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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tevis Boot Story

There’s a lot of stories within a single Tevis. The horse story, the crew story, the people I rode with, the trail, Farley’s story, and my story. I’ll probably get around to telling some of these stories in bits and pieces as the week goes on, but I wanted to start with what I consider one of the most important aspects of this year’s Tevis – my decision to use boots.

This post is rather long, but I ask that you stick with me. I feel what I have to say is important and worth your time if you are considering boots for your horse.

My boot criteria is simple.

1. Application of the boot must not require any hoof modifications – ie I am not willing to wrap, duct tape or otherwise modify the hoof in order for a boot to stay on. Conversely, the boot must not modify the hoof – ie scrape, cut into, or rub.

2. The boot must stay on and be easy to apply and take off without any “professional” help.

The only boot that fits this criteria currently on the market is the renegade strap on. Boot application takes seconds and can be done by anyone. I could do it one handed if I needed to. Once fitted, the boot stays on. Any fit modifications are done using the BOOT, not the hoof, and involves fitting the different boot components, NOT by adding athletic tape, duct tape, vet wrap, or mallets.

So why did I choose not to use the renegade strap at Tevis this year? I was having trouble fitting the hind hooves. I was confident that my fronts would stay on, but for some reason my hinds, under certain conditions (specifically when they were wet, going up a very steep hill that involved boulder hopping and leaping ledges) would twist off. If I had more time, I could have resolved my issues and used the strap ons. In fact, it only took a 10 minute conversation with Kirt in Robie to identify the probable cause and solution (Need a stiffer captivator and to go back to 0 max cut backs on the hinds). However, even though the glueons do not fit all of my booting criteria, I wanted to experiment with the glueons and I was short on time before this year’s Tevis, so glueons seemed like a good decision. I had good luck with the glueons staying on at Wild West (3 day ride) so I thought I was good to go for Tevis.

I learned the following lessons at Tevis:
1. Renegade is one of THE best companies - bar none - I have ever had the pleasure to work with. The level of service, care, and commitment is absolutely astounding.
2. Glueing on boots may work in the short term, ie for very specific races or during times of transition while fitting boots in an issue, but is NOT the answer for the competing barefoot horse.
3. I CAN trust the renegade strap on boots.
4. I have always believed that the point of having a barefoot horse is to ride barefoot as much as possible. This served me well as Farley had to do significantly rocky parts of the trail without protection.

Here is my Tevis boot story.

This part you can skim through. If you want the “Bottom Line”, skip to the end of the post.

I glued on my boots before heading up to Robie on Friday. I found the Renegade trailer, met Kirt and Chad, who took a look and said that as long as I prepped the hoof properly (ie – sanding) I should be fine. We talked a bit and in addition to boot bags and a polo, offered some very insightful advice on my issues with the hind boots. Kirt said that if I needed any help during the race to look him up at the vet checks.

Which turned out to be a very good thing. If I had thought Kirt and Renegade was helpful before the ride, I was absolutely shocked at the level of commitment and care they showed during the ride.

I lost my first glue on about 5 miles before Redstar (after first trot by). I trotted on (thanking God the entire way that Farley has such wonderful feet and we do 90% of our conditioning barefoot). At Redstar I applied a strap on and continued to Robinson Flat.

I yelled at a crew member to find Kirt and let him know I had a problem. I wanted him to double check my strap on fit before heading into the canyons.

Kirt arrived and told me he would be installing another glue on for me (insert shock and surprise on my part!). As I watched him and Chad install the boot, I saw immediately what I my problem was – I DEFINATLY was not sanding the hoof wall enough. He also recommended that I carry a 0 as my spare strap on for the hinds, not a 1.

Half way down the second canyon I lost another glueon – a front. I continued down the canyon and up the other side into Michigan Bluff, where I installed another strap on. I told my crew there to go to Foresthill and let Kirt know that I was going to need another glueon.

Kirt and Chad were waiting for me as I arrived into Foresthill. I vetted in first to make sure everything was OK and then got another glue on installed. They told me that my two remaining original glueons probably weren’t going to make it, but we decided there wasn’t enough time to replace them before heading out. I lost another glue on (the other front) somewhere in the California Loop, arrived at Fransico’s, and installed yet another strap on. I crossed the river, vetted through Lower Quarry, went across No-Hands, and finished in Auburn at 4am with 2 renegade-installed glueons, a strap on, and a glue on I personally put on. Kirt, Chad and my crew waiting for me. Somehow I managed to schedule a visit with Kirt to discuss boots at 10a Sunday.

I left the strapon on during the vet trot out and while she wasn’t moving perfectly (she was downright grumpy….) it was good enough for a “fit to continue”. I removed the strap on for the night and went to bed for an entire 2 hours.

A crew member told me that Farley trotted out sound for her 1 hour welfare check (Tevis has a second required check 1-2 hours after you finish) so I think she just looked funny at the finish because of the strapon on one foot.

At 10am I headed over to the Renegade trailer where they removed the glueons and spent an hour going over her feet with me, trimming, fitting boots, and giving other advice regarding the barefoot horse and how to maximize the performance of the boot.

