Tools To Avoid Peripheral Loading and Extend Horse Longevity In Hoof Boots and EasyShoes

EasyCare is now selling Vettec Equipak Soft and Glue-U Shufill.  Why are these products important for the equine hoof and your equine partner's longevity?

Imagine walking or running in a shoe where only your toes and heels made contact with the insole of your shoe.  Your arch didn't touch, your arch wasn't given any support, and with every footfall only your toes and heel supported your weight. How long would you be comfortable without giving your arch and the main structure of your foot the ability to share the load?  Now visualize the similarities of a horse in steel shoes on hard ground. 

Every time I take my horses from a soft pasture I remove a dirt/grass plug from each hoof.  This plug helps load the entire hoof and help load the hoof like the arch support in most human shoes. 


Nature's hoof packing.  Does this happen by chance? 

One of my best conditioning rides in Durango is a dirt road that gets hard packed during many times during the year.  Although hoof boots offer protection from the rocks and concussion the addition of a soft packing helps load the entire hoof,  I personally notice a big difference in my horses when a packing is used.  The horses move better, they are more forward and they seem to finish with more bounce in their step.  The following day legs are tight and without heat.

We are seeing great results from both the Vettec Equipak Soft and the Glue-U Shufill pour in materials.  Both products set up quickly and can be used in both hoof boots and under EasyShoes.  One of the unique things about the Glue-U Shufill products is the ability to choose different densities.  The Glue-U also gives you the ability to use different densities in different parts of the hoof.

Ernest Woodward applied this EasyShoe using Shufill 10 density and Shufill 20 density in the heel. 

A horse with decent concavity is peripherally loaded in hoof boots.  A quick and easy way to give the hoof the opportunity to support the load as nature intended is adding a pour in after the boot is applied to the hoof.  Drill two holes in the bottom of the hoof boot before applying the boot.

Applying Vettec Equipak soft before a hard conditioning ride.

Flexible pour-in pads make an exact mold of the hoof's concavity: a great way to help the sole share the load.

Glue-U Shufill 40 hardness used to support the hoof in another EasyShoe application. 

Give a pour in packing a try for your equine partner.  Let us know if your horse improved at his respective discipline. Find these products and more on the Accessories page of the EasyCare website. We currently have them included under the Glue-On boots and EasyShoes section.

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President & CEO

I have been President and CEO of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

Looking for the Best Hoof Boot Gluers in the World for the Hardest 100 Mile Race in the World

EasyCare is looking for six hoof care professionals to join our application team at the 2015 100 Mile Tevis Cup

Horses competing in hoof boots have performed very well at the most difficult 100 mile event in the world.  In 2014, ten of the horses in the top 15 places were wearing Easyboots.  The 1st place horse in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 was wearing Easyboots.  The Best Conditioned horse (Haggin Cup) in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 was wearing Easyboots.

The Easyboot/Tevis wall of accomplishment.  We are so proud of what Easyboots have done at Tevis.

The job of applying Glue-On boots before the Tevis Cup event continues to grow and it's harder and harder for the people riding.  We need your help.

- EasyCare will pay for your travel to and from the event.  You will need to be at the event from July 28th, July 29th and July 30th, 2015. 

- EasyCare will pay you for three days of hoof boot applications.

- EasyCare will train you all the skills needed to be one of the best in the world.

- Earn the title of Easyboot Elite.

The lead pack at the 2012 Tevis Cup.  All seven horses were wearing Easyboots applied by our gluing team.

Are you interested in being part of an elite crew?  Are you interested in helping horses and riders complete the hardest 100 mile race in the world.  Please send us an e-mail at admin@easycareinc.com with a letter of interest.

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President & CEO

I have been President and CEO of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

Hoof Resection Isn't a Dirty Word: Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog, I discussed how hoof resection can be difficult to clearly define amongst hoof professionals because there are many opinions about what they involve.

The key message from that blog was this:

"However you define resection, two ideas seem to be consistent in the word's common use:

1. A resection implies an invasive procedure. 

2. A resection references a therapeutic situation needing intervention.

These ideas, and the sometimes blurry line between what lies in the farrier realm versus the veterinary realm, mean resections carry a a lot responsibility. The responsibility knowing when, why and how to do them; and the responsibility of who should do them in what situations".  

