Even Moms Can Do It

Submitted by Leah Cain, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

Most recently I have had a few people say, how do you do it all? How do you have time? It can be done people.

To give you the back story; I am an avid endurance rider that works 45-50 hrs per week, is a mom of a two year old, married, home with acreage and 9 horses to take care of. Yep, it can be done.

I live in the mountains of Colorado and I have heard so many times "I just don't have time to deal with boots!"  Well, I am here to tell you, with all the great advancements, it is so worth it.

EasyCare has so many great products, why wouldn't you let your horse be as natural as can be and boot when neccessary? I was preparing for a ride with a friend, talking over this very subject and she timed my application of the boots. It took no more than ten minutes. Is your horse's health and well being worth ten more minutes in your day? For me the answer is absolutely YES! My horses have better recoveries, less injury and better, stronger hooves since I have gone barefoot and booted. Not to mention how much money I have saved.  When you pay for a trim or do it yourself (like I do) and boot when needed, you can save quite a bit. For me, these boots seem to last about 300-400 miles. I have heard of people getting more out of them. When I was paying someone to shoe my horses with steel, no matter how far you ride, you reset or get new shoes every six to eight weeks. When I was competeing heavily in steel shoes, I was going thru steel every 150 miles or so depending on the course. When I did the math, it seemed to be a no brainer. 

A cool new advancement in the world of hoof booting is the arrival of the EasyShoe. For those of you wanting to keep shoes on your horses, consider the EasyShoe. It is a shoe that can be glued or nailed on, expands with hoof growth and the natural expansion and contraction of the hoof in motion. EasyCare has so many great options, you should give it a try.

Cinderella’s Easyboot Glue-On?

Submitted by Sally Tarbet, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

I was out checking fence yesterday on our 160 acre ranch outside of Eagle, Idaho and came across an Easyboot Glue-on that had failed a ‘minimal glue’ test. It was almost like Cinderella’s glass slipper…there it sat perfectly in the middle of one of the many horse-made trails that lead back to the barn. I cannot believe I did not find it sooner.

Part of the herd running in for breakfast.

Cinderella's Easyboot Glue-on?

The Easyboot Glue-on shell looks almost brand new...except for Cinderella’s mice must of gotten bored waiting for Prince Charming to find the “slipper” and started to chew on it. Other than the decorative scalloped edges, thanks to the little critters, the Glove Glue-on looks perfect (although not recommended for use), even after spending three summers in the intense Idaho sun. Amazing.

Since then we have perfected our Glove Glue-on process and now apply Glue-ons without any worries. Typically we have to work at getting them off, even two weeks later.

At the end of last season, I applied a pair of EasyShoe Performance N/G with the help of a farrier (the nailing part) on my bay Arab, Hawk. He loved his Performance N/G’s so much I had to use the brakes more than ever! I have never seen my boy move so nicely.  

We only used four nails per EasyShoe and the shoe was one size too big (I should of used a size 1). They still stayed on solid for over eight weeks. I took them off because he needed a trim, not because they were loose. It took a lot to get them off.  

My first attempt at applying a Performance N/G on Hawk.

Hawk and I cruising down the trail at Tough Sucker II, sporting his EasyShoe Performance N/G's with frog support which gives extra protection over the rocky part of the trail. Photo by Steve Bradley.

I am looking forward to the 2015 riding season with my boys in EasyShoe Performance N/G’s and Easyboot Gloves. I will let you know how it goes. Keep in touch!

 

 

Forgetting Something?

Relax! Don't worry too much, it is not age related and it is nobody's fault. It is just a fact. And it is not a surprise, either. Research has shown our average retention rate as follows:

- 15% what we hear

- 30% what we see

- 70% what we actually do and practice

Yes, these numbers vary depending on what kind of learner we are, but for the most part are about right as an average. So, the old style lecture without visual aid is of very limited learning value. 

