Submitted by Christina Kramlich Bowie, Team Easyboot 2012 Member
Last weekend my friend Pascale and I packed up two horses, my 13 year old standard poodle Nuala, and ourselves and headed about 120 miles miles north and central to the HOT part of northern California - Williams - where the Stalleys put on the Cache Creek Ridge Ride. It was going to be a scorcher. Pascale was patient while I conducted business the entire drive, and bless her, she even claimed to find it entertaining (I suppose negotiations can be fun to listen to if you don't have skin in the game!). Anyway, I've been to this ride three of the four years they've held it and it is beautiful, tough, and hard on footwear. There are lots of steep hills and tons of muddy water crossings, and the mud is of the boot- and shoe-sucking variety.
For a little history on using boots for this ride: In 2009 I was riding my mare in Renegades and must have done at least 6 extra hilly miles of backtracking having lost boots without realizing it immediately. It was an exhausting day, and I was so frustrated with the boots coming off a million times that that ride was actually the end of my trial of Renegades, at least on that horse. By last year, I was using tape in Gloves on 50s in general and did that for this ride as well. With two toddlers, a job, a husband, and four going endurance horses, I just don't have time to glue! Plus I like having the gaiter, especially when traversing as much mud as Cache Creek has.
Last year, we had to stop and reapply the boots a few times just because the mud made the boots incredibly slippery, but overall it worked well. Late last year I started using a bit of Goober Glue (now Sikaflex) in the frog and tape around the hoof wall for 50s, and it has worked incredibly well. A quick application the night before the ride, and voila, one has a Glove affixed to the hoof that will stay on for the day, then come off easily at the end of the ride. Love that. It is just not a big deal to apply nor to remove, and the boots are easily reusable because the glue peels right out. I put them on in camp, and it literally takes less than 3 minutes a hoof. I do find that with terrain and mud added to the mix, a powerstrap on all the boots helps keep them on. Mud can really make a boot stretch out. As always, I make sure everyone has a recent trim to assure the best fit of hoof in Glove.
So, for this ride, Pascale and I were riding my young-ish ponies, Billy and Brigadoon (aka Briggs). Billy has more experience than Briggs but they are well matched and we just wanted to take it easy and get through the day. We knew it would be hot and humid, and it's all hill and a full 50 miles. The start goes straight through a big muddy bog, so we waited a bit for the front runners to leave so we could get through it without pressuring Briggs. He was fine and we started on our way.
We climbed up up up to the ridge as the sun came out and then went down the other side, where we had the first vet check.
The location of this ride is parallel to the Mendocino national forest, but it's quite a bit inland from the coast, so it's an interesting mix of steep hills and beautiful grassy valleys.
Then we went back up to the ridge, and down another hill into the lunch stop. Coming back to the ridge after the second vet check, we ran into Janet Mumford, who was riding her gelding in the 25, and was quite happy to be heading back to camp. She's the one off her horse saying hi as we approach.
We continued on our hilly way, heading up a gigantic climb then a back down another hill into the last out vet check. We took our time at the last vet check, as it was hot and we wanted the horses to rest, eat and drink. Heading back into camp, up and down several more hills, we went through a gorgeous valley with lush grass and a little breeze that we were very grateful to have. What a beautiful day!
Christina Kramlich Bowie