Sunday, September 21, 2008

How I Spent My Birthday Gift Certificate

My husband gave me a very generous gift certificate to a feed store for my birthday last week. I made a list of items I wanted or needed. First stop was the used saddles. I couldn't find a single one that had the right tree for my Arabians. Next I tried on breeches, and I couldn't get the lower leg over my calves. I've lost a lot of weight in recent months. These breeches just had a really bizarre fit. Since that was a no-go, I headed over to look at the hoof boots for horses. All they carried was the original Easyboot and Cavallo Simple Boots. I had made up my mind that I wanted Old Mac's or the Boa Horse Boot.

Next I looked for a horn bag, and all they had was a tiny horn bag that had a water bottle on each side. I decided to order something bigger over the Internet. I need something that will hold my cell phone, my binoculars, and a water bottle. That left only two items on my list: A lunge whip and horse treats. They were definitely not going to add up to the amount on the gift certificate. I had to find something else.

My husband pointed out that he'd like to get Gabbrielle out of that rope halter and put her into a nylon buckle halter. We found one that would fit her, and then I remembered that I wanted a longer lead rope than the ones I have. He helped me find a really nice one that was 8 feet long with a leather tassel on the end. My equitation instructor mentioned that my cinch was too long. He said it should be underneath the girth, but not extending up the sides. So, I found a smaller cinch.

Next I picked up more fly spray, and then wandered around looking for ideas. I looked for the half-breed bit that iamrockinhorse told me about, but couldn't find anything like it. I stopped in the video section hoping to get a used horse training DVD, but all they had were VCR tapes. I ended up picking up a book titled, "The Horse Training Problem Solver" by Jessica Jahiel.

I then found some really warm and comfortable deerskin gloves. That was all I could find. When the lady rung up my items at the register, I still had money left over on the gift certificate. I was hoping she would give us the change, but no. I had to spend every penny. There was nothing they had that I wanted, so I asked if she could order some Old Mac's or Boa Boots for me. "No, we only carry Easyboots and and Simple Boots. What size do you need?"

I told her I needed size 2, but I don't know if that was for those brands. She said the size should be standard for all brands. She brought me two size 2 Easyboots and I hesitated. They didn't look like they could stay on. She insisted that several of her customers swear by them. I asked if I could bring them back if they didn't work out. The lady got agitated and said, "You try them on, and they are yours."

I said I wasn't interested then. She suddenly found a 30-day guarantee by the manufacturer that said I could return the boots to the store if they didn't work out. I could tell that the lady didn't want to deal with it, but if it made the sale, she was willing to put up with the hassle. I decided to give them a try. Interestingly, the boots used up what was left on my gift certificate.

Afterwards, I did a little more research on hoof boots. It turned out that the sizing chart I had marked as my horses needing a size 2 was specifically for Easyboots! There were different size charts for the other brands. The woman didn't know what she was talking about when she said all sizes are standard. I discovered that my horses would have been a size 5 in Old Mac's, a size 3 in Boa Boots, and a size 4 in Simple Boots. It's a good thing that I didn't buy a size 2 in one of those other boots! I wish people wouldn't pull information out of their butts. That can really screw up a person and cost them a lot of lost time and money.

Anyway, the fact that I just happened to work off the Easyboot sizing chart and the fact that they covered almost exactly the remaining amount of my certificate told me I was on the right track. When I hit a lot of obstacles, I tend to think that I've taken a wrong turn or made a bad choice. When everything falls together nicely, I take it as a sign that I made the right choice.

Just when I started feeling good about my boot choice, I stopped at another feed store to pick up some dog food. I noticed that they too only carried the original Easyboot and Simple Boots. A woman on crutches was talking to her husband and said that the Simple Boots remind her of her Old Mac's. I asked her if she likes her Old Mac's. She said she loves them. She owns Friesians, and they kept kicking the Easyboots right off their feet. I felt a little sick since Easyboots were what I had purchased. All I can do is hope that Arabian hooves differ tremendously from Friesian hooves. I know that Arabian horses are definitely smart enough to get out of clothing they don't want to wear.

When I opened up the boxes with the Easyboots, there was a sticker on the inside of the boot that said to read the directions before using. I am always in a hurry, and I didn't have my reading glasses, so I quickly looked at the pictures and followed the steps. Both boots went on a little too easy, and I was suspicious that my horse might have needed one size smaller. I noticed that one boot looked a bit lopsided. It turned out that I hadn't pulled it all the way back on the heel. Once that was adjusted, they looked great.

