Thursday, January 5, 2023

new year, new toys

So.... There are some things I really really don't like to change in my horse's life. #1 on that list is my horse's farrier. Charlie has been fortunate to have a number of farriers who have done very good work for him... And each time one of those relationships ended was a moment of serious anxiety for me. 

nobody does "Sad Face" like charlie lol
We moved on from Charlie's first farrier because... Well. We moved. Sadly... to a farm outside that farrier's area (tho you better believe I begged him a little anyway LOL). After a little trial and error, we settled in with Charlie's most recent farrier -- with whom we stuck from 2017 thru 2022, to excellent effect. But.... He has a life of his own too and actually bought a new business with his wife, retiring from shoeing horses. Womp.

We've been with the new farrier for a few cycles now, tho, and honestly I feel pretty good about things. And actually -- new farrier doesn't mind doing rim pads, something first farrier did, but second farrier preferred not to. Second farrier said they squeezed out* too easily but new farrier cuts them wide so there's more coverage of the sole and therefore less movement. I like it! 

(*Of note, he would indulge me and give Charlie a transition cycle with rim pads before going fully unpadded for wet winters, and his rim pads were always absolutely perfect and never budged.)
this pic is hilarious to me --- i look like a crazy person bc what you don't see is charlie comin in hot, and manager michael about to explain the concept of personal space to him lol
Charlie wears full leather pads from basically March to December... but I like to leave his sole and frog more exposed during our very wet winters. Since the new farrier is cool with rim pads, we can still give Charlie that little bit of extra clearance for his thin soles, and also the slightly softer edge so his walls crack less. 

Tho. Uh. Charlie got a pebble wedged between the edge of the rim pad and his frog. Like.... really stuck. Probably bc the field is so wet and waterlogged right now, conditions were just right for this little speck of gravel to cram itself into the softest bits of Chuck's poor hoof. 

apparently i put the muck tub in charlie's nap spot, but.... uh... he just stepped in and got comfortable to catch some Zzz's  LOL
He followed me allllllll the way out the long trek down out of his field.... but as soon as we got out the gate and onto the main path, he basically refused to move forward while shaking his hoof in my face until I inspected and removed said speck. And then he died was basically crippled ugh. 

new toys! courtesy of Eventing Nation's 12 Days of Christmas giveaways 
I'm pretty sure he's going to survive this latest ding, but did give him about 24hrs in his stall with bute and Magic Cushion to let his feet dry and the bruise calm down. 

these little chargeable inserts produce vibrations 
AND. I figured it was a good enough reason to test out my latest new toy --- Horseware Ice Vibe boots that I won via Eventing Nation's 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!!

the gel packs are better fitted than most, but seem to be basically the same material
As far as I can tell, these boots are basically your standard fare ice boots very similar in style and function to the Arma Ice Boots I already have. Just, ya know, 4x as expensive LOL. 

the outer boot is very nicely designed -- these aren't slipping anywhere
There's an inner gel pack liner that needs to sit in the freezer for 2hrs+, and a fitted neoprene outer boot. Notably, both these pieces are very well designed and fit the horse's leg quite nicely. The gel packs have their own velcro too so they can sit on the leg even without the outer boot, unlike the Arma gel packs that attach to the outer boot. With that said, tho.... I'm pretty sure you could swap out whatever gel packs you wanted and the boot would still work. 

The distinguishing factor for these boots is the little motorized vibration insert. And this is honestly what I'm most interested in anyway. Any ice gel packs on the market only really stay cold for 15-20min max, so if you're in a situation where you need real therapy -- you'll need continuous cold hosing or buckets of actual ice water anyway. 

But the vibrations... It's supposedly a bit like a massage effect -- and can be done in conjunction with cold or heat therapy, or... ya know... just by itself. The outer boots have built in pockets for the vibration insert so you can localize where it sits if you wanted, or could theoretically put multiple inserts into one boot. 

looks like he's gonna live. this time. 
I think Charlie liked it! It took me a little while to figure out how to turn the darn things on once they were charged (pro tip: read the user's manual to learn that you must press the button for 3 full seconds), but once the pulsing vibration setting was active, Charlie just kinda stood there, zoned out, and licked chewed and yawned for a while lol.

ooooh meet Icee -- he manages the rough board barn haha
(each barn building at charlie's farm -- there are a few -- has its own cat boss)
Reviews I read said that people liked to use these boots while they were grooming and tacking up for a ride --- kinda getting a head start on boosting circulation through the legs. So that's kinda my plan for now too. The idea is that the vibrations increase circulation and help resolve any persistent fill. 

Tho, some other reviews indicated that the little motor on the vibration inserts doesn't last super long. So we shall see. I'll keep you posted. 

nobody bosses better than mikey tho <3
Overall, my impression is pretty positive just in terms of construction and effect. I used the boots on Charlie's front legs for this test, since his LF is bruised. Generally, tho, his hind legs are often the most susceptible to low grade fill, so I'll experiment with them too. 

We will see, I guess haha. Have any of you used these boots before? Did you like them? What was the use case where they worked best? Or are there other therapy tools you've used that you thought were really worth it? Or, uh.... NOT worth it? (Or are you just here for the cats??)


  1. Always here for the cats, but those boots seem pretty neat too!

    1. Ha let’s be real I’m basically here for the cats too

  2. At least you were there to see the pebble so you know exactly what the source of his soreness is???? Silver linings?? I hear ya on the farrier change - mine keeps saying he doesn't plan to stay in FL forever and it gives me anxiety every time he mentions it.

    1. Ugh yea it really is the worst haha, I strongly dislike that kind of change !! So far so good tho, I guess. Except for the random pebbles, apparently

  3. here for the cats (and Emma and Charlie). The boots look pretty amazing tho!

    1. The boots wouldn’t have been my number 1 prize pick if I’d been given the choice but I’m kinda excited about them now that they’re here!

  4. Well those are interesting. Quaid had a stone bruise last week. Perfect timing of farrier trim and the ground going from mud to frozen ruts (before returning to mud). My farrier is able to retire and I’ve begged him to give me notice so I can find a new one.

    1. Ughhhh our only two choices rn for ground seem to be frozen solid or a foot of mud….. hopefully your farrier sticks around for a while but if not hopefully he’s got a great recommendation for a successor !!

  5. Love the barn cat photos and congrats on your winning the boots! That is quite the prize.

    1. the boots weren't what i was most hoping for, tho they were definitely the most interesting thing that i was least likely to actually buy myself. i'll continue to experiment with them and let y'all know what i think!

  6. Oh nice win! I used to have those boots on my wish list, I like the idea of the vibrations along with the ice. But Eros needs to be iced down low too so they aren't quite what we need right now. Either way, curious to hear how they hold up over time!
    Also, I live in fear of my farrier retiring. I imagine that day will come sooner than I want. I do have a replacement in mind for when the time comes, but I prefer not to make that switch if I can help it!

    1. as far as these boots go, i don't think they'll replace actual ice in any sort of acute sort of way. but maybe on those days when the horse comes out of his stall looking a little puffy or whatever, it'll be nice to have these in my (figurative) back pocket?

  7. When I saw the picture of his leg in the manure bucket I thought you were soaking his foot like that, how funny he just put his own foot in there and fell asleep!

    1. lolololol i thought the exact same thing.... i guess he's spent enough time with his legs and feet getting soaked or iced or whatever that he was just like "nbd!" haha


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