4 years ago, I took my Barb stallion "El Gate Rojo JB", into his first limited distance ride. He was shod in Eventers all the way around as we would be traveling in very rocky conditions here in Northwest Montana. I had trained and conditioned for months in shoes and didn’t have any problems.
The morning of the ride, JB was full of energy and hit the trail feeling strong. We cruised through 9 miles into the ride, until he took a funny step at the trot. We slowed down but he seemed fine so we picked it back up again. All of a sudden, my horse, who had never stumbled and is typically like a little goat, took a stumble that was so bad he went to his knees and I nearly came off. When he got back up on his feet, he held his front right leg up, not bearing weight at all. I thought for sure he tore a ligament or broke something. We stood there for a few minutes and sent word with another rider that we needed a trailer. I examined his foot and leg and nothing I could see seemed to be showing any injury.
After a few minutes he seemed to start bearing weight on it and was willing to walk. He limped a little but I decided maybe to start hand walking him back and hopefully catch up with help. With limited communication, I didn’t know how long it would be before I saw help. Riders were still heading into the first hold. As long as JB was willing to walk and I could keep him in the softer footing along the trail, I thought he might be okay. We walked that entire 9 miles back before help finally got to us. They had another emergency they were dealing with back at ride camp. By the time we got in, JB was really hurting and the vet was right there to examine him.
He still didn’t have any swelling anywhere but he was definitely very tender. The vet was concerned about about a broken coffin bone but hoped for a just a stone bruise. She padded his foot with foam, and duct tape and administered bute. We would take him in for x-rays the next morning. The x-rays revealed a serious and deep stone and bulb bruise. We equipped with special pads and shoes to protect him while it healed but our season was over is what I was told. I would have to give him the rest of the summer off to heal.
2 weeks after the incident, I started researching boots and decided it might be an option to consider. At 6 weeks, the special pads and shoes came off and JB was definitely moving better, but he was still off. Doctors orders were to now keep him barefoot for another 6 weeks and continue trimming him as he always had been (natural balance).
I decided to order a pair of Epics. They arrived in the mail and I put them on that same day (along with pads). JB’s response was enough convincing for me. I took him for a walk in hand in the driveway, which is gravel. At first, he was a tentative, obviously anticipating pain. Then you could almost see his realization in his expression that his feet felt really good. He literally seemd to vibrate with joy, he jumped and bucked as we walked down the length of the dirt road we live on. He was obviously feeling very good in those boots.
I talked to my vet and farrier and with their approval, he went back to work 6 weeks earlier than he was originally supposed to be. We started ocnditioning again and managed to complete a 25 mile CTR at the end of the season. Ever since, I only use boots on him. It is peace of mind knowing he’s comfortable and happy, even when we have to train in rough rocky terrain. I love the Epics. They gave me my endurance horse back.
Name: Jonna Kelner
City: Columbia Falls, Montana
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Epic