Hoof Boot Story Winners

In November, EasyCare launched a hoof boot story contest for our customers.  We wanted to hear from you about your Easyboot successes and you delivered!  We received more than a dozen submissions, from people all over the world, sharing stories of how Easyboots helped them and their equine partners.  It makes us happy and proud to know, straight from the horse's mouth, that our boots are making a difference in the lives of horses and their owners. Thank you for sharing your stories.

Selecting the winner(s) was no small feat for our staff, as all of the stories are just wonderful, but we have chosen our winner(s).  Our first place slot was a tie, so we have decided to add an Honorable Mention for First Place rather than dropping our Third Place Winner.  

Winners are as follows:

Again, EasyCare would like to thank all of you for your submissions.  They are really all winning stories in our eyes. 

We will be posting all of the stories on our blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to read them all.

It's Never Too Late To Go Barefoot

First Place Story Winner

Submitted by Shannon Bossung, EasyCare Customer

Manni, my dressage horse has overcome many obstacles. He came into my life 12 years ago, after he had been rescued from mental and physical abuse.  He was 11 years old at the time.

I had been told by vets and farriers that he would always need shoes.  Over the next ten years, he made a good recovery mentally, (he will always have a few issues) but his feet were another story.  I tried different varieties of shoes, heart bar shoes, shims, but his hooves were never "good".  I had shown him through Grand Prix dressage, but this had taken its toll on him.  By the time he was 21, shoes were no longer able to keep him sound. My vet and farrier had no further suggestions as to what I could do; they never felt barefoot would be an option for him, but Manni had come so far, and he was telling me that he was not ready to retire.  I felt he deserved every chance I could give him. 

I learned about the different EasyCare hoof boot varieties at a barefoot trimming clinic and decided it was worth a try to transition Manni to barefoot in stages. I began by pulling Manni's shoes and using the EasyShoe Performance N/G for eight weeks. After that, for six months I used the Easyboot Glove with pad inserts while he was turned out and for short rides, and stalled him barefoot.  Now, about a year and a half later, he is barefoot and sound!  I use the Easyboot Glove for trail riding on rocky soils, he is barefoot for arena schooling, field turnout and stall.  I use the EasyCare Glue-Ons on the front hooves only, for the occasional competition.  Today, his hooves are beautiful and still improving. This would not have been possible without the variety of EasyCare boots and shoes used to transition him in stages.  

We recently celebrated another success story with Manni.  This past summer he took a student of mine, a young dressage rider (Sammi Burke) to the CBLM Championships. He also helped Sammi earn her USDF bronze medal and got her halfway to her USDF silver medal (Silver Medal scores in both Fourth Level and FEI Prix St Georges)!  Mannie turned 23 years old this year. He is sound and happy, and currently enjoys scenic trail rides along the Potomac river. He is slowly retiring but still enjoys tormenting the occasional student. He is a special horse. He has taught many students about perseverance; he's not flashy but he tries hard, and he expects the same of them. He has his quirks, and teaches his students to have a sense of humor.  He will spook at himself spooking!  He doesn't tolerate bad riding from an experienced rider, but is infinitely patient with a green rider. Myself, my students, and many friends that know Manni is "family". We are all so pleased that Easyboots helped Manni not only recover but thrive, when others told us he was "done". We hope that you can share his story and possibly help other horses get another chance to be happy and sound, no matter what their age. 

Easyboots Changed My Life

First Place Honorable Mention Story Winner

Submitted by Jesse Caswell, EasyCare Customer

I was raised on a cattle ranch. Steel shoes on horses was a way of life. My Grandad would say “I can’t ride that horse until get I get shoes on him.”

In 1960, I became interested in endurance riding. Steel shoes were all we had. All of my friends were riding the Tevis. It became my dream and goal, but due to my occupation, there was never time to condition my horse properly. No time, no money. But I dreamed of retirement. 

By the time retirement age came, my health was so bad I could not ride. I had rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The more doctors I went to, the more medicine they gave me. At my worst, I was finally bedridden. I was in excruciating pain. I decided to go with all natural care and threw out all the medicine.

