Often in life I have said "Horses are not a hobby they are a way of life." For some of us they are. We live, breathe and think of everything for the horse. We often overlook things for ourselves in order to provide the best we can afford for our horses. It's craziness I tell ya. Pure craziness. But where does it stop?
A few years ago at the Scottsdale Arabian show I was introduced to the magic of orthotics. The $250 price was a bit steep for something that was off the shelf and not custom made so I passed. I found a store brand for a much cheaper price $10 and gave them a shot. They made a huge difference in a lot of things for me. My knees, hips and lower back no longer ached and I could stand for long periods of time again. It really gave me a good sense of insight into how a horse feels and moves when they are trimmed right and all the hoof angles are correct.
Lately I have been looking online for a new pair of boots. My current pair are seriously on their way out. I was looking at a few of the different websites and I happened to notice something. A lot of the boots are not 'balanced' looking. The toe sticks up a bit, the inside of the boot where the ball of the foot sits, is up or down and visa-versa on the outside... leaving the impression that the foot bed is twisted. Some of the boots it was really obvious, others more subtle, but it was still there.
My main question here is this. Knowing how much information is out there, how much has gone into studying the effects of how a horse is trimmed and/or shod and how it affects their soundness... Do the boot companies seriously NOT think we would apply the same balance issues to our own footwear?
I really like the looks of this boot
in roughout leather and if it weren't for the fact that mine would only look this nice for a short time, I may be so inclined to buy a pair. But this is a great example of what I am talking about. On the left hand side of the screen, (in the link) there is alternate views of these boots, scroll over them to view. The 3rd one down shows the boots from the front.
Look at the foot bed and notice how it seems to sit higher on the inside and lower on the outside? Go to the 5th one down, a view of the back of the boot. Look at the foot bed and how it sits in comparison to the shaft & heel of the boot.
Put a ruler up to the computer screen if you need to or scroll down and use the bottom of the screen as your straight line for a guide. Notice anything else? Like the narrow width of the heel area and how the shaft seems to widen out more...
Even the Ariat's in the $50-$100 price range seem to do this. The outside of the foot bed seems to sag and the inside tilts up.
At least this pair is straight through the heel area and the shaft of the boot.
The Durango's at $100, also had the same twisted problem and the outside of the boot seems to 'blow out' and lack some support.
There was one pair I liked until I looked closely at the heel of the boot. It was wedged towards the toe. Kind of like putting a wedge pad on a horse who doesn't seem to grow enough heel. In the horses' case you do it to balance things out and raise their comfort level. In the case of the boots, I'm not sure I have heard of anyone yet who can't grow enough heel to stand correctly balanced. ???
click on the picture for the whole thing.
I also like this pair of Justin's for $120, but from the front- same thing.
Then there's these boots for $170- same thing.
They are kinda fun and funky looking. With the right outfit... whatever that may be?
Nice thing about Sheplers, you can shop by price range. I looked through the boots listed in the $200-$300 and Over $300 price ranges. I can honestly say there were quite a few boots that caught my eye and made me think Wow! and a few other things too. But not so much in a good way or because I liked them.
Now I realise, these are only photos of one boot. I also realize camera angles may either play up or down the intensity of the amount of 'twist' in the actual boot photographed. The pair you try on and buy, may not be 'tweaked' like the boot in the photos. But unless you look at them closely in the store when you try them on- maybe they are all like that. To the boot makers- if this is the best you have- why take photos like this of your work? Not a good way of representing your company, is it? Are the footwear companies making their boots & shoes this way to help other businesses along? My ________ aches so I will seek comfort through chiropractors, pain meds, etc..... Do they hope we buy unbalanced for our own feet, yet we expect balanced feet for our horses?
Where our own comfort and 'soundness' comes into play, our shoes make a huge difference in how we stand, how our weight is distributed and how long before we sit down complaining of soreness, achy joints and "Oh my aching feet!" Equine events are usually known for long hours of standing around, miles of walking to the trailer, concession stands, entry booth, bathrooms, the in gate, stand on the rail during the class, run up to the judges stand, back and forth, back and forth and it never fails, whenever you need to get to one- it is at the other end of the showgrounds from where you are. The right pair of shoes will either make or break you day. Keep that in mind the next time your farrier comes out to trim or shoe your horse.