Sunday, December 24, 2006

Percy Warner Training Ride GPS Data

MotionBased Invitation
Map of Percy Warner
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Easyboot Epic/Bare Trial #4

This trial consisted of Easyboot Epics on the fronts and Easyboot Bares on the hinds.

Tanna and I were joined by Angie and Khasey for a Christmas Eve day training ride. We pretty much had the trails to ourselves for most of the day. We did see a couple of other small groups out, but it was very nice to be able to have the trails to ourselves. Percy Warner Park is a very popular horse trail system and we expected to see more riders, but I guess others had family obligations.

Anyway, on to the trial. I went out at 7 AM to get Tanna's boots on. At 7:50, I had all 4 boots on with vet wrap. About the timing I was expecting. I was pleased, though, to be able to get both front Epics on in 10 minutes! I lunged Tanna for a few minutes to watch him move in the boots. He did pretty well. He smacked the bottoms of the fronts a few times, but seemed to do ok. I turned him back in the paddock to wait until time to leave for the park.

We did 17 miles in 3 hours. Tanna moved a lot better this trip! He still wanted to go crooked occasionally, but it was much less and he straightened up when I asked him to.

All boots stayed firmly on his feet and when I removed the boots, I saw no signs of rubbing or soreness on any of the four feet. The Bares came off a lot easier than I thought they would. I put the heel of my hand on the boot ledge to the outside of the hoof and shoved hard. The boots just popped right off. I think they might have loosened up with the riding. I'll tighten them up one hole before my next ride.

I still think I might rasp the fronts of the Epics to try to speed up the breakover of the fronts and make it easier for Tanna to keep his feet out of the way. I also want to try using the boots without vet wrap. It would make it easier (and cheaper) to use the boots if I didn't have to wrap the pasterns all the time.

Photos and descriptions on Flickr.

Merry Christmas to all and to all I wish horsey kisses.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Easyboot Epic Trial #3

This trial involved longevity. Both front hooves were wrapped with vet wrap. Both boots had the comfort strap installed.

I put the boots on at 7 AM and let Tanna hang out in the paddock until time to trailer to Percy Warner park for a ride with friends. We did a 12.5 mile loop in 2 hours 40 minutes.

Then I pulled the boots. He wore the boots for about 7.5 hours. No rubbing at all.

I was disappointed to discover Tanna's gait was still altered by the boots. My friends that rode with me noticed the gait change as well. They said he was paddling behind more than normal which isn't good for his hocks.

The suggestion was to put boots on the hind feet, too. I might be about ready to try that since the fronts seem to be doing well without rubbing. But that means I'll be spending 45-50 MINUTES just putting boots on. Not a happy prospect.

Pictures at Flickr

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Garmin GPS Wrist Units

The best wrist unit is the Forerunner 305 and runs about $275. It has much better GPS reception than any previous unit, and that's important if you're going to use it anywhere other than very open terrain (meaning no buildings, no trees, no nothing). This unit also has a heart rate monitor and you can get an optional cadence unit for bikes and a foot pod is soon to be released.

The Forerunner 205 has the same GPS chip as the 305, but doesn't have any support for cadence or heart rate. Cost: $200.

Stay away from any of the 101 units! They have NO capability for connecting to a computer, which means there is no chance of getting the data back off the unit. Also, the GPS chip technology is very old and not as good. In GPS technology, newer IS better.

The Garmin Forerunner 301 is a good little unit. It has much better GPS reception than the 201 but not nearly as good as the newer 205/305 units (Illustration). Cost runs about $150. It has a heart rate monitor that one can use for a person or alter to use for a horse. The trackpoint management on this unit is much better than the 201 (but again, not as good as the 205/305), which is very important if you want to do any sort of post-use analysis. If you just can't afford a 305, then this is a decent compromise.

Here's a site that I use for post-activity data storage and analysis:

Amazon.com or TVNAV.com are both good places to buy these units.

I use Roger Rittenhouse's adapter kit to use the HRM with my horse. This works for any human chest heart rate montior. You can get the basic version for $55 or the deluxe version for $75. This gives me the nice wide flat electrodes to put under the saddle and the girth.

Here is a pictoral explanation of the way I use the heart rate monitor for my horse.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Forerunner 305 Firmware 2.5!!!

Yesterday, Garmin finally released a new firmware update for the Forerunner 305 (and 205). Lots of good fixes in this batch. Some of the most notable:

# Improved instantaneous pace reading to be smoother and more accurate.
# Improved high pace, low pace, workout step complete, time alert, and distance alert beeps.
# Added feature to preview course map and course profile on the unit.
# Improved Auto Scroll to allow fast, medium, and slow speed scrolling.
# Added support for foot pod accessory (not yet available).
# Added quick selection of indoor mode (GPS off) by pressing and holding the mode button.
# Fixed problem with repeatedly reporting On Course and Off Course on some Course tracks.
# Fixed problem where track log would not display in history if the timer was started without a GPS fix.
# Fixed problem where today's scheduled workouts would not display if the local date was different than the UTC date.

