Navicular with Grace

I bought Grace knowing she was lame in both front legs but I hoped with the right care she would come around. She was diagnosed with navicular. After regular proper trimming her hoof health improved. While she was healing, I used Easyboot Gloves as often as possible. Soon she went from looking like she was walking on pins and needles to galloping through the pasture with the herd. I strongly believe hoof boots played an important role in getting her feet to a good place for her to be comfortable again.


Name: Samantha Fastert
City: Audubon, IA USA
Equine Discipline: Western Arena Sports
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove

Tools of the Trade

It's that time of year when we "booters" get around to cleaning up and repairing the boots that we want to use for the upcoming season. For some, it is transforming those Easyboot Glue-Ons into Gloves or adding power straps to the now well worn and slightly stretched out Gloves, or maybe just replacing those gaiters, cables and buckles that have seen better days. Over the past 17 years or so of being a "booter" I have discovered a few tools that make it much easier to accomplish these little jobs. Over these same years my husband has gotten tired of me pilfering his tool shed and has put together a nice collection of tools just for me.

A couple of years ago I did a story on how to clean out Glue-Ons so I am not going to cover that again here.

To begin with, it is very handy to have a good collection of screw drivers of various sizes. The large flat head style is great for prying off Glue-Ons or really well fitted Gloves as well as working the buckle on the Epics. Smaller flat heads are good for scraping glue or dirt from the boots. The tiny screw drivers work great for getting the last bits of glue out of the crevices. Of course the standard size Phillips is for working the screws of the buckles, gaiters and power straps.

Over the last several years the strength in my hands is just not what it used to be so I have found a whole new love of power tools. These things are the bomb!  Of course my favorite is my little Dremel tool with its various attachments for cleaning up boots but this year I discovered a very close second...the small rechargeable drill/screw driver. After about the seventh or eighth boot repair my hands get tired and the larger drill was just too big and heavy for my hands. Along with the Dremel this is a must have if you plan to repair your own boots. It really is meant for screw driver heads but my husband got me a drill bit with a special attachment so I can use it to drill out the holes for the power straps and gaiters too. No more hole punch devise for me.

In addition to the above mentioned tools it is good to have pliers, wire brushes and and assortment of cutting tools as well as gloves and eye protection.

The nice thing is that most of these items are not expensive and can often be found at garage sales or in the bottom of some tool bag or box somewhere. Most if not all of them can also be found in sizes and weights that are easier for smaller handed folks like myself to work with. Being able to repair those used boots is a great way to get the most life out of your boots.

Tami Rougeau

Help Us Help You...

EasyCare Domestic Retail Dealers - Get creative and save some money! 

Send an image of your Easyboot Trail display and save money on all Trail boots ordered through April 30th.

The Easyboot Trail is the easiest boot in the world to put on and take off, requiring no hand strength. Even with aggressive traction, it is sleek, lightweight and stays on great through any terrain giving the horse 100% protection at any speed. The Trail also doubles as a therapy boot as well as a riding boot. The Trail was developed specifically for the casual rider, someone that rides less than twenty-five miles per week.

The Easyboot Trail is the “easy” solution for horses when standing in concrete stalls or on hard ground for multi-day events. The Trail gives the horse cushion and traction on extreme surfaces. An aggressive tread pattern provides serious traction and grip when trailering horses.

BBR Finals

For promotion details call me at 800.447.8836 extension 2226 or email your display image to dreiter@easycareinc.com.

Dee Reiter

easycare-customer-service-dee-reiter

Retail Account Rep

I am the Retail and New Dealer Account Rep for EasyCare. I will be happy to help you with ordering, selecting the most popular styles and sizes of EasyCare hoof boots to stock. Let me help you with suggestions on merchandising and provide training for you and your staff, at your convenience.

Functions Part I: The Hoof's Memory Foam

In my last blog, The 1st Grader Version of Equine Limb Anatomy, I discussed the origins of the equine limb. In this blog, let's look at the functions of the legs and feet. Legs have several "bends" in them to absorb the shock of landing impact, tense and spring upward to propel a body in movement. In humans, we have an ankle that takes the first impact and cushions or absorbs the impact of our foot landing, then we have a knee, then a hip and, eventually, the whole body frame can react and compensate for the impact of the feet.

