In which Fiddle and I use the tools provided to fit her new boots
The kit contained five boot shells, and a bunch of very clear instructions.
Out I went this afternoon, to use the kit (and the instructions) to see if I can get a better fit for Fiddle's boots.
Willy got a new camera for Christmas from his dad, so he offered to take some extra photos for me.
He's still new at the whole camera thing, so he wanted some practice...handy, since it's so difficult to juggle a foot, a rasp, and a camera all at once.
Willy and I both took tons of photos and notes so that Tara and Garrett at Easy Care as well as all the hoof geeks reading this (you know who you are) will be able to offer advice.
EDIT: I came back on January 3rd and did even more tweaking, mostly trying to fit a size #1.5 on--this size fit better than I expected on three of her feet. The later tweaks are noted in blue.
The key points in the instructions are
1. the boot must fit snugly
2. the "V" cut at the front of the boot should open up
Left front foot:
I started with the left front foot and worked widdershins because my farrier routinely does it that way and it's opposite from the way Fee learned to do things on the racetrack. Even after three years, she still prefers the old way and needs to practice the other way.
Okay, well, twice. Ow.
The instructions said that getting the correctly-sized boots on would take effort, so it didn't worry me too much. It was still not as much wrassling as with the old style boots. Also, this boot doesn't have those nasty cables to rip up my hands. I hate those cables, so a boot without them gets a gold star from me!
I also taught Fiddle a new trick: I wedge the hoofpick under the boot and tug and say "pull!" She pulls her foot forward, and the boot slorps off in my hand. Neat-o.
The left hind foot:
First, the size #2.5
Still not a dramatic spread to the "V", but when I walked her around, the boot seemed to hold tightly to her foot.
Right hind foot:
Last of all, the right front foot:
The hoof tissue on this foot grows faster and flares more than any other foot. The photos show the flare on the outside. To make fitting the boots a little easier, I rasped the flare down a bit.
Because this foot seems broader than the others, I figured that size #2.5 was a good guess.
Update: there was no way that a size #1.5 was going to fit on the right front foot. It truly is bigger than the others.
So, now I need advice and opinions:
Should I take the size #1.5 and try to wrassle it onto those other feet?
Or is a Power Strap needed for this?
Update: the size #1.5 fit onto three feet with less struggle than I remember having with the size #2. Why? Her feet haven't changed much in a week--and they certainly didn't grow smaller.
However, the weather was warmer today, which I've noted before makes the boots more pliable. Also, I got smart about the "warm" thing (since the Swamp is just plain cold this time of year) and kept the boots in the house until it was time to put them on Fiddle's feet. So that probably helped.