Many of us have read blogs and watched videos of how to apply Glue-on Easyboots, for example. But, I hear if over and over again during my travels, many still do not feel comfortable doing it. Because our learning is incomplete when only reading and watching. We need the actual hands-on experience to get a good sense and feeling confident to do it. Then we need the practice. Practice itself does not make perfect, only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.

That is where the Bootmeister's Clinics come in handy. During these Clinics, participants will have ample opportunities to practice, make mistakes, correct them and do it better the next time around.

Two Clinic participants practicing as a team, applying Easyboot Glue-ons.

With more participants, a station approach works very well. Three to four stations with teams of 2 working together and everybody gets to practice. 

For the 2015 horse competition year, I have scheduled quite a few learning and practicing opportunities for everybody. Yes, because of my personal involvement in endurance events, most of these clinics will either take place in conjunction with endurance races or will be conducted at Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, Utah. That does not mean that these clinics are only open for endurance riders. EVERYBODY interested is invited to join in, no matter what your favorite equestrian discipline happens to be. The following list of scheduled educational seminars and workshops is in chronological order, by clicking on the highlighted name link, you get all the necessary details for the event.

Antelope Island, Utah. 

April 10th, 5 pm. At Base Camp of Endurance Ride. Duration: 1 hr. Lots of visual aids and short demonstrations. Because of time restraint, no actual practice will be possible. 

Mt Carmel, Utah

April 28th 10 am. At Base Camp. This will be a 5 hour hands on practicing opportunity. Bring your own horse and you can learn applying any kind of Easyboots or EasyShoes. Preregistration required by contacting the Bootmeister or GETC by phone or email. 

Hells Kitchen, Utah

May 15th, 2pm. At Base Camp. Preregistration required for hands on practice. 3 hour practice possible. 

City of Rocks, Idaho

June 3rd, 2 pm. At Base Camp. Preregistration required for hands on practice. 3 hours allocated.

-Strawberry Fields, Utah

June 18th, 2pm. At Base Camp. Preregistration required. 2 hours allocated.

There is no fee charged for any of the above listed opportunities. 

Later in the year, you will have the chance to watch the Elite Tevis Gluing Team work on gluing Easyboots at Auburn, California. This is a watch only session, but a great opportunity to see the best in the country gluing Easyboots on up to 50 horses. The dates are in the week prior to the Tevis Cup. For details you may visit the EasyCare website in June/July this year

If demands requires it, I will consider additional clinics in the fall at various rides, with details then forthcoming at an appropriate time. 

In November, GETC is organizing another F Balance Trimming Clinic in Moab, Utah. We did conduct a similar clinic last year and you can read up on it again on last years blog, What In The World Is The F-Balance?

Full class room of F Balance students in Germany.

F Balance Certification Courses are now held all over the world. In April, Daniel Anz, the Founder of the F Balance concept and Stephan Stich, his partner,  are  conducting the first clinic in China. The pair is truly conquering the trimming world with their concept.

The GETC Seminar will be a combination Trimming/Gluing clinic with lots of hands on practice time. We are working on combining it with an Acupressure Treatment Clinic, so I am very excited about this. During last years clinic, I was the first Hoof Trimmer of the USA to certify as an F Balance Professional. Also visit the F-Balance website to learn more about F Balance. If interested in this kind of clinic, please contact me soon or leave a comment under this blog.

For our European Blog readers, two workshops are being held in Europe end of October.  Details forthcoming on FB and EasyCare and GETC websites. 

 

From the desk of the Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

Back in the Game

Submitted by Karen Neuenschwander, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

I have called myself an endurance rider for sixteen years. I got hooked as a college student when I retired my dressage horse at an endurance barn and started training and competing with the horses in training there. Since then however, finding time to condition for endurance rides while juggling career, parenthood and my marriage to an Army officer has been more than a little difficult.  It's been seven years since my last 50 miler, with only one LD between then and now. But barring any unforeseen disasters, I'm back! I've been conditioning my mare, Rushcreek Brooke, for her first 50 miler, and the date is set for Leatherwood at the end of March.

