Chicken Chase 2010

April 16 was the running of the 20th Anniversary of the Chicken Chase at the Clark State Forest.  It was also the anniversary of our first ill-fated run at that ride in 2009 which resulted in a summer of rehabbing my horse.  So I approached Chicken Chase 2010 with a small measure of trepidation and fear.  The LD ride this time was to change the trail course to the most difficult terrain the forest had to offer and it was 30 miles vs. the 25 miles of the year before.   The weather forecast was for the warmest day we'd had yet this spring in the high seventies and somewhat humid.   This was Phebe's third distance ride.  She was booted x's 4 with Easyboot Gloves

I changed my strategy of starting at the very back and went out with the front runners.  This caused her to have a melt-down when I then let the front runners go off without us, and attempted to get a pocket between them, and the group behind us.  The first loop was 19 miles of hill country and most of the hills were up up up....and I swear it seemed there was no down!  Somewhere near the end of the first loop Phebes popped off a hind hoof boot.  The boot was still attached to her pastern by the gaiter, and she had also somehow nicked her coronet band on her right rear hoof.  I had never had a Glove come off before and decided at the halfway to pull the hinds, and just run with the front Gloves for the rest of the ride. 

We finished the Chicken Chase in seventh place, front hoof boots in place.  She did have two small rubs from the front boots which was another first.  This has led me to the conclusion that I need to start using the boots more during our training rides which we usually do bare and experiment with vet wrap on the hinds, and explore ways to protect from rubs in hilly terrain.  I believe we are to the point in her fitness program where it may be advisable to use boots more often in training as we are adding harder and faster concussive miles.  If I'm unable to solve the rubbing we are thinking shells and Goober glue.  ~E.G.

Spreading the Word on EasyCare's AERC program

We as barefoot supporters of endurance riding need to make a committment to spread the word concerning AERC's program to donate dollars for each mile a horse completes in EasyCare's hoof boots.  When I went to my first endurance LD of the season last weekend and produced my forms to verify that we were riding booted the ride manager, nor the veterinarian who signed off on my forms had heard anything about EasyCare's EASYCARE GIVES BACK TO AERC program.  This could mean a lot of payback to our sponsoring organization during this time of economic downturn.

If you know folks who are booting, bring some extra verification forms along to the ride.  Share the program information with other riders, ride management, and your ride veterinarians.   It is an opportunity to support the sport we love, doing what we like to do (riding our horses barefoot & booted).   It is also an opportunity to promote barefooting philosophy with your non-booting competitors.   

~Endurance Granny

Hitting the Road With EasyCare

Our ride season will begin with a bang! The proud recipient of the winning prize money for EasyCare's Facebook T-Shirt contest will be marching this check to the bank today and exchanging it for a FREE & CLEAR title to our horse trailer WAY AHEAD of schedule.  What an awesome start to the ride season. Thank you everyone at EasyCare!

Phebes (Lil Bit of Magic) will debut her ride season this weekend. We will meet our nemesis (The Chicken Chase) and hope to conquer it, instead of it conquering last year. The horse trailer is packed, ready to go as we two virtual newbies set out to begin our ride season at The Chicken Chase being held in the Clark State Forest. For you who have not met my horse she is an arabian/spotted saddlebred cross, moody, tempermental and extremely challenging to this sport. We have struggled with eating, drinking, metabolics, trailering. She has taken nothing in stride except for her hoof boots. Period.

Thank goodness for her Gloves so at least the hooves are a non-issue.  The Glove in the photo has been on many training rides, at the walk, trot, and canter, on pavement, in deep mud, sharp rocks & gravel, and two LD's. Our hoof boots are holding up great with one year of use.

So off we go... stay tuned.

~ Endurance Granny

Hitting the Road with Easyboot Gloves

Today was my horse's first real experience with road riding.  Lil Bit of Magic was booted 4X4 with her Easyboot Gloves.   I had some trepidation about this training session in general.  First, my horse has had minimal experience on the road, second the pavement was wet having just thawed from a deep freeze the past two weeks,  and last I was worried about traction and safety with the boots.  Another endurance rider led the way, and I was very pleased with our nine mile journey down the highway, paved, and graveled county roads.  We galloped fast down a gravel road and my horse's boots were hanging with it fine.  We did not slip or slide at all.  I was extremely pleased with the performance of her hoof boots.  No rubs!   Today was another landmark as well,  we have logged 1000 training miles, mostly with a bare hoof, with Easyboot Gloves as backup, for when the rubber meets the road. 

Keeping Your Hoofboots Clean

Those of us who follow the barefoot movement inevitably boot our horses.  It may be for re-hab, it may be for competition, or it may be a horsekeeping overall strategy to boot the otherwise barefoot horse.  Once you boot the necessity of cleaning those boots will become evident.  Especially after a muddy ride.   You've seen them, those boots caked with mud in every crack and crevice.  The boot post-ride is a virtual breeding ground for bacteria.  