- See more at: blog.easycareinc.com/blog/hoof-love-not-war/hoof-resection-isnt-a-dirty-word3a-part-1

I'd like to share here a couple of situations I've been in where resections were required, how they were handled and why. Warning: some images are graphically intense, so scroll down at your own risk.

The first scenario was one where a foundered horse was referred to my care because the local farrier was out of ideas to help the horse. The right front foot on this horse was worse than the left front, with the hoof wall showing a fair bit of detachment from heel quarter to heel quarter:

 

Here is the radiograph to go with the foot at this time:

After discussion with the veterinarian, we agreed that the detached wall needed to be resected. I felt comfortable removing the wall without on-site veterinary support as it was already detached and most likely keritanized under the wall. The veterinarian was happy for me to do the work and the horse owner was on board with our recommendations. Casual photos after the resection:


The exposed foot is insensitive laminar wedge, meaning it has no blood or nerves. Here are the photos and X-rays of the horse after the resection:

Here is how her foot healed after the resection just four months later:

To see more about this horse's entire case study please see:  http://www.thehorse.com/articles/33167/rehabilitating-horses-with-ems-associated-laminitis.

That situation was fairly straightforward and easy to determine what needed to be done and who should do the work. However, here is another scenario that wasn't so clear:

I received a desperate call from a horse owner, their horse had foundered badly in all four feet. The local vet and farrier had given up on the horse and euthanasia was recommended. The owner was hoping I'd have ideas that would help the horse before giving in to euthanasia. When I saw the horse I was encouraged by his bright demeanor despite having P3 penetrate his soles on his hind feet, and agreed to work on the horse. Here is the left hind, the worst of the four at my first visit:

 

Over the next few months, the horse did very well, gaining sole, healthy new growth, and becoming more comfortable overall. My biggest concern was the medial side (inside) of the left hind foot. It was pinching in at the coronary band, and growth there wasn't coming. Here is the medial side of the left hind foot when I became very concerned:

I knew that we most likely needed a resection of this section of wall that was folding. However we didn't have any veterinary support. I had a decision to make:

1. Did I go ahead and resect the wall knowing I could get into sensitive tissue? This was not an idea I was comfortable with.

2. Did I wait and see if we really needed the resection?

We decided to give it a bit more time.  However it was quickly apparent intervention was needed. Here is how that wall changed over a two-week period:

There was only one solution I was happy with: we needed a veterinarian who would help us with the resection and follow-up care.  We decided to bring the horse to Daisy Haven Farm and work with our farm vet, Dr Mark Donaldson of Unionville Equine Associates in Oxford, PA.   

The resection was done as a team effort between Dr. Donaldson and myself, and went very well. Here is the foot with the wall removed where it was folding. The wall covering the coronary band had detached and cut into the soft tissue of the pastern. Notice there is no blood in the resected wall in this picture.

It wasn't until the last piece of wall from under the swollen tissue was removed that the foot bled in this area:

This is the piece of wall, including the coronary groove, that was the last piece removed from up under the swollen pastern.

Here is medial side of the left hind foot after several months new growth:

What would you have done? Intervened earlier? Recommended euthanasia? Turned the case over to another farrier? In both of the cases I've shown here, the resection was a critical step in getting the horse's foot healthy.  

We each have to make our own decisions about how to handle situations like these. For me, the only way I know how to safely and successfully do this work is to be a team with the veterinarian, horse owner, and any others involved in the horse's care. Who does the actual work on the horse should be a team decision. As long as everyone is on the same page with a clear plan, you will be successful in helping horses when resections are needed. Hopefully you will feel a little more confident in how to approach potential resection situations, as a team, when you come across them in the future.  

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. please see DaisyHavenFarm.com and IntegrativeHoofSchool.com.

October 2014 Read To Win Contest WInners

The October 2014 Read to Win Contest winners are:

Roxanne Byers 
Liz McMann
Janni Klausen

Congratulations! If your name appears above, you have been drawn from our e-newsletter subscriber list. Contact EasyCare within 48 hours to claim your free pair of any EasyCare hoof boots or EasyShoes. Be sure to read the EasyCare e-newsletter for your chance to win next month. Sign up at easycareinc.com/newsletter_subscribe.aspx

 

EasyCare Live Event: Hoof Boots 101

EasyCare is hosting a live web event designed to answer all your questions about the uses and applications of hoof boots for horses. Hosted by Holly Jonsson, EasyCare's own director of sales, this 60-minute interactive presentation will cover the basic information you need to know about hoof boot choices and solutions.