My goal for this season is to qualify for the National Championship 50 miler. In order to get it done, reliable hoof protection is a must. With all of the moving around that our military family does, I decided several years ago that it was easier for me to learn to do my own hoof care instead of trying to find a new farrier every two years or so. I've had a chance to learn about hoof boots along the way and have even helped others to choose and measure for boots, but when it comes to my own horses, I am still a newbie. Easyboots have come a long way since I first started in endurance, and there are so many good options for hoof protection now.

I've been wanting to try some Gloves for Brooke, so I measured her and ordered a Fit Kit. Her hooves are fairly round, and my first measurements indicated that a wide size would be the best fit. Unfortunately, when I tried on the boot shells, even the smallest one was too loose. The next size down isn't available in wide, so I called EasyCare, and they suggested I try the regular width fit kit that included a smaller size. In the meantime, I double checked to make sure I hadn't missed any details that would make a difference in fitting the boots. 

When measuring for Gloves, EasyCare advises measuring after a fresh trim for the best fit. Well, I had trimmed Brooke a couple of weeks before, in a poorly lit part of the barn. (Thanks to Polar Vortex induced misery!) Upon further inspection, I saw some flaring at the quarters and a mustang roll that needed touching up. A few millimeters really make a difference in how a boot fits, and when the new Fit Kit arrived, the regular size 0 was a pretty nice fit, so I placed my order. First newbie lesson learned: Following ALL of the fitting instructions will save time, and get you the best fit.

Without a Fit Kit, I would not have guessed that this size was the best fit.

With the little bit of flare that Brooke still had post-trim, I ordered Power Straps just in case the boots needed a little more help staying on. When the boots arrived, the allure of playing with my new goodies got the best of me. I got out my tools and attached a Power Strap to one boot before even trying it on Brooke. Fortunately, I didn't attach the others, because there was no way that boot was going on with a Power Strap attached! The other "unaltered" Gloves went on with a few taps from a rubber mallet and were a near perfect fit. Second lesson learned: Don't assume you need to modify anything before you try the boots on.

The Gloves were now ready just in time for me to get in two long "peak" rides prior to tapering down for Leatherwood. The first was at Yorktown Battlefield. We had just endured three weeks of ice and snow, but a break in the weather finally came. And so we headed out into the sunshine, and the deep sucking mud, and the leftover ice. I did a lot of looking down and checking to make sure that Brooke's Gloves were still where they belonged, but I needn't have worried. They stayed in place like they were part of her hoof, and she moved confidently over all the muck.

Looking down to check on the Gloves - Everything still in place.

Enjoying a snack at the top of a long climb at Graves Mountain.

 The next test was a 28 mile all day ride at Graves Mountain. Recent snowfall meant lots more slick and sucking mud and ice. And this time, plenty of rocks, and climbs, and descents thrown in as well. If ever a boot were going to come off, this would be the place. Once again, the boots performed beautifully!  I finished the day confident that Brooke and I are ready to jump back into endurance with all four (booted) hooves!

 

Old Mac's G2 in All Its Accessory Glory

The Old Mac's G2 is a time tested and proven riding boot that is one of the most popular boots in the Pleasure Riding line up. We have success stories from turn-out use, to jumping, to Mounted Police Divisions with this boot.    

Another thing that makes this boot so popular with customers is that it comes with optional gaiters and has additional accessories available to perfect the fit and improve comfort. We know that accessories can sometimes be a mystery if you are new to booting, so we put together the video below to let you know how you can improve performance with your Old Mac's G2s.

 
We hope you find this video helpful with all things Old Mac's G2.  As always, feel free to contact our Customer Service team with any questions about any of the boots or their accessories.  
 