The Bottom Line

Gluing on boots is NOT easy and it’s incredibly easy to make a preparation mistake that results in a boot loss. It’s a lot like nailing on a shoe – yes, the layman could do it, but you would rather have a professional do it right? Because there’s a lot to get “right” and whether or not you get it “right” depends on how well that shoe is going to perform at a ride like the Tevis (and you have to get it “right” for each application, unlike a prefitted strap on). And even if you get it “right” there’s still a chance the boot is going to come off – as evidenced by the fact that easy care was re-gluing on plenty of boots at vet checks that they themselves applied at the beginning of the ride.

For those of you that use easy care glueons for rides, and might have even completed Tevis in a pair of easy care sponsored and applied glueons, I want you to consider the following. Could you have applied that boot and had it perfom throughout the race? If it had come off and you did not have the support of the easy care team there to reglue a boot on, did you have a strap on that would have worked for the duration of the ride? Or could you have glued on another in the time allotted at the vet check? Are you comfortable constantly relying on a boot application professional to ensure good boot performance (much like relying on a farrier for your shoes)? One of the most fulfilling aspects of going barefoot is how much control I have over my horse’s feet – and some of that control is taken away if I have to constantly rely on someone else for booting. How many of us in glueons took off the boots right after finishing the ride? I didn’t. Approximately 2 hours later the boots came off, but at the expense of my horse’s discomfort at having to hold up her feet for a lengthy amount of time. Farley was tired and sore after the race. Instead of less than a second per foot required to slip the strap on off right after the race, she had to balance and hold her feet up while the glueons were cut and pried from her hooves.

Armed with my strap on boots that were fitted by Renegade (and yes, the boots were different from what I had fitted…..) I’m going to tackle my next rides – in a strap on. I still might glue on for a ride like Tevis, but I truly appreciate the control and increased welfare of my horse I gain from using a strap on.

Please understand that I am not interested in “bashing” Easy care. However, after doing Tevis, some things are much clearer to me, and as you should all know – I call it like I see it.

Up until this point I have restrained myself from a negativity, chosing to highlight the reasons why I chose Renegade boots and perferring only to respond to comments that I should try Easy Boot products with a vague "I'm not a fan of the easy boot products". However, armed with more information and experience, as well as observing the Easy Boot team at Tevis, I feel that I'm comfortable making my opinion public.

At this point, I see Easy Care promoting a product, that while it can be a solution for the short term, is NOT the answer over the long term. Where is their strap on that can handle the rigors of Tevis? Where is their boot, with no modifications such as vet wrap or athletic tape, that will stay on? (I'm so tired of seeing advertizements for the glove where you can tell the hoof isn't wrapped - especially when I overhead the Easy care reps say that in order for the best chance of the boot staying on, you need to wrap - then why isn't the horse in the pic wrapped? Why isn't athletic tape and the rest of the wraps listed on the side panel under "needed materials"?) Where is their boot, that without professional application, will stay on? I commend Easy Care for encouraging people to try Tevis, the hardest endurance race in the world, barefoot. Now please do us the courtesy of publishing, along with the statistics of your finishers and Haggins Cup results, the other facts such as – All boots were professionally applied, and nevertheless some of those boots came off. Give us th exact number of boots lost - that should give us lay people the failure rate of a professionally applied glue on (which is the best case senerio) so we can make informed decisions on whether glueing on boots is a good alternative.

If easy care or anyone else that is happy with their boots would like to comment or respond, I welcome the dialog. I'm absolutely convinced that Renegade strapons are the answer for Farley and I, but as I have critisized a particular company, it would be unfair to not allow a response and I will honor any comments or correspondence sent to me.

Virginia City 100, here I come! In pretty orange strap ons!

42 comments:

  1. Mel, for only having been barefoot and using boots for a short time, you sure paint a picture of having extensive experience. I have a laugh a little, when you are describing your problems with keeping hind boots on, yet you are expressing such negative opinions on using a little extra "insurance" to keep the boots on. Are you telling me that you seriously wouldn't throw on a few wraps of tape if it insured you wouldn't loose a boot? You would rather keep loosing boots until you happened to come across the company owner to fit them properly, just to say that you didn't make any modifications? Is not being able to fit them properly without professional use different than a professional applying them?

    I used Renegades for a over a year and over 500 endurance miles. I have been using Gloves now for over a year, and more than 600 or so hundred miles. I clearly prefer the Gloves due to the low profile design. I haven't lost a Glove in well over a year. Yes, some of mine have powerstraps, some have nothing and sometimes I use tape. I did several multidays last year with no tape. Didn't loose a boot. But if I had to tape, I would, because it's not that big of a deal!

    Regarding gluing, you do not need a professional to apply them. Anyone who takes the initiative to learn and experiment BEFORE a ride can attain the skill necessary to be successful. Of course there will be failures, there are failures with shoes as well, despite being "professionally" applied. Myself and many friends have been applying glue-ons ourselves, with no professional help, for a year or better. People need to get over the "I need someone else to do it for me" mentality and just do it. It is such a pet-peeve of mine when people do the hand-on-the-forehead, "I just can't do it" thing. Get out there and practice.

    You have such limited experience with either boot that your opinions feel grossly bitter. You have never even used Easyboots, which renders your opinion about them completely based on... what? Definitely not first-hand experience.

    I would also like to know what you mean by the Statement that Easycare's product is "NOT the answer over the long term."?? Just because YOU and a few other people do not like it does not mean it isn't nearly perfect for thousands of others. I never get this thought-process that a product that works for thousands is "bad" or "wrong." Sheesh. Be freaking happy for everyone who is doing this barefoot, despite what brand of boot they are using.

