You may remember that last spring, Rhio and I had to do all our conditioning on asphalt roads. In a month, he'd completely worn out his hoof boots at the toes. Then, the rest of the summer, he was either shod or barefoot and we didn't have to do any road riding. The horses have moved again (as have we), and are now living in an area with lots of quiet gravel roads (and hills!). So our rides from the home farm are all on gravel, and to prevent excessive hoof wear, I know that Rhio requires some hoof protection. I have a single pair of intact, useful hoof boots. They are Red's. They are just a bit too big for Rhio.
We rode out for about 6 miles total last week, and I tried a wrap of athletic tape around Rhio's front hooves, to help the boots grip. Unsurprisingly, and with minimal trotting, they eventually twisted on his hooves and clopped loudly with every step. It was apparent that they weren't going to work for any real riding, and I needed to either order new boots or figure out a "fix."
I have a bin of hoof boot stuff - old boots, hardware for boots, accessories for boots, etc. In my stash, I had some power straps. These are a device that will tighten the top of the boots, and perhaps help them to stay on Rhio's feet a bit better. I'd never used them before, and I was only slightly dismayed to discover I didn't have a matching pair -- 1 blue, 1 silver, 1 black. So, pick two of the three and let's install!
This morning, I gathered my needed tools (Philips screwdriver, scissors, leather punch) and sat down to apply the power straps to the boots. The instructions were a mere 3 easy steps - no problem! As with most of my previous boot modification and maintenance attempts, this was more difficult and needed more technique than the 3 easy steps had implied. I did not utter any curse words, but it was a near thing! Eventually, I had them both installed and it looked just like the pictures, so hopefully they will work!
|Unadulterated boot, leather punch, blue power strap, screwdriver (it would have been useful to have a third hand as well, but that wasn't on the tool list.)|
|Hardware for attachment, and the silver power strap. I had to punch holes in the power straps, as well as trim them to length (they are marked by the size of the boot you are applying them to.) This step was easy.|
|Two boots with two powerstraps! Success!|
|They're on! You can also see the white athletic tape on the hooves.|
It was a lovely afternoon ride, almost 60 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze. We went two miles down the road solo, met up with a new friend and her mount, then did a 6 mile loop "around the block," before finishing our last two miles solo. Rhio didn't much care for leaving his newfound best buddy behind for the last two miles home, and whinnied and carried on like a very sad pony. However, he maintained his forward trot and in no time, we were back home to his new herd, just before the sun set.
|Post-ride and looking good!|
|The new herd (plus Rufus the mini donkey, who isn't in the picture)|
|Pretty boy Red was very happy to have Rhio return!|