Moab, my home town, lies at an elevation of 4000 ft. When leaving from Moab in any direction, one has to climb over 7000 ft mountain passes. In the deep of winter, between Christmas and New Year, this undertaking can be a big gamble with the weather, and sometimes you just do not get out of the valley with horse rigs. So when the weather forecaster gave a green light regarding clear road conditions the day after Christmas, I was in for the lengthy 12 hour drive to the Death Valley XP. But why do it? I have compiled five reasons for engaging in this adventure and for trading a cozy fireplace for working in the cold and traveling long hours. I let you decide if these are good or foolish reasons:
1. The decision to go gave me the opportunity to glue on Easyboots in wintery weather and apply my best application methods.
Medinah MHF in reminiscence of warmer weather conditions.
Gluing in cold and wet weather, makes one work with extra care and diligence, provided one has the goal of not loosing any boots in the near future. First comes the trimming and roughing the hoof wall with the Buffy.
The horses have been living in snow now for a while, so the hooves are fully hydrated. I spend extra time drying the hoof wall. My favorite tool for this job: the gas torch. Last year in April I wrote It Is Getting Hot, a blog about the pros and cons of these gas torches.
I used the torch five to six times, 20 seconds or so each time, to thoroughly dry the hoof wall. With a moisture meter, one can verify if the hoof walls are dry enough for gluing.
Now comes the opportunity to use that great new Easyboot Zip.
The glues and boots, I had placed a few hours before in a warm and dry room so as not to compromise adhesion. I take extra care to really warm up the boots to make them hand warm and pliable. The rest of the application then goes smoothly. The proper preparation of hooves, glues and boots are 99% of the success.
These boots are now ready for action. After the glue has dried, literally nothing can diminish their adhesion to the hoof wall and boot shell.
2. Riding great horses with great boots in great country over very rocky and difficult terrain.
Riding towards Panamint Valley.
Searles Springs, a unique place in the desert, with intermittent water running down the rocks.
Sunset in Searles Valley. Photo by Merri Melde.
Merri Melde also wrote a nice Vagabond Report on her experiences at Death Valley, to be viewed here.
3. Riding with great friends
Death Valley XP is a great place to meet up with friends you have not seen for a while. Everybody is relaxed, the vast expanse of the land, and the difficulties of the trail just foster camaraderie.
4. Receiving three BCs during the four day ride.
The horses I rode, GE Seastar, GE Pistol Annie and Medinah MHF showed very well at the end of the difficult days and received a well deserved BC Award each. Could this have anything to do with the fact that their hooves were well protected with Easyboot Glue-Ons?
Riding GE Pistol Annie to a 4th place finish day one.
5. Celebrating New Years Eve with other endurance riders and friends.
The Trona Golf Course Clubhouse is a great place to welcome the New Year. Steph Teeter, Merri Melde and Gretchen Montgomery provided live entertainment for the evening.
Traveling to Death Valley in the middle of winter is a worthwhile undertaking. But let us not forget to apply the Easyboot Glue-Ons or Gloves. Your horses hooves will thank you for it and your experience will rate higher on the fun meter.