Tina Ooley

easycare-customer-service-representative-tina-ooley

Customer Service Representative

As a member of the EasyCare Customer Service Team, I am here to assist you in fitting and choosing the best hoof protection for your horse. I believe in natural, holistic hoof care and its contribution to sound horses and happy riders.

Extra Measures for Roadside Safety

It certainly seems that horse-vehicle accidents have been on the rise. While many riders have the luxury of never needing to ride near a roadway, many riders have no choice but to cross one or travel along one for some distance to get to their trail destination. If you don’t have the option to trailer to the trailhead, it’s important to practice safety in this time of notorious texting-while-driving operators and hurried commuters.

1. Is your horse ready?

Is your horse desensitized? Can you open umbrellas and move tarps or other frightening objects near and on your horse? If not, it’s not a good idea to ride him on busy roads.

Many police mounted units use Easyboots for extra support, concussion absorption, and traction on roadways.

2. Know the laws in your state.

Many states declare that horses have the same rights and rules as vehicles on roadways. Others, such as New Mexico, have more specific guidelines such as not being allowed to travel roads at night.

3. Stay on your side.

Horses are to travel with the flow of traffic.

4. Keep aware.

Watch for anything and everything and scan the roadway far ahead of you. Watch for signals from your horse, also. Remember, they have a broad peripheral range and great hearing. Teamwork!

5. Avoid rush hours.

6. Make You and Your Horse Seen

Although it’s the driver’s responsibility to be aware of the roadway, it’s better for everyone if you and your horse wear reflective and bright gear. Here are some accessory ideas to get you started on being safe without feeling tacky:

  • Reflective tape: The versatility of this allows you to put it anywhere and everywhere you want. If you use hoof boots, you can dazzle them up with a nice tape job.

  • Easyboot Transitions: Did you know that the Easyboot Transitions are reflective? The eyelets on the front, the front strap, and the back strap all are made from light-echoing material.

  • LED lights: If you like flashy, there are a lot of ways to get creative using battery powered LED lights. Check out EasyCare team member, Tina Ooley’s, creation for her mountain bike:

  • 1” bicycle reflectors: You can find a 24 pack of small reflectors for an affordable price and bedazzle all the tack you can dream of.

  • Other reflective gear: Bridle covers, leg bands, tail wraps, harnesses, halters, the list goes on...

7. Check your "tires".

Take good care of your horse's hooves and make sure they are well protected before hitting the road. Easyboots offer added traction and concussion absorption to keep your horse comfortable and safe, especially on pavement.

As riding season gears up, make sure you have everything you need to stay safe. EasyCare looks forward to hearing from you to take care of any riding needs that we may be able to assist with.

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.

And You Thought Booting a Horse was a Tough!

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

Are you an armchair musher? Are you addicted to following the famous Alaskan Iditarod like me? Some people call it the last great race, and I believe it to be so. Over a week, or maybe close to three weeks depending on your luck, of battling the elements and roughing it in the snow and ice, plus trying to take care of 10-16 dogs. Wow. This is the epitome of endurance, with some of the toughest people alive and I bow down to every one of them.

This great photo by Lynn Crance shows the pink dog booties of DeeDee Jonrowe's team at the start of the 2015 Iditarod. Photo courtesy of Lynn Crance.

Imagine being a musher at the Iditarod. You have well over 1,000 miles of snow, ice and water to mush 16 dogs through, that’s 64 little foot booties to put on. A musher must pack on the sled a minimum of 8 boots per dog, 148 booties. And throughout the day they will remove boots, make sure no ice or snow is wadded up around puppy toes, check for wounds, place salve on paws to prevent cracking of the pads, and replace the boots. The snow and ice is extremely abrasive and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out these booties are essential to a healthy sound dog.

A great shot of Allen Moore's team as a Rookie in 2007, count the booties! Photo courtesy of Colleen Martin.

Mushers use a “bootie horn”, much like a shoe horn, to enable fast replacing of boots. Dallas Seavy says “If I can save 20 seconds of time with every rebooting, it can take an hour and a half off my total Iditarod time.” And remember it could be thirty below zero while you are performing this task.

