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Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year, New Boot Failure, and New Toys

Lest anyone get the wrong impression of why I post about the boot failures, I want to explain: When I started using the Renegades, I had a very difficult time finding any negative reviews. I decided that I would post about every single boot failure I had, so that others could make an informed decision.

Considering that I am a new barefoot person with no prior boot experience, there have been shockingly few failures. I am in LOVE with these boots. Most of the time I don't post anything at all about them, because they have integrated with my riding seamlessly.

At this point I have ~250-300 miles in renegades, of which 105 miles are endurance rides.

I had 3 boot failures in the first 100 miles of use:

I haven't had one come off since. In all incidents, the toe portion came off, with the boot staying with the horse via the pastern strap. The toe strap was always intact and except for the first spectacular failure, there didn't seem to be a reason for the failures. After speaking with others who have had similar experiences, I've concluded that the boots seem to have a breaking in period, after which the incident of failures is less.

A boot loss has finally happened!

While riding with Family this weekend, my aunt commented that one of the hind boots had twisted. I dismounted and found that the entire lower portion of the boot was gone, with just the captivator present. Farley hadn't even reacted......My guess is that the cable broke, trotting uphill in muddy conditions. This was a used pair of boots and an older model that I use as my spares and for conditioning rides. She finished in the other 3 just fine. I did take the other hind off, but put it back on, because I'm apprehensive about the old injury on her right hind, and want to protect it during these wet conditions when the hoof is more malleable.

Having this happen doesn't shake my confidence in renegade boots at all. They were an older boot and and older model. There have been improvements and changes. Now I have a spare size 0 captivator! We know exactly where Farley lost the bottom portion, so if my aunt sees it on the trail, she's going to pick it up for me.

I had a wonderful time, riding in the New Year. I alternated using the boots and keep her bare on different days. She doesn't need the boots while conditioning, but I don't like the idea of not using them in conditioning at all, and then expecting her to perform in them during a ride, since the weight and the physics of the hoof are slightly different in the boot (just a personal opinion here, nothing to back this up except a gut feeling!).

New Toy Thoughts

The bridle worked wonderfully. I have this model here, in all black, bridle only, no halter. I snap it on to my rope halter. I have 3 bits/hackamores I like to use on the trail: A french link baucher, a myler kimberwick, and a sliester mechanical hackamore. I added clips at the bottom of the bridle to easily change between my options. It worked great for the bits, but the clips are big enough for the hackamore. The beta/biothane is so easy to work with, I'm thinking about eliminating the clips because they are heavy and can't be used with the hackamore, but I'm still exploring my options.

The biothane is a bit heavier than the leather, but soft with no roughness (my leather bridle wasn't very good quality). The bridle is easy to snap on and off, even with gloves, so I'm very happy. The little throat latch buckles drove me NUTS! It would be very easy to add a biothane loop with a clip around the throatlatch if I didn't want to use a halter for some reason.

My parents got me a very comfortable reflective running vest, that I used all weekend riding. I felt so safe knowing that I was visible, both if I fell off and someone needed to find me, and for hunters.

I rode with a hackamore my last day at my aunts. This isn't a new piece of equipment, but one I haven't used very often. I rode with it 3 times last year. The last time I used it, I was with 2 other people and she made me nervous with how she tossed her head through it and resisted my cues. Now, after learning to work off my seat better (thank you dressage!) and a better understanding of pressure on her face (thank you dressage - her first instinct is now to yield, rather than push) she was very well behaved and responsive in it, even with other horses and trotting.

My aunt and I decided to forgo the Bar S ride, in favor of a training ride together in her area (same place I rode last weekend, and where the pics in the post were taken). Neither one of us was truly excited by going to the ride and we both decided we would prefer to do a long training ride over several days and do some visiting, without the stress of the long drive.


  1. Totally not related to this post at all, but while reading it I noticed your sidebar and I so want to do a show called "Dressage in the Almonds". It sounds so peaceful!

  2. All boot users need a sense of humor! I try to post about things that go wrong too, and ways to fix things that go wrong. I've been lucky to have had so few issues with Renegades so far (knocking on wood).

    Hope you find the bottom part of your boot. I have left easyboots in mud so deep that they'll probably be dug up by archaologists in 10,000 years! lol That was 17 years ago when I was using boots and keeping my horses barefoot in the winter. It didn't take me long to figure out how to keep them on and not lose them, I got quite good at it! Most people don't know this but one of my first endurance horses (Rocky) did his first couple of endurance rides barefoot with easyboots.


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