EasyCare Dealer: Teskey's Saddle Shop

Dyana, at Teskey's Saddle Shop in Weatherford, Texas, not only "talks the talk" (at Teskey's) but she also "walks the walk" (notice her horse is wearing the new Trails).

Dyana decided to try boots on her horse and, for her particular style of riding, decided on the new Trails.

Dyana had some problems with sizing and we worked together to try to find the best fit; however, in the end, she did have the right size and just needed a little boost from a firm Comfort Pad that raised the hoof up enough in the boot to have a snug fit.

As you can see from the pictures, her horse is happy in his boots and so is Dyana!

When EasyCare Dealers use and like the product, they can talk more intelligently to the customers, tell them of their experiences, help them with fitting and this causes their sales to soar, just as Teskey's has done. If you haven't used boots, then you just don't know.

If you are ever in Weatherford, Texas, look them up and talk to Dyana! Or call her at 817.599.3400 or go on line at www.teskeys.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.

For the Love of the Glue-Ons!

Submitted by Leah Cain, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

I love riding a horse with Glue-On boots!  I have had a lot of success with them.  My horses travel freely and are confident over varied terrain in them.  In the past, I have only used them for 100 mile endurance competitions and multi-day rides.  I like using them so much that I hate to have to pull them off after a couple weeks to keep the hoof healthy.  I was thinking that if I had access to the sole of the hoof in order to keep it dry,clean it out and apply iodine, I could keep the boots on longer.  After speaking with Kevin Waters and Christoph Schork, and reading Christoph's blog about cutting out a big hole in the bottom and some of the benefits, I decided to try it myself. 

I took clean, unused glue on boots and cut a hole in the bottom using a 2 1/8 hole cutter (the one that you would use to cut a hole in a door for the door knob.)  I secured the boots to a piece of wood to hold them still. Also, make sure you are using clean gloves on your hands to ensure that you do not get the boots dirty.  Once the boots have the proper holes, you are ready to glue on boots as normal except you do not need Sikaflex in the bottom of the boot.  I did also use the EasyShoe Bond for this application simply because I realized that I didn't have any tips for the Adhere. 

I kept the boots on for 8 weeks.  In that time, I did many miles of conditioning and one 50 mile endurance competition.  We experienced lots of mud, gravel roads, sand and just about everything in between.  Surprisingly, we never picked up a rock. 

The last two photos are the boots and hoof after eight weeks. I definitely have found my new favorite way to use Glue-On boots!

 

August 2016 Read To Win Contest Winners

The August 2016 Read to Win Contest winners are:

Carl Zimmerman

Tami Hinkle

Tegan Larson

Congratulations! If your name appears above, you have been drawn from our e-newsletter subscriber list. Please contact EasyCare within 48 hours to claim your free pair of any EasyCare hoofboots or EasyShoes.

Be sure to read the EasyCare e-newsletter for your chance to win next month. Sign up at easycareinc.com/newsletter_subscribe.aspx.

 

Tevis 2016: Elite Gluing and Crewing

There are many different ways we can experience a world class equestrian event: as a spectator, as a volunteer, as a competitor, and even for some, as a judge. I've been honored to experience several of these kinds of events as a competitor and also as a volunteer, and they all overflowed with feelings of excitement and fulfillment.  However, none of them compare to my experience at The Western States Trail 100-Mile Endurance Ride: The Tevis Cup, just last week.   

The Tevis Cup made it to the top of my list so quickly and easily because I was able to experience the ride from two very different, yet equally amazing perspectives: in the early part of the week as a member of the Easyboot Elite Team, and then during the ride as elite crew!  

Being part of the Easyboot Elite Team was a phenomenal experience.  Starting a few days before the ride we helped about 50 horses, that's somewhere around 200 feet that we glued boots on!  It was a blast.  The energy was high from riders and Easyboot Team members alike!  We were here to help these horses have the best ride they could possibly have with the best hoof protection our industry has to offer for such a tough event.  

Every horse I helped with their hoof protection I felt like I was part of their teams.  There were six of us on the Team, plus Garrett Ford and Christoph Schork coaching.  Team members included farriers: Josh Bowles, Jeremy Ortega, Deanna Stoppler, Derick Vaughn, Pete Van Rossum, and myself, each worked in teams of two gluing.  One partner would be responsible for foot prep: buffy, scuff, wire brush, torching, and dremeling. The other partner would be responsible for gluing: prepping the boots, applying Sikaflex and Adhere to the boots, facilitating horse handling, work space management, and boot application.  

Boot size selection was typically done by both partners, which was surprisingly easy considering the horses arrived with their feet already trimmed. As a group the Team Members are used to fitting boots to our own trim, so to fit boots to someone else's trim was an interesting process.  As a whole the horses arrived with very tidy trims and good feet which made boot selection easy.  

We took turns with each responsibility, one prepping and one gluing each day. The goal was to get really good at one part of the process on the first day, then switch roles, and do the other part of the process the second day.  The repetition of one part of the process helped ensure consistency and excellence in application.   I was partnered with Jeremy Ortega, fellow farrier and friend from California, who had also been on the team last year.  With his previous experience he helped me get up to speed quickly on the tiny details that make or break success at a ride of this level.  We had a great time together!  

While my work gluing was over, the best was yet to come!   I couldn't come all the way to California to help everyone get ready for the ride and then not stay to watch! Even better, I was honored to be part of ride crew for Garrett and Lisa Ford.   What a phenomenal group of people!  

Someone said to me that crewing for Tevis is harder than riding it, well this group made it seem pretty easy.  Yes there were many stops, and yes getting in and out of some of them required a lot of physical labor by the crew, however, talk about extremely well organized.  The Ford's crew operated like a well oiled machine, it was amazing to be a part of it!  

 And what a Team to crew for!  Garrett and Lisa crossed the finish line hand-in-hand as they have for the last several years, Lisa placing 2nd with her horse GE Cyclone, and Garrett 3rd with The Fury. Lisa's horse even went on to win the Haggin Cup.  Yahoo!  I felt like I had won it myself, being part of the TEAM.  

I'm still "riding high" from the week at Tevis. Garrett asked me at the end, "What do you think?  Not the gluing, about the ride"?  I thought for a moment and responded, "It's amazing, every detail matters, the preparation, the training...but at the end of the day, it's still an endurance ride, ridden one step, one mile, at a time, hold to hold, just like any other ride".  Now I want to ride Tevis myself, even more!  

Everywhere we went, Kevin Myers was missed..."IRFKM" = I Ride For Kevin Myers was spotted stenciled on horses, people and things, and t-shirts were abundant saying "We ride with Kevin".  We know he was there with us in spirit!

  

The Easyboot Elite Team Members who stayed to crew for Tevis.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with some of the greatest people in the world doing something we all love, helping people excel with their horses!  

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com
www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com


 

The Elite Team

Tevis is arguably the most prestigious and toughest endurance race in the world. Even people who have never heard of the sport endurance riding have heard of the Tevis. The ride is being followed all over the world. This year marks the seventh year that EasyCare has provided a free gluing service for interested riders at the Tevis. In December 2008 Garrett Ford and I rode the Easyboot Glue-Ons at the Las Cienega Ride in Arizona for the first time ever in an endurance race. Garrett and I finished first and second that day and GE Cyclone, this years Haggin Cup winner, received the BC honors. 

From then on, we never looked back. We knew that the Glue-Ons would have a future. Starting in 2009 EasyCare organized and provided the Tevis gluing service. The numbers of interested riders are increasing every year and it  became harder and harder for Garrett and I to glue boots on dozens of horses before Tevis and then ride the next day. Often we both were so tired and suffered of aching backs before the ride even started that I was surprised we even made it through and finished at all.

Last year, Garrett had the great idea of forming an Easyboot Elite Team for Tevis, consisting of qualified farriers and hoof trimmers who would not enter the Tevis themselves. Interested individuals filled out applications, these were then screened and after interviews, the Elite Team members were selected. 

Kevin Myers wrote a blog last year after Tevis with some stats on how Easyboot Glue-On riders fared compared with riders using various other hoof protection methods. You can read up on this by clicking on this blog. Just a short statistic here, last year the completion rate for non Easyboot riders was 42%, Easyboot riders finished at 55%.

So, how does it compare to this year? This year, the completion rate was an astonishing 76% for Easyboot riders! The highest percentage ever! Haggin Cup winner was again in Easyboots. You can see the full history of results in Garrett's Tevis recap.

The Easyboot Glue-On is certainly an outstanding product. But without the proper application of these boots, the numbers would certainly not be that good. Only the professional and meticulous glue on procedure guaranteed this success. There is no better group of hoof care professionals in this country than the Easyboot Elite Team, with this years members being listed alphabetically here: 

Daisy Bicking

Josh Bowles

Jeremy Ortega

Pete Van Rossum

Deanna Stoppler

Derick Vaughn

These individuals did such an outstanding job gluing boots on, it was a pleasure for me to watch. If my memory serves me right, not one single Glue-On boot applied by this team was lost during Tevis. 

Elite Team members worked at three stations, gluing three horses at the same time.

The hoof is structured with the rasp to increase the adhesion of the glue.

An Elite Team member is checking the size for proper  fit.

After the glue is applied and the boot attached, the borders are sealed and smoothed out. With a hoof buffy, the boot is then finished for a crisp and clean look. 

Tevis has come and gone. We are all looking forward now to the National Championship in September this year at Antelope Island. Will riders with Easyboots again take home top honors?

 

From the desk of the Bootmeister

 

Christoph Schork

www.globalendurance.com

 

Easyboot Success at the 2016 Tevis Cup- Statistics the Haters Won't Like!

I had a distinguished farrier tell me at the International Hoof Care Summit "The only reason Easyboots do well at Tevis is because you get your product on the good horses". He was trying to take away from our success at Tevis but I took it as a compliment and just smiled.  

The haters out there will look at this blog as boasting. Bragging. Talking about success. To be honest, I don't care. I've been at the helm of Easyboots and the leader of alternative hoof protection for over 25 years. Over those 25 years we have been snickered at, called a fad, copied, told I was "going to hell", eyes rolled at, called an outsider, spit on, etc. In the horse world, and our bigger world, it's tough to be an outsider. It's hard being someone that goes against the grain. You get laughed at when you are someone that comes with different ideas. People want you to fail. As the punches and insults came over the years I decided to return the blows with results rather than words. It's one thing to talk about a product, it's another thing to beat them.  

The 100 Mile Tevis Cup started the sport of endurance racing and is still considered the toughest 100 mile horse race in the world. It's the race where the toughest people in the sport go to test themselves, their horses and their gear. The 100 mile course forces competitors to use products that work! You can't fake results at the Tevis Cup. 

EasyCare started putting an emphasis on the Tevis Cup back in 2009.  We decided at EasyCare to take our products to the toughest race in the world and see where they stacked up against the other hoof protection options. Rather that talk about the benefits of a product, we decided to have the results and stats speak for themselves. Rather than convince riders your product worked, show them stats and results that were hard to argue.  

Lisa Ford and GE Cyclone win the 2016 Haggin Cup!  Awards don't get bigger in the sport of endurance.  

Tevis 2016 Statistics:

  • The Tevis Cup was won by Karen Donley on Royal Patron wearing Easyboots.
  • The Haggin Cup (Best Condition) was won by Lisa Ford and GE Cyclone wearing Easyboots.
  • 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 4th place and 6th place were in Easyboots.
  • Ten of the top 20 finishers were in Easyboots.
  • Overall 2016 Tevis Completion rate: 52%
  • Non-Easybooted completion rate: 44.35%  (115 Non-Easybooted riders started, 51 Non-Easybooted finished)
  • Easyboot completion rate: 72%  (50 Easyboot riders started, 36 Easyboot riders finished)
  • 30.3% of all starting horses were in Easyboots.  
  • 41.3% of all finishing horses were in Easyboots.  (36 Easyboot riders finished, 51 Non-Easybooted finished)

Most Easyboots were installed by the 2016 Easyboot Elite crew.  

From left to right: Pete Van Rossum, Daisy Bicking, Christoph Schork, Garrett Ford, Deanna Stoppler, Steve Foxworth, Derick Vaughn, Jeremy Ortega and Josh Bowles.

EasyCare and Easyboots have had a nice run at Tevis. It's been a bunch of hard work but we are happy with the results. 

Results from 2010 to 2016:

  •  2010 Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2011 Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2012  Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2013 Tevis Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2014 Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2015 Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2016 Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.

EasyCare is very proud of what we have accomplished at the Tevis Cup. We are proud to be a company coming to market with new, controversial ideas. There are many ways to skin a cat, and I believe in many different types of hoof protection.  But with that said, I'm sure proud of what our little product range has accomplished at the most difficult horse race in the world.  

Over the last 61 years only 50% of the riders starting the Tevis finish each year.  That is like flipping a coin.  I prefer to use Easyboots and increase the coin flipping results.  

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.

SOS August 2016: All You Need to Know About the New Comfort Pads

Let's cut to the chase. You all know Comfort Pads in hoof boots yield big results. Utilizing Comfort Pads in boots provides relief from hoof maladies and encourages correct movement. This small addition can make a big difference to a horse by providing solar support, eliminating peripheral loading and vibration while increasing blood profusion within the hoof. With so many great benefits what's not to love about them? 

