Foxhunt - Which Boot?

For a long time I have wanted to foxhunt my 1500 pound 16h Percheron/Quarter Horse mare in Easyboots but have just been too chicken to try it. I have been trail riding in EasyCare hoof boots for many years and I know how great they are. I have just never done any riding at speed or tried jumping in Easyboots but I know it can be done. Harvard Fox Hounds hunter pace takes place every May at the Flint Creek Farm. It's a gorgeous ranch owned by the Hayes family located in the Ozarks in NE Oklahoma. This was a great first test to try out my Easyboot Epics on my mare with some speed and jumping. They've been proven at speed on Arabians in the endurance world. Knowing that now I have to figure out which boot will work for my big boned heavy footed plow horse. I feel very lucky to have been chosen for the 2013 Team Easyboot. It is amazing to have access to all this knowledge. Not only of boots but, knowledge of barefoot trimming and everything hoof. This is the push I needed to give this thing a try. Venus has Easyboot Epics that she trail rides in. The size 4's aren't a really tight fit and the 3 is too small so EasyCare suggested I try adding a comfort pad to tighten the fit up. That seemed to help a lot. I am not sure which boot is going to work best for this big girl but, since we already have the Epics we are going to start here.

We started out down the trail with our team mates at a trot. It was a horribly humid Oklahoma morning but, Venus was keeping right up and ready to go. Some times the big gal isn't as motivated as she could be when it's hot.

Flint Creek runs throughout the farm. It's breath taking. We crossed the creek and headed down the trail to the polo field and the first set of jumps. Venus was unusually strong...usually I'm kicking not pulling. She jumped two jumps great with some half halting to keep her off her friends.

Then after the third jump I heard the unmistakable sound of a boot flopping. Dang. Only 10 minutes in. It was very frustrating. I'm not sure if it was the boot fit wasn't quite right or she stepped on herself while she was pulling to keep up with her friends at the beginning. I got off and put the boot in my saddlebag. In hindsight I should have had a spare because she ripped the gaiter on that boot. My theory is she stepped on herself because the other boot stayed on just fine for the rest of the time. We continued on with lots of cantering and jumping until we reached the rocky trails and I stopped and put the boot back on even with the ripped gaiter and just went slower at a walk and some trotting and it stayed on.

The remaining boot stayed on great even over all the cross country fences. Now, the question is do I continue trying the Easyboot Epic and just make sure I carry a spare or do I try the Easyboot Glove or one of the other Easyboots and see if I can get a better fit? I think regardless of which one I certainly learned that having a spare boot is a must.

The purple team had a great ride regardless of a boot problem. My teammates Bess Livingston and Doris Degner-Foster where very patient in my quest to find the right boot. Thanks ladies....and Venus. This was just the first try - we will continue on in our quest for the right boot for the Big Girl.

Rachael Parks

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