Brule Lake Combined Ride 2013 (Alberta, Canada)

The first weekend in September saw us packing up and heading six hours north into the base of the Canadian Rockies just east of Jasper, Alberta where the Brule Lake Combined ride saw it's 4th year of competition. We came, we saw and we conquered the 25 mile trail, twice!

This year I've been riding our grade, bay solid bred paint gelding "KC". This gelding has been babysitting family, friends, guests and my husband on the trail since we purchased him from a dude ranch six years ago. When my CTR (Competitive Trail Riding) mare became unfit for competition because of a pasture injury, KC was next in line. I wasn't sure he would be game for covering 25 miles at the required speed but since we began conditioning, KC found several extra gears and has all the heart necessary for distance riding! We do most of our conditioning on the gravel roads close to home using Easyboot Epics for protection.

Photo Credit Peter & Taby Vogelaar

In early July we did a multi-day ride of 25 miles two days in a row but had some trouble with boot retention on that muddy, boggy trail. Fast forward two months and we haven't seen rain in WEEKS. The trail at the Brule ride is dry, dusty, sandy and quite rocky in spots. The footing is great for covering some fast miles but hoof protection is essential. 

Photo Credit Peter & Taby Vogelaar

The first day of competition for us was the endurance 25 mile LD (our first endurance ride ever!). I put KC's trusty Easyboot Epics on his front feet, leaving the back hooves bare as the ride meeting made the trail sound potential do-able barefoot. One mile off the start line the climbing begins. We traveled up, up, up along a single track dirt trail that wound through tight trees with no underbrush except the mossy forest floor.  It seemed like we went up forever only to come out along a ridge line that seemed to be some sort of old logging road that went down, down down for two to three miles of rocky, hard packed terrain. Other parts of the trail saw us through grassy meadows, along the side of railway tracks, through various creeks and streams and lots more up and down. One thing was for sure, there was very little flat at this ride. The trail was tough and the weather was warm but we made it home in good time. We left camp last (28th) so as to not be part of the starting line chaos but ended our day middle of the pack (10th!) with a sense of accomplishment and enough horse to do it all again. Our Epics had stayed in place, never twisted, turned or heaven forbid come right off - it was a good day for boots.

Photo Credit Peter & Taby Vogelaar

The next morning came too soon and it was time to tack up again to hit the trail for the CTR portion of the weekend, same tough 25 mile trail - round two! The trail was rockier than I had anticipated the day before so we set out the second day with Easyboot Epics on all four hooves. KC moved great in his boots all weekend and I had minimal trouble; I only had to get off once after a buckle snapped up and came loose, the boot was still firmly in place though, no chance of losing it this weekend!

We finished the CTR in 3rd place in our division! We had a great weekend.

Thanks to EasyCare for creating a product that is able to withstand the demands of going the distance at speed over challenging terrain. We couldn't have done it without our Easyboot Epics!

Stacey Maloney


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