Monday, October 15, 2012

My Barefoot Horse: Boot Fit Kit

Low-cut boots are all the craze this fall.

Do you like going shoe shopping?  I know that a fair number of women do, but I am not one of them.  My reason for not liking shoe shopping is pretty simple: I have an incredibly difficult time finding shoes that fit.  There are so many styles that just will not stay on my feet, like pumps and slip-on's and flats.  That doesn't leave much except boots.  I love boots, but most boots appropriate for work have a heel and usually an excessive one.  I just cannot wear heels to work.  In fact, I almost cannot wear heels at all anymore.  I remember squeezing my feet into ridiculous-looking shoes for school dances, but my feet will not comply with that sort of thing now.  Too many years stretching those heels down, I guess.  The front of my foot aches like crazy, too, if I wear shoes with a raised heel.  The only shoes that seem to work for me are rather plain-looking leather uppers with flat soles.  Occasionally, I try to wear something cuter to work, but I always end up changing my shoes after lunch.  And, yes, I bring extra shoes to work.  I have a low tolerance for discomfort.

Since I do not have a good track record with finding shoes, I decided that I better do some homework before ordering boots for Harley.  I think that I saw his eyes glaze over the same way mine do when I am trying on the umpteenth pair.  He was patient, but shoe-shopping sure is boring, even for my horse!

Several people advised me to get a fit kit before ordering Easyboot Gloves for trail riding.  Apparently, the Glove is pretty difficult to fit correctly, because the boots are snug.  I measured Harley's feet and decided to order a wide kit, because I have a 1.5 and a 2 regular that I can borrow at the barn.  The measurements of his feet do not quite fit into any of the regular sizes, so I decided to order the size 1 wide fit kit and compare to the regular gloves in our tack room.  Just in case you are curious, you can request a fit kit from EasyCare, Inc. for the cost of shipping.  They sent me three sizes: 1.5 wide, 1 wide, and 0.5 wide.  The fit kit came with some instructions and tips for finding the right fit.  I have to return the boot shells when I am finished with them.

Regular with the gaiter and wide without in size 1.5.
 
After switching boots back and forth and taking tons of pictures.  I have reached my conclusion.

I do not like shoe shopping AND I do not like boot shopping.

And I do not know which size boots to order.

I am pretty, almost definitely, most-likely certain (Can you tell how sure I am?) that the 1.5 wide and the 0.5 wide do not fit.  I think that his foot does not fill up the front of the former and his heels are not completely in the latter, but he is spreading that "V", which apparently is a good thing.

Good "spreadage".

The size 1 wide looks promising, but the "V" does not spread that much until he moves.  The widest part of his foot is in the back half of his foot.  When he walks the "V" opens and closes like a Pac-Man.  Otherwise, I think that this boot fits well all the way around his foot and he can trot without it slipping off, even sans gaiter.

Size 1 wide

Size 1 wide

Size 1 wide

I put on the size 1.5 regulars.  He seems to fill out the boots well, but there is this weird space at the inside front of each boot.  I imagine that the powerstrap, which can be ordered for the front of the boot, could fix the gap, but I cannot help wondering if the boot is being torqued, because it just doesn't fit.  This was what motivated me to buy the wide fit kit.  I have no idea if my reasoning makes any sense, because I have never fitted these boots before.  He will walk and trot in the size 2 regular, but they have big pads and a powerstrap installed already, so I am not sure how snug the fit is.  I suspect they are too big, because they slip on really easily.  Too easily.  There must be a catch!

Size 1.5 Regular: Both boots have a funny space on the inside.

I hope these boots are made for cantering!

According to the EasyCare, Inc. website, the number one mistake that horse owners make is ordering a boot that is too large for their horse.  I do not want to make that mistake, but I also do not want to order one that is squeezing his foot in a funny way or is going to trap sand or mud in the boot.

__________________________

Guess what?  I received an email from EasyCare, Inc. while I was drafting this post.  The wide boots are intended for hooves that are wider than they are long, so Harley's feet do not match that specification.  The recommendation is to order a 1.5 regular with powerstraps.  The used 1.5's that I was borrowing for fitting purposes may have changed shape and conformed to the foot of the horse who wears them.  A new pair will probably provide a more snug fit.  The powerstrap should make sure the fit is secure.

