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.
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.
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.