Summer Success in Endurance Events and Questions to Ponder

A successful summer so far?

2014 Vermont 100 Endurance Ride.  Meg Sleeper and Syrocco Cadence win the Vermont 100 using the EasyShoe Performance.  "The best part about them was on the road. We had several fairly long stretches of black top road and she didn't shorten her stride at all. In fact, I generally always pulled her back to a trot when we were approaching roads (just to be safe), but after a couple strides she almost always went right back into her relaxed canter, whether I asked for it or not. I think she just felt that confident in them." 

Dave Augustine applied the EasyShoes a couple days before the event.  Do you believe horses should train in what they compete in?  Do you think horses need time to adapt to urethane forms of hoof protection?

Meg and Cadence early in the race.

2014 Tevis Cup 100 Mile Endurance Race.  First Place, Second Place, Best Condition (The Haggin Cup) and 10 of the top 15 horses in Easyboots.  The Tevis Cup is the most difficult 100 miles in the world and Easyboots continue to excel.  A couple interesting facts to note.  Both the first place and Haggin Cup horses were in steel shoes days before the event.  Steel shoes were pulled and both horses completed the difficult 100 miles in Easyboots.  Many people would argue that a horse's travel different in boots?  I have my own thoughts, what do you think?  Do you think the horses would have performed the same without Easyboots?  What would cause you to pull iron shoes and switch to Easyboots days before the biggest endurance event in the world?

Barrak Blakely and MCM Last Dance showing for the Haggin Cup.

2014 World Equestrian Games.  Three of the six horses representing the USA at the WEG will be in EasyCare hoof protection products.  Two in the Easyboot Glue-On and one in the EasyShoe. Jeremy Reynolds, Heather Reynolds and Jeremy Olson have spent hundreds of hours conditioning horses for the event and will race in flexible forms of hoof protection.  Do you think you can train harder in urethane forms of hoof protection?  Do the hours spent barefoot contribute? 

Heather and Jeremy Reynolds are two of the three USA riders using EasyCare hoof protection at the World Equestrian Games endurance event. 

The Vermont 100, the Tevis Cup and the World Equestrian Games are three of the most prestigious events on the USA endurance calendar for 2014.  Urethane forms of hoof protection are not only performing well but winning at these venues.  There are still many critics arguing against hoof boots and urethane shoes but most would say they are here to stay and will continue to grow in popularity?  What are you thoughts?

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.

EasyCare's September Dealer of the Month - Metcalfe Hay and Feed

Congratulations to Metcalfe Hay and Feed, EasyCare’s Dealer of the Month for September.

Metcalfe Hay and Feed is located at 3593 Wilson Road in Oak Harbor, Washington, and is not only one of our newest EasyCare Dealers, but they are the fastest rising star in dealers that we’ve seen in awhile. In three short months, they have built up their hoof boot business to amazing heights.

Through hard work and innovation, owner Steve Metcalfe grew Metcalfe Hay and Feed into what it is today. Steve and his friend started out bringing hay over the pass in Eastern Washington for thier own horses and soon, he found he was bringing hay over for friends as well. He went from a one ton Dodge Dully to a 98 Freightliner and came back with 19 tons of hay on the first trip. And, so Metcalfe Hay and Feed started. From there, he decided to start bringing in pet food and then tack and that's when his wife, Tatyana, stepped in and started running the store while Steve handled the feed. Two years of hard work and they are now in a new, larger facility where they can offer even more great things like EasyCare hoof boots.

Starting out at the end of May, Steve took advantage of every monthly Promo that EasyCare offered and reaped the savings so he could keep his prices competitive. Steve carries the Easyboot Trail, the Easyboot Transition, the Rx boots, the Soakers and the Old Mac G2. His personal favorite is the Easyboot Trail.

As part of his marketing strategy, Steve uses hoof boots on his own horses so his customers see that he uses them himself. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. Another part of his marketing strategy is his use of his own Facebook page. As soon as Steve became an EasyCare Dealer, he posted his dealership on Facebook. He then posted a picture of every hoof boot style that he carried, with a brief description and size charts.

He then posted a blog concerning measuring and fitting and told his customers that, if they needed help, to bring their horses to the store for a free fitting. Now, that’s customer service!

And still another part of Steve’s marketing strategy involves getting out into the public and attending events. His favorite is a 3-Day event on Whidbey Island. He normally rides in this event and has helped with the course itself in past years. He says that it brings a lot of joy to see people riding in this event and can’t wait to bring his young horse there when he’s ready. In hoof boots, of course.

