Rhio ready to ride with Easyboot Bares on fronts and Easyboot Gloves on hinds
Rhio had a farrier visit today to refresh his special trim on his right front as we wait for the hoof wall defect to grow out. Before & after pictures are below. Since the new Easyboot Gloves just came in the mail, my goal for today was to do a decent trial of the boots in good footing. We'll worry about other footing after we determine where we're at with the whole concept of boots for Rhio. I've been unsuccessful in the past with boots for him - they seem to change his way of going significantly enough that he interferes. I was encouraged by our few outings this spring in the Easyboot Epics on his fronts - no interference marks and he seemed to move out normally.
After trim (3 weeks of growth only!)
The new gaiters on all four boots were quite stiff and didn't sit nicely on his pasterns, so I worried a little about getting rubs from them. I stopped to check at our halfway point, and while they were all in need of tightening, there were no rubs at that point. We set off into a little light rain, but it didn't amount to much and only served to perfume to air with spring, really. He was definitely moving differently with the boots - heavier all around, and forging (hitting the bottom of the front hoof with the toe of the hind hoof on the same side). He forges when shod as well, but I do know that the Easyboot Bares don't have a marked breakover, so it's possible his front feet were hanging too long before he lifted them, accounting for the forging. He does not seem to forge when he is completely barefoot, although the sound is so much quieter then, it's possible that he does and I'm not aware of it.
We scared up some deer, a few ducks, and a red squirrel on our route down the minimum maintenance part of Church Road, turning for home when we intersected with Normanna Road. We met a guy out walking at this point, and while I was readjusting the gaiters, he got about 1/4 mile ahead of us. Rhio was flying to catch him when I turned him for home, and at that faster trot he seemed completely normal and with minimal forging. So maybe the difference in his way of going is more noticeable when he's being lazy?
No rubs when we got back, and I free lunged him a little in the arena with the Gloves on the fronts and nothing on his hinds, just to see. He was still forging, but it seemed that he was moving better in the Gloves than the Bares on his fronts. Next ride I'll probably try the Gloves on the fronts and the Bares on the hinds and see what happens.
I also took a rasp to the toes of the Bares, and made a nice breakover. Tomorrow Red will try the same arrangement of boots (assuming they fit ok) and we'll see how he goes. Historically he has gone very well in boots, possibly even better than he goes barefoot or shod.
Bare with rasped-in breakover
I didn't take a before pic, but you can see the bevel at the toe