Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2012 Member
With a successful four days of City of Rocks (COR) behind us, the rest of the summer flew by. Thunder's cousin, Z Blue Lightening was supposed to do some rides too but he had come home from COR with a cough. While Blue was recovering, Thunder was happily trotting two days of mountain creeks and trails at both Pink Flamingo and Old Selam 50-mile endurance events. He bounced down the trail like Tigger in his Easyboot Gloves. Yes he's a happy camper and entertains himself escaping from his corral. But that's another story.
All four of these riders were using Gloves on their horses Day 1 - Trish Frahm, Judy Bishop, Merri Melde and Linda Kluge. Photo by Karen Bumgarner.
Our second multi-day attempt for 2012 was the Owyhee Canyonlands 5 day. 250 miles of rocks, sand, creeks, rocks, hills and more rocks. Thunder had completed this five day in both 2010 and 2011 so I figured he could do it again. But we hadn't ever tried two multi-days in one year and I thought that made the task more challenging.
Beth Skaggs using original style easyboots photo by Karen Bumgarner.
There is always so much to pack and plan for on a multi-day. I wasn't gluing this time as we had been doing fine with the Gloves and no rubs. My plan was to use my Gloves and do the knee high nylons for protection. I had two boxes of the nylons, I had sorted through the Gloves and had them all matched up and hooked together. As I gathered up all our stuff I recalled Steph saying something about a day with rocks. Now when Steph says a trail is rocky you had better listen, because it will indeed be rocky! So I ordered some comfort pads for Thunder's Gloves to give him a bit more rock and concussion protection. Only problem with this plan was that there was a mixup or misunderstanding and the comfort pads didn't get shipped. However I had some 1/8" memory foam and I cut out my own pads. Now I felt like we had everything. Thunder was ready, I was ready and we were going to do this.
Going up through the rocks on Knife Ridge photo by Karen Bumgarner.
The morning of the ride at the crack of dawn I had my hoof pick, gloves, nylons and mallet all lined up in Thunder's pen. One hoof at a time I put the nylon's over the hoof and up the leg, then applied the pads in the front hoof, then the boot, whack whack with the mallet, and set the foot down. Hook the gaiter, pull the nylons down over the gaiter and voila! This would be our daily routine each morning. And I wasn't alone as I heard the familiar "whack whack" of others putting on the gloves for the day. I don't know how many riders used Gloves but I saw a lot of booted horses. I'd guess half of the horses were wearing Easyboots, and most of them were Gloves and some Glue-Ons.
If you worry about rubs try a knee high nylon over the hoof then put the Glove on the hoof, photo by Karen Bumgarner.
Just as Steph promised, day 1 was incredibly rocky. We had new trail through one of Idaho's oldest ranches, the Spivey Ranch. I was so thankful for the superior protection the Gloves
offer as well as the added padding from my McGyvered insert pads. We took almost 8 hours but Thunder finished sound and looking good. The canyons and trails were really beautiful even though we did have rocks. I rode with Trish Frahm who normally shoes in front and is bare in the hinds but this day I had outfitted her mare with the combination of Gloves and nylons on the hind hooves and she did wonderfully. Always fun helping others with boots and having them say, Wow that was easier than I thought it would be."
Steve Bradley always gets the great shots when he calls Thunders name.
Each day after finishing the boots came off, I cleaned up the hooves, tossed the boots in a bucket of water and cleaned them up too. I believe that removing the salt and debris is not only important for the skin of my horse but it makes the boot gaiters last longer too. And yes if I would have glued my boots I wouldn't have this chore. But I really didn't mind as it only takes a few minutes and I like checking the hooves.
Merri Melde got a shot of our post ride check at the end of Day 2.
The second day didn't have much rock, the footing was said to be good so I skipped my homemade "pads". I knew days 3 and 5 would be rocky and I was saving my last two pair for those days. I rode with Leonard Liesens on a new horse, Bodie, and he was wishing that he had my Easyboots. But it was too close to the ride when the bay arrived at Teeter's to make any sudden changes. This day we had two 25 mile loops from camp and it went very well.
Amanda Washington and Layne Simmons at the beginning of Sinker Canyon. Photo by Karen Bumgarner.
Yeah buddy! Day 3 we went through the historic Joyce Ranch and along the reservoir to a short section of Sinker Canyon. Complete with a beaver pond, numerous water crossings, large rocks that move about under the hoof, great scenery and great riding companions too! Thanks Amanda Washington and Layne Simmons. All that and my Gloves never budged but I did see a lost shoe.
Amanda Washington and Topper splashing through the beaver pond. Photo by Karen Bumgarner.
On day 4 we had lots of sand washes, two track roads and some great footing around the Wild Horse Butte loop. I took a Junior, Torri Church, who also uses Gloves
on her little mare, Precious Little Gem. Torri's mare did lose a boot but we discovered that she was wearing the wrong size boots and fortunately Torri had more boots waiting at the vet check. Once we got the right size boots on her we had no more problems at all. Again, a proper fitting boot is a must! It was a really good day for the both of us.
My view for five days, loved it!
The last day is always a nail-biter. The multi-day horses had really dwindled down after day 4 and I thought there were 4 of us left. The final day offered several miles of Sinker Canyon, more sand, rocks, water and another trip through the beaver pond which was pretty fun! Those wonderful Gloves
stayed on through it all! In the vet check though Thunder was a smidge off and my stomach turned at the thought of it. But when I pulled the boot I found some sand and small rocks along the heel. We had traveled through a great deal of debris and deep footing in a few miles. I cleaned it all up, let it dry, took him back for another trot and he was good to go! Whew! After the vet check we went up into the high country and it was wonderful! I love the smell of Juniper.
Thunder cruising in his Gloves on day 4. Photo by Steve Bradley.
Thunder had completed all 5 days. Woohoo! With the fastest time by a couple of hours and he was awarded the 5-day Best Condition also! Only two horse rider teams finished all five days and I think Steph usually has around 6 horse/rider teams finish.
Our Easyboot Gloves
had gotten us through another multi-day. It's such an awesome feeling to ride day after day and not worry about my horse's hooves and rocks bruising him. It's pretty hard to beat the reliability of booting. The Gloves rock. And so does my horse.