I loaded this onto my unit for my ride this afternoon. So I guess I was testing two things: the Epics and the new firmware! I did an Advanced Workout using the new auto scroll feature that I really missed from my Forerunner 301. Everything worked great!

Easyboot Epic Trial #2

I had a chance to do another trial ride with the Epics. I decided to keep using the two different boots. One with metal teeth and the other with the comfort strap (no metal teeth). This time I added some duct tape to try to protect the hoof wall from the metal teeth on the one hoof.

I also stepped up the speed a lot. I did 8 miles in 52 minutes (instead of 2.5 hours) and also had a warm up and cool down.

The results were still encouraging, except for Tanna changing his gaits. He was reluctant to speed up into his working trot. I'm hoping that just some more rides will help him get used to the boots.

Pictures and more information are available on my Flickr account as another photo essay.

Monday, December 04, 2006

PDF Ride Entries

I don't know about other parts of the country, but I often find myself printing out PDF entries, filling them out by hand, and mailing them to the ride manager or secretary. This does get tedious after awhile, not to mention my handwriting can get somewhat animated and hard to read, especially when I'm in a hurry.

The answer? A PDF Editor. I use PDFill to load in the PDF file and type in all my information. Then I save, print, sign, and mail. This makes it a lot easier and quicker to send legible ride entries.

The cost is $20.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Easyboot Epic Trial #1

Since Tanna is barefoot (I pulled his shoes for the winter 3 weeks ago), I am experimenting using Easyboot Epics. Last time I used them, it was summer and I had the back strap completely removed. However, I kept ending up with rubs on either side of Tanna's pasterns. This time I decided to try using the straps and use boots on the front hooves.

The right front was to use a comfort strap (no metal teeth). The left front was to use the regular strap with the metal teeth. Both hooves/legs would be wrapped above the pastern to try to protect from the gaiters rubbing.

The results were encouraging, but we only went just under 8 miles in 2.5 hours. Pictures and explanations as a photo essay are on my Flickr account.

The next test will be to use the comfort strap on both boots and do an hour ride at speed.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I was looking through some old pictures and found this one of Tanna and me taken back in February 2001. This was my trial ride on him. He was owned by Dee, a friend who mostly rode gaited horses. Tanna was her only "trotter" so she was looking for a home for him to reduce her herd.

In February, at Dee's urging, Daniel and I went to do a trial ride, despite us not having the money to buy a horse, much less take care of one.

I enjoyed riding Tanna immediately and liked the fact that I could place him on the trail anywhere I wanted. He has a very sweet, little-boy, in-your-pocket personality that was very attractive.

In March, I accepted a position and as soon as I hung up with the head hunter, I called Dee and told her I wanted Tanna.

Tunes on the Trail

On long endurance and training rides by myself, I amuse myself by listening to my Motorola m25 mp3 player. This player is great. It will play WMA (including the protected DRM ones) and MP3. It has bookmarks, so I can find my place again if I'm listening to a sermon or an audio book. It will play playlists or all by artist, genre, album, etc. I can even listen to the radio. Sometimes the reception isn't so nice, but it's a change from mp3s. The m25 also has a Secure Digital (SD) card slot for extra memory.


Recently, I bought a 2 GB SD card for my digital camera and was pleased to find that this card will work in my m25! I loaded 72 Doug Batchelor sermons onto the card to test the m25. This is about 1.6 GB worth. As you can see, the m25 sees all 72.

You can download Doug Batchelor WMA files for free from the Amazing Facts web site.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Charging the Forerunner 305

When away from my computer and electricity, I still need to charge my Forerunner 305 battery so that it will work on my endurance rides. Sometimes this means I have to charge during a ride between loops.

I use a USB battery extender. Basically, it's a box that hold 4 AA batteries and the other end is a USB "port." You can plug your normal mini USB cable into this and charge almost anything. I use one to charge my Forerunner 305 and have used it on my Foreunner 301 as well, and my blackberry. So just about anything will work.

I also have a 12 volt USB converter. It plugs into the cigarette lighter in my truck and then I can plug my USB cable into that and get it to charge this way, too. I've done that quite a lot, too.

Go to eBay and do a search on "shuffle battery extender". You can find these for about $10-$12 shipped. They're marketed for the Apple IPOD Shuffle and are white. They work great. Make sure they can plug a USB cable (or an IPOD Shuffle) directly into them.

I use mine at my camp and make sure it's in my vet check bag for away checks.