Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2016 Member
I wrote in a previous blog about getting my unfit mare fit for a 25 mile Competitive Trail Ride Competition and some of the challenges we were overcoming in regards to being overfed. CTR's are not new to us, we've been competing successfully for a few years now, but we've been really slow getting going this year as we added new young family member early in 2016.
Well we dieted, we conditioned, we trimmed, we booted, and finally the competition was near so we glued! I had been taught by a local barefoot trimmer how to apply EasyShoes last year and I gave it a shot on my own as well in 2015 but hadn't picked up my Adhesive applicator in about 12 months. I had ordered some Easyshoe Performance earlier in the year and re-watched the instructional video's on how to apply them to jog my memory. Away I went and I made a MESS!
But messes were meant to be made and are easily cleaned up. Here's another messy foot!
You can see I don't have the ideal gluing environment. Gluing in the grass is not recommended but I make it work for us. I had much more confidence in myself this year; I felt really good about my process and I trusted that they would stay on. I am certain my confidence came from my practice last year, but as an extra precaution this year I made sure to have extra everything on hand in case I really messed something up. One of those old wives tales, as long as you have it you won't need it but the minute you don't have it..... well I had more than I needed and still do because all went according to plan.
The EasyShoes got a week of turn out, one road ride and one foothills ride before we headed out to our competition.
We arrived at the Battle River CTR in Ponoka, AB when it was already in full swing as we had planned to ride on Day 2 of the competition. We did a leg stretching warm up ride that evening to work out some silliness, had our initial vet check which went great and tucked ourselves in for a chilly night of coyote and elk song.
With a 7:15 am start time, I was up by 5 am and started prepping my horse and myself for the day. Food in for both of us, jammies off, competition gear on, warm up and off to the start line. We were first out and off we went into the sleet. We got to ride with a few other riders who caught up and passed us momentarily but my riding buddy's mount as well as mine had other plans about being left behind. We all cantered the first 7-8 miles to the vet check over the wet grass, through the creek and over some slippery mud. The first vet check was hidden but we pulsed down no problem and were off again in the lead.
It wasn't long before we were over taken again and spent the rest of the day leap frogging with the other front runners. The ride seemed to be just flying by and we had such a great time with great company. The horses had excellent momentum all day and the scenery was lovely.
Both the second and final vet check came much too fast and my first and last competition of the year was already over with. The vet out was uneventful and I felt really good about how my horse did that day. We got lots of compliments and questions about our hoof protection as it is still an uncommon choice up here but I hope I am leading by example and we will soon see more and more riders choosing options that let the hoof function more naturally than traditional hoof wear.
We started and ended our CTR season with a solid second place finish and I couldn't be happier with my mare and our choice of hoof protection. She truly felt great all day, confident and stable in her way of going. Our riding buddy commented that she looked like she was floating. I know I sure was as this mare is my wings and those Easyshoes are her little jet packs!