I tried not to think too hard about missing the Tough Sucker endurance ride yesterday. I gather from Facebook that it turned out to be a small ride — only about 26 entrants in the 50 — but the weather was pretty nice despite a frosty morning and some afternoon wind. I keep reminding myself that we didn’t get to any rides last year until June, and still racked up over 500 miles. Consolation’s new saddle should arrive this week and put us back in business.
In the meantime, I’ve been working on hoof trims and boot fitting. You may recall the great difficulty I’ve had finding boots for Acey’s teeny-tiny feet. In Easyboot sizes, she seems to fall somewhere between 000 and 00 (yes, I know the sizes vary by model, but you get the point). The ooo Epics are too small, and I don’t care for Epics anyway. The 00 Gloves, which is as small as they come, are slightly too big. So when the Back Countries came out, I ordered some.
I looked for reviews first, but found few. It seems like everyone is holding off until someone else tries the new boots first. They’re a bit more expensive than Gloves, after all, and if it ain’t broke…
I’d have waited, myself, if I hadn’t been so desperate. But I was at the point of asking around for a good farrier for Acey, as much as I’d rather avoid horseshoes, and decided to be on the guinea pig end of this one. I ordered a pair of Back Countries for $72.95 each, with free shipping, from Valley Vet.
The Back Country boots are basically Gloves with a different gaiter system and a built-in PowerStrap. The new features make fitting a little more flexible; that is, you can get away with a boot that is slightly too big according to the Glove fitting guide. This is exactly what I needed for Acey, as the 00 Gloves aren’t terribly huge on her, but the “V” at the front of the boot doesn’t spread properly and she’s prone to trot out of them on the trail.
Yesterday, after a fresh trim, I put the 00 Back Countries on her for the first time. They went on as easily as Easyboot claims — no need for a mallet, but almost, which I considered a good thing. So far, so good. I booted both fronts, then moved Acey around the round corral a bit. She forged some (not unusual for her) but seemed comfortable and the boots stayed put. I tried them on her hinds next, with similar results. Finally, I put both boots on the same side, one in front and the other in back. No problems.
Note: I tweeted a photo that I can’t seem to get to post here. You can check it out at @BarbeyGirl on Twitter.
It was a brief test. We didn’t leave the round corral for a trail test, but I’m hopeful that this is going to work! I’ll test this pair on her fronts on the trail next, and if it goes well, I guess I’ll pick up a second pair.
Next, I need to decide what to order for Consolation — Gloves or Back Countries? We’ve had good luck with Gloves in the past, but have had a few issues as they got stretched out, particularly in hot weather. Power Straps have proven quite difficult to install, and don’t necessarily solve the problem. I think the Back Countries might be just the ticket. What I don’t know is whether the new gaiter style will bother her or not.
There might be just one way to find out.