Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Three Key Lessons I Learned at Bryce Canyon XP

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 by Kevin Myers

I was very lucky to be able to ride a couple of days at Bryce XP in addition to helping Duncan McLaughlin work on his thermography study of shod and unshod horses. I tried a couple of application techniques with the Easyboots that I have not tested before at events. The results were more than encouraging.

1. They're Called Power Straps for a Reason
I've not been an avid fan of using Power Straps on Easyboot Gloves since I switched from shod to barefoot in 2009. And when EasyCare was considering making the Power Straps standard on the Easyboot Glove late last year, my vote was not in favor of the change. If I was asked to vote again today, I would probably vote differently.

My strategy on Day 1 with Far was to ride fairly aggressively and if the circumstances allowed, to finish in the top ten. That obviously meant maintaining a good speed most of the day over a variety of trail conditions.

Bryce is one of the prettiest rides I've ever competed at and I've always found the trail to be taxing - there is a fair amount of dirt road and the high volume of precipitation there this summer has washed much of the topsoil away, leaving even more rocks than ever. The result is a hard-packed and rocky environment that is challenging for any horse.

Armed with a fresh new set of Easyboot Gloves installed with blinking white Power Straps, I applied the boots the morning of the ride with Mueller Athletic Tape wrapped four times around the hoof walll, just below the coronet band. I used a rubber mallet at the point of toe to make sure I got them on snugly.

Far was his usual forward self and rather than hold him back all day, we did a lot of 12-14 mph trotting along with a fair amount of cantering. I probably cantered 25% - 30% of the race.

I'm pleased to report that we didn't have one boot loss, even though we were traveling at great speed over a variety of challenging trails - including a healthy amount of climbing up technical trails.

We finished in fifth place, just eight minutes after the winning rider, Christoph Schork. I'm a Power Strap convert now. Garrett Ford, who rode The Fury in Easyboot Gloves, won the Best Condition award.

2. Not To Glue? Well, Maybe a Little
There has been a fair amount of discussion since Garrett and The Fury's Haggin Cup win at Tevis this year about the pros and cons of gluing on protective horse boots. On Day 2 at Bryce, I was to ride Stoner, aka Redford, who has not really done much in the way of work since his 19th place completion at Tevis at the end of July.

...more at http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/easycare/0/0/three-key-lessons-i-learned-at-bryce-canyon-xp

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