Since my last post on our hoof boots used during our ride, we have covered a lot of miles.
Our hoof boot needs are unique to our trip. We are riding a 5000 mile unassisted solo horse ríde. We ride 15-30 miles a day, 20 days a month, in areas I’ve ever never been before. We occasionally get resupplies along the way. Our 850 lb horse carries rider and load totalling 245lbs-255lbs with full winter load. In February, we unloaded 15lbs, and we intend to unload another 5 by Mexico.
The conveniences of a travel horse trailer, or a tack room at home are not available for us. So in this light, the following analysis should be seen from this angle. For my horse, I require boots that are durable, cause no chafing, wear evenly, and stay on in all conditions. I am not in a position to use different boots depending on trim cycle, nor can I easily use glue nor temporary shim materials (Mueller tape) and techniques that bulk up our saddle bags.
As of 175 days / 2100 miles we have gone thru 4 sets of boots and have started our 5th set for the trip.
Our first set of gloves, somewhat worn at the beginning, lasted 125 miles.
Our second set of gloves lasted 700 miles.
For our 3rd set we tried the glove back countries. At first I liked them better, but I noticed after a while that Roxy didn’t like how the gaiters rubbed her. It caused rub marks on the hinds. Also, she dragged her hind toes and the boots wore out on the front very quickly.
This didn’t happen on the front.
A couple hundred miles into their use I switched back to the glove gaiters.
When the front boots got muddy and wet, they would slip sideways. Possibly because the boots are the 0w and they and the hooves were almost round. They lasted 300 miles, the rears had big holes in the back, the fronts still had at least 100 miles or more of life left.
For the fourth set I tried were the gloves in size 0 in the hinds, and some old edges in size 0 for the fronts.
The edges worked out pretty well, they didn’t slip sideways unless it was really muddy.
Again gloves on the back wore out at the toe area well before the soles.
After observing Roxy walk barefoot, with the gloves (and back countries) and gaiters on, as well as with sport wraps on at the same time, I noticed the following.
Her hind toes rubbed against the ground when then the boots were on.
Not when barefoot.
Her front feet didn’t drag either with boots on or off.
I was using sport wraps during the day to help with her pastern inflammation.
When I stopped using the sport wraps I noticed less toe rubbing. However, the rear pasterns were still getting chafed from the glove gaiters. The fronts weren’t.
So it seems to me that on Roxy, the less stuff that was around her pasterns, allowed her to get more complete movement of the lower leg.
I got 500 miles out of the front edges with no holes. The edge sole lasts long. The rear gloves had good tread on the sole but huge holes in the front which I had repaired with a metal guard.
Around the 400 mile mark with this set I talked to another long rider who used epics and grips on her travels.
I decided to try the grips, without the gaiters, on the hinds. Like the original epics.
For my 5th set of boots, I started using the original epic style with toothed backstrap and keeper straps. Keeper straps to keep the boot from falling completely off if there boot comes off. Not used as a structural part of the fit. For my expedition I need parts that don’t fail.
For the other pair I used the 2nd set of free edges, modified to be used without a gaiter.
The grips tread was great for off road, but wore out fast on pavement. This was my first time using the epic style fastener. I like it more than the glove or edge style of fitting.
Here are my thoughts on all of the different boots I’ve used so far: