No I didn't jump any cross country jumps with them.
The boots I was trying were the Premier Equine front boots. A local friend was selling them. They are mediums and fit his legs great. I like how they go on the leg, easy and no trying to get it to stay put, it is very obvious how to place it on the leg. Slider didn't seem to care that they were there, but then he hasn't cared about anything I put on his front legs.
The first time I put them on we just hacked around the arena, mostly walk with a bit of trot. Then the next time I put them on I had set up some obstacles/jumps around the arena and Aimee and Alyssa came to hang out and watch. I was all prepared for awesomeness. Hah! Anyways, I tacked him up and then added the lunge line thinking that I would let him play over the little jumps himself first. The first was a black tube. I let him sniff it, then we lunged on a circle near it, then I stepped closer so that he would have to jump it. He went to run out, but I was in the way so he launched himself into the air sort of over the jump. That horse is really freaking flexible in his shoulders. He flung his feet up by his nose and caught the lunge line and broke the crown on my bridle. Sadface. He was startled, but just stood there waiting for me to help. We got the bit out of his mouth and the ladies held him while I ran and grabbed the halter and a new bridle. The boots were still right where they should be.
I always hold the lunge line up like this, and he was jumping, so imagine how high his hoof came to grab the line by his mouth! After I got the halter put on I thought I would just have him trot and canter some circles to work on chilling out and manners. The jumps could be worked on another day, he wasn't going to learn anything if he was filled with apprehension. So here he is quietly cantering around me and nothing happens, I don't pull on him, he doesn't spook or speed up, nothing. Until suddenly, he loses his footing and slides all the way down to the ground on his side. Not. Even. Kidding. At this point I was not only mortified, 'Yeah come over and watch the new horse, he is so great!' 'Or you know come over and watch me look like an idiot.' A and A assured me that I shouldn't be embarrassed, this is horse training after all, where the only guarantee is that your horse will make you feel ridiculous.
Throughout all that though, the boots stayed in place. It was time for a new plan, I really wasn't looking to break my saddle in addition to the already broken bridle. Or you know, Slider. Obviously lunging wasn't working, I actually don't lunge him before I ride usually, I had just wanted to let him look at the jumps that day. So I did some ground work with him, got him to relax a bit and then hopped on.
It was like nothing bad had happened. This horse doesn't seem to hold a grudge. He decided to try sticking his tongue out for the first time, but I think it was due to the figure 8 noseband. That was the only bridle small enough to fit him on such short notice so I left the noseband loose and called it good. We walk trot cantered, trotted some poles and then headed out to ride in the pasture.
He is really starting to experiment with the contact finally. There are great moments and there there are moments where he is above, below, behind, or against it. Everyday is a step in the right direction though and those glimmers of what is to come are so exciting.
He is a joyful horse. He was just as relaxed in the pasture as he was in the arena, although our steering was a little iffy so we stuck to trot and walk. In all reality we probably could have cantered too.
By the time I untacked him the boots still hadn't moved. They weren't full of sand. His legs weren't overly sweaty. I think they are a win! Now to find a pair of hinds.
As impressed with the boots as I was, I was more impressed with the horse. To have had such a cluster of a warm up on the ground and then to go on to having such a great ride, I think this speaks volumes about his brain.
All photos from Alyssa!