When: Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 2 PM PST (5 PM EST).

Where: easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/hoofboots101com/

The list of topics to be covered includes:

  • Why hoof boots?
  • How do hoof boots work?
  • How do I measure?
  • Which hoof boot model should I choose?
  • How do I know if hoof boots will work for my horse?
  • What is the difference between each of the EasyCare hoof boots?
  • And many more.

This live event is free, and will be presented via live web stream at 2 PM PST (5 PM EST) on Thursday, October 2, 2014. It's easy to sign up - just go to easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/hoofboots101com/. If you can't make the event, sign up anyway: a recorded version of presentation will be available for you to come back and watch as many times as you'd like.

And you know what's the best thing about this event? Not only can you ask Holly anything you'd like during the event, but everyone who signs up will be automatically entered to win a free pair of hoof boots of your choice. We will select three winners at the end of the event (and you don't even have to be present to win).

Sign up now at easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/hoofboots101com/. We'll see you on Thursday.

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-kevin-myers

Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.

Skip Goes Barefoot with Easyboot Epics

I bought Skip April 23, 2012. Skip had always had his front shod. Because his hooves were always shod, his hoof wall had holes and he was always losing one shoe. One day, the farrier found that Skip was in the early stages of White Line Disease, WLD. Because of this WLD we had to rest his foot from wearing a horse shoe. I knew I had to make a stand. I made a commitment to let Skip go barefoot. A lot of people said Skip needed shoes. Only one person stood by my decision for Skip to be barefoot and that was Mike Gaulding (Farrier and Dealer of EasyCare). 29 months later here we are, barefoot and Skip is a much healthier horse.

Name: Skye
City: Front Royal
State: Virginia
Country: USA
Equine Discipline: Trail
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Epic

Testing Hoof Wear in the North Cascades

Submitted by Ruthie Thompson-Klein​, Equine Balance Hoof Care 

After conditioning rides around our Washington San Juan Islands’ gentle road and forest trails, three of my clients and adventure-mates and I set out for some serious riding in the North Cascades. It was our “last blast of
summer,” and a great test for a variety of EasyCare hoof wear. The four of us spent several days riding steep and rugged wilderness trails as well as easy riverside meanders in the Methow Valley of Washington State.

Here’s our multi-breed lineup: Monique’s Chincoteague gelding sported a pair of EasyShoe Performances on front feet, bare behind. At home he is ridden bare or with front Gloves; on mountain rocks he needed protection. Since Monique would be riding intensely for a month, we decided  EasyShoes were the best application. Jet is a solid black horse with solid black feet, that made my Easyshoe Performance glue work look pretty decent. The shoes were applied with Adhere, five days before our trip, and ride-tested.

Jet's EasyShoes- before

Jet and Monique

Jan’s Arabian gelding, Farli, sported Easyboot Glove Back Country boots on front, bare behind the first day. When this endurance horse among us began lagging, short-striding and avoiding center trail, I suggested booting behind. I swapped boots, with a pair of firm-padded Glove Back Country behind and Power-Strapped Easyboot Gloves in front. Farli became his sound and comfortable self on the trail the rest of the trip. No vet call necessary. 

Jan and Farli

Alice’s Dutch Warmblood mare (a very large and intrepid trail horse!) trekked in Easyboot Gloves all around; size 4.5 Wide in front and size 4 Wide behind, no accessories necessary. An attentive owner/trimmer, Alice spent considerable time making sure Amira’s Easyboot Gloves fit her trim perfectly. My very-green Appaloosa gelding worked in our usual Power-Strapped Gloves in front and I added Easyboot Glove Back Country boots behind.

Our first few days were low elevation trails with water and rocky river crossings, bridges and forest paths. We then trailered to elevation where the terrain got much more technical. Headed to Cutthroat Peak, we traversed a landslide, encountered sharp rocks, a steep, rocky water crossing scramble, and boggy lakeshore when we reached Cutthroat Lake to rest and water the horses at about 5,000 feet. This is where we decided we’d rather hang out and experience the scenery than forge further up the trail.

