This weekend I went to Winburg in the Free State province of South Africa to do an 80 km Endurance Race. Endurance is very popular here, as we are a country with a pioneer past where horses played a big part. We even have a monument to the unknown horses which died in service, which will bring a lump to your throat if you are a horse person.
The reason for the bit of history is that I took along a horse which is a local breed that, like the American Quarter Horse, was forged through all the pressures of those hard times, a South African Boerperd. The last word literally means Farmer Horse. This breed is the probably the 2nd most prevalent in Endurance here, Arabs being number one. To put the breeds in perspective, the Arab is more like an F1 racing car while the SA Boerperd is akin to a 4×4. If you’re the kind of rider for whom winning is important then Arabs are for you but if finishing is your goal then the SA Boerperd is Mr Dependable.
Me on Buddy during the ride. Buddy resplendent with his Gloves with green straps on the front.
So I took along Homeward Floors Buddy (Buddy to his friends), a 5 year old gelding that I bred. It was his 3rd attempt at an 80 km race and we took it slowly (10 km/hr) for his sake and also to get a mate and his new horse through what was to be their first 80. You will see from the pic that the weather was crisp and the ground frosty for the first time this winter. The race attracted over 200 riders and we had to ride through lots of muddy going due to the unseasonal rains which should have disappeared during autumn but stayed.
Buddy was fitted out with Gloves and power straps on the front, while I left the back hooves barefoot. As usual, the Gloves were magnificent, especially as they stayed on through all the cloying mud. There was no hint of chafing from the gaiters. Some of the going was on hardened dirt roads and I was grateful for their help.
The nice end to this story is that both my mate and I finished successfully, so he scored his first 80 and has undergone that remarkable transformation which accompanies such an event, in that he is now 2 inches taller but his jeans still touch his boots. He is a committed barefoot rider and will definitely be booting with Gloves for the next race after seeing how well they went.
Name: Peter Ward
City: Kruisfontein, Mooi River, kwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove