Thanks to winning a ride entry to Mendocino Magic July 3rd 2010 from EasyCare, I was able to go see if my horse Chief could make it with four Easy Boot gloves with gaiters (with tape) on a 50 mile ride.

It went very well. Chief retained all four boots. No rubs on the hinds. I had experienced some rubbing in the front in conditioning rides and in a ride at the Hat Creek Hustle on June 20Th in the LD (25). I got the gaiters as tight as I could and used generic baby butt cream on the hairless spots. None of the rubs have ever gone through the skin. They did not get any worse after fifty miles of ‘Mendocino Magic’.

It was ‘Magic’. The trail was challenging. Many big climbs; we did not gallop any hills because I did not want to take a chance and pop off a boot. We did trot a lot of climbs and boots were still there at the tops of those climbs. The views of the Pacific from the ridge tops were spectacular.

There were Redwoods, Alders, Noble Firs, and Daisy and other wildflower and flowering shrub strewn trails to cruise through. There were multiple crossings of a gentle river. There was an old abandoned logging train trestle in one crossing.

There was a good couple of stretches of pavement. I was in awe of the performance of four securely booted feet on pavement. We were trotting and galloping and watching others in Easyboots of all kinds go by us even faster on the pavement. No slipping. And you can feel the difference in concussion yourself! I have ridden at a walk down pavement on a shod horse and felt more vibration from the pounding then at a gallop on pavement at Mendocino Magic in Easyboots! Amazing! I also hand walked down a bit of the road to stretch out my own legs and give Chief a break.

Before leaving home on Friday I applied tape to Chief’s hooves and my husband Solomon put the boots on. I have fibromyalgia and it is really hard for me to do boot application in the early AM before a ride. With the tape they were harder to apply and harder to take off which was good of course. Even though it took just a little extra effort I did remove the boots in under five minutes by myself at the end of the ride. Seem to be fine applied the day before. I had pads in the fronts, but none in the back.  I tightened all the screws down at the one hour hold: several were loose.

There were a few muddy/ boggy places that we went through and retained all four boots just fine.

We went at a steady pace all day and made it in with the “Sundowners Club’, the final ten riders. The Sundowners received a bottle of wine in addition to their completion award, which was a hat with a really cool Mendocino Magic logo.

The potluck on Friday with the ride meeting was a lot of fun, as was the catered dinner and awards on Saturday. Gordon Frasier won the first place booted horse award and went home with four new gloves with gaiters donated by Easycare. Rght on Gordon! He was one of those that flew past me on the pavement.

Larri Shea received a special hat for her completion award. It was a black straw cowgirl hat with fiber optic sparkle lights. Love it! It was super of her and her husband to host us. Ride camp was beautiful.  Loads of grass for the horses and ocean views for us.

Thank you to the Parker family land trust for sharing their land and their story through their forester whom spoke to us at dinner. Thanks also to the all the other private land owners that allowed us to ride their land: ampbell Hawthorne Timber Management, the Jackson Grube Family, Faye Olson and Mike Maguire.

Ride managers Cynthia and Forrest were great and did a good job. Trails were so well marked I did not take any wrong turns for once. Plenty of water well placed. Vets were three of my horse’s favorite gals, Roberta Wiederholt, Susan McCartney and Jen Powers, Chief got to spend a few minutes with all three at some point during the ride. Volunteers were friendly and also did a good job. Lynn Glazer was the photographer and I am looking forward to seeing the photos when she has them up on her site.

All photos I am posting were taking by me, with the exception of the one of me and Chief that was taking by my travel/ride buddy Beverly whom I thank for driving us to the ride.

I really appreciate my friend Sue Laurente for getting into bare foot hoof care.

Having someone close to home (I live in Trinity County Ca very remote) to take consistent care of my horses feet and that can help with boot fit have been why I was able to jump in and go for it with bare and boots. I am even prouder of the decision now that we made it through a fifty in boots this year.

My horse Chief is a Morab and is 19 years old. One thing I would like to accomplish on him is the AERC’s decade team. That requires one fifty on the same horse every year for ten years. This is our fourth year, and I think it is doable. He would only be 25 in 6 years and we all know older horses then he that are doing more then 50 miles a year still! I think boots will help him with longevity. Chief is also destined to be my daughter’s endurance horse after she outgrows Patches the Shetland pony she is currently riding (barefooted) in AERC LD rides.

The fireworks on Saturday night in Fort Bragg were clearly visible and entertaining. I was to beat from doing a 50 to go watch with everyone down at the vetting area (I mostly do LD because of the fibromyalgia but had to see all the trail on this ride and I do try to accomplish a min of one 50 a year) but I was able to see them from my friend Bev’s camper, so I watched from there.

I would return to this ride every year. If you missed it, try to get to it next time. You will not regret it!

Audra Homicz and Kiowa War Chief