If you haven't noticed, EasyCare has given these little wonders a bit of a makeover. 

The older style pads had lines printed on each side-each corresponding to a different boot model. The trouble was that even with four different shapes in each thickness and each density, there were still models and sizes of boots that didn't jive with the templates stamped on the pads.

The new style has a universal fit and is not stamped with any lines. Any one of them can be cut to fit any of the 129 possible shapes of boot. No more guessing which style or which size to order. All you need to know is what density and which of the two thicknesses you'd like. Instead of selecting one of 24 different pads, you only have to choose between six.

So basically, you can fit more boots with less pads. Simple!

You will also notice a difference in the feel. They are still made from the great EVA material you have come to know and love but now they are now closed-cell making them better for keeping moisture and bacterial levels down. 

The best way to size the pads is to trace the hoof directly onto the pad and then cut it out. Of course, since you don't always have the horse at your disposal sometimes using a template is better. Here is an oldie but goodie that is more relevant now that ever; Debbie shows how to make your own set of sturdy reusable comfort pad templates. Spend a little time making yourself this handy tool and never make a mistake cutting pads again!

 

Debbie Schwiebert 800-447-8836 ext. 2224 dschwiebert@easycareinc.com

Rebecca Balboni 800-447-8836 ext. 2232 rbalboni@easycareinc.com

Secrets of the Savvy

Secrets of the Savvy: your source for inside information on all things EasyCare.

Mentorship with Garrett Ford

Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

In 2015 I applied for the American Association of Professional Farriers (AAPF) Roy Bloom Scholarship by submitting a case study entitled “A Team Approach to Treatment of Recurrent Abscessing Resulting From Solar Keratoma in a 14-year-old Quarter Horse”. As one of two recipients of the scholarship, I received the grand prize of a two to three day paid mentorship to take place with an AAPF mentor of my choice.  I chose to mentor with Garrett Ford, President and CEO of EasyCare, the leader in hoof boot technology.

Ford is an innovator, businessman, endurance rider, athlete, and breeds and races horses in the Arabian racehorse industry.  He is married to an amazing athlete, could-be professional chef, and physical therapist, Lisa Ford, and is raising a 9-year-old hard-as-nails, feisty daughter, Alyxx Ford. They have three dogs—one that is quite crafty and does all kinds of tricks, another who is an up and coming cattle dog (and wreaks havoc on the horses and foals, in a good way) and another miniature guard dog whose bark is much bigger than her bite. And they have a lot of horses. Arabs.  Ford trims and shoes his own horses for pleasure, endurance competitions, and for the racetrack. 

Ford’s experience in the hoof care industry, wide range of interests and talents, and ability to manage his career and personal life were all reasons for my selection. 

Traveling across the country from Vermont to Colorado was nothing new—every year I travel to Alberta, Canada to visit my dad—but still when I exited the plane in Durango I was amazed at the dry air.  Vermont is a humid place; even when we lack rainfall, it is humid.  Colorado was dry.  Cloudless sky.  Bright sun.  Like Alberta, like home.

My first evening at the Ford ranch was spent settling in, eating delicious sushi in downtown Durango (I liked the appetizer of fried brussel sprout chips best), and planning the next two days. 

Enjoying sushi with a feisty Ford!

In the days to come I would learn about trimming in a dry environment; glue on tips-and-tricks; new ideas for glue usage; basic information about Arabian breeding and racing; and endurance riding (hands on—we went for a 17-mile ride in the mountains, trotting and cantering the entire ride).

17-mile ride with Garrett and Lisa Ford.

Day 1: Can you glue a shoe?

If you think you know all there is to know about gluing try spending the day with Garrett Ford.  His mind constantly challenges the status quo.  He and his friend and colleague, Curtis Burns, continually test new ideas for shoe designs and for glue prep and use.  After numerous courses with various well known glue practitioners and spending a week as a team member of the 2015 Easy Elite, gluing shoes on competitors’ horses for the Tevis Cup 100 Mile Endurance Ride, I would say I know a thing or two about gluing but as farriers we can never learn too much and Ford is a prime example of pushing the boundaries and not allowing ourselves to settle in the comfort zone.

We played with shoeing using a technique that allowed us to tack the shoe on with Vettec adhere only from the heel to widest part of foot portion of the shoe, alleviating any possibility of glue pressure in the tip of P3, and tying in the cuffs and toe region of the shoe with Equilox tinted with black concrete dye.

