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We Are Flying Solo

Showing posts with label hoof boots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hoof boots. Show all posts

December 14, 2019

Boots Are Never 100% Easy: Review Of The New EasyBoot Fury

Echo remains barefoot for the time being (since last December) - because his feet are small, I think this is his best chance to develop the best foot he can grow while he is still young, before his workload gets to where he will require shoes.  Because I'm pretty certain he will, at least up front. 

To increase his comfort while he works towards the goal of a heel-first landing, I put boots on his front feet for most of our rides.  Which meant embarking on the (absolutely not) joyous task of finding which boot worked best for him.  I've learned in the past that different brands suit different foot shapes & different models suit different riding styles.

Solo's Cavallo Sports & his old EasyBoot Epics were both too big for Echo, so time to explore some new options.

I tried Scoot Boots after reading all the interwebz love for them.  Long story short, so far they have not worked for his feet.  Even with shims, they twist.  I'm going to give them one more try, since his feet have spread some, but if they still don't work, I will be selling some basically-new Scoot Boots soon.  I like a lot about them in concept.
Scoot Boots:  cool, but so far haven't worked for us
Making it trickier, Echo's fronts don't quite match:  he's got one foot that spends all its time trying to be upright & boxy, while the other prefers to languish on the lower side.  They're gradually getting closer, but hooves are always a slow torturous process.  Because they've already changed & will continue to do so, EasyCare's new Fury design caught my eye because it's adjustable.  I got the basic Sling version, I did not like the big metal buckle on the front of the Heart version, I envisioned it catching many things & introducing an extra hazard over jumps.  And uh, it's a heart & I am not 9 years old & I hate things with hearts on them.
Echo's EasyBoot Fury Slings
There are three points you can adjust:
  1. Length from front to back, via two screws in a sliding rubber plate,
  2. Heel height, via two screws on the back,
  3. Heel angle, which is just another hole to change the angle of the heel strap.
Points of adjustment; boots presented in natural condition, heh
I'm going to ignore the 3rd one because I didn't use it.  Length & height both have a decent amount of adjustability, so you can tweak fit through a trim cycle or if your horse doesn't have magical feet that fit stock sizes (like mine).  I measured a bunch of times, very carefully, but still ended up buying two sizes & sending back the one that didn't work.  I definitely recommend this approach.  EasyCare has a "fit kit" too, but if you buy from somewhere with free returns, that saves poor people like me a few dollars. 

The initial adjusting is somewhat fiddly.  You could do the length adjustment on the fly as long as you had a phillips head screwdriver with you.  The height rivets though, require both a screwdriver & a ridiculous little tool that comes with the boot.

You know those horrible "tools" that come with assemble-your-own furniture, that are tiny & awful to use & make you want to stab forks in your eyes?  Yep, it's that kind of tool, apparently made for tiny leprechaun hands that need no grip.  I'm hopeful in the future EasyCare will change this design so you can just use a flat head screwdriver or some normal human tool.  Or at least put a human-sized grip on it.
Said tool in my giant, decidedly non-leprechaun hand
After watching the videos, I spent an afternoon adjusting the boots to Echo's feet.  It was really nice to be able to accommodate the slightly different foot shapes.  Once you decide where you want to set them, you add a drop of LocTite (thoughtfully included with each boot) so your screws don't decide to go walkabout mid-ride.  All of mine have remained tight so far.

I've been using these off & on (I go barefoot when the ground is soft or we just do walk work) for about five months now.  Overall impression:  favourable.  I would buy these boots again.