 

In cats, dogs, horses, etc. you see the similar leg structures: multiple points that bend to spread out the shock of impact on multiple locations, and also, multiple sets of muscles to propel the body in continuous movement.

If I had to design a foot, I would need it to absorb impact, have the ability to grip, have the ability to brake and have launching power.

Cats and dogs have claws to help them for traction and launching. If you’ve had your dog chase the cat around the living room, you undoubtedly heard the traction control kick in as they rounded a corner on your carpet. They have a large, central pad for absorbing the landing shock. You can see their pad is the support beneath the “column” that is their leg. When you look at the skeleton view, you can tell that the pad was designed to take those near-vertical lower leg bones and cushion them. Their foot can expand and grip the ground which also helps with traction, braking and maneuverability.

 

What about horses? Where is their “central pad cushion”? Where is their flex? Where is their “claw” for traction and maneuverability?

Let’s take a look at the foot of a horse. Now, when we looked at the side view of the cat and dog legs, we could clearly see there was room for a pad or cushion. Horses actually have room for one too. Their bottom bone is shaped like a croissant or a half moon.

However you want to look at it, there is a hollow. I put hooves next to the view of the bone so you can see which angle we are looking at. The first are eye level, from the front and the back. You can see the hollow.

And from the solar view and topical view, you can see the crescent shape and, additionally, where the hollow is.

At the bottom of the leg is a cluster of bones, just like in cats, dogs and humans. It has a hollow. You can see additional bones of the foot here, as well as another angle of the hollow.

Here is a view of that bone slid into a hoof capsule. See all that room? What goes in there?

It’s the digital cushion. “Digital” means of a Digit. A finger, toe or “very most end of a limb” is considered the “digit”. Digits also refer to numbers. Funny enough, digit comes from the Latin word digitus meaning finger or toe, with the additional meaning that you normally “counted” on your “fingers”.

So back to Mr. Pony Toe. A Digital Cushion is, quite literally, a cushion for his toe. It looks gross and feels slimy and awesome in person. If Silly Putty and Memory Foam had a lovechild with the surface texture of eyeball goo, it would be a digital cushion.

On the left is a hoof in cross-section. The right is the same hoof, marked. I outlined the bones in red. I outlined the outer wall of the entire hoof and fur in blue (“external”, if you will). The green portion I outlined is the digital cushion. It’s big, it’s squishy, it’s slimy. If we rotated it around to see it from the back, you would see it fully wraps around the back end of the hollow of the coffin bone and sits as a cushion under the “column” of the leg structure. Below, you can see the back of a hoof, in the flesh (no pun intended), then the next layer deep, being able to see the digital cushion, then one more layer deep, seeing the back of the naked coffin bone.

Below, you can see two digital cushions, side by side. In some horses it is not as well developed or “big” and cushions less. All of the health of the hoof is related, one piece to the next. The adage “use it or lose it” seems to apply to the digital cushion. With the health of the whole foot taken into consideration, you can see that the foot on the below left is in poorer shape. The digital cushion isn’t supporting the bone structure. In fact the foot looks pretty flat, with the bones looking pretty close to the ground. While the foot on the bottom right shows a large cushion and a larger buffer between the bone and the ground.

Stay tuned for next the next installment, Functions Part II: The Hoof is a Roller Blade and a Nike.

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!

EasyShoes - There Are Many Options

Numerous applications of the EasyShoe have now been performed and tested. EasyShoes have been used in endurance races, track races, driving competitions, dressage, eventing and trail riding. They have been applied in clinics and seminars within North America and Europe. In my blog last month, I outlined the Global Endurance EasyShoe Clinic schedule. I encourage anyone interested in the EasyShoe to attend at least one clinic with EasyCare or Global Endurance. There is a lot of information passed on and shared and they provide great opportunities to practice under a watchful eye.

