How To Keep Your Boots In Top Shape
(And Why You Should Care)
Have you ever figured out exactly how long it takes you to tack up on the morning of a ride? I find myself constantly recalculating what time I need to set my alarm clock for the morning of a race. The same is true when I arrange to meet friends for a training ride. My current tacking up time is about 15 minutes – and that includes fitting four Gloves.
Easyboots Are Tack, Too
All tack needs regular maintenance – and Easyboot Gloves are no exception. Your tack will last longer if you follow a few simple rules.
- Keep it Clean. Rinse the mud and dirt off your boots and let them dry off before you store them. Make sure you get out any dirt that may have built up on the inside of the toe: it will be easier to get the dirt out before it dries hard.
- Check the Hardware. No matter what the speed or distance you ride, boots are put through endless dragging, concussion, vibration and abrasion. All that wear can loosen the screws slightly. If you ride with loose screws, you run the risk of an equipment malfunction. Using a Phillips screwdriver, check to make sure the screws are tight. I check mine once a week. One of my riding buddies actually puts a dab of Loctite Threadlocker on the screws to keep them firmly in place.
- Check the gaiters for areas of stress. Sometimes you may see the beginning of some separation where the gaiter meets the boot. Inspect your boots carefully once a week to make sure things are still holding together nicely. Remember you can change out the gaiters onto different boots if one component is beginning to wear. You can also save the boot shell and use it as a Glue-On later.
Keep Your Boots On
Regularly assess the fit of your boots. I’ve got one horse who has gone down a size in the front as the hoof wall separation grows out. I’ve got another horse who has gone up a size in the rear as his feet expand. By making sure you have a good fit, you reduce or eliminate the chance of losing a boot or creating a rub. I had a blast this weekend by doing a fast 20-mile training loop in boots in deep sand. It was my last push before the Turkey Trot 75 this weekend.
A few steps with the boot off but the gaiter still around the leg can compromise the durability of the boot. I haven’t lost a boot in a long time – and I’m doing lots of miles these days. If you’re torquing off your hind boots, check for fit and see if you can go down half a size. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of Mueller Athletic Tape on the hinds: simply wrap the tape three times around the top off the hoof wall below the coronet band. The tape becomes tacky and adds some tooth to the inside of the boot. It is very easily removed at the end of the ride, too.
The boots will loosen after the first ride with them. If you want yet more insurance against losing a hind boot, then invest in a pair of Power Straps. They help keep the boot snug and offset the additional challenges of booting a hoof with flare or imbalances.
Keep up the bootlegging!