 I just sent them an email yesterday.  What great customer service!

So there you have it folks.  I guess that I am going to order the Easyboot Glove in a size 1.5 regular.  And now I get to pick out a color for the powerstrap.  I like that part!

Can we be done now?

22 comments:

  1. The things we do for our horses! Sounds like a lot of work :) but it is nice that they were helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciated their customer service so much that I ordered directly from the company instead of from a catalog.

      Delete
  2. I am really wanting to try hoof boots for Dee now that we're riding out on crazier and less predictable surfaces but I'm terrified to try them, too! For exactly the fit reason. I'm so scared that I won't be able to figure out the right size. Good luck with the 1.5 regular!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could always go with a less streamlined boot. I was planning on ordering the trail boot if I could get the sizing right.

      Delete
  3. I remember using the first generation easyboots. In fact I still have a brand new 00 pair. The darned things either fell off or caused issues with them being too tight (bruised hoof/abcess anyone?) Ended up going through several other boots until finally settling on renegade hoof boots as the ultimate sand/water/mud/not clunky boot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have looked at the renegades many, many times, but I just cannot justify the price tag. If I was interested in competitive trail or endurance, I would definitely order a pair in bright orange or blue!

      Delete
  4. Wow, hoof boots sound great, I've always wanted to try them with Babe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome Emmi!

      I will let you know how they work out. :)

      Delete
  5. As a Renegade user, I'll be interested to see how you get on with the Easyboot Glove. I found the Renegade fit to be quite forgiving, ie when we broke a cable on a size 2 on the trail, the size 2W spare with us stayed put for the rest of the day.
    Despite this, I have a gut feeling that my 2nd horses' feet do not suit Renegade boots quite as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really like the renegades, but I wish they were more affordable. I have read many good things about them and it sounds like you have had good luck too!

      I will keep you posted!

      Delete
  6. How exciting! I hope they work out for you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is really confusing and the fitting of boots is annoying to say the least. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    I'm a hard fit for shoes myself and I do like my comfort. If you hate shoe shopping as much as I do try Zappo's online. They have tons of shoes in lots of sizes and they ship free and you can send them back with no questions asked. It's really easy to shop their site. Good luck if you decide to give it a go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion!
      I think that I should take a look. :)

      Delete
  8. I've never tried boots. My horse is barefoot, but he's never seemed to mind different surfaces. Of course, we only go on little trail rides. I'm sure if he were doing endurance rides (or anything longer than 30 minutes through the woods) he'd need a boot. I wouldn't even know where to begin with boots, I'd probably have to ask my farrier!

    After having my feet stepped on by horses for years, and then fracturing a lumbar vertebrae, my feet have gone totally numb. I can wear all the crazy high heels I want! Who knew there was a positive to repeated injuries? (I still wouldn't recommend it, though)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *laughing*
      I guess there is always a positive, no matter how surprising. I do wish sometimes that I could pull off a cute pair of heels with a dress, but not enough to offer my feet up for stomping. ;)

      I have ridden Harley on the trails for years without boots, but I still think it might be nice to give him some extra protection. It's a good learning experience, too.

      Delete
  9. I think you'll love those gloves! Pantz, my sisters mare had them , red power strap,. Easiest boots I've ever applied!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear!

      I was tempted to order the red slippers. Handy to find on the trail, but I am not hoping to lose them!

      Delete
  10. Brilliant blog! Why not come and post it at Haynet a worldwide equestrian blogging community for more to follow? Come and visit hay-net.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  11. Super blog! Why not come and post it at Haynet a worldwide equestrian blogging community for more to follow? Come and visit http://hay-net.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love shoe shopping for myself, I HATE boot shopping for Laz, and putting them on but sometimes it's a necessary evil. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that I ordered the right size!

      I like shoe shopping when I get started, but it gets frustrating after a little while, especially if they are out of my size. That happens a lot!

      Delete

Leave a comment or add to my memoirs with some of your own.