Steve feels that the key to his success is a lot of hard work and his passion for the horse industry and his business. Steve grew up in a small townhouse, but was fortunate to be able to spend summers on the farm with his Grandfather, who bought him his first horse when he was nine years old. He learned a lot from his Grandfather and has a lot of good memories.

Steve owns five horses and they are all barefoot and in EasyCare hoof boots. He said he remembers as a child, that all horses were in steel shoes. He feels that the new, advanced hoof boot technologies have taken things to a whole new level in hoof health. In three short months, what is his most memorable experience? “Changing from steel shoes to the Easyboot Trails on my 30 year old, retired event horse. He acted like a young horse again and felt much stronger. It was just a great feeling to enjoy the freedom that riding gives you with hoof boots.”

Visit Metcalfe Hay and Feed in Oak Harbor, Washington or friend them on their Facebook Page and see what' s new.

Glue Like A Pro - Calling Applicants for the 2015 Tevis Gluing Crew

The performance of the Easyboot Glue-Ons at the most challenging 100-mile ride in the world are nothing short of astounding. If EasyCare hoof boots can perform at this level in one of Time magazine's Top 10 endurance competitions in the world, imagine what they can do for you.

Heather Reynolds and Hadeia riding through Foresthill at the 70-mile point of the 2014 Tevis. They went on to win the event.

Teams of EasyCare representatives have been gluing hoof boots onto equine competitors for the last six years and the results are impressive.

  • Increase in Easyboot usage 2009 - 2014: 35%
  • Increase in Easyboot completions 2009 - 2014: recipients: 52%
  • Percentage of Easyboot finishers in 2014: 25%
  • Total number of Easyboot starters 2009 - 2014: 229
  • Total number of Easyboot buckle recipients 2009 - 2014: 142
  • Six-year average Easyboot completion rate: 62%
  • Six-year average overall completion rate: 54%
  • Number of Easyboot Tevis Cup wins since 2009: 4 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Number of Easyboot Haggin Cup wins since 2009: 5 (201, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Number of Easyboot Top 10 riders since 2009: 25
  • Number of glue-on boots lost a the 2014 Tevis: 0
  • For more information on Easyboot results at Tevis, please click on each of the following year: 2009. 2010. 2011. 2012. 2013. 2014.

What do the above statistics mean to you? Would you like to be part of the team responsible for bringing booted success to a new level? EasyCare is  recruiting gluing team members for the 2015 edition of the 60th running of the Tevis Cup. The requirements are as follows:

  • Be a practicing hoof care practitioner with experience in barefoot trimming and demonstrated experience in hoof boot gluing
  • Be available for gluing training July 27, 2015 in Auburn, CA
  • Be available for gluing July 28, 29 & 30, 2015 in Auburn, CA and Truckee, CA
  • Be available for gluing support on the day of the event, August 1, 2015 

Members of the EasyCare Gluing Team in Auburn in 2014. 

If you would like to be considered for a team of the most reputable gluing professionals in the world, please email us at admin@easycareinc.com

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.

Hoof Resection Isn't a Dirty Word: Part 1

Hoof resections are one of those terms in hoof care that can mean different things to different people, ranging from debriding a hoof crack to removal of the wall in laminitis. Most hoof professional's opinions of resections, for or against, fall into the category of "convictions on the level of religion" which makes discussing them typically quite heated. See this previous blog for my thoughts on respecting each others' farrier work:  http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/hoof-love-not-war/one-hoof-church-all-religions.

I am not talking about the legal definition of hoof resection being confusing. Hoof resection legally is very clear and is determined by your state's Veterinary Practice Act. I'm talking about how the term resection in every day use impacts how we think about the foot we're looking at, whether we might do a resection if needed and what others think of us if we do them.

To help understand why the common use of the word resection isn't more clear, examine the dictionary definition:  

  • Resection: noun  \ri-ˈsek-shən\ the surgical removal of part of an organ or structure.

Surgical seems like it should be pretty clear, and would be the realm of the medical professional. However, when we look at the definition of surgical and thereby surgery it actually gets even more confusing:

  • Surgery: noun \ˈsərj-rē, ˈsər-jə-\ the treatment of injuries or disorders of the body by incision or manipulation, especially with instruments.

Here seems to be the root of the problem. A rasp is an instrument. We remove material, especially with nippers and a hoof knife. Therefore is trimming the hoof a resection? It may seem like a ridiculous exercise of the imagination to put trimming in the realm of resection but where do we draw the line?

Removing flare is an example of "treatment of a problem by removal of structure with an instrument", a loose definition of resection. Most of us wouldn't get our knickers in a twist about removing some flare, however what about aggressively removing flare, invading inner wall and white line, is that a resection? If there's a crack in the area that requires cleaning up, is that a resection?    