Nine months later I was back riding horses and pursuing my dream. I soon found out that endurance riding was no fun. I kept getting pulled for lameness. I had five horses, no matter which one I rode, I would get pulled. I went through a dozen different farriers. The horses would get hoof abscesses and were always fighting thrush. The worst part of steel shoes was when I would lose one and the nails would tear out half of the hoof wall. 

I went to 29 races and got pulled 19 times for lameness. The last race I did with steel shoes was the 2013 Tevis. I went 85 miles, only to get pulled.  That was it.  I quit, came home and pulled the shoes off all my horses and said, no more. I did not race for the next two years. I spent all my time getting my horses healed from the ground up.

I did go back to endurance racing.  It was with Easyboot Glue-Ons. I could not believe how my horses performed. They trotted so smooth. Just seemed to float. They just naturally went in to extended trotting. 

I did two day rides, 50 mile races, and each day on the same horse. I never tried to win, just stay up in front all the way.  I was in the top five in most of my races.  I did 21 races, all 50 miles and had seven Best Conditions.  The biggest success was at Chalk Rock. This was a two day, 50 mile ride each day. Saturday placed 2nd and got Best Condition, and Sunday, on the same horse,I placed 1st and Best Condition! 

I knew I was Tevis ready. Tevis 2016 I finished 6th place!

I tell everyone that EasyCare changed my life.  Easyboots are the secret to my success. Only took me 75 years to get on the right track.

Thanks EasyCare!

Easyboots: Always There When You Need Them

Second Place Story Winner

Submitted by Jennifer Dey, EasyCare Customer

It was only just about four years ago that I had finally taken the leap into removing my older geldings shoes once and for all. He had shoes of various type since racing as a three year old. He was in aluminium, bar, plastic, steel, and wedges. You name it, he's probably tried it. His feet just never seemed to like what was on them. Despite diligent hoof care every four weeks like clockwork and an array of hoof supplements, they always had some sort of crack or problem. Now most would think, well he's a thoroughbred they all have bad feet, but I don't accept things like that. I always try to find a way to fix things and so I did.

We had started our journey to barefoot despite many negative comments and opinions that had gone along with it. I'm not one to care about others and their criticisms. Once I make up my mind, I hit it full throttle with everything I have. This was no different. I purchased his first pair of hoof boots, the Boa model,and they worked great. We trail rode in them since footing on trails is not always obvious. After awhile his feet began making improvements and the shape changed, no longer fitting the Boa boots.

We then went with the Easyboot Trail model. This was a great boot and was very simple to apply since his patience in holding his feet up was not always accommodating. This boot model we kept for many years and it provided support when he had a minor tendon irritation. He wore them 24/7 for at least a week with regular checks daily to be sure of no problems. We never had any issues with them. As time passed his hooves grew stronger and he no longer required boots for riding. He was able to trail ride comfortably with what he was born with. The farrier that pulled his shoes told me it was the best decision I had made for him. He was sounder than he had ever been with all those fancy shoes and it was on his own feet. He tripped less and became more sure footed with the steps he took.

More recently, back in late winter, he had to be trailered to the hospital a few times. He doesn't come off the trailer very well and he ended up flying backwards so fast he fell and bruised his heel badly. After everything he had been going through with his illness he now had to walk around in pain. I immediately began frantically searching for something that would help cushion his movement on the hard winter grounds.

I came across the Easyboot Cloud. It looked like just what he could use. I quickly placed my order and had them shipped overnight. As soon as they arrived I rushed to the barn and tried them on. A perfect fit. He immediately began walking better. The relief that swept over me was immeasurable. Though not 100% sound even with the boots he was moving much more comfortably than before. He wore the boots outside 24/7 and they held up beautifully. Not a single issue with twisting or falling off, nothing, just comfort. It took over a month for the bruise to heal. Between his vets recommendations and any medications he needed for his bruise, along with the Easyboot Clouds, he was getting what he needed.

