Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Started this post a couple of days ago - couldn't seem to get along with blogger.....

I finally did it.  For several years now I have played with idea of trying boots on my barefoot horses for  some of the 'ugly' trails we hit sometimes.  Our guys have beautiful feet which basically take no care.  I have a good barefoot farrier check them twice a year and he just sighs over them, tells me they have perfect feet and occasionally takes a file to get the niches out if I want to go to a clinic.  We live on hard rock and that keeps their feet toughened up - however they HATE gravel roads.  Those silly pieces of gravel are pokey, they say.  As soon as we leave the road and hit the trail, it is hard to keep up with them.  So why do I want boots?

I guess because I think it is a great training exercise.  I tried EasyBoot a few years ago and never did get one to fit right - and they were hard to put on.  This time I bought a pair of Cavallo Simple Boots.  They came yesterday, so today was the fun try-it-on day.  I was amazed at how easy it was to measure for them and even more amazed at how easily they went on!  Now, I am not doing endurance, so I can't speak to how they would do in that world, but I am anxious to try them on one of our trails.  Luckily, both my horses took the same size, so I bought a bright purple pair so I could find one if it did come off somewhere; that and nobody else around here would want my purple boot!
This is what they look like.  Bill took videos of each of the horses' first steps - almost like having a baby again - but blogger went haywire every time I  tried to upload them, so suffice it to say it was fun but uneventful.  Jesse, who knows how to track, was more interested in the 'tracks' they left behind.  Washoe walked with his head down by his feet, ears flattened out to the side, listening to the sound they made (the hard rubber is kind of noisy on pavement or hard packed ground).

Fast forward to today....
I wanted to get the horses used to the feel of the boots, so today we took each one around our 1.4 mile loop we use for warmups and practice.  It has some pavement, some nice smooth, hard packed dirt, and some gravel.  Good trial run.  Washoe was the first to come when called, so he got booted up and hopped on bareback.  He started a little hesitant, getting the feel of them when being turned around for mounting.
Once we got going, he decided the feel on the gravel driveway was OK.  Looking good.
Soon, we were on pavement, then on to the hard packed dirt.  He started moving out a little quicker and seemed to be 'looking' for rough spots to step on.  He is happy horse.  Here he is still listening, but also enjoying the comfort.  These boots are a great find for him.
Along the way, we practiced a little 'targeting' of our own, just for a refresher.  Washoe and Ranger passed with high marks, touching everything we asked of them.  I forgot to mention in my clicker comment for GunDiva, that after your horse learns his 'trick' well (whatever it may be), you no longer have to treat them.  A quick pat on the neck or a "good boy" works well.  That's the really neat part of clicker training; the 'treats' are only necessary during the actual training time and maybe a refresher once in a while.

When we got back, Ranger reached over and touched the ribbon on the sign all by himself, just before he decided it was safe to trim the grass at the bottom of the post.

While Ranger worked, I got Jesse booted up.  She didn't hesitate anywhere getting to the mounting block, then walked off like she had worn these things forever.  I thought we certainly had a winner.
She paid much more attention to the sound today.  For about a half mile, things were great; then she was done with the sound of them.  She would take a few steps, then stop and listen.  We were also in an area where I suspected a wild animal had been recently.  She was very much on alert at all the heavy grass and wooded areas - and obviously irritated at having to stop to listen.  She finally refused to move until Ranger got in front as a guard.  I tried her 'walk on' command and got a choppy trot; not acceptable.  We finally got a very SHORT running walk, but she obviously wasn't comfortable doing her gait in the boots.  About 3/4 of the way around the loop, she just flat quit walking and insisted I get off.  She kept turning her head around and touching my boot.  I got down and walked her a bit but finally mounted back up and she walked sedately home.  When I took the boots off, I found a rub spot on the heel bulb of her left front.  When I checked the boot, I found a 'stay' that must have been hitting her foot.  The boots just fit her a little differently than Washoe.  I guess she was trying to tell me that her foot hurt.

Well, at least Washoe can get some good use out of them.  I can try them on Jesse again if she acts gimpy, and work with the stay.  I will check their website for more info - and I need more practice getting them on in a good position.  Her hooves are a little flatter and wider than Washoe's, so the boots sit differently, even though they both measured out the same size.

Next step is getting Washoe on a real trail in them; that's for tomorrow ....  Stay tuned.
Bionic Cowgirl

1 comment:

  1. Aw. That is wonderful! I like how those boots look, too. They look easy to use.


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