    At least if someone using Easycare looses a glue-on, they can slap on a Glove with virtually no difference in the biomechanics of the foot/limb due to a completely different boot and weight, thus eliminating the "off-ness" you saw at the finish due to Farley having a strap-on. You can't compare a Renegade glue-on to a Renegade strap-on and say "Yup, she won't notice a thing." That is scares me. Also, if you are going to be throwing Easycare under the bus, I have to say I have seen Kirt and Chad cut out v's on the side or front of the Renegade glue-ons to make them fit properly. How is that not modifying them?

    I am sorry if this reply is overly harsh but it is really difficult to listen to comments as such from someone who has no experience with the opposing brand. At least other people who oppose Easycare have used or tried the products.

    ~ Amanda

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  2. Mel, I have to give you a huge hug for this post. I'm so happy to see someone that thinks along the same lines as I do with the Renegades. And I know this kind of support will mean the world to Kirt and Gina as well. I love seeing this kind of customer loyalty towards them.

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  3. Amanda - I appreciate your comments and appreciate that you took the time to comment.

    I don't have time to address every single one of your comments but very quickly, here's my thoughts:

    The modification comment was directed to strap on boots, since glueons don't fit the criteria anyways.

    Yes, I have a problem with the tape for "extra insurance". Especially if that's the "standard" protocol for keeping gloves on, if it is not part of the regular procedure as advertized by easy care.

    as I mentioned, when I started losing boots I contacted Renegade and was working towards solving the problem. My lack of time to devote to the issue was the only thing preventing me from getting the boots fitted properly before Tevis (and my reaction to the magnitude of the problem I was having, being a fairly new boot user).

    I do not claim to have years and thousands of miles in boots, or that I have ever been an easy boot user. However, I feel that my experience at Tevis brings up some very valid points that need to be discussed and that are not. the reason I have never considered easy boots is because ALL of their literature of how to keep the boot on required either modification to the hoof or the boot.

    My point about gluing on the boots still holds true - gluing on a boot is like nailing on a shoe. A significant amount of sanding is involved and the prep/application is a process that has to be perfect.

    Easy boot is promoting the hell out of their glue on. My challenge to them is to find a strap on that works WITHOUT modification.

    I don't think ANY glue on is the answer over the long term whether it's a renegade or an easy care product. What is easy care's next step?

    I'm glad to hear you are having so much success without tape, but unfortunately that's not the "norm" from talking to people who use the boots, reading the lists, and reading the website.

    I agree with you that I'm not happy with how she moves "differently" in the strapon than the glue on, however I should have mentioned I never saw the "hitch in her gitty-up" and took the vet's word for it. It's quite possible he saw the strap on and it provideing a visual illusion. She had felt fine on the trail and when I trotted her out on my own, but it was still something I noted.

    I agree- I'm so glad easy care has worked for so many people and and it was great to see so many people in boots this year!!!!! I'm happy that horses's are barefoot! But, I think it is worthwhile to talk about glueons and whether that is "best" for something more than occasional use.

    I'm sure easy care is grateful to have such a staunch customer.

    I love dialog because it gives me a chance to evaluate what I believe in. I see nothing in your comment that makes me change my mind at this point.

    Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Kirt and Chad were totally awesome. I talked out trim and hoof mechanics long enough with Kirt to feel like I can fix Dixie's rear left fit issue. And even better - he encouraged me to keep riding totally bare.

    I don't know that Easyboot doesn't have awesome people like Kirt - I haven't talked to very many EB reps. But I don't like buying Chinese, and Renegades work for me, so I'll stick with them.

    I have pics of them gluing that hind on at Robinson if you want them. And I'm so glad I got to wave hi at you and that you finished!!

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  5. Easycare has SEVERAL perfectly viable options for strap on boots in their arsenal already. The Glove is working very successfully, for many people, without the addition of athletic tape or vetwrap. The classic easyboot has generally been my boot of choice (mainly because I have quite a few perfectly good ones I've already purchased and don't feel the immediate need to upgrade until those are no longer useful). I don't wrap or make any modifications, and I've never had one mar or otherwise damage a hoof. Besides, I don't see how doing any sort of boot modifications, such as adding a power strap or pressing down the "teeth", is any different than using zip ties on the velcro or additional O-rings and such like for the Renegades.

    I will say that standing in Foresthill and watching the horses come through, I did not see a single horse with glued on Easyboots that was 1) missing a boot or 2) wearing a strap on replacement. There may very well have been horses being fixed at earlier checks, I was only watching closely at Foresthill. Farely was the only one I saw that was missing a glued on boot, but again like you mention, Easycare had staff doing the glueing, BECAUSE you had to have your boots glued by the staff in order to qualify for the "Ride Tevis for Free" promo. I know plenty of other riders that do all their own glueing at other times with success. I did also see a few horses missing shoes that either had a classic cable-fastened Easyboot or a Glove on as a replacement.

    I just don't understand the various boot wars and why people feel the need to bash one brand or the other. They are both quality product with excellent customer service and support. Personally, I choose to support Easycare since they are giving so much back to the sport and their boots have worked very successfully for me in the past. They're also much more friendly to my pocketbook.

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  6. Everybody has a right to their opinion. Personally, I have a hard time buying the opinions of sponsored riders. Especially when they weren't using the products prior to being sponsored. That says a lot, right there.