Now eight months later he is back to health and full soundness with his own bare toes providing him with just what he needs. EasyCare has been such a big part of being there just when we needed it. From the Boa boot to the Trail boot to the Cloud we have used and love them all. Thank you for your dedication to helping all horses make that leap and everywhere in between. My gelding is now retired at 27 and enjoying his life living outdoors, sound and barefoot the way it should be. 

A Final Request

Third Place Story Winner

Submitted by Tammy Harty, EasyCare Customer

Today I delivered a friends dying wish. My friend Joyce was in her last days of her battle with brain cancer. It was her request to be in the presence of a horse one last time. Yet, she was under Hospice care and was not able to leave the house and too weak get out of her bed. It seemed like an impossible task to honor her dying wish.

I am a therapist and practice equine assisted psychotherapy and have watched miracles unfold through partnerships with the horse. I knew my mare Bunny was up to this task. So, we booted up and hauled into the subdivision where she lived. Bunny marched right over to her house and up the stairs onto the deck. Yes, the horse is at the front door getting ready to step over the threshold. Into the house we went, through the kitchen and Bunny made a beeline for Joyce. They had a wonderful visit and Joyce got to spend some time in her final days with her equine friend. I was honored to be a part of this special life event.

Thanks to the boots, not a scratch on any floor.
 

It's Been an Amazing 10 Years

CHANGE is a big word. Change can be exciting and change can be unsettling. Whether we like it or not we all know change is inevitable. Perhaps a necessary evil. It seems most of us have a love-hate relationship with change; we hate it yet crave it at the same time. EasyCare and its owner Garrett Ford have never been afraid of change. As a team we pursue it and as a company we thrive on it. As the leaders in hoof boot technology, the dust never settles.

As my career at EasyCare draws to a close, I can't help but reflect on the past 10 years and all that has changed. When I joined the EasyCare team in 2006, there wasn't a hoof care and veterinarian dealer representative. It didn’t exist. No one person truly specialized in handling this diverse group’s needs. Garrett believed I could fill that void and I leapt at the chance to become that person. Back then it was all about the Epic, Bare, Boa and Old Mac's. The Epic and Bare were the performance boots of choice.

The early years! At home in the Tucson office. 

This was also the year EasyCare hosted a five day clinic in Tucson, AZ.  It was my big debut. People not only came from across the US but from around the world. Pete Ramey and Dr. Bowker presented lectures and EasyCare had a booting day. It was a sell out at over 150 people and despite the SNOW, I think everyone had a great experience. Many of those attending I have not seen since but many of the relationships I built during that time remain strong to this day.

2007 saw the launch of our unprecedented Fill Your Truck program. The brainchild of Pete Ramey and Garrett Ford. This generous program continues to be tremendously popular and an incredible benefit to hoof care professionals.

Big changes came in 2009 with the launch of the Easyboot Glove and Glue-On. These products speak for themselves and forever changed the way the world looked at barefoot horses and booting. Proving grounds from the likes of Tevis, to the rigors of the highest caliber dressage and virtually everything in between. These products proved they could help a horse perform at the highest of levels or help a horse out of it’s lowest of lows. Today these boots along with many of our other products are utilized by some of the best and brightest hoof care professionals, veterinarians and trainers in the word.

Helping out at Tevis!

2014 brought on one of the most controversial changes in EasyCare history. The launch of the EasyShoe. Although hotly contested by some, EasyCare's owner Garrett Ford's persistence and hard work produced a product that changed the way many viewed shoes and how they could actually allow full hoof function. The EasyShoe has won over the critics and from my side of the fence it is the one product that delivers the most dynamic feedback. Farriers, trimmers, veterinarians and most importantly horses love EasyShoes.

This same year we decided to roll the dice and attend the International Hoof Care Summit. This is a tough crowd of professionals and we joked that Kevlar helmets and vests may be in order. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Our timing couldn’t have been better to bring our “change” to the Summit. The response was overwhelming. In fact at times it looked as if we stole the show!

Garrett demos the application process at the International Hoof Care Summit. 

Change came swift and hard in 2016 as new boots were introduced and some received new looks and improved features. None of this compared to the changes and challenges we faced as a company in losing one of our own. Kevin Myers you are missed and continue to live in our hearts.

