Posted by Michelle Harrigan

Well, I had a very successful ride at the Kenlyn Urban Challenge on Sunday after a very rough start to the weekend. Thank you EasyCare for the ride entry and special thanks to Renee Houston-Lang for sending in a story about me!

In typical Colorado style, a spring storm attacked us with a vengeance late Thursday. We live on the far east end of the Palmer Divide northeast of the Black Forest and Peyton. By Friday morning, our ranch was covered with 8 inches of snow on top of Thursday’s rain and it just kept coming. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere! By the time Friday evening rolled around, we had over 16 inches of wet, mushy snow.

Limbs were snapping off of our Ponderosa pines and falling down all over. Thankfully, Linda Fisher made the decision to postpone the ride until Sunday. My dad, Larry Pedersen, graciously offered to come along as my pit crew since my wonderful husband Jeremy is in Iraq this year.

It was still touch and go if we would make it out for Sunday. Our private dirt road in our neighborhood was 3 miles of slush, greasy clay and steep hills to make it to the Peyton Highway. Our plan was to get up around 4:30 on Sunday morning, hoping that the road would dry out enough to get the rig out. Another storm was predicted for late Sunday, so we also had to consider being able to get back in!

On Sunday, we were able to make it out ok and headed to the ride. My original plan (like that ever works) was to use my Easyboot Gloves for the ride. I’ve been training in them for a few weeks this spring after using the Bares last year. After reading Garret’s article “I Was Wrong” regarding hoof maintenance, I really took that to heart. I had also received some excellent feedback from Randy Winter with MaxTack about maintaining hoof shape in between trims, especially with the Gloves.

My trimmer, Dan, came out on Thursday and we discussed the article and feedback. We’ve been working on getting rid of flares and dishing on my 11 year old gelding, Belarus. Dan did a great job, paying very close attention to my concerns and can you barefooters guess what happened?  Yes, Rue dropped down a half size in the Gloves TWO DAYS before a ride.

Having no opportunity to ride in the smaller boots, I decided to take Rue barefoot for the Kenlyn since it has sandy footing and the ground was very soft after their torrential rains on Friday. I admit I felt a bit guilty since I had won a free ride entry from EasyCare and here I was not using the Gloves. The ride went off without a hitch for Rue and I. I was riding with my awesome friend Renee Houston-Lang and her gelding, Aidan, and  junior rider Mercedes Muldoon and her gelding, Thunder.

Renee and I have been using Easyboots for a couple of years, but all three horses were barefoot for the Kenlyn. We had a beautiful ride along the river paths – lots of water crossings with lush, green grass and sunny skies. The horses loved it! Rue had great vet scores all day and we finished the 25 miles barefoot with no issues. I never imagined I’d be able to do that. Even though I didn’t use them that day, the Gloves still played a part in my successful barefoot ride.

Without a great boot that I can count on, I would not have been able to keep my horses barefoot for the past 2 1/2 years. I’m still “transitioning” myself when it comes to training and competing barefoot horses. My favorite training and horse camping areas are high in the Rockies and require boot or shoes. I’m very excited to be using the Gloves this year and going to some beautiful rides.

Thanks again to EasyCare for the ride entry and thanks to Linda Fisher for putting on another great ride. See you out there on the trail!

Michelle Harrigan, Belarus and Thunders Kiss