Equilox tinted with black concrete dye.

We talked about the importance of heel prep and making sure the periople is removed prior to applying glue and how critical it is to glue the vertical height of the heels, not just the sole side.

Importance of heel prep.

We applied a dual nail/glue system and cut the cuffs down to account for slight flaring in the foot. 

A conversation about aesthetics and finish led me to realize that the smallest of details, like consistent finish in all four cuffs, separates better from best.  Ford talked about his mantra when finishing a foot—Curtis Burns once said to him: “Would you leave it like that?” And so he says it to himself after every trim, glue job, boot removal…would you leave it like that?  If in doubt fix it; do it to the best of your ability or don’t do it at all.

Day 2: Trimming a few, and a few more.

Trimming in a dry climate was in some ways like taking a breath of fresh air.  The work can be more difficult when trying to remove embedded bar and sole material but the feet are rock solid, literally. In Vermont feet are in a constant cycle of wet to dry to wet to dry to mostly wet, soggy, like a sponge. I might be exaggerating a bit but you get the idea.  Even though Ford’s pastures are irrigated daily, the horses’ feet are dry.  The air is dry. The ground is dry.  Feet: dry.

The balance of backing toes, leveling heels, leaving vertical height, straightening bars, removing exfoliating frog material, all of it applies to Colorado feet but Ford’s horses had healthy, dry feet instead of healthy wet feet.  Looking at the feet in Colorado versus Vermont wasn’t earth shatteringly different but I quickly realized that dry West feet could handle a bit more trimming than soggy East feet. In Vermont it feels that I am constantly balancing taking just the right amount of foot; not leaving so much that it will chip in the next couple of weeks of growth but not taking so much that if we hit a dry spell the horses will be sensitive on hard ground. 

During our day spent trimming Ford and I talked about the Arabian breeding and racing industry and what I got from those conversations is probably not what you’d expect, the retention of facts of sires and dams and bloodlines.  Instead it was the fact that a person can specialize in and pursue various areas of interest and still be successful.  Sure it is important to have a place in the market for your talent and skill set but that doesn’t mean solely focusing on only that area to be successful. 

Ford’s ability to network in various aspects of the horse industry reminded me of a web with many threads that all weave together into an intricate design, making the entire web stronger. 

My mentorship taught me that if you have passion, a willingness to work hard, an open mind, and aim to do things right the first time you will succeed.

If you understand that the most important thing in life is caring for your loved ones and staying true to who you are deep inside—to look in the mirror and be able to answer to yourself—then success is easy.  Success is and will always be yours.  Success is more than reaching a specific goal; success is a way of life.

We Find Out "Sibbald Flats" Is Not At All Flat

Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

As part of our conditioning effort in working towards getting back on the CTR circuit this year, I joined a friend in an adventure to explore new trails at the base of the Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, Alberta. We loaded up early and arrived at the trail head at 10am on a Sunday only to find we were probably the last people to arrive; I guess we need to learn to get up earlier! After squeezing our trailers into the already cramped parking area, we unloaded, tacked up and wasted no time getting our adventure underway.

We were in an area called Sibbald Flats which I believe is named after the small meadow between the steep inclines that only takes about 4 minutes to ride across; don't be fooled, this area is hardly flat at all. We did spend the first hour or so on relatively flat ground but it turned out we had lost the trail and had to back track to find it. 

Once we got on the right track it was up, up, up with some lovely views on the ridge and then we went down, down, down. 

My boot of choice is a toss up between the Easyboot Epics and the Easyboot Gloves. The Gloves work great for us right up until just before my mare is ready for another trim, which was the case on this day.  The Gloves weren't going to be an option for us this day because Marina's feet were a bit too grown out, so on went the Epics which were easily adjusted to fit the size of her hoof and they stayed put all day. 

The upper elevations of the trail were rocky as expected but we really did cover all types of terrain on this day. When we got really lost we found our way by backtracking on the gravel road as well as riding the standard mountain trails which consist of meadows, rivers, mud, bog and of course we went up and down a mountain.

Although my mare, Marina, has great hooves, she benefits GREATLY from Easyboot hoof protection. She strides out wonderfully, canters up the rocky slopes, navigates the sliding shale and in general never puts a foot wrong or lacks confidence in her way of going. Being barefoot while at rest and sometimes while under saddle really does mean the healthiest hoof for this mare. With that in mind, we would never be able to tackle tough mountain trails without our Easyboots and are so grateful for the vast variety EasyCare has to offer and the reliable protection I can have confidence in when my mare has them underfoot. 

