It's been a fantastic summer of riding, riding and more riding. I spent a lot of time this year working with Majik's feet as they have grown out the separated hoof wall that he came with. I was told when I bought him that he was unable to go barefoot as his hooves "chip out." I can understand the previous owner's thoughts on this as he has literally chipped off huge chunks on all four feet throughout this process. Luckily, with a different trim and very balanced diet his new hooves are growing beautifully, the chipping has become minimal and he is sound as a dollar. It's really fun to see these transitions.
Lovely. The day we brought him home. Yes, that's blood.
Vast improvement, but still changing.
Because of the fact that Majik constantly had a piece missing from one or more hooves, I decided to offer a little extra cush in his Easyboot Gloves for endurance rides. I have since found my "go to" for 50 mile events that I couldn't be happier with. Gloves + Sikaflex = rockin' rides. Just do it. Not only does the Sikaflex offer a little extra adherance to ride out those rambunctious young horse moves, it creates a custom orthotic pad that provides a little concussion relief, eliminates any peripheral loading and makes for pretty happy ponies. The best part is that it doesn't ruin your boots and is easy to pull out of the hoof when finished.
The last ride of the year for us came quickly this year and left with a bang. I packed up my Majik Monster and big red beastie, Indy, to head to Oreana, Idaho, for the Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals. I planned to ride Majik in the open event and Indy in the 50-mile AHA National Championship. The night before Majik's event I put on his front boots with the Sikaflex and slept soundly knowing we were ready to rock the next morning. It was a day where everything just came together. I had a phenomenal ride on a horse whom I adore and found myself grinning like a fool cantering along with The Bootmeister, Christoph Schork, throughout the day. Christoph and I came in to tie for first with a ride time of 5:02. Majik looked fantastic showing for Best Condition although with my weight we just couldn't get it done. Christoph's horse won the BC, deservedly. He had the tried n' true Easyboot Glue-Ons for Starlit who moved exceptionally all day long.
Pure bliss. This horse owns my heart. Majik felt like this all day long. Steve Bradley Photography.
Finishing a ride in five hours makes for a leisurely afternoon. I was able to apply Indy's boots with the Sikaflex and relax a bit while the day went on. The next morning, we hit the trail with purpose, but it quickly went downhill as my horse decided I did not know what I was talking about, he did not like me and oh-by-the-way-I-forgot-to-tell-you-I-no-longer-listen in an S-Hack. I basically got the finger from Indy, which cost us a great deal of time as I pulled him up to have a frank discussion with him. Thankfully my boots were stuck tight as his shenannagins at that moment would have seriously stressed some improperly fitting boots! Head (kinda) back in the game, we continued on by ourselves until the first vet check and thankfully his head was completely back in the game for the rest of the ride. Indy was awesome the rest of the day and I marvelled at his pure athletisim and strength as we cantered back to the ranch, missing the AHA Reserve National Champion title by less than a minute, for a ride time of 4:38. In hindsight, I wouldn't do anything differently as Indy showed beautifully for the Best Condition award and won easily with a very high vet score for both the National Championship and the open ride. Go Indy! There were more than a few times that day, including a mile of hard-pack gravel road, where I was stoked to have given him the extra protection with the Sikaflex.
Indy with all four off the floor. This horse is a powerhouse. This was only his second ride in Gloves and he wore them beautifully. Another Steve Bradley great. Below is Indy two days after the ride, looking pretty decent.
The fact that I am still finding what works for me and my horses after all these years and all these miles in Easyboots astounds me. I guess I never really thought about it but figured after a couple years everything would be old hat, but I am fascinated to look back at my experiences with boots and happy that I still have it in my nature to continue to grow and learn and even experiment a little. My horses are only better for it.