Monday, May 26, 2008

Easyboots - Serts

Almost every winter, I remove Tanna's shoes and start fiddling with Easyboots. This accomplishes a couple of things. First and foremost, Tanna's hooves get a break from the constant nails and steel on his feet. While I don't think shoes are "evil," I do think it's a great idea to let the feet recover and rest.

But I don't want Tanna to rest too terribly much. Living in TN, I get to ride most of the year and I like keeping Tanna fit so I don't have a big ramp-up in the spring before starting endurance rides. So Easyboots provide a nice way to protect Tanna's feet on those conditioning rides in the winter.

I've had some success riding Tanna in longish rides of 20 - 30 miles in 4 Easyboots. As the mileage goes up, so does the chance and reality of rubbing, despite my best efforts. That's ok, though, enough for really good training rides in the winter. So I reshoe for our competitions of 50 miles.

However, Serts is my older, lazier horse. I have been riding him on and off since last fall and would like him to do at least one LD ride this year. I've had him shod since fall, but it occurred to me that since I can get 20 - 30 miles of good riding on Tanna in Easyboots, I might try that approach with Serts.

Last week, I asked my farrier to remove Serts' shoes and I promptly ordered 2 size 3 Easyboot Bares from ValleyVet.com. They arrived on Friday and I was able to use them for the first time yesterday.

The gaiter style is new this year. They have fabric instead of faux leather along the back of the boot. The new gaiter is very nice.

Here is a picture of an older Bare and Epic with the older gaiter style.


And this is the new Bare gaiter.

New Gaiters

Another difference I noticed was that the heel strap was pre-cut for my convenience. I have always found it better to cut down the heel strap on Tanna's easyboots. I usually would cut Tanna's down a little further, even, but my plan for the first ride was just slap the boots and and make adjustments later if there were problems.

The boots went on pretty easily, leading me to tighten up the bungee on both sides of both boots. The boots still seemed a little loose, but size 2 would have been too small. I might have to vet wrap his feet to make a better fit.


I rode Tanna and ponied Serts so I could watch how Serts moved (and to get a ride in on Tanna in the Specialized!). We went 7 miles in 80 minutes. Serts did pretty well with the boots. It took him awhile to figure out how to move in the boots and he was reluctant to canter in them. I really think they might be too loose for him. I worried that he was being rubbed.

Here are the boots after riding.

Serts - After riding

When I removed the boots, I found clean feet with no rubs.

Serts - After riding

The backs of his pasterns after riding. You can see a bit of blood on his right front. That is not from the gaiter. He has a small bit of scratches or something similar and I picked at it and it started bleeding.

Serts - After riding

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the first foray into boots with Serts. Have to give him some more exposure to the boots.

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