Easyboots do have a strap attached to a bar behind the heel to help you pull them back and up. I asked the saleslady what we are supposed to do with those straps once the boots are on. She claimed that people leave them hanging. I didn't think that was wise. The horse would step on the straps and ruin them. They may even cause the horse to trip. I figured out how to pull the straps out once the boots were on.

Bombay gave me no trouble when I put them on his feet and he seemed perfectly comfortable in them. I lunged him at all paces, and the boots did not fall off. However, I could see that his hind legs were kicking sand into the back of the boots. I rode him, and then walked him up and down our rocky road, and the boots didn't cause any problems whatsoever.

When I removed the boots, I used a hoof pick to pry the metal clamps up. Plenty of sand did get into the boots, but it didn't seem to bother Bombay. I suppose it's no different than walking in sand barefoot. Sand also gets between the hoof and metal horse shoes, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Now I've just got to get out there and test-ride the heck out of those boots for the next 30 days.


lytha said...

when i read what that lady said, "oh they all use the same sizing" i was like, "nooooooooooo!!!!" but i'm so glad you discovered that. and she told you to ride with the straps dangling? oh good grief. talking out of her butt indeed.

i'm looking into buying some easyboots too cuz baasha is barefoot and the trails are really rocky here. i found a neat article describing how to get easyboots ready. if you click a photo, there are instructions.


and here is a detailed article about applying them:

i hope this helps.

easyboots have saved my ride in endurance riding when i lost shoes, and i won't compete without an easyboot in my saddlebag because i don't have a sense of humor. *giggle* well, you know the slogan?


Mrs Mom said...

Hey NM- I had to get mens breeches when I was riding English. And I had to have my tall boots custom ordered to fit over my claves. (And that was when I was a size 10!! Loads of muscles in my legs back

Sounds like you had fun checking everything out though! Horsey shopping rocks ;)

Callie said...

Awesome Birthday gift! Some people just want to make a sale, shame. The boots look like they fit well, although I've never used a boot and really don't know what I'm looking at.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lythia - Thanks for the links.

Mrs. Mom - So, it's just not me. I do have one pair of On Course Shapely breeches that work, except that I've lost 4 waist sizes since I bought them. I need to order a new pair in the smaller size, but in tan -- not black! Black picks up dust and hair easily.

Callie - Yes, it was a great gift. I usually feel guilty shopping for horse supplies since everything is so expensive.

Andrea said...

Fun shopping!! And congrats on loosing weight!! That is awesome!! How much fun shopping. That sales lady sounds like she really didn't know what she was talking about. The boots look like they fit great!!

Nor’dzin said...

I hope you get on well with the boots. I have just had to give up on my Boa boots. Once on they were fantastic - secure at all paces and clearly comfortable. But my gelding is not a very co-operative chap and became increasingly difficult when trying to put them on his feet. His feet are unusually wide, so they wouldn't just slip right on. I got kicked the last time trying to put them on. I'm sure Bombay is better behaved. Good luck.

Ange said...

Hi there... if you have trouble with the boots coming off, or with debris getting in, try the gaiters. You can get them off their website, which I saw someone else posted... I don't ride without them, and have never had a problem with losing them. Or with stuff getting in. And those straps? I can't believe she told you to leave them hanging!! OMG some people are just clueless!

My gelding wears a size 5 in those boots. :)

Sounds like you had a blast shopping. I hate shopping for myself, love it for my horse :D

coymackerel said...

Nice saddle pad - looks great with your saddle. I have the Thinline "saddle fitter" style and like it very much. And remember trainers don't become trainers due to lack of opinions!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I enjoyed reading about your shopping and boot experience, NM.

That lady shouldn't even work in a tack store unless she's knowledgeable enough to offer REAL assistance and answer questions knowledgeably for customers.

If I were you I'd have contacted the owner of the tack store to let them know that folks like that can hurt their business in the long term.
Ah well.

At least the boots fit well and you are happy with all your other horse goodies :)

My mnd can't wrap around how those Easy Boots stay on so well when there doesn't appear to be a back or heel. They sort of remind me of clogs.
Is that wire and clamp in the front why the the boots stay on so well?

Bombay looks really handsome in that last picture. What a cutie.


dp said...

Raven's easy boots would never stay on at high speed over rocky ground if not for the gaiters. Highly recommended. Also, the new up-buckle system is WAY nicer than the one that comes on the boots. Next pair I will go with the bungee system as I am used to getting them on and off now.