Hello Fellow Barefooters & those that like to read about it. Here’s my Barefoot Story of my recent Endurance Excursion to Fort Howes in Montana, June 2007. btw I'm leaving for the Canada ride... as I write, so I won't be able to answer any responses to this for about two weeks.
Darolyn Butler, Jason Stasiuk (CeCi Butler’s husband), & Devan Horn (crew) left the Houston, Tx area & started for Ft. Howes on June 4th. Rich Hill (crew) flew out to Denver & we picked him up at the airport on Wed. morn. Then on to Stan Sandick’s home in Cheyenne, Wy. Got the Renegade boots that we had ordered to be shipped there & started fitting them with Stan’s help & assistance since he was familiar with them. Jason was marvelous as usual when it came to the mechanics of fitting the boots etc. In fact he showed Stan some tricks too. We had brought DJB Cytron out for Stan to ride in the 100 mile ride.
We started driving to the ride, but got a call from Andy re: the ride site & mud & they were telling people not to come in too early as the parking field was too muddy. I was already stressing about keeping boots on in the mud now… as all our horses were barefooted & we planned to ride in the Renegades. We got to camp & only got stuck once a little bit be4 we settled in.
On Friday we got up & finished our camp set up, then went for a ride. Jas put boots on Roy & we let Rich ride Razz, Devan rode Mac, & I was on Merci for our exercise run. The rest of us were barefooted.
When we got back we assisted Stan getting boots set up on Cytron best we could. He had decided to use a combination of Epics & Bares by EasyCare. I discouraged him from using back boots as I thought he wouldn’t need those for sure, but his plan was to boot all the way around.
We were actually mounted & ready to go for the 50… I let Jason/Razz (he was booted in the front only, with Renegades) start with me at the front, then told him after we got out n the meadow that he needed to back off & stay n the middle of the pack for Razz since Razz had done no speed training in the last few months and is 18 years old. I was riding DJB DC Macproof totally barefooted and I ran up front. We did the 19 mile loop in 1:15 hour. (That’s about 15 mph). Jason came in about 10 min. later & Razz had a cramped n back left buttock & was pulled. About an hour later he was ok… but too late for Jason.
I busted on Pulse on the 2nd check & it cost me 2 min. I went out behind leaders about that. Kept them in sight around the loop & Elroy (national champ from last year) was vying with me. We both caught the other two, Mel Hare was on one of Christoph Schork’s horses) & it was a four horse race for a while. Mac really wanted to go with the two front horses, but I kept him back. Mac was magnificent on the back side of that loop. The part of the trail that was road was all torn up, large hand size rocks laying everywhere & erosion bumps to boot. He flew through that with such agility that it really increased my resolve that BAREFOOT was the way to go.
About 4 miles from the finish Roxy Rivkin’s horse ran out of steam & she fell back. I kept the other two in sight for a while, but they were going just too friggin’ fast, it was FEI & I only had a 20 min. recovery time & didn’t want to blow it. We ended up averaging 17 mph on that loop. & that is the one with the lonnnnggg climb on that gravel road & the really steep climb down about 10 miles out. I have always felt there was no way I could do that 1 mile gravel road climb barefooted, but both Macproof and Mercy had no problem with it this year & Mercy did it going up & down the next day in the 100.
I came in about 4 min. behind the first two, 3:56 I think, total time. Elroy’s horse was exhausted. He ended up getting treated about 10 min. after I came in, so that moved me up to 2nd place in the AERC, & 1st in the AHA & BC in the AHA. Elroy’s horse was ok in a couple of hours & he was lucky. Macproof also won the AHA 1st to Finish & the Best Condition Award.
We got a few more things ready in the crew area for Sunday, and at 10:30 PM found out that Stan was going to have to haul Barb’s horse to surgery (another twisted gut) & that’s when we decided to let Devan (14 year old Crew girl) ride Cytron in the 100. We quickly got Stan to get the saddle out of his trailer b4 he left, & the vet card… then Devan had to get all of her stuff ready. I now made the decision to at least start Cytron with no boots, and just be prepared to boot him if necessary. The Renegades are so quick & easy to put on it’s not nearly so daunting as other more mechanical types.
John Crandall on Heraldic, Steve Rojek on Finch (has won 3 100 miles this year), Joey Mattingly on his World horse & a tough gal from Cal. Cheryl Dell, Mel on one of Christoph’s horses, Christoph on the good mare, Elroy Karius, Sue Horn, were the front runners. Naturally, all of them were shod.