This Team Easyboot member is signing off for now in search of more adventures and stories to tell!

"E" is for Epic and "K" is for Kevin

Submitted by Jordan Potthoff, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

On Saturday, July 16th I went on a ride with my mother, Cathy, and our two Wisconsin cowboy friends, Daniel and Vern. Cathy, Vern, and I are members of the Back Country Horseman in La Plata County. This group does trail work in wilderness areas where horses have access to ride. It is "Trails 2000" for Equestrians. As president of the Durango Chapter my mom decided we needed to scope out the Crater Lake trail that goes up past Andrew's Lake, near Silverton, Colorado, before the work crew came in the following week. It was a fun day ride and we were all happy to get out and enjoy the beautiful Colorado weather.

We looked at the hiking guide to gauge our time and mileage. It stated, "5.5 miles to the lake" then of course 5.5 miles out. I had done a 5 mile ride on my 4 year old mare, my first young horse, and I felt she was ready for a longer ride. This would certainly be a challenge because it was twice as far as we had ever gone. There would be many challenges on this ride that would test her and I as a team. Needless to say, according to our GPS tracking the day went from a 11 mile ride to a 14 mile ride. If I was looking for a ride to challenge and train my young horse, boy did I find it.

I wasn't sure the footing of the trail so I decided on my Easyboot Epics for the ride. I am new to the barefoot world and natural hoof care. My horse, Pistol, has spent the riding season in shoes and the off season barefoot. When I joined EasyCare I pulled her shoes and began the journey into barefoot hoof care.

So far I like the Epics. The way that they open up allows for easy application and I still get a snug fit because of the cable and buckle system. This is a great starting place for me since both Pistol and I are new to booting. My hope is to make believers out of my riding group for this trip and future ones. I did spend part of the ride talking about EasyCare and all of the different boots we have to offer, as well as Glue-Ons and EasyShoes. I enjoy talking about the boot because I truly believe in our product. It doesn't work for every horse but the owner and CEO, Garrett Ford, is always looking to increase sizing options and created a better boot. 

My horse had some reservations about our first few water crossings. Somewhere during that time of trying every avenue possible to avoid the water she tore the gaiter on one of her boots and the boot came off. The boot buckle didn't release so I need to examine the boot and see if the cable is broken. I will also measure her feet again to make sure I have the correct size. I think what happened was I tried the fit kit and found the correct size for the Glove. But without checking measurements ordered the same size in the Epics. This is a common mistake. Our boots are not all sized the same, so we always tell our customers not to assume that if they are a size in one model they will be the same size in a different model. What probably happened is that this boot was too big and the clamp didn't tighten enough around the hoof to stay on during her frantic moves across the water.

When I did remove the boots I found that very little water stayed in the boot. I know that some people worry about water building up in the boots and sloshing around during a ride. This boot allows most of the water to squish back out after going through a stream.

The Epics have moderate traction and break over on the toe. The trail up to Crater lake was a mixture of dirt trail and big rocky sections. As we passed over large slabs of rock I noticed that Pistol had better traction in most instances and had less of a tendency to slip out compared to the other horses who were shod with steel shoes. Pistol has not developed a disciplined, cautious step yet, so I know that she wasn't getting better footing because of better foot placement on the trail. I was also happy for the gaiter protection around the heel bulbs because two of the horses experienced small cuts from sharp rocks.

We saw this butterfly at the end of our ride. It made me think of Kevin. Butterflies to me symbolize rebirth and transition into a new state of being. For me I think it could have been Kevin joining me in my successful ride. I had looked forward to riding with him this summer. I know that I would have learned a lot from him and my horse would have as well. He was always approachable when I had questions or wanted to learn more. I know I will still learn from him, his memory, and his experiences through the many many lives he impacted. 

Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing Kevin Myers for very long, he immediately inspired me to challenge myself and expand my riding experience. Both his and Garrett's passion for endurance riding was infectious. I have dabbled in many disciplines and their passion has sparked my curiosity for this new one. Well let me tell you I have a long way to go! Kevin would have called my 14 mile stroll a "recovery ride". HA! I was the one who needed to recover after that ride. It was my longest ride in a long time. But he was always very encouraging and was great at celebrating victories no matter how small.

He was on my mind during my first big ride. I know that he had a habit of doing a hand stand in great places so in his memory I did a hand stand in victory. Here's to you, Kevy. "K" is for Kevin. Happy Trails.