Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: Woof Wear Smart Event Boots

NOTE: Video entry one back ...

So I haven't had a pair of cross-country boots yet.  I kind of had my heart set on a set of white Dalmar event boots, but the money didn't really work out, and I didn't want to pull the trigger too soon, etc.  I'm not so much of a tack ho as TSB, but I have to acknowledge that Apollo has a lot of boots.  (Note to self: need a replacement set of petals and a strap for the black petal boots)  So I've been holding off.

But with the xc schooling scheduled for last week, I decided I needed to pull that trigger.  And in order to get them in time for schooling, I needed to order from Amazon Prime.  I couldn't find the Dalmar boots at the time - of course, NOW they're back in stock! - and the Woof Wear Smart Event Boots had the same attributes: lightweight, solid protection at the critical points on each leg, perforated neoprene to not hold water or heat, venting, and good velcro. They have good reviews, too, and I didn't feel like they'd rub.  Plus, they'd show up in time!  So ... trigger pulled.

Front boot
It's a little odd that I chose the Woof boots, because I really, really hate their brushing boots.  I know.  I'm the only one in the world who doesn't like them.  I just hate the way they wrap - it seems backwards to me to have the back part wrap over the front, then the elastic from front to back.  I don't like their shape, I don't like that they don't come in white (okay FINE they come in white), I just ... I don't like them Sam I Am!

Anyway, I tried them on Apollo, and the Medium fit perfectly.  I felt like they didn't pull quite tight enough at first, but I adjusted them a bit and for the rest of it I reminded myself they're not supposed to be TIGHT, just secure.  And they were.  Apollo didn't object, didn't try to rub them off with his nose, and just chippered right along.

We tested them over stadium fences, rather than the planned xc, so I don't have a full review yet, but over stadium they worked beautifully.  We did klonk some fences, and he didn't have a single bobble afterward.  The boot barely scuffed.  When I took them off, his legs weren't any hotter than they are in open front jump boots, and he hadn't sweated his cannon bones off.

If there was one drawback, it was that they did take off a bunch of unshed hair.  ;)  So not a drawback at all.
Exactly what they looked like when they got here,
except mine said M ...

Overall, I'll know more when I finally get out on the xc course, but preliminary review is that they're worth buying.   I'd recommend finding a better deal than full price, but I'm pleased nonetheless.

Photos of Himself himself wearing them coming soon ...

Video as promised

Only a week late ... !!

I have caveats: I wasn't riding well!  Yes, the jumps are low, but height wasn't what we were going for.  Apollo was starting to get tired and hot.  I know I need to do better folding at the hip.  Just ... don't judge.  :)  Look at the pretty horsie!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Change of plans

So!   This weekend happened.  Not quite as planned, but productive anyway.   I hauled up to NT's barn on Saturday afternoon - later than I'd planned, but we got there - so as not to have to haul all the way up to the home xc course at ungodly o'clock on Sunday morning to ride at 10:30.  The theory was that I'd be able to load up and head out with the rest of the team and follow them over.   I swiped some leather cleaner across all my tack before going in for dinner and sleep.

After staggering out to make sure Apollo was fed and happy on Sunday morning, I discovered that the xc schooling had been canceled based on the weather prediction - storms rolling in and more on the way.  Bummer.  What I really should have done right that second was go grab another hour and a half of sleep, another two liters of water, and food, then go see about a lesson.

What I did was surf Facebook groggily, then go volunteer for a jump lesson in the covered arena.  Note the lack of water and food ... this proved to be a bad decision in the long run.

I rode terribly over the first set of jumps.  Like, worse than NT has ever seen me ride.  My muscles felt like spaghetti, and my body just felt dull and heavy and energyless.  My legs were not answering my brain, and I'm not sure my brain knew what to ask of my muscles in the first place.

Fortunately, another student/helper/organizer came in with coffee for NT and information right then, so I took the opportunity to grab a bottle of Vitamin Water (with calories, important) from the truck.   Half the bottle later, I felt better, and I was riding a bit better.  The whole bottle later, I actually started to ride well, lock my lower leg in, and, yknow, steer.  Sheesh.  I need to remember how to hydrate in the Southern humidity!

I think the best run at the gymnastic (bounce to one-stride) came when I focused on Denny Emerson's advice on the approach: ALLOW the horse's movement to fold my hip and knee angles and push me into the question mark shape over the fences.

I came away from the lesson with a few thoughts/homeworks:

  • Apollo needs to be stronger through the hind end, able to maintain a compressed, powerful trot on the approach to the fences.
  • I need to develop more rider fitness and endurance.
  • Apollo also needs more fitness and endurance.
  • I need to think not only of Denny's question mark but also of not falling back into my pattern of riding with my upper body too upright.  Even slender, I'm ... ah ... top-heavy, so I tend to overcompensate.
  • Hydrate correctly next time!!

So alas for no xc, but hooray for gymnastics!  As soon as I get the video from the student/helper/organizer, I will post it.  :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I hope I have time to start updating more regularly.  I have time today, so here's an update!  I apologize for the lack of photos, and I'll try to correct that.  Photos of me riding will be few and far between, but I'll try.

The mud is abated.  Sing hosanna!  The pasture situation is still less than ideal, but I'm coping.  I'm riding just outside the existing arena - the footing in the little arena, such as it is, is rutted, inconsistently wet and dry, and full of weeds.  Plus, it's quite small.  So I'm riding in the sloped, also somewhat rutted flatter area in front of the little arena.  This is not as ideal as riding in the pasture I had designated as riding space, but it works fine for now.  I can jump the natural ditch and the natural bank, and as far as dressage goes ... if I can get Apollo round and balanced up and down the slope and over the ruts and rough ground, he can be balanced and round anywhere.  It's good for his muscling, too.

So that dressage and work on muscle and round happened yesterday.  I'm not pushing him terribly hard just yet, even though it's almost mid-May.  Footing hasn't been good enough to ride consistently until recently, so we're working, but not going to failure or anything.  Still, he broke a good sweat, and by the time we finished, I had good, connected work both directions and all gaits.

I'm trying to remember to "not school shit," as Kelly would put it.  If I ask for a transition, I want it to be a good transition, or at least the transition I asked for.  I want a marching walk, a responsive trot, etc.

Exciting thing of the week is XC schooling on Sunday!  Yay!  Going up to the local home course with NT and a bunch of students, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Ride on!