This is not the time to condition horses for Tevis: it's too late for that. What's important is excellent nutrition, daily checking for soundness, stretching, easy work-outs, keeping muscles and joints supple and loose. Cross training comes in handy, short dressage sessions in the arena, short speed pick ups to trigger fast twitch muscle cells, some hill work. And, swimming the horses!
We are lucky here in Moab during the summer. Temperatures are nice and warm and we have lakes close by with pleasant water temperatures. It is a good time of year to take horses for a swim. Some horses just love it, others don't care too much for the wet element. Nevertheless, swimming is an excellent strength builder and cardiovascular exercise. An additional benefit: the joints are saved: there is no impact whatsoever on the joints.
During this time we try to ride the horses bare as much as possible. However, we are also cautious not to risk any stone bruising. The Easyboot Gloves are the ideal hoof protection during the last few days before the Tevis.
For this ride/swim workout, we chose to wrap athletic tape around the horses hooves to minimize sand collection inside the boot. We have to travel for five miles through deep sand before reaching the lake.
Three horses ready for action. The white athletic tape is clearly visible.
We arrive at the lake after crossing several creeks.
After removing the saddles, we lead the horses into the lake.
Then the fun begins.
You can swim with them, make circles, tail, hover on top of them, splash and finally, ride out of the lake bareback.
It's a lot of fun, great workout and nice change from the normal workout routine.
We swam for quite a while with the Gloves, they all stayed on. We rode back through deep sand again. I was curious to see how much sand we had collected. After pulling the protective horse boots, here are the results:
After riding through deep sand, crossing creeks, swimming in lake, riding through deep sand again, that's all the sand we had accumulated in the boots. Hardly anything. We knew the boots were great, but this was one of the toughest test for the boots. And they passed the test with flying colors.
We will use Easyboot Glue-Ons for Tevis, but we are absolutely confident that the Gloves would work great as well. The bog and the American River won't be a problem when riding with Gloves. They proved to be sand, mud and swim gloves!
We posted a swim video on Facebook. You can see it here.