Baby Monster in boots on a November trail
Pros
  • Even before adjusting, the boot itself fit Echo's foot shape perfectly & he has seemed comfortable in them.  When I first put them on, he stepped out better than I have ever felt him either barefoot, in boots, or in shoes.
  • Adjustability is awesome & exactly what I needed.  You can also put pads in them if you want.
  • Once I got the adjustments right, they've been very secure through W/T/C/small jumps.  I've learned that the length adjuster seems to be what prevents twisting, so you need that snugged up.  It won't put pressure on the back of the heel because that part cleverly moves with the horse.  No rubs so far.
  • Aggressive tread has had good traction everywhere I've used it (I'm mostly riding on grass)
    • I've gone through mud puddles, boggy ditches, streams with no issues.  I did not buy the special "mud strap," but haven't needed it so far.
  • Insanely easy on/off:  two steps include slipping on boot, then snapping pastern strap in place.
    Rear flips down for easy on/off
  • Boot itself feels heavy duty & durable, pastern straps are heavier duty than Scoots, I've not had any breaks there.
    • I used the extra pastern strap locks that came with the Scoots since I already had them, but I only put them on inside of each boot, since Echo is base narrow & more likely to interfere there.  I haven't put any on the outside since those straps fit very firmly over the metal knobs & nothing has come apart.  
      Just 1 strap lock on inside of each also helps me ID which I fit to its unique foot
    • I really like that they don't come with any of the weird warnings that the Scoots did about not using hoof stuff on, uh, hooves.  Apparently Scoots' material cannot deal with any type of chemical (they even warn against vetwrap, which raised my eyebrow).  EasyBoots are cool with you treating your hooves like hooves.
  • Fairly "clean" design means they're quick to hose off/clean.  They don't come with drain holes, but if that is important to you, you can drill holes in them.  They also dry quickly.
    • Once thing I like about EasyCare is they are practical &  understand horse needs -- one of their videos shows you how to take a saw to the boots to trim off unneeded heel material so it doesn't catch an over-reach.  I suspect this may effect returnability though, LOL.
No problem levitating in them
 Cons
  • My biggest dislike is probably that the adjustment for heel height does take a special tool, which is currently awful & that it's not super fast.  But it's not the worst & if you don't have enormous hands & aren't the clumsiest person ever (like me), your experience will probably be better than mine.
    • Height rivets notched on the inside for special "tool"
    • There are also two holes to choose from on the heel height adjustment, which means if you want to move it from one hole to the other, you have to take the rivets completely apart.  And then drop one piece, then curse loudly while retrieving it, then drop it again while trying to screw it back in with tiny leprechaun tool.  On the plus side, you shouldn't have to do this very often, because you can make minor adjustments via sliding, by just slightly loosening those rivets.
  • The heel capture strap, while padded (but could use more/softer padding), does put pressure on the top of the heel bulbs.  It's not constant, just when the foot is lifting.  It's something to watch, especially on sensitive guys like Echo -- I've not had problems with it in 60-90 minutes of riding, but the vast majority of our rides are 20-40 minutes & longer rides are all walking.  I broke them in slowly so he could callous if he needed to, & I watched his heels like a hawk, checking them after.
    • You DO want to be SURE this strap isn't too tight -- I made that mistake at first & it did make a bruise.          
    • I don't know what would happen on, say, a six-hr mountain ride.  I have noticed some pinkness under that strap after a vigorous ride, but it wasn't sore.
    • It's possible that I need to tweak the height adjustment more to help with this.
    • I have ridden in them in arena footing (said arena has small rocks in it occasionally, which Pony Princess Feet doesn't need to be stepping on) -- I was a little concerned that grit might get under this strap & rub, but that concern was unfounded & after an hour lesson, everything was still fine. 
    • My paranoia about this strap would be lower on Solo, who does not have any Princess Parts & whose skin has very few opinions.
  • One strap did break in the first month, there's a thin part around one screw.  Echo was just trotting slowly, nothing weird happened.  However, Riding Warehouse's great service took care of it, they have a year guarantee, so I exchanged it for a new one at no charge (thanks, people who understand customer service!).  I haven't had any problems since then & no other signs of wear so far.
    Arrow showing point where previous boot tore around screw
So I've been fairly happy with them.  I have noticed that he may be outgrowing them as his heels spread, which simultaneously makes me sad because they weren't free but happy because heels spreading!  It means the boots are doing their job of helping us move towards that consistent heel-landing goal!  We'll see how it goes - even if I do end up having to sell them, they've still been cheaper than 5-6 months of shoes while allowing me to live the joy of never worrying about pulled shoes, so worth it.

Those are the highlights.  I'm happy to answer any questions in the comments.  If you want to try them, DO watch the videos & DO get a couple sizes to try, it will make your life easier.
Has no interest in making my life easier