Or removing a laminar wedge with power tools?  

Or debriding a detached wall on a foundered horse? Maybe we're getting closer to something the majority of us would consider a resection?  I haven't even mentioned blood yet.

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 means 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.  

Maybe you have no need to ever considering anything close to a resection with kinds of horses you work on. Or maybe you have horses you work on that you wonder if more should be done and if you or someone else should do it.

My farrier work is focused on rehabilitation, and a majority are laminitic and foundered horses. Working on these kinds of horses, I certainly run into situations when resection is needed. Any time I am working on a pathology I work as a team with the horse owner and veterinarian. If we're all on the same page with the care needed for the horse, then appropriate decisions can be made about who does the work, how the work is done, and when; thereby preventing confusion and misunderstandings regarding what's in the best interests of the animal's care. 

In Part 2 of this blog, I'll show some examples of what has been considered resection in my work, how the situations were handled and why.

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. please see

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

 

Twice The Fun For This Team Easyboot Member

Submitted by Martha Nicholas, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

I recently headed up to support my Back Country Horsemen of Washington State Enumclaw Trail Riders Chapter's Prize Ride. It was the 20th Annual ride being held up at Buck Creek Campgrounds, which is by Crystal Mountain Ski Resort, near the Pacific Crest Trail.

It is a beautiful area with some great trails and big trees. The trails are not too hard, so prefect for beginners to get out and enjoy our National Forests, and a great way to promote BCH's mission statement. I have included it just in case some do not know what it is.

Back Country Horsemen Mission Statement is:

1. To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness.
2. To work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.
3. To assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.
4. To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.

Member Jo Hartly doing the important job of checking the area for nails.

We had a great prize ride with big turn out of 200+ riders. Here are a few photos taken during the ride.

Curly and me taking a break at the edge of the glacier fed White River that flows out of Mt. Rainier National Park. It is actually fed by three glaciers on Mt. Rainier. Curly is wearing his Grips with Dome pads on the fronts and Gloves on his hind feet for this ride.

Members Beau and Kelly LaCrosse made the day extra special by bring up a few of their big draft mules and a beautiful handmade wagon. My group enjoyed following the LaCrosse family on the first half of the ride. The LaCrosse family cut their ride short so they could go back to camp and hooked up the wagon and gave fun wagon rides to whoever wanted one, which was a lot of folks.

Folks visiting as other had their ticket numbers called out to come up to the many tables and pick a prize out.

This Team member was flying her EasyCare banner again!

Life After Tevis (a.k.a. "I got Pulled and it Sucked!")

The gun shook in my trembling hands. Sweat began to bead on my forehead. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them, Stella was gazing at me indifferently. What was I thinking … that I could actually do this? Crazy. I tightened my grip on the gun. Rachel stood cautiously in the background, watching me, waiting to see what I would do ... if I would actually squeeze the trigger. Then she held her hands up and stepped toward me.

“It’s just another race.” Rachel said.

I signed. “But it’s not just another race. It’s the Tevis.”

“You don’t need to do this,” she said.

“I do,” I replied.

I took a deep breath, pointed the gun and squeezed the trigger.

The thick black glue oozed out into the bottom of the Easyboot Glue-On.

There was no turning back now.

This is how Tevis 2014 started out for me. I decided to apply my own Glue-Ons rather than take a half day off work and make the four-round trip drive to the Auburn Fairgrounds to have the Easycare team glue them for me as they had done for three years prior. My success rate glueing my own boots was very high and I was feeling confident about my gluing skills. My hoofcare practitioner Rachel Rezos (Easycare Hoofcare Practioner of the Month for April 2014) agreed to help me, and so I was feeling good about my decision. Until it came time to actually do it.

But first, it started to rain. It rained all night and drizzled most of the following day. I remained wide awake that night wondering how much moisture Stella’s hooves were absorbing and how I would dry them out.

The next morning, suffering the effects of not enough sleep and too much coffee, I was really starting to regret my decision. Rachel talked me down off the ledge. She and I alternated between trimming (Rachel) and applying the heat gun (me)  to dry out Stella’s feet. It worked well. I used fresh glue, not wanting to take any chances by using glue leftover from a previous application. Once I started, the application went smoothly. My veterinarian Lisa Atckison, who was there for a final once-over and FES session on Stella, watched the process with fascination.

Frazzled, but finished. Rachel Rezos, Stella, me and Lisa Atckison, DVM. Note the sissel rug I use for gluing so I don't get glue on the concrete, and also so I can remain happily married.

