Submitted by Team Easyboot 2015 Member Pascale Winckler
I bought my second horse at the end of 2010. "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” He was far from the type of horse I was dreaming about, but his future looked uncertain. So I became the happy owner of a large Thelwell-like pony. He was overweight and lame on hard ground, so I needed boots to offer him comfort to work and begin the quite long physical redemption he needed.
Too fat and obviously not the endurance horse I was dreaming of, but with a leg at each corner and a clever mind. Boots work well for large ponies too.
I measured his hooves, and found he was between size 5 and size 4 in the Easyboot Epic, which at that time was the only boot on the market that was large enough, and my first choice because I had already used the Easyboot Epic successfully. I chose size 4. At that time, I was thinking “if it is too small, it will be impossible to put on”. I was wrong, but I only discovered that two years later. To my disappointment, size 4 Epic worked well at the walk, but were systematically lost after 200 meters of trotting. At that time, the Easyboot Glove #5 didn’t exist and I had little choice. As he lost Epic #4, I thought these boots were still too large, even if measurements indicated the contrary. I bought an Epic #3 in 2011.
I bought an Easyboot Glove #4 at the same date, because I wanted to try the new boots and because they were of similar size that Epic #3. Do not assume that if you wear a certain size in a boot style, you will wear the same size in another. Gloves #4 were just impossible to put on the front feet. Fortunately, there were perfect for the back feet that were smaller. After this first try, I have not used these boots until 2014, because I moved to a very sandy area where no hoof protection is necessary.
In February 2014, I participated to the Raid Centaure, a 100 km orienteering competition over two loops. I trained my equine partner and did the first 60km barefoot but it was obvious that I needed hoof protection to do the second loop of 40km. I put my Epics on the front. They worked very well, although it was 40km of deep mud.
For the rest of 2014, I decided to train my big pony to compete in small endurance races (20 – 40 km), just to see what I could learn from that. As I was back in a more rocky area, I used boots to train and compete.
Do you think these hooves are well fitted? The blue line and arrows show the bump feet are doing into too small boots.
That perfectly explained why I could not use Glove #4 on the front feet, even if they have about the same maximum size as Epics #3. Gloves are far less tolerant in size variations than Epics and can’t accommodate a such bad fit.
In 2014, the Easyboot Glove #5 were launched, so I tried them and have been using them ever since. I learned to use a rubber mallet to put them on – life is a lot easier with the mallet and sometime I use it for the Epics, too. Look at the following images to see the benefit of using a mallet, and read this blog.
Left boot seems too large (first picture)? The left hoof is just not seated down enough into the boot. A rubber mallet is a great help in this case (second picture). I am not always able to get this proper hooves insertion with just my hands.
My Epic #3 pair was converted to a rear pair. I appreciate that they are more tolerant to my non-pro trimming abilities.
Booted pony, ready for the trail ! (Gloves #5 on the front feet, Epic #3 on the back).
Too large, too small or just not very well installed? Success for selecting and using boots comes with experience. Make your own attempts, but never hesitate to ask for advice from more experienced people. And keep an eye on the EasyCare blog!