Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Old Mac Exchange

Some of you may remember those EasyBoots I got for Christmas that turned out to be too small because Lostine's hooves had grown or flared out a bit since I measured them in the summer. Many people suggested that I exchange them for Boa boots, Old Macs, or Cavallo boots. The feed stores in my area only carry EasyBoots and Cavallo boots. I had to make the exchange over the Internet through Valley Vet, which carries all of these brands, so I decided to try Old Macs since I can't get them locally.

When I attempted to open up one of these boots I was astounded by the number of layers and Velcro straps. EasyBoot seemed so much easier.

However, this one size I selected based upon Lostine's front hoof dimensions did fit all of my horses, while EasyBoot had a much smaller range that each size could fit. With Old Macs, a size 4 fits all my horses. With EasyBoot, Gabbrielle needs a size 0, Lostine needs a size 1, and Bombay needs a size 2. If I'm not going to have my family or friends trail riding all three horses at once, that can get pretty expensive ordering all those different sets of boots. All the straps on the Old Macs made them more forgiving, and I doubt I will have to worry about the Old Macs falling off.

The Old Macs are a bit clunky. Lostine didn't know where her feet were at first and kept stepping on herself. When I lunged and rode her with the boots on, she over-reached her hind legs forward and kept stepping on the back of her front boots with her hind hooves. Eventually, she figured out how to stop that from happening, but then she started rubbing her front feet together when she walked and trotted, almost as if she was enjoying the swishing noise that the boots made.

She did manage to lope with the boots on just fine. In fact, I think the boots slowed her lope down a bit. When I removed them I did find a handful of dirt in them even with the gaiters, but I suspect that after a few uses they will lose their stiffness and I will be able to adjust them tighter to avoid letting foreign particles get in.

Because Old Macs fasten with Velcro and one buckle, I don't think I will be at risk of breaking a nail. I break nails on a regular basis with the EasyBoots because of that clamp and cable. However, in comparison, I like the EasyBoot gaiter better than the Old Mac gaiter. The EasyBoot gaiter attaches to the outside of the back of the boot with screws and then wraps with Velcro around the pastern. It's easy to keep it folded back and out of the way when putting on and removing the boot.

The Old Mac gaiters attach with a loose insole that you slip inside the boot and once the horse steps inside, putting weight on the insole to keep it in place, you wrap the rest of it around the pastern with Velcro. The Old Mac's have a Velcro tongue that you need to keep centered at the front of the shoe. The gaiters that came with my size 4 Old Macs where size small and they could be bigger for a better fit. I may not use the tongue, because I can only fasten it to the side. Otherwise half the Velcro is hanging off the end of the strap and rubbing the horse.

Also, the insole is considerably smaller than the bottom inside of the shoe. I think it is supposed to fit up inside the horse's hoof between the hoof walls, but I can't tell how successful the positioning of it is once the boot is on. I may just use the Old Mac boots without the gaiters. It was nice that they came with them as opposed to me having to buy them separately, though. For some reason, my local feed stores will only stock EasyBoots, but not the gaiters or the EasyBoot Epics that come with the gaiters, so I had to order my EasyBoot gaiters over the Internet and install them myself. Well, actually my husband installed them, because it took strong hands and a lot of coordination to screw those suckers on. I'm also under the impression that the EasyBoot gaiters help keep the boots on while the Old Mac gaiters are only to help keep dirt out. I don't think there is any risk of the Old Macs falling off.

I do have to say thank you to Valley Vet for being so cooperative and understanding. They have a 30-day exchange policy. My husband bought the 4 EasyBoots on December 1st, gave them to me on December 25th, and I wasn't able to try them on until January 1st thanks to bad weather. By the time I called Valley Vet about the exchange, we were beyond the 30-days. However, the lady on the phone said to just send them back and fill in the form saying what I wanted to exchange them for. I asked if I could exchange 4 boots for 2 and get a partial refund. No problem. I asked if I could exchange them for a different brand. No problem. The turnaround was very quick and hassle-free.


Laura said...

I hope the macs works for you guys... Great that Valley Vet was so accomodating - sometimes retailers dont' give a hoot. Glad you were able to get a refund and new product...

fernvalley01 said...

hey do look a little cumbersome,but with time as they soften,Hope they work out for you . BTW thanks for the link to Valley Vet

Lulu said...

I use Valley Vet quite often! Can't wait to hear how the boots do out on the trail. I've often thought of trying something similar rather than putting shoes on a horse with sensitive feet.

Andrea said...

I have never used boots like those. So, it was all new to me. But I hope the Old Macs work out. They do look more "comfy" than the easy boots.

Callie said...

Awesome, I hope the Macs work wellfor you! I love Valley Vet, I just received my order of Banamine and Probiotic just yesterday. I asked for a long experation date on the Banamine as I like to have it on hand, but do not always get it used before expiration date and I'm good through 2010! I thought "WOW", what a company!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love Valley Vet! I've placed several orders and they are always quick and helpful. I'm glad to hear you had a good experience, too.

I want to get Baby Doll some boots, too. I knew I didn't want Easy Boots because of many of the reasons you already mentioned.

I've seen the Old Macs in person and really liked the way they fit and the ease of putting them on or off. It's also nice that you can buy extra foam padding inserts for horses with extra sensitive feet.

My feed store friends recommend Boa boots hands down, though. But I don't know anyone near mewho has them so I can see them up close.

I wish you could do a review of Boas, too!! I love your reviews, NM :)


the7msn said...

I have had great success with my Old Mac G2s...I love love love them. I think you'll find that once they're 'broken in,' they are incredibly easy to put on and take off because the leather straps and outer portions of the boot just fall naturally into place. I bought mine from Valley Vet, too - their customer service team is the best.

Rising Rainbow said...

This post reminds me how much I do not know about easy boots. The only ones I am acquainted with are Easy Boots but I know nothing about gaiters. Maybe that's after my stint working in a tack store.

I order from Valley Vet too. Have always found them to be most helpful.

billie said...

I have Easyboot Epics but am eager to try the newest Easyboot (I think it's called the Glove) that should be out in February. They look like they will be a vast improvement.