There are four different kind of EasyShoes available: SportCompetePerformance, and Performance N/G.

While the Sport, Compete and Performance models applied with glue, the Performance N/G can get glued or nailed. EasyCare has created several videos covering the proper application of each. It is advised to watch these videos and adhere to these application methods. Otherwise failure will be inevitable.

In today's blog, I want to discuss a few options you can use in your application. After application of any of the four EasyShoe models, you may fill the sole area with packing material. I have seen excellent results by using Vettec Equipak (regular, CS or soft) for this purpose. Most of the time this step might not be necessary, but if you want to guard against any possibility of a stone bruise or want to provide some more sole protection, this is a viable option. Below an example of a Sport where I filled the sole area with Equipak CS.

This option provides frog support with the EasyShoe Sport.

Another option is to add nails for peace of mind when applying the Sport and Performance. Let's say you do not have enough experience with gluing and/or do not trust your glues. Maybe the glues are a little old or it has been a cold day so you decide you want to add some insurance to your application. You can add a couple of nails to the shoes even though they are designed primarily for gluing. Below is an example of a shoe with two nails applied in addition to the glue:

What if you only want to use the EasyShoes for the front or the hind? No problem. In the picture below, I applied the the EasyShoe in the front and Easyboot Glue-Ons on the hind. You could also substitute the Glue-Ons for Gloves or any other Easyboot. 

When nailing or gluing to a hoof that is wider than the shoe selected, you can use an EasyShoe Spacer. EasyCare has five different sizes of Spacers available, size 8,10,12,14 and 16. The numbers refer to the width in mm. Select the proper size to make the shoe fit before attaching it to the hoof by either glue or nail. After the shoe is applied, the spacer can get pulled out with a hoof pick and then used again.

If the hooves are weak (thin lateral cartilage and/or thin and soft digital cushion) or the horse has to race in a 100 miler over difficult terrain, these spacers can be left in place and secured with small screws.

This spacer gives the shoe less flexibility and the hoof more support.

Below is an example of a weak hoof: soft and thin digital cushion, thin lateral cartilages. This hoof would benefit from a spacer to give it more support in an event. For conditioning hooves like these, it is best to leave the hoof bare for training to strengthen it, but I digress.

The EasyShoes can be set back on the hoof for more breakover and more heel support. You also can rasp the shoe after application to increase breakover or, if the heels are too long, you can rasp them down in the heel area. The image below is an example of setting the shoe back to the white line. It shows also a little heel extension for support of the movement apparatus. The trailers could be as long as half the distance from the heel to the end of the heel bulb. 

Here, all the clips and glue tabs have been removed but EasyCare recommends you leave either the toe clip or the side clips. When leaving the clips in place, you might want to set that nail above the clip a little higher but that is for a future blog.

The EasyShoes allow a lot of flexibility. Only your imagination is the limit. Evaluate the whole horse, then the hooves, then the purpose and task the horse has to perform. Then decide which EasyShoe to apply, how to apply it, and which option to choose.

Next month we will discuss nailing options of the EasyShoe Performance and I will share some tips and tricks with you. So stay tuned!

Your Bootmeister 
Christoph Schork
Global Endurance Training Center

Ali's First LD

This is a picture of my mare, Fine Ali Bey, at her first Limited Distance ride in 2013. She is wearing her Easyboot Gloves. We rode through mud and all sorts of technical trail and they held up great! Since this ride she has put on hundreds of miles on her boots and the farrier says she has very healthy and well-trimmed feet. I've taken her through rock, sand, and mud and we never have a problem with dirt and debris getting into the boots. She loves her magic shoes!

Name: Sarah Schick
Address: 2749 Holly Point Blvd
City: Chesapeake, VA USA
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove

5 Reasons Why Easyboots Are Awesome

Last year, my favorite little brown horse and I completed our first 100 mile ride at Virginia City, and over the course of the 23 hours on the trail, I had plenty of time to come up with a list of reasons why hoof boots are still one of the best options in hoof protection.