To me, the statistics are staggering. In 2015 there are 78 starting teams with a maximum of 16 dogs, equaling 1,248 dogs, times four that is 4,992 feet! A dizzying thought! In a vet check the veterinarians will examine these 4,992 bare unbooted paws. Just the lack of humidity in the air can cause the pads to crack, just like your fingers and what we call weather cracks. The vets look between the pads at the skin, and they may find raw spots. The mushers have different salves they use on the paws to help them heal, and the booties often enhance the salves ability to work well.

And each musher will often take over 3,000 boots with them to Iditarod. The boots are lightweight and made from cordura nylon. They fasten at the top with elastic and Velcro strapping which won’t damage the dog’s tendons. They run around $1.50 - $2.50 each so multiply that times 3,000. Ka-Ching.

Does this put booting your horses with Easyboot Gloves or Epics in perspective? Yes our hoof boots cost more per boot but look how long they last. We certainly don't need 1,000 of them. Even if we traveled 1,000 miles chances are that we wouldn’t use more than a dozen boots. And thankfully we aren’t checking 64 boots at every vet check either. We only check 4. Usually in pretty decent weather conditions I might add. So next time you think that booting up those hooves is work, just be thankful you're not an Iditarod musher.

I Have a Hoof Fetish

The horse has a natural pulley system in its leg. It uses the bone pivot of its fetlock and lower pastern, along with the help of its ligaments to take the brunt of its landing. The hoof itself can expand in the heels and the digital cushion helps soften the blow within the foot. 

A fun fact to keep in mind: The lower limb has no muscles. None. It has ligaments and tendons, yes, but no muscles.

The tendons are connecting muscle to bone.  It comes from a Greek word, teinein, to stretch.

Ligaments are attaching bone to bone. It comes from a Latin word ligare, to bind.  

You can stretch muscles and tendons. Athletes will stretch after a workout, when their muscles and tendons are very warmed up. You cannot stretch ligaments. They are made to hold joints together and bones in place. You will not do stretches to help your suspensory ligament in a horse’s limb. You can do stretches to help relax their tendons. The muscles up the upper limbs and shoulders pull, like puppet strings, the lower limb tendons. They either flex or extend. Extending is reaching, like claws reaching out. Flexing is contracting, digging, like claws into your jeans. If you’ve ever watched an adult cat that still thinks it’s nursing, it will extend and flex its claws over and over. This is what the flexor and extensor tendons are doing in the hoof. They are rotating and releasing the angle of the hoof so that it can land, then dig in and push off. It’s like a cat claw.

Every joint has a center of rotation or range of rotation that best works for it, based on the supporting ligaments, tendons and muscles around it.

The hoof also has a range of motion that it would like to follow.

The coffin bone is hinged against the lower pastern bone. Imagine the ball of your foot (the big pad) and your big toe. Lift up and push down with your big toe. You are extending and flexing, just like the coffin bone in relation to the short pastern bone. Test your range of motion UP from flat on the ground.

You have a no barriers to lifting in what could be viewed as “the full range of motion” of that joint. It’s a bit like a pendulum. Given the right amount of push, it can freely swing from left, to center, to right and back again.

Given its position, you have an expected range of motion.

Now let’s adjust your limb, into a high heel shoe position and ask the same exercise to be done.

With the ankle lifted, you have cut down your range of motion for that joint. The tendons that lift your toe are already in a rotated, lifting angle, by the mere fact of your heel being elevated.

You can’t change one part of your foot and expect it not to affect the other parts.

It would be like adding a wall to one side of a pendulum:

Not only can it not swing widely towards the wall, it will no longer build the momentum to gain full range on its “open” side either.

