Despite having a rocky start at the beginning of the race, we managed to finish quite well -coming in 10th in the top 10 for our ride. Octopelle decided he was going to be a real jerk at the beginning, and we left behind everybody else - dead last. Once we climbed the first big hill he lined out and started behaving himself much better. We passed lots of people that we had seen leave before us. There is a lot to forgive when you ride a young colt over many miles, and I chaulked it up to inexperience on his part and learning to tolerate juvenile idiocrities on my part. By the end of the ride everything was hunky-dory between the two of us.
Last month I made the grueling decision to purchase horse boots - (as shown in the photo above). Ugh. I had some major stomach ulcers deciding which types to buy. I don't like horseboots at all, but I dislike steel horseshoes even more. My mustang mare Nettie can do several rides in a season going barefoot without any shoes on at all, so I'm a little bit spoiled when it comes to going without hoof gear. But my younger gelding doesn't have those rock hard feral types of hooves - in fact, they are just the opposite - dainty throughbred type feet. They are great hooves for the pasture and CRP patches, but he tends to get gimpy over gravel and loose rocks.
So I bucked up and invested in some horseboots for him. Renegades for the front and Easyboot gloves for the backs. (I waited until the right auctions came up on E-Bay and won both pairs for considerably discounted prices.) I conditioned quite a bit in the boots before this first ride, but I was still stressing out about how each set would hold up. My nerves were shot worrying about whether they were rubbing, or if I had not strapped them tight enough, or if they had twisted, or were too loose, or if there was a rock stuck in them, ect..... Argh!!!! (A nuclear bomb could've gone off that day, and I would've been more concerned if the damned boots were working right or not.....)
But everything worked out great. The boots didn't rub at all and his heels and hooves were in fine working order by the end of the ride. I'm going to try not to worry so much about what's going on with the hoofboots at the next ride, and just enjoy the scenery.