Submitted by Roger Rittenhouse
For the past two years plus I have used other boots with good results on my horse, Omni. While very satisfied with the other brand, I wanted to try another boot that might be easier to install and have less mass going down the trail. Omni has oblong, non-round hoofs, but the other boot is round. So while it fits the length, it is wide for his hoof. The first pair of the new Easyboot Glove Back Country boots arrived today. With good spring weather, I had to ride and test the boots.
I had measured his freshly-trimmed hooves at least four times. I could not find the mm scale so I used the 32-inch scale and converted against EasyCare’s advice. The sizing is the same as the Easyboot Glove, and from what I can gather, the boot should be long enough for base support but narrow to grip the hoof.
Based on the measurements, I settled on #2.5. It took some effort to get them installed so I used a rubber mallet to seat them. The right front was tight; the left front was better, but still tight. I felt the boots were perhaps a half size too small. I should have ordered a #3. Oh well: once installed there is no return and I had to test ride. Once I got them seated and worked the rear heel capture in place they were easy to lock in place. The mallet sure helped to get them seated. The wide Velcro back flaps worked great. That part was easy.
A little trot in hand went well and the boots stayed on. He moved out nicely. I re-checked the heel and was able to get a finger in the boot to check heel/hoof contact. Everything appeared OK.
We hand walked down the hard road, some trot. No slipping. I mounted at the dirt road, and off we went into the forest. We walked a mile, and then I asked for an easy trot: all felt fine. Due to size and shape, the other boots would clip inside on each other, but not hit the cannon bone. The Glove Back Country did not hit. He also did not forge from behind.
It’s impossible to determine if the boots are working as desired with just a few miles, so we did 7.5 miles, mostly at a walk some at a trot and some jerking around being an idiot Arab. I let him ramp up to about 8-9 mph to see how he traveled. Apart from the idiot Arab kick-outs and hops, he moved very nicely: almost the way he moves when barefoot. Very nice!
When I returned home, the left front was tight to remove. His heels looked good and the captive lip at the lower heel (what EasyCare calls the Comfort Cup gaiter) showed tight contact, as did the back of the heel bar. He had wear marks on the heels showing full base contact. The heel bulbs looked good and had no rubs. The right front showed more pressure contact on the hoof heel bar below the bulbs and more indentation in the heel captive lip. Both hoof walls showed the wear or marks from the grip of the Glove on the sides and the quarters. This shows good width size. The boots were gripping the walls the way they are designed to.
My second ride was not a long ride - only three miles. I set the boots out in the sun while I cleaned up my boy, figuring it couldn’t hurt them and may make them a bit softer. They were much easier to put on. Since he was ten days into the trim cycle, I filed the left front just to clean it up some and get a better mustang roll. I worked the toe back just a little: a few swipes of the file were all I needed. This hoof grows sort of normal compared to the right front.
Off to the trails: I rode a mile or so on the dead-end hard top, then asked for a little trot. It was nice easy going with no slip. Then into the trails with leaves, mud and downhill terrain. Went quite well with almost no slipping. The tread gripped fine. We did a few loops around the woods trail and into an open field. The boots went through ankle-deep mud. Back at the barn, the boots came off with a slight effort, easier than first ride but they did not just fall off. The grip marks on the hoof wall at the quarters indicated a tight fit.
I think the # 2.5 is a good fit as long as I keep the toes and front walls close and tight. If he would go a week or two, the boots would be too tight. If I were planning on going more than two weeks without trimming, I’d go up a half size to account for the hoof growth. Since I am the primary trimmer, I can work the hoofs as needed. I have a professional barefoot trimmer on a 7 to 8 week schedule to re-do my trims and make corrections as needed.
I noted how well he seemed to move, as in break-over and getting the forehand moving faster. The boots have a natural balance design, that is to say there is a nice beveled toe with the break-over point back behind the white line. I think he moves better in the boots than barefoot. He has tendency to toe clip or toe drag, which causes him to trip at times. The boot design gets that toe over and up into the fight faster. At least I noted he tripped less.
As has been stated many, many times, no boot is perfect for all horses in all conditions. The advantages we have today to find a design of boot that works well for your horse and riding style is significant compared to the limitations that we had to deal with when they are shod. My Initial impressions remain positive. I will find out more as we hit the trails this spring. For me and my old horse the Easyboot Glove Back Country is working and meets my requirements.
Over the course of the next five rides with the four Glove Back Country boots, I used # 3 on the front, and #2.5 on rear. I was concerned the large size would result in pulled boots, but the boots stayed on though hoof-deep mud and rocky washed-out trails.
I am very pleased with the performance of these boots. I have used other EasyCare boot styles with mixed results. The new Glove Back Country really works for me and my horse. They are easy to put on the hoof and take off, and there is no messing around with adjustments. I fold back the Comfort Cup gaiter, slide the boot over the hoof and tap it in place with the palm of my hand to seat the boot. I close the Velcro flaps, and I’m done. I can install four boots in about five minutes. The larger size has allowed me to let the trim and re-shape go a little longer than with a smaller sized boot. He trots just fine over rock stone roads and blacktop. The boot tread and the grip helps to keep him from slipping on the blacktop.
For the riders who are thinking about this new boot design, it really works. I have used almost all the boots ever made over the last 30 years. The new Glove Back Country has performed the best for my current horse and how we ride.
Name: Roger Rittenhouse
City: Pikeville, Tennessee, USA
Equine Discipline: Trail, Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove Back Country