Let’s look at the hoof:

Forgive my Crayola art; this is as good as it’s getting. What we have here (L to R) is a hoof viewed from the side. You have the coffin bone (solid grey) with a groove in the back that the short pastern bone pivots against (grey outlined). You have a red tendon, that is connected to the top of the coffin bone and lifts it, angling it up. You have a green tendon that wraps under the bottom of the short pastern bone and attaches to the coffin bone which pulls it and angles it down. There are other pieces in the hoof, but I’m trying to just illustrate the action of these two tendons. When one is pulling with a force of “3” the other is releasing with a force of “3”. It’s a push-me-pull-you device. Flip and flop. So when the hoof is digging into the ground, the tip is pulled down by puppet string GREEN. RED must relax and release to allow it to tip down. When the hoof is landing heel first in the stride, the GREEN must let go and the RED pulls. These are your extensor (RED = to extend) and flexor (GREEN = flex, contract, grip) tendons.

Ideally, the hoof should be balanced on its center of rotation, or its pivot point. If you’ve walked with flippers at the beach, you know how tired your legs get with having to lift those flipper toes (and sand) with each step. You can also get tired in high heels, where your center of rotation is balanced on a stem and the room for pivot is very tiny, front to back. How many models try striding down the runway like nothing is wrong and then their ankle wobbles and they go sprawling? You don’t want too much toe out front or too little toe out front, it affects how hard the tendons have to work to keep you mobile.

Let’s look into a hoof to see where our center is. Here is a hoof capsule that was freeze dried with the coffin bone and digital cushion still in place. You can see the deep dish where the short pastern bone would groove into and have a half-pipe ramp to drop into. See that slit? That’s where the band of your Deep Digital Flexor Tendon goes. It attaches into the belly of the coffin bone. If we had the short pastern bone in place, we would be able to see the center of rotation.

But I’m all about spoilers, so let me guesstimate it in green. I tried to visually follow where my halfpipe was as I turned the hoof to a profile view. I then dropped my green circle to the bottom of the hoof to see if we possibly had a 50-50 of mass in front of and behind our center of rotation. What you can’t see (SORRY!) is that the heels were long and would’ve been trimmed. The honest back of the hoof, where the frog and bars and hoofwall all would have met up nicely, was where I dragged my red line. As a rough look: yes, it would be a decently balanced hoof, 50-50 to not put undue strain on either the Extensor Tendon or the Flexor Tendon.

What would happen if the toe was longer? I carried over my same center of rotation, but this time, added in a longer, sloping hoof. Now we clearly see there is a lot out front and not a lot in back. The Extensor Tendon is going to have to LIFT that massive schnoz up in every stride (against the friction of sand, mud, turf, water or other variety of footing) and the Flexor Tendon is going to have to PULL that massive shovel down into the terrain in every foot fall. Not easy on either of those tendons!

And not only do we have those two tendons affected by our trim (or what hoof we take away or leave in place) we have the suspensory ligament and the conformation of the rest of the limb to consider.

Here is the range of motion in my ankle. From a starting point, I have the ability to spring up and down quite a bit. But what if my heel was stuck in the middle position? I would only have half the rotation available to me. What if my heel was stuck in the far right position? I would have my leg column stacked vertically with no shock absorption left in my leg structure. Additionally, my pivot point is now balanced on the ball of my foot and I will have a harder time balancing there. My knees and hips and lower back will try to take up the support roles for shock absorption. This is the primary factor as to why I never became a Flamenco dancer. That and I couldn’t dance…or wear frilly red dresses.

What about negative angles? Just like a long toe, the negative slope of the foot pulls on the suspending ligaments and tendons in my leg into a state of constant pressure.

This is how my ankles feel worked after riding with “heels down” at a trot for extended periods of time. I actually ride with my heel “flat” or at a neutral level, because I could care less about my form and a whole lot more about my Achilles Tendon not snapping off.

