Remember the days of dance class and dress rehearsals? The day you got to dress up in satin leotards, make-up, your hair tied in buns, and dance with none of the pressure of an audience or judges? Those days I waited for, counting down the nights 'till dress rehearsal night and, shortly after, competition day! Inevitably, someone's sequin strap broke, other costumes didn't fit right and false eyelashes came unglued and gouged someone in the eye. Luckily, there was time to fix and perfect, and by the time the actual competition came around the kinks were ironed and everyone was ready to dance.
Well some things haven't changed for me, although these days there are no more satin leos or sparkly tiaras (most days). I insist on running through a "dress rehearsal" before the first ride of the season, just to make sure all systems go. This year, with a new (to me) endurance horse and two new (to endurance) goofs in the wings, it will be imperative to test my stuff, most specifically my boots, to set myself and my horses up for as much success as I can.
Nero's dreamy mane… I could look at this view forever!
I have been riding Nero in his Easyboot Gloves for the past month now. He took to the Gloves like a Labrador to a swimming pool. I have ridden Nero now at speed, at a more probable endurance pace, in and out of water, up and down hills and so on. I feel comfortable with the fit of his size 2 Gloves on the fronts and size 1 Gloves, with Powerstraps, on the hinds. I ordered my back-up boots tonight (always make sure you have back-ups before an important event to prevent the inevitable broken sequin strap phenomena) and will be as prepared as I can for the first ride of the season in a couple weeks time.
Recently I began riding with a new friend who is also new to endurance. Not new to horses being involved in dressage and jumping, she found endurance through some friends, rode two LD rides last year, and has been hooked since. She will be starting her season with the first Idaho ride of the year, and will also be riding her lovely gelding in Easyboot Gloves for the first time.
Tara and Elvis, after their first ride on a sweltering Indian summer day at Owyhee Canyonlands. They obviously fit right in!
Last week my friend was lamenting whether or not her horse would be ready to complete the LD at the Owyhee Tough Sucker, so I suggested she come out and we go through a trial run to make sure boots fit, new saddle pad worked and Stowaway Pommel Pack was attached firmly where it belonged, as well as assessing her horse's fitness. She happens to work with a very good trimmer and Easyboot dealer who trimmed and fitted her gelding for his Gloves a while back, and as luck would have it, his front boots seemed a bit too large. His back size 1 Gloves with Powerstraps fit beautifully, and with a few wraps of athletic tape around the fronts we headed out to see how things would work. About halfway through the ride, her gelding's front boots, specifically the right front, began twisting. We ended up taking off his front boots and completing our ride, and she will be calling her trimmer for a re-fit this week. To accommodate for the whole trim cycle, she plans to keep her larger 1.5 Gloves for use as needed.
Twisted right front. A smaller size should prevent any future twistage.
I learn something from almost everyone I ride with and I appreciate my new friend's easy-going attitude and willingness to understand the importance of a close fit with her Gloves. Her horse is trimmed beautifully and I am confident he will take to his boots like a fat kid loves cake.
Set yourself up to succeed, folks, and please be sure to give yourself plenty of time before an important event to make adjustments as necessary. Run through your dress rehearsal to make sure your eyelashes stay put and your boots fit right. It's the best thing to do.