My usual riding partner Jenni Smith was riding Kevin Myers' horse, Stoner ,and so she had moved to his camp. I was on my own this year and that took a lot of fun out of the pre-ride preparation at Robie Park. I spent most of Friday afternoon alone with my horse. I was really pleased with how she looked and her typical calm demeanor she was displaying. We would have a good ride together.

And we did. Stella was all business (and no kicking) at the start. She breezed up Squaw, motored through the Granite Chief Wilderness and flew into Robinson Flat, where she ate and drank her weight. She worked hard to traverse the canyons and felt really good coming up Bath Road into Foresthill. She reached the recovery pulse quickly, as she had all day, and we headed to the vet.

Barry trotted her out for me. She dogged him, as is typical for her, and she didn’t look great. Not bad, but not good either. A little stiff in the right hind.

The vet asked that we return for a recheck. This gave my crew most of the hour to massage the stiffness out of her. Stella loved it and thoroughly enjoyed the break. I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy the break at all. Getting through the vet check was one thing. But I then had 30+ miles to go and another vet check that I did NOT want to get pulled at--Francisco's. My stomach was in knots.

I returned for the recheck and Stella trotted out about the same. The vets convened and then gave me that “I’m sorry” look. I hate that look. It meant the end of the road for me. Worse, I had to tell my crew, who had so enthusiastically supported me. They responded with a chorus of sympathy and reminders of how well I had done to that point.

As we silently cleaned up the aftermath, all the “would have, should have, could have” thoughts went through my head. My crew gradually dispersed and Barry started making noise about just going home. I lagged, feeling really sorry for myself and sorry for Stella, who after six years of competing and three prior Tevis completions now had her first pull on her record.

Cleaning up on Sunday was the worst. I kept thinking about all the time, effort and money I'd spent to go to Tevis. All the things I didn't do because I was focused on training. For what? I was in a terrible funk.

It took me a couple of days to get over it. I started looking at the bright side of getting pulled: I won the 69 miler. I didn’t lose any boots. I was finished before dark. Then I uttered the mantra that just about every rider who’s been pulled from Tevis recites: “There’s always next year.”

This is not the first time I've been pulled from Tevis, but it is the that pained me the most. It took me a while to figure out why this year's pull was such a downer. When I finally did figure it out, I learned a valuable lesson. Last year I finished second. This year is was in it to win it. I gambled.  Had I ridden a more conservative ride, I might have finished. I would not have won; might not have even come in in the top 10, but I would have finished. At the time, that's not what I wanted. In hindsight, it sounds pretty good. A friend asked me once, what does it take to do well at Tevis? I respond, "patience." Moping over my pull, I said to hubby Barry, "I wish I had Jenni's patience. She never pushes her horses, and her results show that (nine buckles in 11 attempts and several top 10 finishes). Barry gave a good response. "She always rides other people's horses and so of course she is going to be more cautious." 

Every year, all of us riders who get pulled are like cats thrown out in the rain. We come right back to give it another shot. Hopefully, this lesson in patience will take me to the finish line next year.

 

Local Parks See A Booted Variety

Submitted by Natalie Herman, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

I live in a beautiful place: ocean beaches, mountains, and towering Redwood forests all around. And we get to ride in most of these places. One of the local horsey-hangouts is the Arcata Community Forest (ACF). With almost 15 miles of well-built, gravel-based trails so we can use it even in the many months of rain and mud we get here. There are very hilly trails on around 600 acres of land, and it's a great place to keep your horse in shape year-round.

Although there are a number of riders that avoid the ACF because of its many users, some of us love it for that very reason. If you ride here regularly, your horse will be used to just about every urban (and not so urban) thing out there. This multi-use forest for recreation and selective logging, will desensitize your horse to vehicles from park police atvs and pickups, dump trucks full of gravel, logging trucks, and even the occasional CDF fire truck coming in for an emergency. It's great fun when you are cantering up a hill, and come face to face with something like this around the corner!

You also run into bikes, runners, hikers with packs, parents with strollers, loose dogs, the local university students running track or doing some sort of forestry research by hiding up in the ferns and trees with beeping machines and bright colored helmets. Even after years of riding here, a bunch of 'orange aliens' invading the forest is spooky enough to get the horse's attention.

Last week my regular conditioning buddy and barefoot client, Joanna (a fellow endurance rider currently going to school here at Humboldt State) and I, went up to the ACF for some hill sprints. While we were tacking up, several more rigs arrived and I recognized some more clients of mine. When we were all tacked up, I noticed we had a nice variety of horses, riding styles, and EasyCare boots in the mix. 

Fellow endurance rider Pamela with her just started young Arab, Zephyr. He's learning a lot in the ACF.He's sporting Easyboot Gloves all the way around.