1) Pavement
VC 100 starts on Main Street in Virginia City in front of the Delta Saloon. It’s a magical feeling, really, to be trotting down the street in the dark with friends cheering you on. And that feeling would most certainly have been ruined, had my horse slipped on the pavement in his steel shoes and splattered us both on the asphalt.

2) Rocks
I think I’ve mentioned before that Nevada riders like rocks. Well, I’m a California girl at heart, so I still cringe a bit when I see a cobblestone laden road or boulder studded creek bed before me. But my little steed didn’t have so much as a bobble making his way through 100 miles of challenging footing.

Some of the 'good' VC footing. Photo by Tami Rougeau.

3) Shock Absorption
At VC, a lot of the “good footing” was hard packed sandy or gravel roads. Not exactly “good footing” by my wimpy standards, but we’re in Nevada now, and I found myself trotting over a lot of terrain that wasn’t exactly perfect. A few times, I was glad it was dark, so I didn’t have to see what we were trotting through. I was so glad Bite had the extra protection and shock absorption from his Easyboot Glue-Ons with Sikaflex in the sole. I like to think his joints appreciated the extra cushioning too.

4) Timing
The first time I ever glued boots on, I didn’t actually glue them on at all. I made my friends do it. I was pretty nervous I was going to screw something up. Since then, I’ve learned how to do it, I’ve gotten comfortable doing it, and I think I’d actually be more nervous to let someone do it for me. The truth is, once you work out a system, glueing boots on is pretty easy. When my horse was steel shod, it was always a bit of a challenge to coordinate shoeings close enough to a ride without being too close that you then had to worry about the horse getting foot sore from a fresh trim. On more than one occasion, I took him to a ride with 6 or 7 week old shoes because his shoeing schedule didn’t quite mesh with our ride schedule. Now that my horse wears boots, he’s always up to date on his trim and ready for a ride. To prepare for VC, I touched up his trim the week before the ride, and glued his boots on Thursday. It was a relief not to have to worry about his shoeing cycle being just perfect for this ride.

May, ridden by Team Easyboot member Tami Rougeau, and me on Bite.
Both horses are cruising down the trail in their Easyboot Glue-Ons.

5) “A” for Gait
Bite is a pretty solid guy. But it still blew me away that he could trot 100 miles over some of the rubble we navigated at VC, and finish looking as good as he did. I had tears in my eyes when I trotted him out and Dr. Jamie Kerr announced A’s for gait. Bite deserves a lot of credit for being one tough horse, but I know much of the credit goes to the awesome hoof protection he had that day. As always, we are so thankful to EasyCare for offering such great products. We hope we made you proud.

And, of course, big thanks to our friends, family, ride management, and vets for making Virginia City, one of the best rides I’ve ever done. Bite and I hope to be back next year!

Bite's VC 100 boots - they look like they could handle quite a bit more!

Renee Robinson

EasyShoe Options - Different Strokes for Different Folks

Since last September, I've had a various combination of EasyShoes on at least one of my four riding horses at all times. I've applied four sets of EasyShoes, with good success and have enjoyed using the different models on my guys. While there are advantages and disadvantages to leaving on any form of semi-permanent hoof protection, I've found the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages for my horses that need a little extra help.

Yup. This guy. 

When the EasyShoe first came out, I'm not gonna lie, I was a little worried I would become addicted to the ease of leaving shoes on and not having to mess with boots, but I haven't found this to be the case at all. My horses that have tough bare feet are still bare, and the ones who aren't comfortable working without protection on at all times have EasyShoes applied. After the dude with the broken off heel grows a new one, I don't anticipate him needing long-term protection. However, having the EasyShoes as an option is fantastic! 

In using the different models of EasyShoes and obsessively evaluating/watching/analyzing (did I mention I am a tad bit obsessive?) my horses in them, I have a clear favorite. The winner for my herd is the EasyShoe Sport. This guy is lightweight, flexible and allows a large portion of the bottom of the hoof to see the light of day. All the while being pretty supportive with its wide-web design. I like to be able to pick out my horses' hooves, apply whatever foot potion I want and generally keep an eye on things. Because it's spring and the ground has been soft, the frogs have had plenty of ground contact to stay stimulated and healthy. This might change when the ground hardens, but if that's the case, the EasyShoe Performance has great frog-support integrated as part of the shoe. For further support, things like Dental Impression Material can be used to fine-tune to one's liking. Could these things be any cooler?

