Team Easyboot 2015 - The Contest is Open

We are excited to announce EasyCare is now accepting applications for Team Easyboot 2015. Team members will be selected based on their knowledge of the EasyCare product line, their diversity of riding activity, and their influence in their community.

Expectations of Team Easyboot Members
If accepted onto Team Easyboot 2015, members are expected to:

  1. Represent EasyCare in a professional and positive manner.
  2. Actively promote and inform others about all EasyCare products and help others in the field.
  3. Be available to assist in boot fitting and to provide advice in person and online.
  4. Blog once a month on the EasyCare corporate blog.
  5. Actively participate with positive interaction and product advice on the Easyboot Facebook page.
  6. Wear Team Easyboot attire at events.
  7. Display Team Easyboot logo on tack, trailers and vehicles.

Summary of Benefits

  1. Access to discounted EasyCare product for personal use.
  2. Access to the EasyCare staff for general booting education and problem-solving.

Note: Product purchased through the Team Easyboot discount program is for personal use only and cannot be resold.

Application
If you would like to be considered for membership on Team Easyboot 2015, please answer a few basic questions in our online Application Form. Applications will be accepted until 10:00 PM Mountain Standard Time on Friday, February 13, 2105.

The Selection Process
Members of Team Easyboot 2015 will be selected by a panel of EasyCare staff. The new team members will be announced on Monday, February 23, 2015.

Good luck!

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-kevin-myers

Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.

5 Things to Love About EasyCare

There are always reasons why our favorite coffee shop is our favorite coffee shop. Maybe it's the atmosphere or energy of the baristas. Maybe it's the boldness of the roast. Maybe it's a convenient stop on your commute. After becoming a boot user and investigating alternative options to steel shoes, I've come to recognize what it is about EasyCare that makes me want to write home about them. This is why I will be as loyal to EasyCare products as I am to Yo Jo's Coffee Shop.

1. EasyCare is Real.
EasyCare is made up of a team of horse people. Some staff have ridden the majority of their lives while other staff were introduced at their time of inception to the EasyCare Team. In either circumstance, each staff member is an expert in every topic between hoof rehabilitation to performance.

 

2. It’s Not Just a Hoof.
Rather than recommending a boot style based on if you’re a pleasure rider or a performance rider, EasyCare takes it a step further to make sure your boots are successful. We like to recommend boots based on your horse’s hoof shape. A good fit is the number one factor for determining boot success, so it all starts with your horse’s dimensions and the ability of the boot to complement it. Most Easyboot styles utilize a slightly different size chart to fit hooves of diverse shapes and sizes.

3. EasyCare Listens.
One of the biggest ways EasyCare brings the latest and greatest to the hoof boot world is by listening to you. Garrett Ford, President and CEO, tailors his research/development projects and approaches by staying in touch with the needs of customers. Garrett, himself, is a successful endurance rider and tests his inventions in the mountains of Durango, Colorado and at races in every kind of terrain.

4. Priorities.
The horse and rider relationship is our number one priority. Barefoot horses have been said to live longer lives in better health. EasyCare is proud to provide products that enhance the experience of each the horse and their person. If your horse is shod, barefoot, or in the middle, EasyCare has a creation that will enrich your horsey lifestyle.

5. Simplicity.
EasyCare helps to make life easier. Whether you are transitioning a horse from shod to barefoot or your horse threw a shoe and needs a backup, EasyCare is here to provide the guidance and product you need for each endeavor.

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.

 

The Truth About Equine Hoof Abscesses - Part One

Submitted by Patricia Morgan Wagner, Hoof Rehabilitation Specialist

Hoof abscesses can be much more serious than most of us realize. Abscesses usually are misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mistreated and cause our horses unnecessary suffering, loss of use and too often loss of life. The following is a brief explanation of White Line Abscesses of the hoof wall.

It’s commonly believed that a horizontal crack appearing in the hoof wall is caused by injury at the hairline (coronary ridge) that treks down the hoof with the wall growth. However, a crack or rather split in the wall that develops as a result of trauma at the hairline will typically be vertical and will nearly always become a permanent fixture of the wall to some degree.

Conversely, horizontal cracks in the hoof wall are most often caused by abscesses affecting the white line (WL) that rupture at the hairline and migrate with wall growth to the ground where it should be trimmed off. Abscess rupture sites may be any width; from a hole the size of a match head, to several inches wide. Multiple abscesses can affect the same hoof at the same time or in very close succession. More than one hoof can be affected at the same time due to duplicate conditions. WL abscesses generally affect hooves that have been neglected, or that are trimmed regularly, but incorrectly, shod or unshod.