Amira and Alice

Dancer, my Appy trail partner

The most demanding boot test may have been when I had to dismount to send my gelding ahead of me across a steep water crossing and up a rocky bank. It was too dangerous to ride at his level, and I was worried I might have to pick up boots in his thrashing, dashing wake, but Monique snagged him—still booted—on the other side. At the high elevation lake we took a break to assess our nerves, enjoy the scenery, have lunch and check our hoof protection. All boots and Easyshoes in place.

Steep water crossing

Jet's EasyShoes after miles and mud

Happy with our big adventure, we spent the rest of our time on more casual rides to give the horses a break. With so many details involved in this sort of trip, a large part of our success was carefree hoof protection, and we put it to the test to my satisfaction. This type of multi-day group ride used to require multiple shoe and tool preparation headaches, now those days are over. Thank you, EasyCare!

Eyes Wide Open as I Enter the Equine Hoof Boot World

Submitted by Tina Ooley, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

I joined the EasyCare Customer Service team in June 2014, despite the fact that I do not ride horses and at the time, knew nothing about equine hoof health and anatomy. I immediately immersed myself in all of the training manuals that EasyCare provided me with and found myself quickly amazed by the complexity of a horse’s hoof. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could, not just because my job depended on it, but because it was fascinating. I spent hours reading books and articles learning about hoof anatomy and pathology, as well as all sorts of blogs and debates about shoeing vs. barefoot/booting. I could not deny the facts about how the hoof can function without steel shoes.

After the book and boot study, and the passing of a few written tests, I knew the hands-on training would be coming soon. I was excited about the idea of picking up a horse’s foot and checking out all of the external parts of the hoof that I now felt pretty knowledgeable about, but I was also nervous. And then it happened: one Wednesday afternoon, Holly and Rebecca summoned me to head out to the barn to play with horse feet. I was certainly unprepared as I headed to the barn from the office in my white Capri shorts and ballet flats, but I am not afraid to get dirty, so off I went. I won’t lie, the first time out with the horses was not pretty. I got schooled on the proper way to hold a hoof pick, tried to put an Easyboot Trail on backwards, got schooled again on how to hold a hoof pick and got a nice bite on my finger courtesy of my own ignorance about curious horses and the proper way to hold your hand out. It was exhilarating and I wanted more (not bites, but schooling and horse time).

My next trip out to the barn was after we had done a hoof mapping training session with Daisy Bicking. Rebecca and I decided to go out and do some hoof mapping with her horse, Rosie. Rosie was patient with me as I apologized to her for feeling nervous. Rebecca had me lead her from her pasture to the barn where we mapped her hooves. Rosie is a 16.2 draft breed and while I now know she is sweet as pie, I am unfamiliar with handling these beautiful, large animals and I imagined her doing me harm in some way. Pathetic, I know. She was perfectly behaved and we made it to the barn with no near-death experiences. I cleaned Rosie’s feet and we then had a very successful hoof mapping session and measured Rosie for her Old Mac’s G2s.  My confidence around the horses was increasing, as well as my knowledge of their hooves and EasyCare hoof boots.  

It was now mid-July: my training was coming to an end and it was about time for me to go live with our customers. I had one more hoop to jump through to prove my knowledge and competency in my new job as a Customer Service Representative for EasyCare: fit and apply every boot in our lineup to the horses. Did I mention that I had to do this with the owner and the CEO of the company looking over my shoulder? I was sweating and I hadn’t even begun putting the boots on.

I actually passed with flying colors, applying each boot successfully. I also got to “ride" Garrett’s pony, Toaster. I felt super excited about all that I had learned and accomplished in eight weeks. I am looking forward to continuing my studies in the world of all things horses and feel confident about my ability to serve our customers and answer questions. Helping people and their equine partners to reach a happy place together via our products makes me feel good. I look forward to doing more of that.

We Couldn't Have Done it Without Easycare

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

My red headed beast, Z Summer Thunder, cruised through the Old Selam 50 to finish up his AERC 4000 miles. While Thunder hasn't worn Easyboot Gloves the entire 4000 miles, I have used them on him since 2010. In that time he has completed 3200+ miles in either Gloves or Glue on Boots

Thunder's first set of boots required that I learn more about balancing the hoof and getting a good fit. I refined my trimming techniques, rounding the hoof up, setting the toe back and really making the boots work on his hooves. I know that a good fit is a must to booting success. Booting success really requires a person to make a commitment to the horse, the hooves and the boots to make it right. But some people question why I went to boots in the first place.