My favorite.

Majik wearing EasyShoe Sports up front and Competes on the hinds. I originally put this
horse in EasyShoes to help grow out his broken-off heel and quarter, and then applied them

on the hinds when his feet began showing excessive wear after ramping up his training. 

For the hind feet, my new favorite is the EasyShoe Compete. I won't lie, I first ordered the Competes because my pretty-pretty-princess gelding has four white legs and feet and the black shoes stick out on him like a sore thumb. So I naturally did what any self-respecting, image-conscious individual would do, and bought some clear shoes and tan Adhere to stealthily rock the EasyShoes in horse shows and clinics and such. Because I had messed up on the sizing for the other horse who didn't need shoes to match his feet, I ended up putting a pair of Topper's Competes on Majik's hind feet and was stoked how great they looked on his one white hoof. I was even MORE stoked to notice he didn't slip at all in the narrower thin-web of the shoe during his daily pasture-time acrobatic sessions. He went from laying tracks longer than his little self to stopping on a dime. For situations where traction is important, like horses working on grass or in slick conditions, these seem to be bomb-diggity. Plus, the incognito factor for those light hooves is pretty sweet. 

EasyCare takes a mean picture, and does a wicked good EasyShoe install.

I'm sure my amateur-self will have have some trial and error in my journey, but for now I am stoked about the product and psyched to see my one horse in particular thriving with his EasyShoes. I also can't wait to see the big things that people do with these in the coming months and years! The EasyShoes have already been used to win endurance rides, win Best Condition awards at those rides, make fancy dressage horses dance and have already helped countless other ponies. The journey has just begun! 

You Don't Know Where I Ride! Oh, But I Do...

An endurance riding competition is not the only activity that works well for showcasing many of the EasyCare products, but it does show what extremes can be achieved using our products. Now that the four EasyShoe models are available throughout our distribution network, with more shipping out this week from our Tucson office, we are seeing some success stories around the world. Just last weekend, horses in EasyShoes won top awards at the Antelope Island Endurance Ride near Salt Lake, Utah. The riders appreciate the flexion the shoe allows within the hoof capsule, both laterally and vertically.

Farrier Ernest Woodward applying an EasyShoe Performance N/G.

On day one of the 50-mile event, Rusty Toth and Ripper won the 50-mile event in just under five hours. On his fronts, Ripper was wearing EasyShoe Performance N/Gs that were glued with two nails applied to the front quarters of each shoe. On his hinds, Ripper wore Easyboot Gloves.

Rusty and Ripper approaching the 30-mile vet-check. 

Christoph Schork on CStar and Rori Tehan on Dunny tied for first place on the two-day 100-mile event at the same location. Both horses had EasyShoe Performance N/Gs applied on their front feet and Easyboot Glue-Ons applied on their back feet. Dunny also won the Best Condition Award.

CStar and Dunny approaching the vet check on Day 2 at the Antelope Island 100-mile event.

There are three things you should know about the EasyShoe:

  1. Get educated! There are three upcoming EasyShoe Clinics still to come as part of the national tour of clinics presented by EasyCare in association with Daisy Haven Farm and Anatomy of the Equine. Designed to cater to horse owners, trimmers and farriers alike, this course reviews anatomy of the lower leg, various application methods using glue or nails, as well as the best tips and tricks to make application successful. The next clinic takes place May 16-18 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
  2. There is more product in stock. Our distribution center in Tucson, Arizona is stocked up on EasyShoe. You should be able to get exactly what you need.
  3. A bigger size is coming! The EasyShoe Performance and Performance N/G will be coming in size 5 - we expect to receive product by the end of May 2014. Size 5 accommodates hoof sizes summarized in the table below:

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.