The hoof wall, if allowed to flare, creates leverage on the connective tissue (lamina/white line) between the wall and the sole which can cause stretching of the white line. Laminitic connection stretches to a point, and then separation ensues. 

WL separation (the primary and secondary layers of connective tissue detach interrupting life support of one to the other) causes death of the lamina. Once necrotized, that tissue mixes with bacteria and debris and the entire pocket of inflammation causing pus begins its ascension up the wall into the narrowing space between the wall and bone below the hairline. Pain will increase due to the increased pressure as the pocket continues to become more inflamed and makes its way to sensitive nerves near the coronary ridge. The abscess is most painful just prior to rupture. At some point in the process lameness is usually presented in varying degrees.  

It’s important to understand that as the pus pocket treks up the inside of the wall to the soft hairline where it finally and painfully ruptures, a channel of dead lamina is left in its wake. The abscess channel will eventually dry up leaving an area of disconnection (a tunnel) behind the wall from the ground to the hairline. Lameness soon subsides after rupture. As the wall grows, new/well-connected lamina develops (grows down) above the descending “crack” and takes the place of the damaged tissue. As the crack (rupture site) treks closer to the ground, the detached wall below the crack may snap off.WL abscesses of the bars: bar abscessing is more serious and painful than wall abscesses. That is because affected areas of the WL may also migrate to the sub-solar connection (papillae) causing eventual detachment of sole and frog and in severe cases can cause permanent damage to the solar papillae. 

Mistaken assumptions are made that abscesses of the sole or bars are caused by trauma to the sole. Sharp objects may impact the sole of a soft-soled hoof, but the result generally will be a localized wound. Abscesses and injuries to the bottom of the hoof are different conditions and we need to distinguish between sole trauma and white line abscess to avoid confusion.

The bars of the hoof are an extension of the hoof wall, which means abscesses can develop in the white line of the bars, tracking up connective tissue to rupture at the hairline of the heel bulb. The lameness that the horse incurs is often described as “mystery lameness.” The resulting rupture sites appear as horizontal splits in the back of the hoof and are typically misinterpreted as injuries caused by forging and other misstep type injuries. When hooves are neglected or the bars left unattended during trimming, the same stretching of the white line of the bar will result - just as we see in the white of the hoof wall.

In a hoof affected by bar abscess, a section(s) of WL of the bar will become blackened where stretching and invasion takes place. The main difference we see in bar abscess is that its affect is not limited to the lamina. But also invasion of solar connective tissue (papillae) often occurs. 

Left in the aftermath of a processed sub-solar abscess is profuse dried, blackened, necrotized residue in place of the once healthy connective tissue. This disconnection will eventually lead to complete detachment of sole material from the hoof as well as the frog in severe cases.

Usually we notice varying degrees of lameness. Horses suffering abscess have been observed lying on the ground, unwilling to stand except to eliminate or, no observable lameness at all. When an abscess takes place in the hind we often don’t observe lameness. Or a horse can process numerous abscesses that no one notices essentially because no one was observing the equine.

Editor's note: Part Two of this blog next week will cover treatment, dos and don'ts, what to expect and common mistakes.

Changing a Glove Gaiter? No Problem

If you are considering changing an Easyboot Glove gaiter, a few insider tips will turn this into an easy task.  EasyCare uses Loctite on all the screws, but, with the right tools, that replacement should be smooth sailing. 

Here is what you will need:

  • Philips Head Screwdriver
  • Vice Grips
  • New Gaiter and Hardware

Josh shows us the removal and application process in the video below.  Take note on how he first removes the side screws and then the back.  The same is true for applying a new gaiter, attaching the sides first, and then the back.

With the removal, it may be easier to rotate the gaiter after removing the side screws so that you can get a better grip on the washer without the gaiter fabric in the way, as shown below. The red line indicates the angle at which the vice grips should be gripped. 

I hope this Fix it Friday segment helps your gaiter changing experience go smoothly.  And, as always, if you have any questions, our Customer Service Team is here to help.

Using the EasyShoe for Abscesses

Submitted by Christina Krueger, From Hoof to Heart

Mick who is affectionately known as "Little Kick" for reasons soon to be described is a 12 year-old Thoroughbred Westphalian cross. He is the smallest horse in a herd of large warmbloods and tends to use his hind legs to prove he's one of the big boys. His owner is a dressage rider who was preparing for a big clinic coming up during the summer of 2014. 

