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Indulge me in a minor whine fest for a moment

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  • Indulge me in a minor whine fest for a moment

    Up until last weekend, I would not be able to tell you the last time I retired on cross country. I retired last week because I felt that Toby was unhappy with the hard going. Not my favorite thing to do, but I rather not push if they are telling me they're unhappy. It was a crappy end to a crappy weekend.

    This week, I've been lacking in motivation because I was certain the ground was going to be bad and I was really struggling with my show jumping. BUT, we got rain, the footing improved, Seneca did a great job improving it even more, and an intense week of jump schools with both my horses all made me feel better about this weekend. The only concern I had was if a little heel grab Toby got yesterday afternoon would be an issue....

    An experiment in dressage paid off and we had a very good dressage test. I kept my head on straight and rode a MUCH improved stadium round (I thought my head was going to explode I was focusing so hard!!). Set out on xc, and we were jumping GREAT and I was having a blast. Then at fence 6, an up bank, he backed off a surprising amount, scrambled up, and as we cantered away, he took several VERY funny steps. I pulled up immediately...yep, two weeks in a row.

    He's fine, but had heel grabbed the same heel, doing a fair amount more damage, and it must have stung like an SOB. I walked him home, cleaned and wrapped his foot up, and apologized for two xc goes cut short in a row. We'll live to fight another day, but what a bummer!!! But, like a friend said, better to pull up than to ride like an idiot and get the big E.

    And I am not sure why he's heel grabbing all of a sudden!! And if he keeps it up, I'm going to have to get over my "fear" of bell boots (since a bell boot snag caused my fall at Midsouth, I've tried to avoid them!).

    Ugh. Thanks for letting me whine.

  • #2
    That sucks. I have one, also named Tobe (though with the different spelling) who wore bell boots on all fours for his first year of eventing. I used the softer neoprenene ones that Dover no longer has, which is sad because they were nice. Might fetlock bands be a functional compromise?
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


    • #3
      With a heel grab you probably will need to rationalize the bell boots. Intellectually you know that a fluke's a fluke and that many horses wear them without mishaps. But I get the whole snakebit thing, especially today!

      Keebler has worn bell boots 24/7 since he got pads and went back into real work. Tuesday he shredded one goofing off so I temoved them . . . and he promptly wrecked himself an altogether different way.

      A drink on me?
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        Since I had my own whiny moment today I will allow you yours.

        Have you tried Petal Boots? If he does grab them he'd just tear a petal off and that might make you feel better.


        • #5
          I totally hear you about the bell boots -- as you probably know, Lucinda Green feels the same way, and does not like you to wear them in her clinics.

          My big horse will pull a front shoe at the drop of a hat, because of how he's built and how he has to be shod. I don't even drill him up front any more because with front studs in it is literally a 100% chance on XC he'll pull.

          He lives in bells 24/7 -- I use the Davis double velcro ones, and they are sturdy enough and cheap enough ...but not so sturdy that I don't think he would just rip the velcro right out of its stitching if he caught it -- much more "weak" than the pull ons, for example.

          Last time I rode with Lucinda she gave me her bell boot talk, and I gave her mine.
          Horse kept his boots on, and STILL pulled a front shoe first thing on the second day...
          The big man -- my lost prince

          The little brother, now my main man


          • #6
            how about these?

            congrats on the great dressage and stadium rounds and sorry about two crappy XC weekends in a row, but you always learn something every time you ride, so have a beer and count all the things you learned this weekend that will make you guys have a better go next time!
            Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
            Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy


            • #7
              Oh, and yb? About that whine? Yeah, not yet, my friend.

              Not until you can match my "horse is out with suspensories. All better, ready to go to first HT. Oops, gets kicked in field. GO back to rehab. All better. Oops, now needs navic bursa injected. Go back. All better. Do 2 horse trials, first time in 2.5 years. Yippee!!. Oops, slip on ice in field, feel crappy. Chiro finally fixes him. Yippee!!! Oops, slices hock open to bone on wire fencing. Stall rest."

