Square Peg, Round Hole?

As I sit here at 8:30PM, looking out the window into pitch black, I realize that summer is officially over. Wow. Seriously?!?! Where did it go? Why didn't I get half of the things I wanted to get done, done? I had a lot of plans that went right, and some that got moved to the wayside. Unfortunately, my youngster, Topper, was one of those plans that sat on the back burner for most of the summer. If you remember this post, I was asking the Good Lord to give me the strength to get through Topper's formative "baby" years. He sat for most of the summer, going on an occasional ride, getting loved on and worked in the arena and getting pedicures and baths and mini-lessons. I had planned on having him broke enough that my husband might be able to ride him, but, like I said, the rest of life got in the way. 

I finally got Topper off the place last weekend, and we went up to the mountains, where Sally and I had been riding her gelding and Khopy all summer. Our loop is the perfect loop for a rambunctious youngster, as the first half of the ride is UP! There is also plenty of water, abundant grass and good footing. Considering Topper hadn't been ridden for more than 11 or so miles, I wanted to protect his little feet with my Easyboot Gloves. And as I have been so careful by going very slow and giving him good experiences on every ride previously, I hadn't needed to boot him before. 

A rare moment with Topper standing still. We had already climbed a great deal, which helps any youngster appreciate a break. 

Now all of my horses previously have had nice feet. While some have needed some work at the beginning of their transition to natural hoof care, structurally, there haven't been any problems that couldn't be fixed by good trimming. They always have fit perfectly into Gloves, and I haven't had many problems with lost boots. Topper doesn't fit. His feet are different, imperfect, and despite never having worn shoes, his feet have some inherent "issues." His right front foot is more upright and chronically flares on the outside. His left front was the typical long toe, low heel, which has changed dramatically in the year I have had him. It still doesn't look like the feet of my other ponies. 

August 2009- the week after I brought Topper home. He had been trimmed "properly" by a "barefoot trimmer" who charged $75 a trim the day I picked him up. Gee, thanks. 


June 2010. Big changes. 

The morning of our big ride, I looked at Topper's feet with trepidation, as I realized they might not work with my beloved Easyboot Gloves. I picked his feet up and examined them from the sole. Pretty round, wider than long. Shoot. Not to be deterred, I slapped on a pair of 1.5's with powerstraps, telling him he was filling some pretty dang big shoes. Fast Eddy's old shoes, to be exact. I didn't love the way they fit but chopped it up to Topper's foot shape, specifically on his more upright foot. As I knew we would be riding along as a trail riding pace, enjoying the fall colors changing, I didn't bother with athletic tape. 

GORGEOUS fall colors, it was a beautiful day for a trail ride. 


Topper enjoying a water break, and getting his Gloves thoroughly squishy in the process.

We had a beautiful 15 mile ride, both of my friends being continually shocked by Topper's calm demeanor and quiet resolve. This horse is *the most* kind and gentle guy you'd ever meet. He wants so badly to do what's right, and musters up his "big boy pants," putting all the trust he has into me when he feels nervous. He didn't bobble despite his first time off the place, first time in the mountains and first time in a group of three horses. Leading, following, or jammed in the middle, he didn't falter. I think I can look past imperfect feet for that kind of attitude, put together in a big, pretty package with extra smooth gaits. What a guy!!
 

He even saved my a** when we were leaving the creek. I almost got wet! Thanks for the picture Sally ;-).
 
After a great ride with no boot problems, I began to wonder what exactly were Topper's measurements, and are there people out there dismissing the Gloves because their horse has round feet. I pulled him out of the pasture the next day, and went about measuring. I trimmed him up just a tiny bit, and pulled out my tape measure. Now, my good friends and family members can attest to my skills with numbers. Well, I don't really have any skills when it comes to numbers. In the interest of full disclosure, I had to look up where the millimeter mark was on the tape measure. Yes, embarrassing, but I seriously tried so hard to understand the number stuff and just never got it!! 

I only measured Topper's front feet, because that is about all that the guy has patience for. I am perpetually trimming his feet because I do the fronts and the hinds separate. Someday! His left front foot measured 5 inches (exactly) by 5 inches (exactly), which is 127 millimeters. His right front foot measured 120 millimeters wide, by 120 millimeters long. Ok, so this is where I have to have done something wrong. According to the sizing chart, he should totally not fit in Easyboot Gloves. Instead, I put decided to see if a size 1 would work, considering the fact I felt like the size 1.5 was too long and there were gaps all around the powerstraps. With a quick twist, the 1's slipped on Topper's foot and fit much better than the 1.5's I used on our ride. 

 After a quick trim. 


Measuring for width- in hindsight I didn't even measure the widest part of the foot.


Measuring length.
 
Given the shape of the boot and the sizing chart, Topper shouldn't be a candidate for Easyboot Gloves. However, with the addition of the powerstrap, I feel comfortable using Gloves on him and do not expect any problems. Where did I go wrong? Did I measure wrong? Did I screw up my millimeters? I don't really know and don't particularly care, because by actually trying on the boots I was able to find a solution that I believe will work. Do you have a horse you dismissed for using Gloves because of the size chart? If so, you might want to considering giving the fit kit a shot- you might be surprised!! 


 

The fit looks pretty good and I am excited to ride him again in the smaller size. Do you have a horse that doesn't fit the typical mold for a certain design of boot? Did you make modifications or do they fit as is? Looking forward to hearing of more square pegs in round holes!! 

Happy Booting!
~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho

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