    I use products that work. This is important when you are a rider who rides a lot of miles every year. I would not keep using Renegades if they didn't work and gave them a very thorough try-out before I used them on an actual endurance ride.

    I was happy that all 4 of the glue-on Renegades I used (and applied myself) on Tevis stayed on. I really do not like glue-on boots and prefer not to use them. For a special event or multiday they have their place but they are too much work for every ride.

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  7. Funder - It was very cool to see you! I wish I had time to chat with you afterwards, but it was kind of crazy.

    My dad found your pics on the website and sent them to me. :) you got some great ones.

    I think I've decided that I will try to buy new renegades from now on to support the company, instead of looking for used ones. I think that it's the right thing for me to do.

    I agree - kirt was WONDERFUL at explaining the hoof, mechanics, and the trim. I'm much more confident on what i'm doing is right.

    ~C - there were many missing EC glueons at Foresthill (and some at Robinson) :) I'm hoping to get the actual statistics from EC.

    I have seen gloves work well for some people, but when I was researching for what I wanted to use, I was greatly discouraged with the numerous reports that gators rub and athletic tape is needed in most cases for good boot retention.

    Glueons require modification to the hoof to work (sanding of the wall) so while I used them in interm, that is the fundamental problem I have with them, aside from the fact they they require some skill to put on (as evidenced by my experience - I am extremely concious of detail, watched all the videos numerous times etc.)

    Is adding a zip tie as a keeping really the equivalent to wrapping a hoof with atheltic wrap, cutting down back straps and squishing down metal teeth? I guess everyone must decide that one for themselves, but in my opinion, adding a ziptie during wet and sandy rides is not equivalent.

    I'm not bashing EC - I'm instead asking why EC is pushing the glueon vey hard (as evidenced by the $$ put into marketing at Tevis) and what are their plans to market an easy to use strap on that will do the equivalent at Tevis.

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  9. Karen - good point.

    For purposes of disclosure, I did not recieve any finacial or "free product" from Renegade prior to Tevis. They do not officially sponsor me and I do not recieve any kind of finacial aid from them. I love their product and therefore I promote it.

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  10. If gluing on a glue on is so easy that a "regular" (tongue in cheek...) person could do it successfully most of the time consistently and reliably, why did EC require that for the promo program they glue them on? Why not let everyone glue on their own?

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  11. Am I the only "regular" (meaning not employed by a boot company) person who glued their own boots on for Tevis that stayed on 100% of the time?

    I'm sooooo glad that I didn't have to glue boots on a ton of horses - it's kinda nice just being a "regular" rider!

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  12. Mel,


    Congrats on your very good outcome. You may not have heard me, but I was cheering you on lady!

    I'll stay out of the booting discussion until I've tried both products :)

    ~E.G.

    ~

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  13. Speaking from the perspective of a steel-shoe user (except in winter, when my tenderfooted horse works barefoot in the arena and booted on our few forays on winter trails), I'm still not sold on either the Renegades or the Easycare boots.

    Renegade has great customer service. So does Easycare.

    Both companies provide products that can do the job for some folks and some horses. Neither company has invented a boot that works well enough for me to switch away from steel with the horse I currently ride.

    Will I continue to experiment during the winter season? Sure, if I can afford to do it.

    Will I pull the shoes off and go barefoot during ride season? Not any time soon!

    I have experimented extensively already with foot protection on Fiddle and she is by far most comfortable with steel shoes. It's a huge, visible change in her stride and her attitude when she works in shoes. Why would I mess with that?

    And truthfully, hopping off my gigantic horse to find a lost boot (usually flung far into the weeds where I can't locate it quickly), re-applying the boot and then climbing all the way back up...it's more work than I want. I ride to have fun, and if I'm replacing boots, it ain't fun. I've lost one shoe at a competition over the course of more than 10 years. Mel lost 3 shoes in one day--yes, a tough ride, but still. It's not a good arguement for me to give up my wonderful farrier and the steel shoes.

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  14. I would be totally happy to hear from both sides that had all four boots glued on, and stayed on, or not. It would be an interesting poll to read. With qualifying data as to the boot used, self-applied, professionally applied, boot loss, front or rear, and terrain where the boots came off. Perhaps that was why the boot companies made such a representation at the ride...what better product testing could they get than Tevis?

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  15. AareneX - I was laughing outloud about your tall horse comment - I can totally relate (because of Minx). My 14.1 (or is it 14.2?) horse was almost too much for me at the end of Tevis!!!!!

    EG - I too would LOVE to see the stats. Unfortunately, Karen and I were the only renegade boot users at the ride, which isn't much of a sample and we both used glue ons. Last year Renegade had one user there - in strap ons and she finished with the same 4 that she started with.

    Yes there is differences in the glueons between the two companies, but truely, if you are going to glue a boot on I think what matters most is your gluing technique, not as much the design of the boot - the strap on is what I would like to see further development.

    I want to clarify here - I want BOTH easy care AND Renegade to stick around and THRIVE. I think competition only improves an industry - both in innovation and cost. Its not a boot "war", no one has to "win" - BUT I want the focus back where it belongs - how to keep the hoof natural, ride a tough 100 mile trail with zero problems AND make the boot application friendly for the average endurance rider (and I think I'm pretty average - I don't have a ton of miles, but I'm not a ocmplete newbie either. I enjoy learning new things, BUT I'm don't have unlimited funds and time either).