I like to clean my horse's hoof boots after every use.   If I have time post-ride I'll rinse those boots by sloshing them in a bucket first thing  to get off the worst of the mud.  Once I'm home and ready to clean her boots I gather up Pine-Sol, a small phillips head screwdriver, a soft wire brush for the velcro,  a small stiff brush for scrubbing,  a soft cloth and a spray bottle of Son of a Gun (or comparable product found in the automotive department).

First I mix up some warm water and a little Pine-Sol which will not only clean, but deodorize the boot.  I use my small scrub brush to clean the outside of the velcro strap, the backs of the gaiters, and the treads on the shell of the boot.   After I have all the residual mud off of the boots I use the screwdriver to snug up all of the screws on the gaiters, and yes folks they will loosen.  Tightening the screws will prolong the life of your Easycare Easyboot Gloves and reduce the risk of those gaiters coming loose at an important during an endurance ride.  Once that is done I set my washing machine on low water setting, and hot water.  The boots are essentially clean at this point but I want to rinse out all the Pine-Sol from the gaiters.   I let them gently slosh around about five minutes and spin the washer out.  My boots are looking pretty good at this point.  I put some paper towels inside the boot to soak up any water that did not come out on the spin cycle.  Next step is to take the little soft wire brush and clean the velcro gently for any grass, fibers, or whatever that might have got in there.  Lastly I spray the boot shell with Son of a Gun which is a product for your car's dashboard, steering wheel, etc.   I spray, and rub the shell with a damp cloth, let it dry, and repeat.   The finished boot is clean, smells clean, and ready to hit the trail again.

Now if this seems like a lot of work for a boot that will soon be on the trail again, let me explain my reasoning.  I want to avoid that nasty build up of stuff on my gaiters that could cause a rub in that delicate area above the heel bulbs and below the pastern joint.  If you have a lot of grit and crap in those gaiters it would be similar to using a dirty girth, or saddling over a dirty back.  Clean horse, clean gear is alway the best.  

*Note in the pictures that the clean boot on the left has not been treated with Son of a Gun, and the hoof boot on the right has.  If you have changed boot sizes and have some used boots for sale, this will make those old boots look almost new. ~E.G.

The Easyboot Glove on semi-frozen terrain.

We got in a very cold ride today.  I tested out my horse's hoof boots (Easyboot Gloves) for the first time on this type of footing.  It was like half-frozen sludge that would support the hoof momentarily only to punch through the crust into deep boot sucking mud.   I'd never thought about the gaiters on the hoof boot as being "protective".  But every time I felt her punch her hoof through a frozen muddy crust I was very glad that I chose to boot her.

Easycare hoof boots were in good attendance today.   Phebes was booted,  and Lida's horse Doc was also booted.  My friend Chris had a boot hanging on her saddle "just in case."   The other two riders were on shod horses, but I think I may have made a convert of one of the riders who was very impressed with the Gloves.     I'm so sold on the new boot that I'm planning to use Easycare's competitive hoof boot upgrade program after the first of the year to trade in my remaining Epics for some Easyboot Gloves.  I'd like to have her booted all around and a few spares by ride season in the spring.

OH....But the high point of the day was the discussion I had with Chris concerning the proposed AERC rule change that would require random drug testing for riders.   Any rider caught using steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers, etc would lose their ride points or completion mileage.   I had her hook, line, and sinker.  The look on her face?  PRICELESS. ~E.G.

Endurance Granny: A New Season Begins

Lil Bit of Magic
Lil Bit of Magic will go back at it tomorrow after a one month layoff.  We have some pretty cold winters here and I wanted her to go into the winter this year with a nice fat layer under her winter coat.  We head to Brown County State Park (Indiana) in the morning for a ride with Lida Pinkham (Limited Distance, 4X4 Easyboot Gloves), Christine Eickleberry (my AERC mentor, LD, & Endurance), and Gwen Anrico (Limited Distance, Regional LD Mileage Championships X 2),  and a few other ladies just crazy enough to load up and haul out on a 26 degree Hoosier morning.    

Since I've been battling scratches and have cleared my horse's front pasterns, I'll be using her Easycare hoof boots ( Easyboot Gloves) on the fronts, and leave her hinds bare to avoid irritation of the areas I'm still treating.  The footing at Brown County varies between dirt track, mud, and crushed stone.   We all expect a moderate - slow pace tomorrow because some of the horses have been on hiatus.   My little half-arab is feeling full of herself so I'll likely have to work at pacing her slow.   This will be our first training ride since she successfully completed her second LD at the 2009 Spook Run, Henryville, IN. in October.

So we begin again.  New goals for a new season.   Looking forward to 2010 and a string of completions with a goal of doing our first slow 50 mile towards the end of next season.  Ride Far, ride fast, and  KYTITA!   ~E.G.