              I'm just starting jumping. Again. Now we are 3 years out from pre-suspensory.

              Hang in there!
              The big man -- my lost prince

              The little brother, now my main man


              • #8
                Any chance the farrier can square off his toes behind a little? He may be shod perfectly, but if's he's started grabbing, something may have changed just a mite (like maybe he's coming through more). Just a two-cent thought.
                They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                • Original Poster

                  frugal, one of our theories is that from all the work we've done this week on MY jumping, that we have changed the way he is going a bit. I was sitting with him in the wash stall soaking his foot when I read this earlier, so I looked at his hinds...they are pretty squared off.

                  And, asterix, I know my whine is pretty lame...my horse is generally sound (maybe a little sore right now, but, really, this is so not a big deal). I actually have TWO happy, healthy, sound horses who are feeling great and going well. I basically have nothing to complain about!

                  So, the question is (which I think was kinda the question when I was wondering about it after Midsouth)- do we go close fitting bell boots, or flimsy and quick to fall apart? With Vernon, I couldn't do flimsy since you would tear himself up right through the boots!


                  • #10
                    I personally never ride without bell boots but have heard some really bad stories about people having trouble with them. I always trim them to fit so that they are not too long. Also there are some other options. Like quarter boots. Have not tried them but looked at the really hard when one of the ponies I ride has a neoprene allergy. But decided just to run without anything but woof boots which he is not allergic to....weird huh. The other option is to get with the farrier there to put in some acrylic before xc and then take it out. I have heard my farrier talk about this.

                    Heal grabs really hurt! I know from getting heal brused myself not fun!!!!

                    Best of luck hope you find something that works!!!


                    • #11
                      Sorry YB, that sucks, but you should pat yourself on the back for your good decision-making in pulling up!

                      My horse lives in bell boots- without them, he will keep his front shoes on for anywhere between 3-5 days, in addition to putting giant holes in his heels, running around playing in the pasture. Squaring his toes makes him sore behind, so it is a no go.

                      As an aside, I actually drove past the Seneca sign yesterday and today on my way to the barn, had no idea it was so close or I would have volunteered.


                      • #12
                        Arghhhhh! I hear you on the heel grabs this year. Fortunately I found some bell boots that are nice, thick "enough", and have fuzzies on top for the rubs horse gets (diva). They also tear off at the velcro stitching when they are stepped on hard. Problem is the fuzzies get wet, so you have to have extra dry pairs to rotate around. These are the best fuzzy tops I have found:

                        Good luck!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                          Since I had my own whiny moment today I will allow you yours.

                          Have you tried Petal Boots? If he does grab them he'd just tear a petal off and that might make you feel better.
                          They definitely make you feel better if you like the clackity clacks they make when you gallop, otherwise they are as annoying as sand in your bathing suit. I remember having them as a kid, they were the rave. Unfortunately that was long before they came out with the multi-color petals for them!


                          • #14
                            The Davis ones I use definitely fail where the velcro is stitched to the boot -- generally just from wear and use -- but that's probably what would fail if you stepped on them too. I used to use pull ons but they are actually much tougher, plus I could never get them off for dressage without skinning my knuckles.
                            The big man -- my lost prince

                            The little brother, now my main man


                            • #16
                              Well, everyone does get to whine once in a while.
                              Sounds like you did a lot of jumping anyhow this week. A heel grab does hurt, and the first one probably caused the second one. There's always a reason. Maybe hocks are sore. Or just the hard ground, you know?
                              Anyhow I like the shaped bell boots that fit really nicely, the ones with the bump inside that keeps them from turning, I've hunted in those a whole season and they really, really work on a short coupled horse who is famous for ripping off front shoes with hind feet. Hey, I just the other day, had a bell boot trip with a pair of the rubber ones, so I am down with being scared of them, but every horse is different, and the hard footing in summer is always something to be wary of, I guess. You know you can always just wrap the heels with vetwrap when you start back, if you have anything that sticks out too much he'll probably just grab it again. Add a little weight to the back foot, how about a fetlock ring and good heavy hind boot? That will change the flight path a little, perhaps, and just enough to clear while you get pony back to work....
                              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                              • #17
                                Why don't you guys use quarter boots?

