In the Night Farm…Your Ride is Here.

A $12 Experiment: Easyboot Back Countries with 12mm Pads

Yes, I tried it.  Yes, I know you aren’t supposed to.  Yes, it worked.

Those of you who are familiar with Easyboots know that the Gloves and their Back Country cousins (which use the same shell with a different gaiter) are supposed to be used without pads, though it is commonly observed that the 6mm pads work just fine.  The 12mm pads are intended for use with other boot styles whose fit isn’t as precise.

I wouldn’t have attempted to use 12mm pads in Acey’s BCs if I hadn’t ordered them by accident.  But, since I had them on hand and it didn’t seem worth the cost of shipping to return them, I figured it was worth a shot.  You’ll recall that because Acey is so tiny, even her 00 BCs are bigger on her than I’d like.  They’re probably a full size up from a nice, tight fit.

I’ve observed in the past that the 6mm pads crush quite a bit, and quickly.  I find that a single ride smashes them to practically nothing around the hoof wall.  This doesn’t seem to be a problem, as padding remains in the sole area, and I thought the crushing might come into play favorably in my 12mm pad experiment.

By the way, I’m not the first to try this.  Easycare rep Alayna Wiley offers this blog post on the subject; it didn’t work so well for her.  The boots twisted.

But what the heck.  I cut the medium-density, 12mm pads down to 00 size and stuffed them in Acey’s boots.  They certainly looked thick, coming up high enough to cover half of the heel screw.  Without overlarge boots and significant crushing, this would never work.

Overlarge boots?  Check.  Even with the thick pads, the BCs went on Acey’s feet easily.  I walked her around a bit to make sure they were seated, then double-checked the gaiter tightness.  So far, so good.

Now to crush the pads.  I saddled up and we hit the road for a few miles at a walk and bounding trot.  (It was windy and Acey was, er, more enthusiastic than absolutely necessary.)  I checked the boots frequently for twisting or other issues.  Nothing.  The only change seemed to be positive:  reduced “slop-and-clop” from the outsized boots.

Acey seemed to feel really, really good!  Even better than usual.  Was it the weather, or the pads?  Oh, and she was also a few millimeters taller.  😉

At the end of our ride, the boots remained perfectly in place.  I removed them to find the pads crushed down to where they looked about like brand-new (un-crushed) 6mm pads.  The screw in back was now fully exposed and the pad had settled down to consume less room all around.

Hmm.  This could work.

Now, I’m not advocating the use of 12mm pads in Gloves or Back Countries under normal circumstances.  I have yet to decide whether I’ll continue with them for Acey.  Further tests will tell us more.  But, it does seem that under peculiar circumstances such as ours, it’s at least a possiblity worth mentioning.


2 responses

  1. K.C.

    It sounds like it was a successful experiment that need repeating! I too have been concerned with things fitting like they should (ie: the saddle). I ride in a Specialized saddle and so far it has been a great saddle, but I’ve noticed over last year that Gus absolutely does not want me to cinch it up, he fidgets and moves away as I approach with it and has to be untied from the trailer or he will rear up and pull, a couple of times actually breaking the lead rope and going over backwards. He didn’t start out cinchy and when starting him I was always very careful and conscientious to make sure that didn’t develop. Anyway, long story short, I decided to check the fit of the saddle and even watched several videos on YouTube on Specialized Saddle fit. At Tough Sucker 2 today I consulted with some of the other riders about saddle fit and after removing some shims and the main pads out from center, it felt to my amateur hands that the pressure on the withers was eased, so off we went. It was hard to tell immediately if this was going to do the trick but after several miles and no irritated ears and swishy tail …success! Now how to get him to really move out and extend the trot…I realized suddenly that I have been riding way too forward since starting him under saddle. Initially when learning he would take off or lurch suddenly and I would ride forward so he wouldn’t lose me, I never corrected my seat as our training progressed. I immediately shifted my weight back to center although to me after riding forward for so long it felt like I was too far back, but I went with it anyway – and OMG I freed up his shoulders! He started to move like he used to and seemed very comfortable while doing it. We ended the ride in great shape and 14th out of 20. Not too bad for our very 2nd endurance ride.

    April 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    • Nice! It does sound like he was uncomfortable with the saddle — should be interesting to see if his attitude about saddling up improves as he realizes it no longer hurts. And well done on the ride!!

      April 29, 2012 at 6:18 am

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