    I don't think there is ANY better time to be an endurance rider with a barefoot horse - so many options. BUT it could be even better. Which is why I wrote this article - to highlight what I consider a deficiency in the booting world.

    AareneX - I've said this before, but I totally respect your decision. I'm not saying I won't ever use shoes again. I'm going to try really hard to stay barefoot because I've seen some really great changes with Farley, BUT if she started going badly in boots and I was limited on time (say maybe 3 bouncing kidlets and a full time vet job?????) and the only way to ride my horse was to pay someone to come over and put shoes on her? I would probably do that.

    I want to thank everyone for (so far!) keeping this conversation fairly civil. If you re-read my post you will see that I am NOT being an EC hater - I am pointing out where I see defieciencies in their product and I'm hoping to get reliable informaiton on how boots performed at Tevis. It's been interesting to here everyone's "take" on this, and although nothing said has changed my mind from my original post, it's fun to see where everyone comes from.

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  16. Mel,

    I really feel that part of the booting failure and fitting issue has something to do with the boots not necessarily being molded for the shape of the natural hoof (often as wide, or wider than the length. A very high percentage of the natural type trimmed hooves just don't fit the boots well....hence duct tape, vet wrap (I've done it and it worked well), and sports tape (which I will try next on the hinds since we have dislodged the right hind on steep uphills. Since I mostly like the Gloves, though I must tweak to use them, I have not tried Renagade. If regnegade boots had been comparable price wise compared to Gloves I'd have given them a shot. Here locally a friend was using the Renegades, but like you she suddenly started having problems with the boots (cables, boots coming off, etc.) and she last I heard had gone back to steel shoes. She rides at the front and the aggravation (if your booting there is some of that) wasn't worth it to her.

    When I get the opportunity to try the EC glue on's I'll probably follow Chris Martin's protocol using GOOBER GLUE to pad, and the new GOOBER GLUE to stick them on. Neither require a heat gun which is good because I have no electric at either my barn, or my horse trailer. Chris also gave me some helpful tips on using a smaller size when the hoof is between sizes which Phebe's front left is. When I get the chance I'll write him and ask what his percentage of boot failure has been using G.G.

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  17. Glad you finished your race Mel!

    This has been a fascinating discussion. I've been an easyboot user for around ten years now. I got a pair when my mare foundered (she only foundered in front) and have used them ever since. I use the classic style. There was certainly a learning curve in getting them to stay on. I had to learn how tight to make the cables and the heel straps, and I also wound up flattening the teeth on the inside. But I will say in the last several years of using them I have rarely lost one. The times I did it was going fast (as in canter/galloping) over rocky terrain.

    I have not had a chance to try out their new boots (the bare and the glove), so no comment on those. I do understand why they had reps glueing on the boots at Tevis though. That way they really got an accurate result of how well they work. They could make sure everything was put on properly. Hopefully they will take the results from the ride and make the appropriate improvements to their product.

    I have been considering Renegades, but I'm a little put off by the fact that they only seem to work with feet that are properly balanced. My mare has the high/low heel syndrome (one heel higher than the other), and while it is improving, her feet do not look like they would work in Renegades. The easyboots work great, and they stay on just fine.

    I also don't see what the problem is with using some athletic tape to get them to stick better? As long as it's done properly it won't interfere with the hoof mechanics. I've used vetwrap before and those boots do NOT come off.

    I am still interested in trying out a pair of Renegades, the cost has been the biggest factor there. I just found a new pair of easyboots for fifty bucks on craigslist. Renegades can't be found that cheap (yet) ;)

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  18. Mel - I really don't see where you're "there were many missing EC glueons at Foresthill" comment comes from. You were riding, not standing there taking pictures of all the horses coming into the check. I'll repeat, I saw NO missing boots at Foresthill except for Farely's. I have since heard of ONE boot that was re-beaded at the top, but was still glued on the hoof.

    I agree with EG, the incidence of glueing failure is probably a direct correlation to the experience of the person doing the gluing. I'm sure that's why EC had people in the promo have to be glued by their staff, to ensure the highest rate of success, not because it's that hard for people to do (as you know, since the process is pretty much identical regardless of brand). Plus, if you were putting your company name and reputation on the line, wouldn't you do what you could to also ensure its success? It really is proper prep of the hoof, and knowing when the glue is "set" and ready to be applied which are key. Also having the glue properly placed in the boot, as poor Zach found out at Washoe as well. That's probably why Karen was successful with keeping all hers on as well, she has lots of experience with glueing.

    I am not sponsored by Easycare, I receive NO free product from them, I receive NO discount on purchases. I just think its unfair to criticize a company that very much "put their money where their mouth is" and in turned showed a great success, as the completion rates will evidence (over the past couple of years). Easycare has already had strap on boots complete many, many miles - including Tevis in the past.

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  19. Great discussion, everyone, and I hope that the folks at Renegade AND Easycare are listening. I actually think they WILL listen, since my experience with both companies has shown me that they are still learning...which means good things for us on the "user end."

    I truly hope that someday we'll have a boot product that will work for me and my Gigantor. Just because we haven't got there yet doesn't mean we aren't on the road.

    And thanks, Mel, for your support--I'm committed to the steel shoes on Fiddle for now, but possibly not forever.

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  20. Mel,thank you for that post! I have been searching for information about boots for future. As at the moment i´m not able to deal with my horses myself and their trainers desigion is to use nailed shues.