Steve Rojek/Finch got pulled at 65 Mi. before that long pink loop on the West side. … the one with several long uphill climbs & where you go to that out check at Cow Creek… I heard that another horse actually stepped on his heel. Cheryl & I took the lead when John Crandell took a wrong turn for a few minutes some how. We ran that first 10 mi. in 50 min. I’ve never, ever done it that fast. We did the whole 26 mi. in 2 hours… that’s 13 mph.
It probably was too fast. Our horse’s came in well, but her horse was pulled due to metabolics and I went out strong with a couple of min. lead over Joey & John, but Mercy ran out of steam after we climbed that long gravel hill. They caught me about 2 miles later as we were walking up another hill. I stayed with them for a while, but she was more interested in eating so until she ate for about 15 min. or so, she wasn’t the racer that she had been. I eventually finished about 35 min. behind them. Joey did not challenge Heraldic at the finish & John was 1st & Joey 2nd. It was pretty impressive. They did the course in 8:34, 8:35 & I was 9:11. And yes, the vets did take pictures of her hooves. I’m not positive, but I’m guessing that is the first time (not one, but two) barefoot horses have finished Ft. Howes totally barefooted. That’s two hours faster than I ran the Bluebonnet course. That’s totally the difference in a non humid race course, even though it’s a
tougher course. However, I’ve thought about it since… and it was probably humid to the “arid” type horses… maybe explains why there were several metabolic problems.
I had the Renegades waiting in the wings, but, I ran barefooted on Macproof (50 Mi) & Mercy (100 Mi), & Devan ended up riding Cytron, (100 Mi)‘ barefooted also. Jason Used Renegade boots on Royal Blue Star in the 100. Royal had gotten a little rope burn on the way out there. The boot abbraised it just enough that he got pulled at 82 miles from that or the start of an abscess. Myna Cryderman picked up Devan at 82 miles & got her in. Devan did have her hallucinations & was kind of teary at the 90 mile point. She got over it though & came in strong at the end. Cytron looked great… did whole race Barefooted and got all A’s on his last check.
We had a 2/3rds finishing ratio on our barefooted horses… the race finished 25/44. Texas rides equaled 1/5 of the finishers… thought that was pretty cool too.
Weather was spectacular both ride days. Could not have asked for anything better, AND there was lots of water on trail as well.
If you care to look at my ride record, or any of the DJB horses that I own or board with me… u can just about figure that I always ride barefooted if at all possible. I only shoed for two races in 2006 & had miserable luck in both with at least 2-3 horses. We usually have 4-6 in the big races & up to 18 in the local Texas races.
So… all u folks that wonder if endurance can be done barefooted…. Yes, yes, yes… & yes, I would use boots if I just have to… and right now it appears that the Renegades maybe the latest star! Just make sure your trim is appropriate and as often as needed. No one can quite tell you that… depends on the ground and the amount of riding you do.
Good luck to all … learn how to trim your own horse… no one knows it better than you.. I learned at 50 years of age & now I trim almost all 60 head of horses on our place.
Check out my web site for more great barefoot web pages… www.horseridingfun.com If you're interested, check out Mercy's ride record.... she's only done one ride in her career shod, all others have been barefooted.
Darolyn Butler AERC#25 27000 Miles and Counting
Ft. Howes Results
50 Mile Saturday
Placing Rider Name Horse Name Ride Time
1 Hare, Mel DWA Sabku 3:52:32
2 Butler, Darolyn DJB DC MacProof 3:56:54
3 Rivkind, Roxi FCF Kenya 4:10:54
100 Mile Sunday Texas Riders 1/5 the finishing field 3 top tens
Placing Rider Name Horse Name Ride Time
1 Crandell III, John Heraldic 8:34:49
2 Mattingley, Joseph SA Laribou 8:35:22
3 Butler, Darolyn DJB Mercy Merci 9:11:58
4 Horne, Susan Kavod 9:29:10
5 Windows, Lori Nelly's Thunder 10:14:00
6 Hayes, Suzanne Tezeros Gold 10:56:14
7 Worthington, Jan Grace Lightening 10:56:40
8 Stevens, Heather RSA Count LaQuen 11:40:08
9 Stevens, Jennifer Genuine Pizzaz 11:40:09
10 Holzer, Cameron Xtreme Buckaroo 11:41:40
11 Holzer, Vicki HK Rikoshay 11:41:41