Steve Bradley took this of Thunder and I at City of Rocks 2014

Thunder has a crooked foot, the left front turns out and requires constant trimming to maintain the balance. Plus, he forges if allowed to go any length of time between trims and shoes. Therefore shoeing wasn't the best for him as we'd have to show him every 4 weeks to maintain the hooves, that created a lot of nail holes. I've trimmed horses for years and Al shod all our horses back in the day, I know how numerous nail holes can break down hoof wall integrity. It was always our practice to allow horses to go barefoot in between rides and all winter long. So transitioning to barefoot wasn't a big stretch for my horses. 

I knew after our first ride in the Gloves that these were going to work. He moved well and was much happier. We put on the Gloves and never looked back, racking up 865 miles in 2010 doing two 100's and a multi-day. The Easyboots offer excellent rock protection and I was sure that I couldn't have done the Fandango 100 or 5 days at Canyonlands without boots! Plus I believe they help absorb concussion and protect my horse's legs and joints from harm. 

And Thunder just keeps going, so far this year we have 620 miles. We also got our dream trip this year through the Oregon Cascades and westward to the Oregon Coast. Ten wonderful days of riding and camping! Our Easyboots have certainly taken us many places and if they could talk they'd tell of many adventures!

Thank you Easycare for a great product. I'm fairly sure that Thunder wouldn't have reached 4000 miles in steel shoes. 

Collection: From the Ground Up

I never did formal riding in any discipline, but the topic of “collection” is one that comes up (and I’m not referring to my tendency to hoard horses). WARNING: This is A view on collection, not the be-all, end-all reference article for all things equitation.

What I appreciated from an anatomical view, was the amount of elevation and elasticity the horse put into his movement. His potential for action was put into becoming lofty and potentially explosive. In a wild horse fight, explosive might translate into a barrage of attacks. In a controlled explosion, we are seeing extended trots and jumps of massive heights being cleared. But in every picture I included here (and many more that I found) you can clearly see the horse engaging that hind end, tucking his rear under him so that he was ready for any variety of movements. It’s not surprising to see horses do this at liberty, as they are deciding on a whim where they want to move next. Dancing by themselves in their pastures, racing imaginary friends or shying away from horse-eating butterflies.

The deep digital flexor tendon and the suspensory ligament are huge players from the ground-up approach to collection. 

The balls of our feet are important to our ability to spring. Try this: Do a jumping jack. Now lean back on your heels and lift the fronts of your feet off the ground. Do a jumping jack starting and landing on your heels. You will have to exaggeratedly absorb the shock of your jump with your legs, back and torso. Now do it from the balls of your feet. Easy peasy.

So while a jumping jack can literally be the act of "jumping out and back in", knowing how you start and finish it and where the power comes from will change how easy it is and how graceful it looks. Sort of like collection. In fact, you can’t do high knees, jumping jacks, side shuffles or out-and-backs without using the balls of your feet. If you tried to do it with your heels, you would feel quite ungraceful.

Now, if a person was jumping from their heels and landing back on their heels, I could say,

“Higher. This time don’t make so much noise when you land, it was clunky.” and you could practice.

“More arms, you are not using enough arms. You look clumsy.” and you could practice.

“Your feet need to land further apart. Try again.”

“Your knees are wobbly, tighten them up.”

“You are moving your torso too much. I see others doing jumping jacks and they don’t have such movement.”

And on and on. What I really should say is, “You are launching and landing from your heels. Start from the ball of your foot.”

Similarly, I’ve seen horses “fitted into frame” for collection, instead of corrected from the ground up. “His legs should pick up higher, he should be more animated, his headset is not right, his back legs need to more lift and to be more under him.”

I’m not a student of dressage, so don’t string me up, but I tried finding two nearly-the-same images of horses doing a piaffe, riderless. The horse on the top clearly has lovely height to his feet, but nothing about his “collection” looks “collected”. He looks less likely to launch forward or sideways and more likely to just start walking after he’s too tired to keep doing it. The horse on the bottom is in a slightly different stride of the move, so it’s hard to say how high his hooves move, but would that really be the standard to judge him by? Look at his whole figure! He is collected, waiting to move at a moment’s notice, ready to launch forward into men wielding swords or wheel to the left or right to carry an owner to safety or to leap over a barricade and bolt up a mountain. All the while the horse on the top is doing a piaffe as gracefully as I could do ballet while pregnant. He’s waddling and strung out and all he knows is, “Tom wants my feet higher and my head just so. And I need to look exuberant while doing it. Gosh collection is hard!”