    Also the fact how one or the other companis customers responded here, I am going to chose Renegades to try boots. Someday.

    Sorry, if i´m hard to understand. I´m not native english speeker and its way too late at night. Must go to bed :)

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  21. First, CONGRATULATIONS on completing tevis!!

    Now to add my little two cents in about this topic...

    -"2. The boot must stay on and be easy to apply and take off without any “professional” help."
    What's wrong with getting professional help? I look at that as a great thing, if the makers and testers of the boot are willing to glue on/apply boots for people, that is a great thing! I got to glue on boots for a few Global Endurance Training Center Horses and it was fairly simple once i was taught how to do it by a "professional". And those boots stayed on for the 100 miles :) The renegades did not meet this criteria, they did not stay on for you; neither the strap on (american river) and the glue on (tevis and WW).

    -"Renegade...The level of service, care, and commitment is absolutely astounding." Have u ever worked with easycare? when Garret and his crew spend countless hours of glueing boots on and spend their days leading up to the biggest race of the year, i call that commitment! I can only say this because i was staying at Garret's place up at the lake for 4 days before tevis and know that he takes allot of time to help people.

    -"2. Glueing on boots may work in the short term, ie for very specific races or during times of transition while fitting boots in an issue, but is NOT the answer for the competing barefoot horse." Just curios, but why do u say this?

    -"Gluing on boots is NOT easy and it’s incredibly easy to make a preparation mistake that results in a boot loss" I think this is exactly why easycare wanted to apply boots for people, so they could have a positive tevis and walk away with a good image about boots and about the barefoot decision.

    -"did you have a strap on that would have worked for the duration of the ride? " While i got to help out glueing boots on with garret and christoph they asked everyone if they had a proper fitting back up boot.

    -"Armed with my strap on boots that were fitted by Renegade" isn't this relying, or getting assistance, from a professional?

    -" I see Easy Care promoting a product, that while it can be a solution for the short term" yes they are promoting, its how they are making a living...

    -"Where is their strap on that can handle the rigors of Tevis? " Yes, Garret rode tevis last year in gloves and finished..

    As u know i have had many problems with the boots, but after spending time with two professionals and talking to them i have learned things that i did wrong, and things i could have done to prevent bad rubs. At AR my boots kept coming off because her feet were transitioning, which i knew, so they were between sizes. As i see it unless u have a perfect shaped hoof, renegades would be hard to fit all horses, and the bulk and weight can be a draw back.

    Good luck at Virginia City!!

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  23. crap crap crap - blogger ate my very well worded and lengthy comment (*sob*).

    OK. I think I said something like:

    I didn't start this discussion thinking I would change minds, my purpose was to get people to think about their booting options and to define what they REALLY want out of a boot. for me it's a boot that fits and stays on with no hoof modifications or "aftermarket boot parts". I am willing to keep pressuring the boot companies to improve their designs until it happens. Yes, glueing works, but if someone choses glueons, I want them to THINK about the tradeoffs and decide whether it is worth it. Maybe sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. Maybe you read my questions and were able to answer each one of them to your satisfaction. If so, GREAT. If not, then maybe it bears thinking about.

    I've been very vocal from the very beginning about what I want in a boot. The Glueon was a compromise for me, but I haven't forgotten what I want and I'm making efforts to do it and stay consistent with my goals for the barefoot horse.

    ~C - Maybe the boots that were glued on by EC at Foresthill were boots that they felt wouldn't make it down the rest of the trail but hadn't actually fallen off yet? Because they were definately glueing boots on! (and at Robinson) Thanks for letting everyone know about any potential EC sponsorship. I knew you werent, but so many people are, including commentors on this blog and I feel that it does color the discussion. :)

    I brought up the comment of EC not letting people glue on boots in response to a comment that many people have lots of success gluing on boots and they don't consider themselves "professional" (although I would argue that if you are being paid by a boot company you are, but I haven't totally decided on that one yet). My resonse is that if the process is so easy and simple that a normal boot user can get the hang of it and do it, then why was EC so very leery of letting them when the chips are down? Maybe because it makes a huge difference and the "average" user isn't going to get the results of an EC applied boot. So if you see the success rates of the glue on boots at Tevis, keep in mind that every single one of them with the exception of the renegade users was professionally glued on. (if I'm wrong about this, please let me know!)

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  24. Zach -

    Have you actually picked up a renegade and weighed it? It is not heavy :) A boot + glue weighs about the same as a renegade strap on.

    If you are comfortable relying on a professional for booting, than glueons and other options I don't consider may be right for you. As for me, I live in an area where getting professional help prior to each critical ride would be very difficult. I need to be able to "do it on my own" if necessary.

    I won't comment on the customer service since when refering to easy care, I am focusing on their product only. If your experience with easy care has been excellent customer service, than great - you wouldn't be dissapointed with renegade's either.

    Tevis and WW is demonstrates my point about glueons EXACTLY :) As for American River, through sheer idiocy I failed to recognize that hooves *might* actually change over a 2-3 months preiod!

    As for my boots that were fitted by renegade, I will point out that my specific questions about fit were being handled over the phone and by e-mail. However, with Kirt there I couldn't resist picking his brain. It turns out there has been some upgrades to the boots since I bought my last pair that were contributing to my problem. Then once he looked at Farley's feet he recommended some trimming adjustments and after that, her feet fitted a bit differently. Was this different from asking a farrier or a vet for help? No. Is this different from having a farrier shoe my horse for compeitions, or a boot professional apply my glueons? yes.

