Ok...I get told I look young all the time (thanks for the good genetics, Mom!), but I am 33 and seriously I don't look under 18 or whatever age you can legally buy mane detangler in this state. Seriously, what do people use it for that you need to be an adult to buy it? I think I might be in the wrong field. Maybe I should stockpile it for the black market.
I ended up getting to the barn and all set up around 5 just as the dark clouds also arrived. I ignored them since that seems to help a lot in these circumstances.
Gem was due for a trim anyway and I thought it would be best to try the boots on after a trim, so I tackled her four feet. The hinds are staying really nice and I was able to lower the front heels even more. Plus the BO is an ex-farrier and lent me his apron and hoof stand. I think he got tired of watching me perform his trade in the worst manner possible.
|Her right after I finished with it. I haven't touched the left yet. It is seriously looking more and more normal every trim. I am so glad Liz convinced me to do this myself.|
|Completely unfazed mare|
|Rain, thunder, lighting...who cares! As a side note - look how sweaty she is just standing in the barn . I felt a little bad depriving her of the nice cool shower, but figured she would survive.|
I continued on my way and sometime later I finally finished. Luckily, the rain had too and so after I quenched my thirst with
I tried the fronts first.
The boots fit just like I read they should: slide on and require a small tap from the palm to seat the toe. The captivators slid up on her heels and settled fine at first. I tried to tighten the pastern strap leaving two fingers looseness, but the strap then didn't reach the rubber stops on the far side. I could make it if I pulled super tight, but that goes against the function of the boot. I left it as loose as I dared and made a note to ask. The toe strap is a little confusing as far as how tight to go with it. The directions are extremely vague stating to tighten just as much as you need, more if harder terrain, less for easy terrain, think of your own shoes. I made it snug and hoped it was correct.
Everything looked fine in regards to length and width. The captivator liked to fall down on her heels instead of staying where I put it. I tried to lift it back up, but it wouldn't stay. I don't know if it was just settling to where it should be or if this was a function of the cables, too tight toe, too tight pastern or something I didn't even think of. Another mental note to ask.
|Front right in the Viper shell with original Renegade captivator. I like how her hair line is much more parallel to the boot angle now. You can see the gap to the pastern strap.|
|Right front still. I'm not sure if the captivator fits her well or not. The padding comes down lower and nearly touches the shell, but the actual plastic part is a good fingers width above it.|
|The toe strap was made snug and it fit into the rubber loops with a 1/4 inch left over. The pastern strap was just at 2 fingers loose and the tip very barely reached the rubber stoppers.|
|See how the pastern strap doesn't reach the rubber stopper? That can't be right, but I have no clue what the fix is.|
|Again, the padding on the captivator was just barely not touching the shell, but the plastic was a finger width above it. I wanted it higher, but couldn't get it to stay|
With both fronts on in the matter of minutes and without any cursing at all, I moved to the hinds. It was immediately evident they were too small. They were much harder to get on and the shell didn't cover the hoof as well. I tried to pull the much smaller and more streamlined Viper captivator over her heel bulbs, but it wouldn't go without forcing it. I gave up and put them back in the box to be exchanged.
|The shell was harder to get on and was a much tighter fit in general. The shell did not cover the heels as well either|
|You can see the freshly rasped heels outside of the shell. Too short|
|Her tail got in the way, but I barely got the captivator up and over the heels although that is probably due to the short length of the shell itself. I like how streamlined the Vipers are and hope a size larger would work to keep these captivators.|
They made a flip floppy sound. I have read FB comments about this and didn't stress over it. I made another mental note. Man, these questions were starting to add up.
We made it the mile without me fainting and Gem was drenched even with so little exertion. Jogging in this weather is serious hard work. Somewhere along the way I had the brilliant idea to try the fronts on her hinds since they are just one size up. They have the other captivator as well. Once back at the barn I took them off and tried them on her hinds. They fit very well.
|Much better coverage of the heels with this size. Please ignore the dirt in the tread. This is the room available with the captivators in place.|
|Another view of the space between captivator and shell|
|See how the pad touched the shell once the foot is down? I couldn't keep the captivators up where I wanted them.|
|The pastern strap and toe strap fit much better on the hinds.|
We didn't go hard, fast or long enough to really get an idea of how they would rub her if at all in the heel bulbs. I was surprised to see a nice well defined linear scuff mark along the entire top edge of the boot on her hoof wall. Not deep, but I do wonder what it would be like 50 miles later. I made note to ask if this was due to a too tight toe strap, too loose or what.
I didn't have it in me to run her around with just hinds on. For some reason I didn't mind just fronts but found the idea of just hinds to be odd. Maybe I should have.
Anyway...it was clear Gem loved the boots on her fronts. I am going to do all I can to make these work out for her. Their service is stellar, so hopefully all my millions of questions and pictures get to them in the morning and they have some simple solutions. I will have to mail the backs back and will see if they also need the fronts to make changes or if everything I was worried about can be adjusted on these shells. Hopefully I can tweak these and keep them for a longer trail ride on the weekend when the temps are dropping into the mid 80s and I can get a good work out in early Sunday morning.
Cross your fingers for us!!
If the fronts work with just lengthening, I will return the hinds for large size shell and caps. If the fronts end up being too narrow, I need to see if I should just keep the shells for the hinds and order new caps and how hard those are to replace versus just sending all 4 back and getting different everything.
Tonight will be telling. If I can get them sent back tomorrow I can then get new ones back in my grubby little hands before the Holiday weekend so I can still test them out over longer rides. After next weekend Gem starts her taper for WV.**