Hey so I know this has been talked about some in other threads but I didn't want to steal anyone's thread so starting a new one.
I've used Boa Boots with great success but understand they are not good for longer distance riding. The Epics and Bares are supposed to be better - though when I had the plain old easyboot ages ago they fell off super easily. Now I know they've changed the design, so I just wanted some feedback.
What do you prefer for lots of trails?
How do they fit (do the epic's size the same as the boas?)
And which easyboot brand/style do you prefer (and why?)?
Thanks so much guys. We're doing a week long camping trip in the adirondaks this summer and tons of trail riding and I just want to have something on hand for my Arabian. He's got great feet but a week of steady trails in the mountains will warrant some protection imo and just researching the options in advance. Thanks!
I have easyboot epics. We did 12 miles this weekend on rocky gravel roads. We did all gaits walk-gallop, went through some sticky yucky over the top of the boots mud...They held up great. I even did a little experiment and didn't tighten them as tight as I had been. No sore spots or major rubs. Make sure you get a good fit no matter what boot you get. Call the manufacturer if you get confused.
I have both - Bares (for qh) and Epics (for paint). I personally prefer Bares. Epics have wires on front to tight the boot around the hoof. The Bares have 3 adjustment positions you have to choose from and if you want to change it you have to unscrew. My qh just go with the medium one (the default). I just slide it on and wrap the gator around the leg. Epics are little easier to put on in the beginning (as long as you are used to it Bares are faster), and more flexibility for tightening. However the bottom of Bares imitates the hoof better than Epics.
I used Bares for several hours rides last summer through the rocks, mud, etc. and they were just fine. Still in good shape, so I'll be using the same pair this year.
And yes, they are REALLY fast to put on despite of lots of people are saying as long as you know how. Way faster than Old Macs.
I ride and compete endurance in both Epics and Bares. They are both very good boot styles, just depends on what style you like and what fits your horse best. The Boas are good for slower or shorter trail rides as they are a bit bigger and heavier than the Epics and Bares. Epics are Bares both have decent traction as long as you're not in any extreme terrain, but then you can use the Grips, or you can install studs on your Epics or Bares.
Epics and Bares both have replacable parts and last forever if you take care of them.
Let me preface this by saying that I ride some really tough trails. My horses go barefoot most of the time. But like you I use boots when I know I'm going to ride 2-3-4 days in a row with out any rest.
I have destroyed every buckle and most cables on the Epics that I have owned. So I have gotten rid of all the epics. I have broken both the up and down buckles. It just upsets me to ride 10 miles into the wilderness and find my buckles broke and I have to ride out barefoot.
I switched to Bares. Had much better luck with them. I don't find them any harder to put on. I do have a hard time keeping them on at a canter. When they come off, I usually tear the gaiter.
It just become so expensive to use boots. I was buying new gaiters, buckles and cables every ride.
We are trying some of the gloves this summer. I also tried some of the Vettec Sole Guard last fall and had good results with it. In fact I'll probably use the Sole Guard for any week long rides I do this summer.
There are LOTs of folks who use Epics and Bares and have no problems with them. I suspect they ride in arenas, on gravel roads and easy trails. But I ride in the wilderness and the horses have to step over blow down logs, around and between large rocks, cross creeks and beaver ponds etc. They always seem to catch and break the buckles on something. I've even broken the bungie on several BAREs. We have used cotter pins, we have wrapped the buckles with duct tape. And we still destroy buckles. I've never had a problem with the rubber part of the boot. It's always been the fastening system.
Here is what a set of EPICS looked like after 10 miles. Notice both buckles are broken.
And this is what the trail looked like. Lots of rocks
Lots of stream crossing with rocks. It's easy for the horses to get their boots wedged between rocks.
Some places the blow downs have been cleared, Some places we have to step over them. The horses bump the front of the boots as they try and lift their legs over the logs.
There are LOTs of folks who use Epics and Bares and have no problems with them. I suspect they ride in arenas, on gravel roads and easy trails. But I ride in the wilderness and the horses have to step over blow down logs, around and between large rocks, cross creeks and beaver ponds etc.
And this is what the trail looked like. Lots of rocks
Your Epics are just WOW! I actually ride on trails like that too. Although we don't have real mountains. Never tried Epics on such but my Bares hold pretty good. I have to give Epics a try to see how they'll do.
Oh, btw you may know about it already, but... They have "upgrade program" upgrades
Thanks for your input Painted Horse. The area we bought the boots for (we go once a year) looks very much like the 2nd photo. I wondered how the buckle on the Epics would hold up on big rocky trails like those. I thought of putting some duct tape over them but obviously that won't work.
My husband has let loose the funds for me to buy a pair of Renegades. He just got a pair and so far loves them. Have you ever used them?
We are going to try the Gloves this summer. They seem to stay on at a canter better than my Epics ever did, We will see how they hold up on the trails.
I was impressed with the Sole Guard. It's too pricey to use for just a one or two day ride. It held up for 15 days when I used it. I think it's a better solution than boots for week long pack trips or other continous riding.
I made it up and down this 7 mile long washed out canyon several times a day during hunting season, the horses with soleguard did just fine.