The gang and I at Strawberry Fields. Two days of 50s. It was rough on the body but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Yes, as I reflect on my time at EasyCare it has been full of change. Keeping a barefoot horse is no longer an oddity. You rarely hear a comment like “Wow, what’s on your horses feet?” They know. It is not uncommon for me to speak to just as many vets and farriers in a day as barefoot trimmers. Big change. The past decade has has brought enormous changes and with it an enormous acceptance of alternative hoof care. I am proud to have played a small role in helping professionals help horses.

Pacific Hoof Care Practitioner's annual conference. Mario Gargiulo and I send a high five to Garrett. 

 I was very honored and excited to be included in several of EasyCare's catalog shoots.

There is nothing like seeing the beauty of Durango horseback. I definitely had a permagrin going! 

This was amazing! I had never ridden in the snow before that day. 

As I say goodbye and my time at EasyCare comes to a close, I encourage you in EasyCare fashion to be fearless and embrace change. Follow that small voice in your heart and live like somebody left the gate open. Thank you all for an amazing 10 years. It’s been an honor and a privilege to know and and work with each of you.

So long my friends.

"How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

Quoted from none other than Mr. Winnie the Poo.

 

Indicted

Submitted by David Landreville, Landreville Hoof Care

I started studying the mustang model about 11 years ago after one of our young geldings was diagnosed with late stages of navicular disease. We got him when he was five from a guy who had bred him and was training him to rope off of. He'd been shod since he was two or three, had already sustained some leg injuries, and wasn't performing at the desired level. After we acquired him I continued shoeing him. By the time he was seven his pasterns and heels were collapsed, his toe angles were very low, his soles were thin, and there seemed to be no way to correct the angles with trimming alone because there was no wall growing beyond the peripheral edge of his soles. The vet blamed it on poor conformation and recommended EDSS shoes with medium rails and wedge pads. For those who aren't familiar with these terms it basically boils down to about as much artificial wedging as you can get away with. Typically, it doesn't get better from there. We gave it a try for three shoeing cycles but realized quickly that Santo was just a different kind of uncomfortable and artificial wedging was giving us the illusion of artificial soundness. After I asked the vet directly what we were to expect he finally admitted that our horse's future was grim and we would be lucky if we got two more years out of him. 

This is when I started asking more questions. We found an alternative vet that recommended taking him barefoot and following Jamie Jackson's and Pete Ramey's work. I bought their books and jumped into the void. I took Ramey's advice and burned Jackson's wild horse hoof model in my brain. It payed off more than I could have imagined. Santo immediately started growing healthier feet and his soundness was improving daily. By providing ample movement, managing his feet with physiologically correct trimming, and with the help of EasyCare products, Santo has been ridden comfortably to this day, over 10 years later.

I started applying my lessons to other horses and getting the same results. After I'd been rehabbing hundreds of horses for eight years, Pete Ramey came out with his second book, Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot. I'd already been to a Ramey/Bowker clinic and read as much material as I could get a hold of. I labored through Bowker's chapter, rereading sentences, paragraphs, and pages over and over until I felt like I was comprehending what I was reading. Being under horses full time for the past eight years really contributed to my understanding of the information I was reading and most of it was confirming many of my own realizations.  I was really excited to be able to trim during the day and be learning the science of it by night. 

I'd heard about Brian Hampson's work with the Australian Brumbies and couldn't wait to consume the next chapter but as I read his research I slowly started feeling uncomfortable and rereading it to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding it. The more I reread it, the sicker I got. "Everything I'd been doing for the last eight years was wrong!" This was the predominant voice in my head. He made such a strong case that "high mileage, hard substrate feet" better known as the "Mustang Model" wasn't the model we should be following because there was a high incidence of laminitis found in this type of hoof according to his research. He compared them to low mileage soft substrate feet and found more wall flare but less laminitis. "Laminitis!" was now the predominant voice in my head. I was silently living out the scene in Fun With Dick and Jane, where Jim Carey is running around his house yelling, "Indicted! Indicted! I'm going to be Indicted!"