                                Like the Standardbred trotters and pacers do? It's exactly what they are for, there is no "excess" material flopping around, they don't shift, spin or rub.

                                The are a pure D bitch to get on and off, and like everything else, there is a trick to it. I've never seen them used on any cross country horse, and I have no idea why.

                                For those of you that haven't seen them, they cover the back of the hoof and heels, clear up to the top in back, and the front of the hoof is just a band near the top of the hoof. They are shaped and come in sizes (and colors of white, black and that natural rubber color) and fit quite tight. If a trotter or pacer stepped on a bell boot, they'd go down in a heap. It's why they designed these.

                                When you think about how Standardbreds go, at either the trot or the pace at speed, you realize that they might just have something there. And Standardbreds have some really interesting shoes as well, so if they stand up to those, you'll be fine.

                                They aren't expensive at all. Most track tack shops will carry them or just search for them online.


                                • #18
                                  My guy lives in rubber pull-ons, since I am cheap and cannot afford to have to call the farrier out too much! I have managed to avoid the bell boot mishap bus, but when we do go XC, I will swap his pull-ons for the Professional's Choice ballistic nylon no-turn bell boots. The no-turns are designed to clear the ground by a little bit, unlike the rubber ones, plus they fit more snugly.
                                  Leap, and the net will appear


                                  • Original Poster

                                    So, it's funny how timing works out...finally have my video from Midsouth uploaded- http://youtu.be/4TmEIXSfCEc

                                    You have to wade through our dressage test, and it is hard to see on the computer and from the angle the shot is taken from, but after HOURS of analyzing this on the big screen in slow-mo (and it being the entertainment at the Christmas party on the jumbo-tron of a TV at that house), it is clear that something suddenly STOPS Vernon's forward momentum....a bell boot.

                                    It's funny...I have all these odd little issues with bell boots- I don't like leaving them in rubber pull ons because even though I flipped them up and groomed under them every day, I missed a tiny wound on Vernon that caused a bout of cellulitis. I don't like rubber ones, either, because he heel grabbed THROUGH one. And I don't like the tougher ones because of the issue at Midsouth... Everyone has to have their issues...I guess bell boots are mine!

                                    I still think the most likely reason Toby grabbed was because we improved MY riding of his jumping, which changed his way of going. I highly doubt he was tired or sore (jumping out of his skin on Saturday) because while we did have two schools over the week, they were super simple- a gymnastic with two jumps (and since I have two horses to jump and ride, Vernon shared the burden and jumped once through the gymnastic and once over some real fences while being tried...so, I jumped a ton, but not all on Toby). He was newly shod last week, but the farrier, who loves me and caters to my silly whims, tried to give Toby what he needed without leaving so much that I would need bell boots. Blah....

                                    scubed, I like those first ones and have a friend who I think has those...but I may just get cheapo rubber velcro ones.


                                    • #20
                                      Amanda, you're right, those first ones in Scubed's list are the ones I have (I'm assuming I'm the so-called "friend" referenced above )!


                                      I'm so glad I opened this thread, because my pair is wearing out (they're the only ones I'll use at this point on His Royal Highness) and until now hadn't been able to find new ones. Hooray!

                                      I HIGHLY recommend these bell boots for sensitive skinned types (my horse gets rubs in 5 minutes in any other boots), and they are also one of the only pairs that clears the ground enough to make me not worry about getting stepped on and tripping. I know they're working, because I've come off XC with gauged out bits in the boot where a hind foot (with stud) must have grabbed, with NO damage to horse's front heel underneath.