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[RC] Barefoot AT Ft. Howes Montana - Darolyn Butler

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 

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 

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 
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

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