Mick started showing signs of general discomfort in his hind feet which is unlike him. He has had bouts of slight soreness on his front feet which have been easily solved by riding him in Easyboot Gloves and he was even my guinea pig for the Easyshoe Performance when they first came out. But it was puzzling that he was uncomfortable behind. Finally he came up very lame in his right hind so I pulled out the hoof testers and lo and behold, he was very sensitive in his frog, right in the middle. So his owner got out the Kaeco poultice and poulticed the area for a week. It finally erupted, and Mick was noticeably more comfortable.

We attempted to use a Glove on the hind foot, but Mick would have none of it so we just kept wrapping it with a diaper and duct tape to make a "boot". About two weeks later, the same thing happened to the other hind leg and I actually saw the bubble on the frog and decided to open it to let it drain. And drain it did. Our theory is that he must have double-barrel kicked something with some force bruising his frogs. Now Mick had two gaping holes in both of his hind frogs and while he was less uncomfortable than before. He still needed some help in getting over the hump. Enter the Easyshoe Sport.

With this shoe, I was able to keep the pressure off of the frogs long enough for them to heal and he was able to be ridden again. I appreciate Mick and his owner being willing to be my guinea pigs for EasyShoes. It was very rewarding to help "Little Kick" out with this new product.

Just Call Me Cookie-A How to on Making Treats for the Four Leggeds

With the Holidays over and diet resolutions in full swing, I needed an outlet for making treats that wasn’t going to have detrimental effects on my own backside. I decided to make some horse treats at home-I suppose my girl would thank me for more reasons than one!

IMAG3160.jpg

I didn’t start with a recipe and I am admittedly no Julia Childs, but the result of this fly by the seat of the pants effort was better than just good, the horses are crazy for these cookies! See exhibit A:

 

Here’s how to make your very own Rosie Bribes/Mare Convincers/Get Out of Jail Free Cards:

You will need:

3lb Whole or Steel Cut Oats

2 lb Ground Flax Seed

1lb Wheat or Oat Bran

2 lb Molasses

15 oz can Pureed Pumpkin or Applesauce

5 Apples-shredded

Water

Salt

A 20 quart Bucket

Something Sturdy for Mixing

Cookie Sheets

Oven

Dump all of your ingredients into your bucket and stir until evenly mixed. You may need to add water to get the right consistency. You are looking for a cookie dough type feel-firm enough to roll into balls, soft enough to stick together and not fall apart.

IMAG3156.jpg

Pack the mixture down firmly into your baking sheet and bake at 300 for around 20 minutes.

IMAG3158.jpg

Cut into squares while soft and hot from the oven then roll them into balls (or not, they just seem to hold together better if you do). Once completely cool bag them up. They will be soft and moist and (sort of) tempting to eat. Store the bulk of these in the freezer and refrigerate a week’s worth at a time. 

Don’t let my recipe limit your horse treat imagination. There are many options that will work as long as you get a sticky cookie dough type consistency. Crushed peppermints, licorice, carrots, and peanuts would all make fun variations. Next time I’ll mix in some MSM for a little extra support for those hard working joints. If you want to learn more about keeping your horses diet balanced, you can read Teeter-Totter or Perfect Balance of Diet, Hoof Care and Movement and Nutrition is Part of Natural Hoof Care.

 

Rebecca Balboni
easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

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

Club Hoof? Macgyver Glue-On to the Rescue

Submitted by Lisa Morris, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

It is the time of the year when horse owners can look forward to new foals gracing their barns and pastures!  A beautiful, healthy, sound foal doesn’t just “happen.”  Often years of dreams, research, care, time and finances are wrapped up in that new baby! Good horse breeders have chosen their good mare with excellent conformation with an equally good mind. They have used the services of the best stallion that they can afford that will complement and improve the faults and strengths of their mare. Unfortunately, every horse does have conformation faults and sometimes foals inherit conformation faults from their ancestors that the parents may not have themselves.  Last spring, a local lameness veterinarian contacted me to help solve a conformation problem that would potentially lead to a soundness problem in a well-bred Warmblood Sport Horse foal.  This beautiful foal was full of potential but had a congenital club hoof that required surgical correction.  We turned to hacking an Easycare Glue-On to help!  

Sometimes we have to think outside the box.  

Originating at the forearm, the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) runs down the back of the limb and terminates at the back of the coffin bone. The strong inferior check ligament (IFCL) originates in the front knee region and attaches to the DDFT at the middle back of the cannon bone. Excessive pull on the deep digital flexor muscle and tendon unit causes a pull or flexion of the coffin joint.  Foals with this condition are unable to fully extend their lower limb joints.  The condition of the deformity can be minor or so severe that the foal cannot touch its heel to the ground.  Foals with a club hoof tend to land toe-first, and their heels growth rate is faster than the toe growth, causing hoof distortion, hoof wall dishing and ridges.  The toe is worn away and the heel grows unfettered.  The frog often recedes, the heels contract and the frog is narrow and hidden.  Instead of the frog and digital cushion receiving primary landing impact, it shifts to the hoof wall and the coffin bone, often leading to lameness issues.