 

After explaining my new findings and fears to my wife, she paused for a few seconds and very calmly said, "Ok, but you tell all your clients to board on sand, trim frequently, and to use hoof boots when they ride. You've been doing that with all of our horses for years and their feet are beautiful and they move beautifully." I thought about what she was saying for a few minutes until it sunk in. I realized in that moment that our horses and my clients horses had the best of both worlds. I was relieved and returned to my old mantra that I learned years ago from the same source, "Question Everything." I continue to have a lot of faith in the healing powers of the Mustang Model and continue to question it, simultaneously, every time I pick up a foot. I also continue to realize more and more, since I started teaching it, that different results come from different perceptions. I also know from experience, that perceptions can change when they merge with other perceptions and that is precisely what keeps us moving forward.

Competitor Hoof Boot Upgrade Program

Do you own a hoof boot that doesn't fit your current horse?  Do you have a hoof boot that is ready to be retired?  Don't throw it out!  Send it in and get an EasyCare hoof boot at half price.

EasyCare has a Hoof Boot Upgrade Program that allows hoof boot users to send in non-EasyCare hoof boots in exchange for an EasyCare hoof boot model.  The program has been successful because it allows consumers to send in a boot that may not fit their horse correctly, isn't working on their specific horse, or is just worn out.  It is our goal to get your horse in quality hoof boots that will help make your riding experience exceptional. 

The exchanged boots are then listed on ebay at a cheap price and sold as a complete lot.  

The current ebay selection has the following boots:

  • 53 pcs    Cavallo
  • 25 pcs    Renegade
  • 10 pcs    Davis
  • 9 pcs      Hoof Wing
  • 2 pcs      Soft Ride
  • 1 pc        Marquis

Cavallo

Renegade

Davis

Hoofwing

Soft Ride

Marquis

All boots are in various sizes and different conditions.  Some are slightly used and others more used.  This is a great opportunity for a horse rescue or barefoot trimming school. Shipping weight is roughly 100 lbs.  Winning bidder pays shipping via ground transport.

If you have questions about our Hoof Boot Upgrade program please feel free to give us a call.  Our customer service team is here to answer your questions and help get your horse into the right boots.

December 2016 Read To Win Contest Winners

The December 2016 Read to Win Contest winners are:

Dallas Wilmarth

Jay Crain

Rhonda Smith

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.

 

Photo submitted by Sabine Uschmann Maurer 

 

Glue Storage During Winter

Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

Working in freezing temperatures can be difficult and time consuming but with a bit of planning and organization tasks are less daunting and completed with ease.

During the winter season glue and all liquids should be brought inside to prevent products from freezing.  Carrying cases such as Tupperware style totes, coolers, or rolling toolboxes work well for consolidating supplies and storing them in such a way that carrying them to and from the warm storage space to the vehicle is convenient.  I prefer to use a rolling toolbox instead of carrying a heavy tote or cooler, it keeps my back happy and sound!

In my rolling toolbox are the following items:

Glue (Vettec Adhere, EasyShoe Bond glue, and Polyflex Seal-It)

Hoof packing (Equipak, Magic Cushion, Impression Material)

Hoof Clay (Life Data Labs hoof clay)

Hoof disinfectant

Hoof dressing

First aid disinfectant

Sharpie markers

Rechargeable drill batteries (very cold temperatures can cut battery life in half)

Latex gloves

Heating pad

Ah, the heating pad.  Such a nice treat for clients to warm their frozen hands or feet on! Most importantly, though, the heating pad is used to keep liquids from freezing while in use. During set up I place the toolbox near my work space and plug in the heating pad, laying it flat across the supplies to keep them from freezing during use. Often times I will place a pair of EasyShoes and glue tips on top of the heating pad so that all of the supplies are warm and ready for use when it’s time to glue.  

A heat gun can be useful in warming the foot prior to adhering your EasyCare product.  A cold foot and warm glue take longer to cure than two objects of similar temperatures.  Be careful when heating the foot with a heat gun. Be sure to keep the gun moving to avoid overheating the foot.

Keeping supplies at a consistent average room temperature will preserve the shelf life of the product, reduce stress during use in winter temperatures, and increase success of application when gluing.