Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bound for Nationals

With Snap waiting in the wings for his turn and Rinnah and Lillie learning to ride better and anticipating their first AERC rides, do I really need more?

Apparently, I do. I have entered the 100 mile AERC National Championship ride. This year, the NC will be held at Biltmore Estates in Ashville, NC.

Due to my religious belief that Saturday is the Sabbath of the Lord God and we are to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-10), I do not have many 100 mile rides that I can actually attempt as most 100 mile rides are held on Sabbath. The National Championship 100 Mile ride is held on a Thursday. This year, that's September 20.

With a full team of support behind us, Tanna and I completed a 100 mile ride in 2008. Those AERC National Championships were held at Clark State Forest in Henryville, IN.

I have sent in my entry and my full payment. Ride day is 5 weeks away. Eeeek!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Renegade Boots on Serts

A few years ago, after all my trials and tribulations with "easy"boots, I shipped off my box of boots in various styles, sizes and condition to a friend who had better luck with them than I. And said, no more hoof boots!!! Metal shoes all the way, baby.

Then I started hearing things about a new hoof boot on the scene. Renegade Hoof Boots. I was interested, but not ready to use them, so just watched.

Last year, Serts began interfering with his hind feet. He would kick his opposite hind ankle, creating open wounds on both ankles. Not good.

I experimented with some hind interference boots and settled on Toklat Valena Boots. However, while they protected his legs from the open wounds, they got yucky with sweat and could hold sand and dirt next to his lower leg. Also, one of his ankles would generally swell after every major training ride even wearing the Valena boots. I had my most awesome vets take a look at him to be sure there wasn't some arthritis or other issue going on in the ankle (he is 23 after all), but they couldn't find anything, so I concluded it had to be because the boots were helping, but still not enough protection.

This year, I heard a friend mention that she was planning to use Renegade boots on her horse's hind hooves. Something snapped in my brain and I thought "Why not try that on Serts??"

I had already succumbed to the allure of the Renegade Hoof Boots and had ordered a pair for Snap. Since he's a baby, not doing much, it would be "fun" to test out new boots. I had ordered the wrong sizes for Snap, but they fit Serts' hind feet fairly well!

I had a size 2 and a size 2W (Snap's front hooves are different), but with the 3/8" cutback option for rounder hoofs.

After the first ride or 2, I decided I needed another size 2 (also with the cutback option) and I have been using those this summer.

So far, Serts has been ridden 110 miles in the boots. And NO open wounds and NO post ride swelling! Even after 4-8 hours riding! Yay!!

One boot has a hole in the toe because Serts tends to drag his toes. That might start to be a problem if the cables are exposed, but for now, it doesn't seem to make a difference. Not sure why the other boot doesn't have a hole in it. Maybe he stopped dragging that toe or maybe something else is going on.

This week, I pulled the tension straps (the lower strap that actually holds the boot on) off the boots and discovered that the older boot straps are pretty worn; meaning the velcro teeth are worn enough to compromise the strength of the hold. Might be one reason the strap has come undone a couple times. The newer boot strap is much better. They upgraded those. I'm going to buy some of the newer straps to replace these.

Since I had the boots all apart anyway, I just stuck them in the dishwasher to get them really clean. :) The green boots are the size 2s with the most miles on them. The brown one is the 2W and has less than 20 miles on it.

Renegades are expensive, but so far, I like them better than easyboots.

For Tanna, I want to use them in the winter when he's barefoot so I can still go on long training rides when I feel like it. He's got good feet, so I probably will only keep front boots for him. I'll also grab a set for Serts' front for the winter too.

I don't want to use them in competition much just because I don't want to have to worry about them. I have to with Serts as it's much better for him than using metal shoes on the hinds and I don't want to fuss with plastic shoes. Those have their own issues, some of which have nothing to do with the actual shoes themselves!

So far this has been a one-horse trial and only with hind hooves. Most of my easyboot trials were with Tanna and he did not do well with those for very long. Once I piled on the mileage, I saw multiple issues that I couldn't solve. So it will be interesting to see if he will do well in Renegades and how Renegades do on front hooves, but I won't see that until after our fall season when I pull metal shoes.

I'm also watching the mileage I will get out of each boot. I've read the boots can get 400 - 600 miles on them. If so, my boots should last another 300 miles, I hope. I am already replacing the velcro straps, but they're not expensive and if you order a pair, you get a couple extra tension straps anyway.

Bonus: My larger Stowaway pommel pack that is generally used on Serts holds a spare boot in one of the side pockets. :) That's the 2W. I'm not sure if anything larger will fit as I don't have anything larger at the moment. I doubt I'll get anything larger in the near future. I'm pretty sure the 2W will fit Serts' front feet and he's definitely got the biggest feet of my three horses.