Astrid backed our Kickstarter campaign and made a pre-order for her Sissy. Starting in August, they are our very first external testers and we can tell you one thing about them: they are both colorful and the two love what they’re doing. Whether it’s taking the Megasus for a short spin with the inline skates. It’s no problem for this duo!
Sissy is now 22 years old and has been by my side for 16 years. When she was about 9 years old, she developed extremely bad acute founders. The veterinary spoke with me about putting her to sleep and I thought it was really over!
I was devastated, but I wasn’t ready to give up and wanted to fight for her, which lead me to seek out a second opinion. With a lot of discipline and good care, we made it. During that time, I was in the stables around the clock looking after her.
Since then Sissy has had a good recovery from her founders. The issue of correct hoof trimming, disciplined and precisely coordinated feeding and the right hoof protection remain vitally important for us.
After her acute founders, we have never had the same degree of laminitis reoccur. With the proper care, we were able to get the aftermath of the founders, such as the sunken coffin bone and the laminitic hoof under control. We encountered especially loving, helpful and above all, competent people, who’ve made it possible. Sissy has lost a lot of weight over the years, but creeping illnesses and hoof problems remain despite the best possible management, feeding and hoof care.
For about 5 years now, Sissy has been in an open stable and she feels at home there. However, in fall and spring, her hooves become flat and she suffers from thin soles. When her soles are too thin, Sissy cannot walk about without hoof protection. The road founders was preprogrammed. Sissy belongs to our family and that’s why I have never given up on fighting for her and continue looking for solutions that can provide her with the most possible comfort. I have tested out many different solutions – after all, I have tried almost all the alternative hoof protection products that are on the market. On our rides, the horse’s reluctance to step on stony terrains because of pain has always been an issue: With a horse with a past history with founders, you have to keep up with a consistent short trimming cycle and always pay attention to the horse’s weight and as well as, make sure to have the right hoof protection. This combination was always a challenge for us.
Especially in recent years, we have learned a lot about the bare hoof movement and I have taken part in hoof training courses because it is important for me to be able to offer Sissy professional hoof care so she can have frequent trims.
But back to hoof protection.
Iron was never an alternative for me and doesn’t offer what I expect from a hoof protection. This solution is immobile, stiff, and she has too little hoof horn, making it impossible to nail on the iron horse shoes and Sissy, in her advanced age, has light arthritis in her hoof joints. Therefore, in the last couple of years I have used hoof boots for riding. In the open stable, particularly in spring and in fall, it is even more crucial to at least find a transitional long-lasting solution. I have always tried letting Sissy out to roam with hoof boots, for 24 hours at a time. Every shoe, after about a week, caused either chaffing on the coronet or on the bulb. I have tried everything, but never found a lasting solution that I was happy with. To top it off, came the challenge of frozen ground in winter, which is too hard for Sissy.
When I first heard about the Megasus Horserunners, I made an order through Kickstarter right away because the system, which combines hoof protection and flexibility, totally spoke to my needs. Actually, it was exactly what my horse friends and I have been hoping for. The benefits that are ideal for us are: a hoof protection that doesn’t rub or chafe and gives my horse sufficient protection through a thicker sole, while still offering flexibility and something that Sissy can use not only for riding, but also in the open stable without any problems. Secondly, the hoof protection should offer adaptability, allowing me to take it off as needed for hoof trimming. With other hoof protection products, Sissy tends to have high heels. If she is not kept on a regular short trimming cycle, she is left really uncomfortable and it is difficult for her to move about.
This year, Sissy’s soles were so thin that she could hardly walk on hard grounds. Even to lift the hooves, we needed to lay a soft mat under her hooves – only then would she allow us to do so. An ex-ray confirmed that her soles were visibly thin from the outside. I met Sandra during this time, an independent bare hoof trimmer and member of the Megasus task force – and she helped us during these difficult times. Her horse Messi is in the same stable and they live together in close quarters. When Sissy didn’t want to run anymore, Sandra really supported us where she could and in the end, she mounted the Megasus on Sissy’s hooves.
Our experience with Megasus.
We have now tested the Megasus since the end of August and we have been extremely pleased. We are forever grateful for the opportunity and delighted to be allowed to test the Megasus Horserunners. From the first moment that we mounted the Megasus, Sissy was able to walk better. She began to lift her hooves herself and showed more and more signs of enjoying moving again. Sissy’s gait changed in a positive way and she made lighter strides. Her hooves do not limit her anymore. The Megasus give her and her hooves the freedom she needs. They do not press the hooves, they protect her hooves on hard ground and sharp stones and make it possible for the hooves to grow healthy again. The soles have recovered and reproduced in the last couple of months. With the Megasus on, she runs freely on gravel roads. When we went riding with the new ‘sneakers’, just a week after mounting the Megasus, I was quite surprised when she wanted to gallop on the gravel road. That was always a no-go for her – even with hoof shoes. Certain gravel roads were simply too painful for her, the Megasus have helped her – well actually us both, by and by to forget.
The Test – Our Adventure and Test Conditions.
Sissy is my spirit animal and loves to mess around – this is obvious in our tests. Since I can remember, we have always been an adventurous pair and we have experienced a lot together. Because of this, we haven’t been afraid to put the Megasus Horserunners to the test. The Horserunners are a light and flexible solution.
We haven’t gone easy on the Megasus one bit and have ridden in all different types of terrain, over gravel, asphalt, through streams, forest, and mud. Additionally, we have trained in the arena, rehearsed circus lessons, and have sprung over small tree trunks without any problems. On a few of our half-day rides, the Megasus have accompanied us on the beautiful passages through the meadows and forests. And since we are always looking for new challenges, we learned to drive a carriage and now Sissy pulls me when I wear inline skates on the gravel road! Now we are preparing for winter because we wish to try Skijoring for the first time. While we wait for the snow, we are sure to find something new to try out.
We also took part in a creative agility and anti-stress parkour training. We were able to ride without any problems or apprehensions for the varies challenges and on the different grounds. We were able to fully concentrate on the training without having to worry about whether Sissy would feel any pain.
The Megasus Horserunners were with us in all types of weather, heat, sunshine, rain and in the cold.
The Test – mounting and material.
We tested the Megasus in size 130 and it was cut and fit to the exact shape of the sole. We also inserted the clips to the point that they fit snugly on the hoof. In the first test week, we put bell boots over the Megasus because we were scared that we would lose them. But after a week, we realized that it wasn’t necessary. The Megasus have until now passed all the tests and withstood the various challenges. Our trust in the development of the Megasus has grown with every ride.
Per month, we covered approx. 100 kilometers with the Megasus in training, including short training sessions up to 5 kilometers and longer sessions between 8-10 kilometers. Additionally, Sissy roams around daily in all types of weather conditions in the open stable. The Megasus were first mounted in August and are still fully functioning now in the middle of November, without any defect or unfavorable chaffing. There has been a little bit of material wear, but that’s normal for the time span.
I also noticed that the Megasus have a nice point of break over. This is very important for my Sissy – as well as that the sole is completely closed at the bottom. No stones are able to get in and the whole sole is protected. Sandra even filled the sole in the first weeks with an extra padding material – which has made a noticeable difference. In the weeks that followed, we realized that padding was no longer necessary. I also find it great that you can cut out the inner part of the sole if necessary, which is another example of the flexibility of the Megasus. Because: Not every horse has the same needs and having a hoof protection that is so adaptable to the horse and not vice versa is paramount!
More about Astrid and Sissy: www.haflinger-austria.at