A trail rider and barrel racer, Cindy has several Paints. Her gelding sports old style Easyboot Epics on his fronts and is often bare behind, though uses Easyboot Glove Back Country when they do need protection.

Then we have my own mare, Ewoyn. For the worst trails I will choose Epics with dome pads, but on most of our training trails I can use Gloves. I also like to use the Glove Back Country on her hinds for intense training.

And here are all four horses ready to head on up the hills.

 

Ode to the Old Mac's G2

 

You are tough as a boiled owl
Easy to apply - I never want to throw in the towel.
You stay so secure,
And my horse moves so pure,
I can’t imagine ever throwing you away.
Your features are many
When she sees them my horse lets out a whinny!
I can use you for turnout, for riding, for travel, and such
As for things you can’t do-there really ain’t much!
On the toe a tough shield
For kicking rocks in the field
A softly padded collar
Leaves nary a rub to make me holler
Aggressive tread for traction
Perfect even for the jumping faction,
Holes to drain water
So you can go swim when it’s hotter.
With sizes 0 to 12
Even the big guy can move like a gazelle
Internal closure and external belt,
All in a profile that’s surprisingly svelte.
They come in a pair at a price that is fair
And include a mesh bag for letting them air.
From the gravel road less travelled
To neatly groomed pea gravel,
To the arena built of sand
For me and my horse,
The Old Mac’s G2 will always be on hand.

Rebecca Balboni

easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.

More Tricks to Repairing Hoof Boots

Submitted by Martha Nicholas, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

After many years of use, I am surprised that I am still not done learning about EasyCare's bootsHere are a few more odd boot repairs I have had to solve lately.

Easyboot Gloves

Over time, the wear on the front of the Gloves makes the size of the boot difficult if not impossible to read. This may be the time to replace them, or maybe not. But when I am booting up for a ride, I want to know what the boot sizes are at a glance. My husband solved this problem with a small pencil type soldering iron and a white metal marking paint pen. The thickness of the Gloves in the toe area means they don't wear as much there. Mike found that a small soldering iron worked better and was easier to read than the old hot nail method. This could be done on the left or right sides of the boot to indicate which foot you would like it to be on as well or even inside the boot on the sole. The main thing is to go slow and light so as not to overdo it.

 

Easyboot Grip - Also Applicable to Easyboot Epic and Original Easyboot

I also had an issue with the buckle/cable system on an old pair of Grips. The cable has been getting stuck between the boot rubber and the white washer/wheel that the cable wraps around and slides on when adjusting the tightness on the boots. Upon taking the screws out and inspecting the white washer, I found I needed to replace it since it was worn down on one side. But the boot rubber was bent over so the problem was not yet solved. I used a thin metal washer with the inside hole big enough to fit over the gold knurled nut that EasyCare uses. I also went to a longer screw to allow for the added thickness. The washer acts as a guide to keep the cable in place on the wheel. I applied some WD-40 onto the area and I think I have solved yet another unusual boot problem.

 

It was fun solving these odd boot repair issues. Plus, I just know that someday I will get a call from a boot user needing boot repair advice. 

 

Tanya and Artistry: A Downunder EasyShoe Success Story

Artistry, Tanya’s beloved 17 year old thoroughbred gelding, was diagnosed with pedal osteitis and navicular changes last July. In order to recover and return back to dressage, the vets recommended metal shoes to provide the necessary support, but Tanya believed that Artistry’s hoof problems were the result of traditional steel shoeing and she was averse to their suggestions.

Tanya developed her own rehabilitation regime and started with the Old Mac’s G2 boots with EasyCare Comfort Pads to provide comfort and protection while Arty was on turn out for 12 hours of the day. It wasn’t long before Tanya watched Artistry become paddock sound.

Tanya connected with Duncan McLaughlin, a very skilled hoof care and equine massage practitioner near Bodalla, Australia. He provided the EasyShoe Performance N/G to Tanya. She then located an adept nearby farrier to apply them. The farrier was impressed, Tanya was pleased, and Arty was comfortable.

The next day, Artistry and Tanya attended a local dressage clinic. Following the clinic, Tanya and Artistry achieved two 3rd placings in their preliminary dressage event, even though they had compromised a significant amount of training time during recovery. The following week, Tanya and Artistry snagged a 1st and 2nd placing to take home.

At home, Arty charges around the paddock like a young thoroughbred in his EasyShoe Performances.. Please contact EasyCare at 1 (800) 447-8836 or email admin@easycareinc.com for more information on the new EasyShoes.

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I promote holistic methods of equine care and will assist you with finding the perfect fit for horse and rider.