Like a horse with a negative Palmar angle (coffin bone base pointing up at the tip and falling at the back) the supporting tendons and ligaments are in a constant frame of tension. Again, just like a long toe, it gives a lot of work to the Flexor tendon to not only come up from being negative, but to rotate up to flat, then to dig in when covering ground at any speed.

In talking with a physical therapist, there are just a handful of reasons that tendons get inflamed:

  • Repetitive activities
  • Prolonged activities
  • Standing in the same position for long periods of time
  • Injury
  • Strain

Barring an incident that actually tears or sprains your tendon, you can have inflammation and damage due to repetitive or prolonged (even at low energy) activities and also from standing in the same position for long periods of time. It wasn’t real to me that horses could be injured just standing, until I thought of their feet. Just like me in high heels, I will get sore legs just standing in them. And when I ride with my heels down, in a negative palmar angle? I get sore then too.

It’s food for thought: if you are plagued by lower limb injuries or inflammation consider the quality of your hoof work and make sure your horse is not left with overly upright or overly sloping hooves.

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!

Easy Cuff for Gloves

Submitted by Pascale Winckler, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

I had been happily using Easyboots as a pleasure rider when friends initiated me into endurance riding. With competition came the need to have a boot that stays on the hoof in difficult riding conditions (speed, mud, etc). Gloves work well, but sometimes, I will lose one, especially on the right front, where the hoof does not have a very good shape. My second horse is far from an endurance breed, but we compete in endurance at the lower level for fun.

At first I thought about using the Glue-On, but I was a bit reluctant because I like to let the horse be barefoot when I'm not riding. Then I saw an old post on the blog about the EasyCare Cuff System. It is an insert glued to the hoof wall, with embedded t-nuts to screw the boot shell on it. I was very disappointed when I found out it did not go into production. I decided to try it myself, but I had no cuff insert. For my use, I was happy with the gaiter, I just wanted to be sure one boot didn't come off in the middle of my ride. So, I decided it would be enough to glue "something" in front of the boots to increase grip to the hoof wall, and leave the gaiter at the rear.

I was still reading the blog  when I saw a photo where someone fixed the power strap inside the boots, instead of the outside standard way. That is how the idea came to me. Why not glue the power strap and use it as a cuff? Power straps are made of a good gluing material and it seemed easy to glue just this small piece. As a beginner in the gluing process (I had never used Sikaflex or Vettec before), it appeared to be a secure and cheap way to start.

Description : HD:Users:pascaleW:Desktop:cuff:cuff inside.jpg

Power strap inside the boots, ready to be glued.

The challenge was to have the right alignment between holes in the boots and holes in the cuff after gluing. So, I made two holes in the strap, in the recommended position for normal use. I put the boot on my horse, and used the drilled power strap and a permanent marker to locate where to punch holes in the boots. I didn't use intended marks in the boots since I didn't want constraint in the boot shell. Holes have to match before using the screws, to be able to put boots on and off. Then I screwed the power strap inside the boot, put the glue on the inside of the strap, and the boot on the horse using my rubber mallet.

Description : HD:Users:pascaleW:Desktop:cuff:cuff2.jpg

As the strap was not perfectly plated against the hoof for my first try, I use some paper wedging to ensure a good gluing bond. For my second horse I did a better job and didn't need that wedge.

As a gluing beginner, I choose to use Sikaflex, to have plenty time to work. I had some trouble finding Sikaflex 227 in my area (I am live in France), but I found Sikaflex 221, that is very similar. A representative from Sikaflex confirmed that it would make no difference for my use, although he was a bit surprised with what I planned to do with the glue.

Description : HD:Users:pascaleW:Desktop:cuff:cuff colle.jpg

Gloves with power strap glued.

I left the horse for 45 minutes with a hay net and then one hour again in the field, before removing boots by removing the screws.

Description : HD:Users:pascaleW:Desktop:cuff:cuff boots deposee.jpg

Boots removed, power strap glued.