It’s like doing downward dog wrong. You don’t get better at practicing it wrong, you just get better at doing it incorrectly. Yet, there are higher yoga poses to attain, which depend on your being limber enough to correctly do downward dog. You see where I’m going with this? Your chance of lucking into a Flying Monkey Spider Crane Position while feeling nirvana are slim to none.

And just in case you’re not all “Namaste” with me, the girl on the top is doing it right. Her head to her butt is a straight line, You can see her line break at the hip in a clean cut. The girl on the bottom doesn’t have a line from her head to her butt. You can see the small of her back is bending so that she “can” do the position. This would all be fine if downward dog was the end of your yoga path. Visibly, she's close, structurally, she's not. To go to upper levels, you need the basics to be correct.

As soon as she tries to go on to the next advanced movement, she will struggle. When your back is humped, getting that open chest twist is nearly impossible. It's like slouching and trying to open up your shoulders. It requires a lot of effort to do it wrong (which is super fun and rewarding). For some of us, the word "Yoga" is Sanskrit for, "Super-difficult, tortuous stretching".

Good. Luck. With. That.

Entry level jumpers need to learn how to clear meter fences with correct form and build jumping musculature. Sloppy jumping at lower levels means you are never making it to Rolex.

I stumbled upon this video the other day. While Pedro Torres is a medalist for Spain and does World level dressage with this mount, look at his collection work put into action. This horse will blow you away.

(Please don’t mind the music!)

Now look at that horse doing equitation in an arena (with no obstacles to navigate).

While he’s running an obstacle course through poles, he’s doing flying lead changes. While he’s in a blank arena, he is also doing them. When you can see the correlation between movements that were trained for purpose, for a real life function, you can appreciate what you are looking for when merely testing those movements. It would be silly to take a horse and have it do flying lead changes when all it was doing was “memorizing” that every other stride needed to flip and not actually listening to his rider, wouldn’t it? As soon as you set a horse into real life application, he’d fall apart.

Let’s look at some horses that look “forced” when in collection:

Then I look at the body lines of these horses:

Again, we look at our nimble grey in those videos. He’s wound, bound and ready for action. He doesn’t care if the action is forward, backward, sideways or over a jump. The horses above look coiled, prepared, ready to do whatever the next command is.

So my first point, in all this rambling is: training with purpose, use and intention. Training to not shortcut. If you are training for a “look” alone, you end up with a tired pony who isn’t building each movement and will never reach the higher movements without a lot of strain.

And here’s my second point: There was a study done in England. https://www.facebook.com/EquitationScience/posts/10152231176856097?fref=nf

They took 20 Irish Sport Horses that were used for riding and dressage and videoed their movement. The selection had horses that had either been shod for 12 consecutive months or barefoot for 12 consecutive months.

You can read it (and you should) but the summary conclusion is that shod horses had diminished stride length, increased concussion and had more tendon flexion than their unshod counterparts. Unshod horses had less concussion, longer strides and their tendons had to flex less to absorb impact.

So, if shoes don’t give you an advantage, but DO shorten stride length and cause the tendons to have to “give” more to support your horse, then give barefoot equitation a try. Lateral movements would be a cinch if a horse had an ankle like ours, but he doesn’t. He’s going to need his hoof to be his first point of shock absorption. Reining, barrels, dressage, jumping etc. all athletic sports have lateral movement.

We pick the right saddle, the right bridle and the right pad because they fit our horse and enable us to communicate more clearly and make our horse’s job easier. It only makes sense to make sure he’s able to the job from the ground up.

While we can’t all do what THIS guy does:

Or what Stacey Westfall does (I could watch her bareback and bridles demonstrations all day!), we can try to start our horses right, continue to work with them with purpose and hope they have a saddle (or not), a bridle (or not) and now…. shod OR NOT, to be able to better perform what we ask of them.

Holly Jonsson

easycare-sales-director-holly-jonsson

Director of Sales

Through a lifetime of "horse crazy" and the fortunate experience of riding nearly every shape and size of horse, I got to see a wide array of hoof shapes and sizes. No Hoof, No Horse is very true to me. I want to ensure that horses on every continent have a variety of footwear to pick from, to ensure the best match is found. I want your partner to be happy from the ground up!