    And as I recall.....Garret lost a glove going over cougar rock.

    In my opinion renegades are easier to fit since only width is a factor - the boots can be modified for length quite easily in a large margin. Contact renegade for specifics of fitting. That's one reason I like their glue ons - fit the width and then chop off the excess behind the heel! I've already addressed the weight issue - they are substantially lighter than you would imagine.

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  25. Finally remembered what I wanted to say! (my brain is STILL fuzzy from Saturday).

    I don't think of this as a boot "war". No body has to (or should) "win". I look at this as making my booting needs known and letting the companies know what I want!!!! And if enough people feel the same way I do, then hopefully we keep getting better and easier and more trouble free strap ons.

    And again - thank you everyone - this has actually been fun and a great mental exercise, seeing everything from different persepeciteves. I haven't changed my mind and I'm not sure I changed any of yours - but that's not the point. civil discussions on horse hoof care an the options without the politics should occur more often.

    I STILL haven't finished what I want to write for my Tevis story. I have the 20 page detailed version that NO ONE is going to want to read so I'm busy trying to condense it down to what everyone actually enjoys - Mistakes Melinda Made.

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  26. I'm a ride story addict, Mel -- I'll read the 20 page version!

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  27. My shoes stayed on. (wink) But I did not apply them myself.

    Well done!!! Sorry we did not get to chat at the ride!

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  28. Hi Mel

    I read your thoughts and appreciate that you don't like "extreme" modifications to keep boots on. Shout that from the rooftops!! Your post gives me the perfect introduction to vent. I too am not willing to use athletic tape every time(it has failed as many times as it has worked) and the Gloves have been a disaster for me this year. My gelding measures perfectly for the 1.5 Glove on the rears. The boots stretch SO much that after 2 rides those didn't work. Then I put him in 0s. After 2 rides, they are also too big and the powerstraps keep tearing. Once I tried to get the 00.5 on his rears - the amount of malloting it took was painful for him and me. They finally went on and stayed on but he was not comfortable in them - just too tight. I've had many conversations with EC and the only thing I get is to "shape" his hoof to fit in the 00.5 and use athletic tape. Neither appeal to me or fix the problem of the boots stretching too much. I know someone who uses 2 sizes of Gloves per hoof depending on where the horse is in the 4 week trim cycle and uses athletic tape too. I just can't see myself doing that. Athletic tape just turns the Gloves into "mini glue on's" IMO. My mare's hooves are wider than long and I already know that the Gloves are just not going to work on those perfectly round feet. I do appreciate what EC is doing to support endurance - truly - but that dosn't make the boots work any better for me. Before everyone screams "Renegade" I would like to report that I have also used them for a season as well on both horses. I think Kirt Lander is awesome and he spent time trying to help me. To his credit, the boots stayed on. However, both my horses ended up with subtle but consistent heel pain over the course of the season caused by the captivator. They never got any rubs, which is wonderful, but the overall pressure ended up causing pain. I am not the only one that has reported this. I tried many things that Kirt recommended but had to put my horses' comfort first. They were my favorite boot for me to use - too bad my horses didn't agree. I'm so glad they work for Karen and others, but the don't work for everyone - neither will the Gloves. I imagine that the Renegades will work for more horses than the Gloves will though. I train barefoot most of the time but several of my favorite rides in the Rockies require boots. I had no luck using EC Bares. I might one day go back to the Easyboots with gaiters. For now, I will spend August using the B4 boots and giving them a whirl. I am intrigued by their design and one of my friends has also demo'd them with success. They do not require mallots or tape! I have enough used Renegades, Gloves and Bares to open a used boot shop - LOL. I am the "go to" girl for anyone needing a spare....anything. I just want a boot that will stay on and fit (for more than 2 rides), hold up to rough terrain, be able to stay on crossing water and not cause my horses any pain. Dream on, right! Best of luck to everyone on their boot quest - may the force be with you!

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  29. thanks for the comments thunderkiss. I haven't had heel pain, but I also rarely use them on conditioning rides (usually when I'm fine-tuning fit) so maybe that's why I'm having good luck? or maybe it's how her heels bulbs/heels are shaped. I will keep an eye out for this problem.

    I'm off to look up b4 boots since I don't think I'm familiar.

    Good luck in the great boot search! (which seems to be even greater than the saddle search??????) :)

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  30. The great boot search is an order of magnitude cheaper than the great saddle search. ;)

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  31. Mel- Congrats on your barefoot, booted Tevis finish.

    I'm not going to comment on negative portions of your post but encourage you to look at the huge step barefoot, booted horses made over the weekend. Booted horses had a great finish rate, many booted horses in the top 20 and a booted horse took home one of the biggest honors in the sport of endurance racing. Yes the prestigious Haggin Cup was won by a booted horse.

    Easyboot Glue-Ons are similiar to Renagade Glue-Ons. Easyboot Gloves are similiar to Renagade Strap Ons. Renegades are great and work for many people. Easyboots are also enjoyed by many.

    Boots will continue to evolve and get better. Your post has personally motivated me to pull out a non released strap on design and push it to market.

