Submitted by Karen Neuenschwander, Team Easyboot 2016 Member
Entering an endurance ride for the first time can be an intimidating and overwhelming prospect. In an effort to help familiarize newbies to the sport, experienced endurance riders around the country have been putting on informational clinics known as Endurance 101. On February 28th, AERC Northeast Region Director, Mary Howell and a crew of volunteers offered one such clinic in New Kent, VA.
Mary sharing her wisdom and smiles!
During the morning session, Mary narrated a PowerPoint presentation covering the basic rules, equipment, and horse and rider skills, and strategies. Volunteers with endurance experience wore purple shirts and shared know-how and trail wisdom. It was a fun atmosphere with endurance related prizes given out as attendees were encouraged to join the discussion.
In the afternoon, participants gained some hands on skills when the "purple shirts" ran a mock vet check and crew station. Attendees took Mary's horses through the vet check, and practiced scribing, pulse taking, and crewing. There was also a tack display with a variety of saddles, pads, saddle packs, and bridles, with volunteers available to discuss the different options.
Volunteers and participants discussing vet check procedure.
Since hoof protection is an essential part of successful competition, available options were a hot topic. As one of the "purple shirts", I displayed and explained what items are commonly used. Many of the attendees were familiar with traditional horseshoes and some hoof boots, but several were surprised at the variety of products available. We discussed the importance of proper fit and finding a boot or shoe to match the horse and type of riding. EasyShoes and glue-on options drew a lot of interest. Those using traditional shoes took note of the different possibilities to replace a lost shoe on trail.
As with endurance riding in general, riders' confidence and motivation to try something new increased as they were able to see and discuss the different hoof protection choices. EasyCare provided product brochures for the event, and folks really enjoyed seeing things that may work for their horse.
EasyCare boot and shoe display allowed participants to get "hands on" with products.
The clinic received very positive feedback from attendees, many of whom plan to learn more when they participate in mounted camping clinics in upcoming weeks.