Every Hoof Has A Story

We’ve all heard the joke, “Talk to the hoof!” But what we really need to do is listen to the hoof. Every horse’s hoof has a story to tell. If you look and listen, it will reveal approximately a year of its past. It’s a great way to learn the history of a new horse or just know what is happening within your horse.

Any injury that occurs to the coronary band leaves a mark or scar that grows out down the hoof wall. The injury can be from a cut, scrape, a broken abscess, quitter, and stress to name a few. The coronary band feeds the hoof and it is similar to the cuticle of your finger nail. The hoof below shows such a mark portraying prior injury.

The hoof above has a horizontal line indicating a wound or injury to the coronary band of the hoof. It takes about a year for these cracks to grow all the way down and be gone. This horse has a scar to the coronary band and there is always a bit of a lump and discoloration.

A hoof abscess is a localized bacterial infection in the sensitive structures of the hoof and is a leading cause of lameness. Typical signs of a hoof abscess include sudden and severe lameness and pain. The horse bears little to no weight on the leg with the abscess as they are extremely painful. The hoof may be hot with an increased digital pulse. This is because as the pus and infection build up, the sensitive laminae become tender and swollen. Yet due to it all being inside a hoof capsule, the swelling has nowhere to go. The pressure just continues to build and normally within a couple days it will push out through the wall and break out up on the coronary band. Sometimes if the abscess is caused by a puncture wound or gravel, soaking the hoof can open the hole and allow it to drain out. 

Even though there is still dirt in the collateral groove around the frog in the hoof above, you can see the blackened areas of the sole. This is not dirt. This is an old abscess and the lines around the edges indicate the depth of the pocket. Abscesses seldom become visible until the normal trimming process begins to expose the old dry pockets. These black pockets can also be old thrush pockets from a severe case of thrush. This hoof is going to take a while to grow out but looks much better than it did 2 ½ months ago.

The outside of this same hoof (above) shows an assortment of lines, ridges, dents and cracks. The ridges could indicate previous bouts of laminitis, illness, fever, severe thrush or abrupt changes in his feed. In about a year’s time they will not be seen. Also notice the reddish purple coloration near the horizontal lines indicating some serious inflammation that happened within the hoof. The vertical cracks appear to be shallow surface cracks, nothing that penetrates and causes issues.

Stone bruises can create a mysterious lameness. The severity can vary between consistently off to only a bad step now and then. Diagnosing the bruise is eliminating all leg lameness symptoms and identifying the lameness is in the hoof. Perhaps you had been riding on rocks when he became lame and you have no leg swelling or tenderness so assume it’s a stone bruise. A horse out in frozen ground with a lot of ice can also suffer bruising to the sole or frog of the hoof. Your vet or farrier can possibly locate the bruise with hoof testers. Most bruises will heal and go away without intervention. Others may cause some deep bruising and possibly an abscess. Again check with your veterinarian for treatment if it is necessary. Your horse will probably regain soundness before you ever see the bruise exposed as it grows out and gets trimmed away.

This horse above became lame during a multi-day ride. Two weeks after the ride the frog shed a layer leaving new frog that was speckled red. This is the same frog after it has shed four different layers. It has not been trimmed; layers have peeled off due to a very deep bruise. Notice the discoloration circled. It really was a reddish purple. Also the circled area over the left bar shows some horizontal cracks possibly from concussion experienced on hard surfaces.

  

This is the same hoof after some clean up with visible bruising evident. This circled area had some red marks that I do wish showed up better in photos. Some stone bruises can become visible after normal trimming. Often they are absorbed by surrounding tissues and go unseen. As trimming progressed I uncovered a couple other bruises that did not show up in photos. You may find pink spots along the white line and also on the outer wall of the hoof. 

Some of you have probably seen much worse than this, as have I. But I don’t have photos of it. I’ve only started photographing these and now the first thing I do is dig for the camera. I only wish the discolorations and marks showed up better for documenting these ailments. It’s a fascinating study and one can learn a lot from a hoof’s story.

Karen Bumgarner