The day after,  I was very happy to be able to put the boots on relatively easily. The holes matched well with aid of the rubber mallet to achieve good alignment. I left for three days of fast trail riding with friends. The boots, especially the right one that was causing trouble, stayed nicely in place, even with a fast gait and muddy trail. I lost screws on one boot, but I wasn't using Loctite glue as recommended. Next time, I will add it.

Then I was gone for 8 days of slow trail riding in the Morvan hills with my two horses, and more spare time,  I just applied the Gloves as usual, without screwing the glued strap.  

Description : HD:Users:pascaleW:Desktop:cuff:IMG_0127.jpg

Trek in the wooded Morvan Hills (France) wearing Gloves and Epics.

When I came back at home, 10 days after gluing my cuff, the holes still matched. Dust in the nuts was not a problem, and they were easy to remove with a nail.  

Description : HD:Users:pascaleW:Desktop:cuff:cuff après.jpg

After removing the cuff, one can see the bed of the T-nuts in the glue.

So, it is spring again, and this year I planned to do more orienteering competition. As there are two or three weeks between each event, it will be nice to let the horse go barefoot between rides, with the hoof just wearing the glued strap. Can't wait for a nice new riding season in Easyboots!

Zen and the Art of Boot Care

Submitted by Jean Welch, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

If you spend any time with horses, you’re probably familiar with the haysock phenomenon. Somehow a piece of hay finds its way into your boot and pokes you in the foot. It’s irritating, and if you don’t take the time to remove it, it can cause a sore spot on your foot. This in turn can cause you to adjust your stride so as to avoid being poked by the hay with every step. It’s the same with hoof boots.You know stuff is bound to get in the boot or stuck to the gaiter and make your horse uncomfortable.

Cleaning, inspecting, and staging your hoof boots after every use is a good habit to get into. It may sound laborious at first, but don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as an opportunity to provide your horse with a more comfortable and safe riding experience every time you hit the trail. You can ride on confidently knowing your screws are tight, your boots are clean and secure, and your horse is comfortable.

Dirt, sweat, and body oils can be abrasive and acidic to man-made materials such as rubber, polyurethane, and fabric. Removing this stuff from your boots immediately after use will help prevent them from embedding into your boots, possibly causing the fibers in the gaiter fabric to break down and un-necessary extra wear.
You wouldn’t dream of wearing the same socks day after day without washing them. Once again, the same goes for your horses’ hoof boots.

All you need to get the job done is a hoof pick, a good stiff-bristled brush, and possibly some tweezers.

I also like to set up a bucket of water with a little disinfectant added before I ride. Then when I get back, I pull the boots off and simply drop them into the bucket and let them soak while I put my horses up. Then I give them a good once over, making sure the stitching is in-tact, the hook and loop closures are clean, and the screws are tight.

If your boot has a gaiter such as the Easyboot Epic, Easyboot Glove or Back Country, visually and also manually inspect every inch of surface that comes into contact with his hoof, hairline, and pastern area. It’s easy to miss a sticker just by looking.

It’s important to make sure your boots are thoroughly dry before putting them back on your horse. Set them out with the gaiters wide open and peeled back as far as possible to allow them to air dry. If you live in a cold climate, bring them in where it’s warm. They will dry faster and will be much easier to put on later if they’re warm.
Cleaning and staging your boots after every use has another advantage. It promotes more spontaneity by making the decision to ride easier. It significantly reduces prep time, especially in this day and age when everyone is busy multi-tasking, and riding time is at a premium. If your boots are ready and waiting for you, you’ll be more likely to grab them and go when the mood strikes you.

Make this preventive maintenance part of your routine, and you and your horse will enjoy many comfortable rides for years to come.

Jean Welch

easycare-customer-service-representative-jean-welch

Customer Service Representative

Originally from New England, I finally heeded the advice of my “Inner Cowgirl”, packed up my horses and moved west to Arizona. Here I learned the finer points of hoof care and successful booting techniques. I can help you select the right EasyCare product for your specific needs.