    My personal goal in 2009 was the AERC National Best Condition award. Although we fell short GE Cyclone was awarded 9 Best Condition Awards in Easyboot Gloves. The Fury has completed 4 events in 2010 in Easyboot Gloves, two Best Conditions. The Tevis was Fury's first event in Glue-Ons.

    The Renegade team has some super accomplished riders at Tevis this year in Karen Chaton and Stephanie DuRoss. Both are incredible horse women and both have used Renegades at many events. Both Karen and Stephanie choose glue-ons for the event. Six weeks ago at Strawberry Fields Stephanie was in strap-ons. Karen and Bo and Chief in glue-ons. Both of these riders make choices based on the event and horse.

    Good luck at your next 100! Be happy you have choices. Be happy that competition will continue to make better boots. Be happy for the accomplishments of the barefoot booted horse. Be positive about what works for you without tearing down companies and products that were developed and did Tevis before you were born.

    I'm out of here.

    Garrett Ford

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  32. Garrett - first off - thanks for stopping by!

    Second - if you re-read my post you will see that I'm not "tearing" down the boot company - I'm encouraging companies to move in a direction that I feel is being largely ignored and questioning the widespread use of the glueons, that were much publicized for this event.

    I absolutely gave EC high praise for encouraging so many barefoot horses in this year's Tevis! it was GREAT! However, I would have liked to see a push towards a strap on boot, that fit my personal criteria. :)

    glad to hear you have more designs in the "wings" that are moving in that direction.

    I believe that no matter what age someone is, they can have a valid opinion and from the number of comments both publically and privately, I'm not alone in my opinion.

    I believe that discussions like this can occur in a mature manner without personal attacks on someone's age, choice of breed, or any other personal attributes and choices. It's exciting to be a participant in such a young sport that isn't so mired in tradition it cannot change for the better.

    BTW - do you have any final numbers of how many glue on boots were replaced during the ride? I felt that this was a race where there was FINALLY enough of a sample size to see how the boots performed. It's great that so many top horses did well in the boots, and I'm looking forward to seeing the statistics for the rest of the group.

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  33. Mel,

    Your accomplishment at Tevis this year is commendable.

    As a point of fact, none of the EasyCare staff re-glued any missing boots at any of the vet checks.

    I reapplied the top seal of Adhere to the boots on Karen Deaver's horse at Foresthill because the seal was beginning to separate from the hoofwall. EasyCare staff did not work on any other horses.

    All other findings from the EasyCare Tevis experience - both positive and challenging - will be published over time on the EasyCare blog and Easyboot Facebook page.

    Kevin Myers

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  34. After rereading my blog - I'd like to clarify my previous comment -

    In addition to encouraging companies to move in a certain direction, I DO have specific questions for EC, which yes, are negative. However, if those questions can be fully answered, than it could be a positive for EC and a learning experience for me. However, at this point, after reviewing my questions, most have NOT been addressed, and so they remain.

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  35. Any self reported EC glue on boot losses?

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  36. While riding it is necessary to wear all things. It protects you and provide great amount of safety.I think Horse boot is very important accessories while riding.

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  37. Wow. I have not shod for 10 years so have tried several different boots over the years and was thrilled to find the Renegades several years back as the original Easyboot wanted to make me poke my eyes out. Great boot, and the innovation of Renegade and Easycare can only do good for barefoot riders. We are in a good spot. I went to the Gloves with gators last year for my Tevis training and have not looked back. I have had virtually no problems with the boot fitting and staying on with zero modifications. I've ridden in deep mud and on rocky steep trails and the boots have stayed on with 2 exceptions. I have had one hind come off the hoof (and stay on because of the gator) but I suspected I would have a problem. My horse really needs a 1/2 size smaller and I didn't have them on his feet.
    As far as glue-on gloves, my fiance glued on Ali'i's boots for 2 different multi-day weekends. He is not a professional, but we were able to print out the glueing instructions from the EC website, follow them and I had zero problems with the boots. I was entered in Tevis and had to pull my horse days before because he was off, but Kevin from EC still glued on fronts to see if that would help his issue which it hasn't. (I don't believe my horse has a hoof problem, so wasn't surprised.) EasyCare is smart in their marketing and their gloves (glue-ons and gloves with gators) are a fantastic product. I agree with Garrett that we all should be so happy to have all the choices we do have with the various companies. Our horses are so much better for it and if the Renegades work better, go for it!! It's a great boot. I just personally have had almost no problems with my gloves. I almost never look down to see if they are still on. As far as customer loyalty, I had too many problems with the Renegades and I don't want to spend time wondering if I still have a boot on. It wasn't working for me. Thanks for the post and congratulations on your Tevis completion. I am so happy for you!

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  38. "As a point of fact, none of the EasyCare staff re-glued any missing boots at any of the vet checks."

    It's too bad that they weren't there to support their riders, since their boots were being glued on.

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  39. Diane if you see this can you please add me to your list of approves sender so that i can reply to your email? I can't get through and won't direct me to the request form to allow access. Thanks!

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  40. Mel :-)
    Thumbs up!

    I gave it a few days for the dust to clear.

    Congrats on everything it was great to meet you and good luck in the future.

    GO BAREFOOT.

    Chad

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  41. Ya'll might want to try B4Boots.com
    Bonnie's Better Built Boots. She is an endurance rider who designed and now sells her own boots.

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  42. Just found your blog and my transitioning to barefoot horse may soon need boots. I appreciate your honesty & thank you!!

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