Riders gather at the Cape George Trailhead for the annual Jefferson County Horse 4-H Program and Equitese Pony Club Ride-a-thon on April 11. Proceeds helped pay for all 4-H youths to attend the Jefferson County 4-H Horse Camp in July for free.  —Photo by Amy Thompson ()

Riders gather at the Cape George Trailhead for the annual Jefferson County Horse 4-H Program and Equitese Pony Club Ride-a-thon on April 11. Proceeds helped pay for all 4-H youths to attend the Jefferson County 4-H Horse Camp in July for free. —Photo by Amy Thompson ()

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ PENINSULA HORSEPLAY: Choose good hoof boot for horses for spring trail rides

LET THE GAMES begin! Springtime is bursting with sunshine and glorious new flowers and a flurry of horse activities.

Earlier this month, a dedicated group of 24 riders gathered under a heavy rainshower at the Cape George Trailhead in Jefferson County to start the 2015 Ride-a-thon up the Larry Scott Trail.

Thankfully as the ride started at 9 a.m., the skies cleared just in time to make for a very enjoyable ride to the Milo Curry Trailhead, where they took a short break for snacks and then rode back to the Cape George Trailhead, which is approximately 8 miles.

There, the horses got their treats and the riders enjoyed warm hot dogs, cookies and a few more sprinkles.

The Ride-a-thon is a joint effort of the members of the Jefferson County Horse 4-H Program and the Equitese Pony Club, who get pledges for the ride to help pay for show entries, equipment and for all Jefferson 4-H horse kids to attend Jefferson County 4-H Horse Camp in July.

4-H Horse Camp consists of three full days of equine instruction, from learning how to improve on showmanship, English, dressage, Western and bareback to trail and gaming, all taught by five fabulous instructors.

Anyone interested in more information or sponsoring 4-H or Pony Club can contact Angie Doan at 360-385-6683 or at one

shot37@hotmail.com.

Horse boots

I’ve kept my horses barefoot so far this year, putting on hoof boots for protection, comfort and traction on the trail. I’m still trying to figure out which brand of boots I like best.

This time of year, there’s still a lot of deep water on the Cassidy Creek trails near my home, along with a lot of drying mud that tends to suck boots and shoes off, downed branches and, of course, some rocky terrain.

There’s a lot of up and down hills, too, so the boots can really take a beating from our four-footed creatures.

I like a boot with good rubber tread the best. So far, I’ve used the original Easyboot, which sits below the coronet band but was easily sucked off in the mud. Plus, it needs to fit snugly, so if the hooves have grown out too much, it didn’t fit.

However, I think I’ve gotten better results with the Easyboot Epic because of the gaiter that attaches around the ankle. It’s also got a good tread.

To me, both types of Easyboots are more difficult to put on because of their snugness.

I’ve got a pair of Renegade hoof boots, too. Made of a hard plastic, I’ve found them better suited for hard-packed surfaces since they slip too much in the mud and snow.

Plus, I’ve had the wire to the buckle snap loose from an errant branch. I didn’t have the tools with me to put it back together so ended up dismounting and walking home. I dislike a boot I need to carry tools for on the trail.

I do love the Old Mac hoof boots for their fit and tread. Plus, they are relatively easy to put on.

The horses seem to like them, too. I have pads of different thickness to insert for comfort, using the thinner ones as the hoof gets longer. They are well-padded around the fetlock, and newer versions come with a comfort gaiter.

The Easyboot Trail is the easiest to put on and has held up well on Indy’s big hoofs. Be aware that you must buy pad inserts; otherwise, it rubs. Indy got tender-footed on rocky trails.

The downside to the Old Mac and Easyboot Trail is that they attach with Velcro, which needs to be well-cleaned after riding, and the Velcro does wear out.

So those are the boots I’ve tried. I’d love to get feedback on the types that others use and why they like or dislike them.

OPEN campaign

The Olympic Peninsula Equine Network has set up a GoFundMe campaign to build the shelters for the rescue horses of OPEN

at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-RescueHorses.

If they can raise $2,500 by the first of June, a friend of OPEN will match it. So they are urging folks to please go to the link above, do what they can and then share the link on their Facebook page to help get the word out.

Jefferson events

■   May 23 — County Mounties 4-H Club Schooling Show at Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St., Port Townsend.

■   May 31 — Silver Spurs 4-H Club Show, Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

■   June 14 — Jefferson County 4-H Horse Committee Horse Show, Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

■   June 28 — County Mounties 4-H Club Fun Day, Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

■   July 9-12 — Jefferson County 4-H Horse Camp, Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

■   Aug. 1-2 — Jefferson County 4-H Pre-Fair Horse Show, Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

■   Aug. 13-16 — Jefferson County Fair.

Clallam events

■   Today, noon-3 p.m. — Adult Horsemanship, Freedom Farm, 493 Spring Road, Agnew.

For more information contact Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or www.freedom-farm.net or visit its Facebook page.

■   May 2-3 and June 27- 28 — Patterned Speed Horse Game Show, Crosby arena, 122 Franson Road, Agnew. For more information, contact Pam at 360-670-3906.

■   May 9-10 — Scott DePaolo Ranch horsemanship clinic, Freedom Farm.

■   June 19-21 — Trevor Carter, “Snaffle to Hackmore” and cow clinics, Freedom Farms. Register with Bill Avery at Will7104@tds.net or 360-601-5040.

________

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Sunday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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