There are many things that I tell new riders to our sport of endurance that you shouldn't do: don't over-condition your horse as they need time to rest between rides; don't feed lots of grain unless you want to have a wild start at the beginning of a ride, risk tying-up, and encourage your horse to have ulcers; and don't change anything on the day of the ride - use the same tack and feed and ride strategy that you have been using in your conditioning program.
Well, this past month at the Old Pueblo Ride in Sonoita, AZ, I failed to take my own advice but still ended up with a successful ride.
To start my story, I had my farrier scheduled to come out and shoe some horses a few days before we were leaving for the ride. The day before our appointment, he calls and has to cancel because of a family emergency. I try to negotiate another appointment before we are due to leave, but nothing works in our schedules so I am stuck taking my horse to the ride in shoes that he has had on for 6 weeks and long feet. I don't like the plan, but I don't want to have someone I don't know trimming and shoeing my horse 3 days before his very first 50 mile endurance ride! Then, to make matters worse, when we get our horses out of the pasture to load them into the trailer to head to Sonoita, Michael finds that my intended mount has pulled a front shoe! Argh!!! Now, I'm really in a quandry.
It is too late to get any farrier out to replace the shoe, and would I want to replace just the missing shoe and have 1 foot shorter than the rest, or would I have him pull and replace all of the shoes? Or, do I put a boot on over the shoeless foot, and ride him with 3 long feet with shoes, and 1 shorter foot and a boot? I really did not want to have my horse get pulled on his very first ride ever because of a shoeing problem.
So as we are driving to the ride and we decide the best thing would be to at least pull the other front shoe, trim him, and fit him in boots on both front feet. At first we planned to use Gloves. When I got to base camp, Kevin Waters was kind enough to pull the other front shoe for me and talk to Christoph Schork about trimming his feet so that he wouldn't be so long for the ride.
I hooked up with Christoph the next day and he trimmed his front feet for me and suggested that I try the Easyboot Glue-Ons instead. Christoph trimmed both front feet and glued on the boots. Due to timing issues, we went ahead and left the rear shoes on. Off we went the next morning, my horse's first 50 mile ride ever, and the first time ever barefoot in Glue-On boots! Not what I would have recommended to anyone, and here I was trying it.
And I have to say, my horse did fabulous! He felt so light on his feet, never flinched through the many rocks that we encountered. He was sound as a dollar all day long and finished his first 50 mile ride! Hooray!
So, no surprise, I pulled the rear shoes when we got home and he is now barefoot and happy! Hopefully many more 50's to come with his new boots! So, I still say "Don't change anything on the day of the ride", but, this time it worked wonderfully!
Name: Julia Lynn Elias
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: EasybootGlove