still aren't perfect and the Gloves require damn near perfection to work. Easy Care is perfectly upfront about that too. They either fit or they don't. Maybe in a year when she has a brand new hoof capsule grown out they will work. But not now.

If I didn't have WV or TN coming up I would just wait and keep riding and trimming until her hoof was the perfect shape for the Gloves and try again. But I have WV and TN coming up and have no time for that. So...plan B it is.


I've always loved the Renegades although that is mostly due to the pretty colors they come in. The reason they were not my plan A is that there are too many parts to them. The Glove is a simple shell. No moving parts. No cables. No wires. Simple. See, I really do like to follow my #1 rule.

The Renegades have the shell, then a heel captivator that is attached with cables and screws and Velcro. All parts that can break. The Renegades, however, also have wiggle room. Yes, they need to fit and perhaps they won't right now either, but they don't need to fit quite so perfectly.

Of course this means measuring again. Which I suck at. So I decided to avoid that and take a picture of the hoof with the tape measurer applied. I'll let Renegade help. I am waiting to call them and speak with them personally about boot fit and where to send my pictures to for help. Hopefully they will have some positive words for me and I can get these things ordered in time to condition in them before WV. 

Photo Dump Time:

Front Right:

Left Front:

Right Hind:

Left Hind:


  1. First, YAY! SO happy you took the first step and now feel a bit more confident to keep going!

    YES - gloves are fabulous.

    Pro tip: try to trim on rainy days so the hoof is a bit softer.

    YIKES on the cut! Bit So happy its superficial!

    Tip for WV: Hoof protection is highly recommended but not MANDATORY. This year, I am planning to just put boots on Q's fronts. I work her bare all the time and know her feet are strong. I also know the trail well. The worst part of our ride re: rocks is the gravel roads. If they don't regrade these RIGHT before the ride - as has happened once in the past - then even those roads aren't super horrible. You're only on the on for a 2(?) mile stretch or so I believe...must review my GPS track from last year... Bottom line though, if you can get Gem who has great strong feet solid with front boots for WV, you shouldn't have to fret about hinds just yet! You're totally right about hoof shape changing with time. I just wanted to let you know about our ride and hoof stuff so you'd have an option to wait longer before settling on a product!

    Another side - there is an EasyCare professional in our area who will be at the ride and could help you fit boots (I think for free) and could sell you some probably if you wanted. It's last minute, sure, but she does have experience! And with Renegades? Uh, Nicole and I have you covered there. We've got oodles of sizes between us - we could figure Gem out if you didn't have things figured yet!

    Renegade fitting: SPOT ON WITH THE PHOTOS! Excellent. Only query, was the width measured at the widest part of the hoof? Hard to tell in photos... You can also put her feet down and trace them and send the tracings to Renegade for further assistance (I have done all of these things...Rennie customer service is unlike any other - the president once overnighted me TWO pairs of boots so I could be sure I had the right size before my ride. She trusted me to send back what I didn't need - didn't make me pay for two pairs with promise to refund later - just trust!)

    Her feet are looking SO MUCH BETTER! I wouldn't be surprised at all if as you get her heels down a bit more in the front (back look great), her heels widen out even more! She's got tough looking feet for sure!

    Awesome on getting out there and trimming - you're doing a great job! I bet you'll love watching how they change as you are more intimately involved with them. =)

    1. Dude, YES! I have a couple of Rennies (original Renegades) and FIVE Vipers of varying sizes. Because arsenal of boots that don't quite work for us. I might be using the Renegades on Lily's hinds (will have to re-check fit) but I have an entire bag of Vipers for you to play with. ;)

    2. You guys are great. I'm so glad you came to my blog and started commenting :) I can't wait to meet you both soon. I'm going to go ahead and order the Renegades. My bank account would be happier to try out yours but I don't think it would be fair to Gem to try them on her Friday and ask for a 50 in them on Saturday. If she was used to any boots it would be different. Nothing new on race day and all that.

    3. Liz - the width wasn't perfect. It was surprisingly difficult to hold her hoof up, balance the way too heavy measuring tape I had, and take a photo all by myself. It's a good thing she is calm on the cross toes these days. No way could I have managed it all a few years ago.

    4. ....and now I feel dumb.

      I couldn't figure out how people juggled a hoof, camera and measuring tape. I tried, and I think I did it, but, it's probably wrong.

      But tracing the hoof is such a great idea that I'm feeling dumb!

      And now I know what I'll be doing after our next trim!