The method this Veterinarian chose for correcting this issue was an “Inferior Check Ligament Desmotomy.”  This is a surgical procedure in which the Veterinarian transects the DDFT to relieve the strong tension on the coffin joint.  The Vet kept the foal hospitalized at his clinic to heal and be rehabilitated while the ligament scars and the leg strengthens.  During this time, careful hand walking and corrective farriery is critical.  This Veterinarian chose to do his own hoof trimming utilizing radiographs and skilled observation to lower the heels just enough to promote proper movement and healing.  While the foal was being hand walked and was bandaged on stall rest, the Vet was not concerned about the hoof reverting to wearing down the toe and growing too much heel, but he was concerned about the next step.  He wanted the owner to turn out the foal when it went home to have as much healthy movement as much as possible but he needed some type of hoof protection that would allow the toe to be protected from wear but would allow the heels to be trimmed down with careful, frequent touch ups.  He didn’t really want to nail on a forged steel toe plate.

The beginning of the Macgyver boot chopping process.  Gloves on to keep the boots clean so the glue sticks!

This vet always liked Easycare products and I am sent to fit boots for his clients.  We have a good professional relationship.  His idea was brilliant, and worked so well; I thought I would share it here so others may benefit from it. We took an Easycare Glue-On Shell and adapted it to protect only the toe.  First I fitted the foal to an Easyboot Glue-On Shell utilizing the Fit Kit.  Next, I took the correct size shell and we cut it down utilizing a chop saw.  My husband helped me with this process, because I had never used that tool, so he is the family expert.  Care was taken to use gloves so hand oils would not detract from the hoof glues that would be used to adhere the adapted Glue-On.  Next, the Vet reviewed the Glue-On and decided that the boot tread was still too high and would leave the foal with a negative palmar angle.  The solution was to use a bench grinder to level off the remaining tread on the shell.  The foal was pretty buzzed up from being on stall rest for so long and we really needed it to be very still for the gluing process so the Vet administered light sedation.  The Vet Tech is a “foal whisperer” and did a lovely job keeping it very still while I glued the adapted Glue-On in the stall.  First, I cleaned the hoof very well and rasped with the soft side of my rasp just to “rough up” the hoof wall where the boot Glue-On Shell would be glued.  Next, I used a heat gun to dry the (very clean) hoof.  The actual gluing was very quick and easy!  I used SikaFlex 227 on the toe callus part of the boot and Vettec Adhere on the walls of the boot.  I set the hoof down on a foam pad and picked up the opposite hoof for a few minutes while the Vettec Adhere quickly cured.  I put a bead of Adhere around the top of the boot and used my finger to create a water tight seal.

The Glue-On curing on the foam pad before the opposite hoof was picked up.

Lateral image of the Macgyvered Glue-On Curing!

Almost done, a little drunk from light sedative...  Years of productive, sound life ahead of her!

This was an Easycare Glue-On Shell hack that helped this foal, the happy Veterinarian sent it home the next week and was able to maintain keeping the heels trimmed low while the “adapted” Glue-On was in place, until it was time to come off.  Removal was simple with a flat head screwdriver.  Because only the toe of the hoof was in the closed environment, leaving this package on caused no long-term harmful effects to the health of the hoof.  The Vet was pleased and will call me again if he has new surgical club hoof cases.  The warmblood foal has an excellent future as a sport horse.  Have you chopped or hacked an Easyboot Glue-On to help a horse?  Do you have Macgyver gluing and adaption techniques? Please share your experience! 

 

5 Steps to a More Confident Ride

No, this isn’t a blog about equine sports psychology or about horse training. It isn’t about positive mental attitude, meditation, visualization techniques, or positive affirmations. It won’t tell you about taking baby steps toward challenges and facing fears every day to gain confidence.

meditating horse.jpg

It IS about using the small but mighty Quick Studs in your hoof boots to give your horse better traction and more confidence-not to mention keep you in the saddle all winter long. Who’s got a grip on winter now?

quickstuds.jpg

EasyCare, Inc’s Quick Studs are your secret weapon for giving winter’s nasty mixed footing and changing conditions the boot. Just think how nice it will be to swing a leg over for your next winter ride knowing that you are doing it right. Now, aren’t you feeling better already?

confident kid.jpg

Since their release in 2010, much has been written about the Quick Studs; what they are all about, how great they are, and of course some how-to. There are even people writing about adding Quick Studs to the Easy Shoes.  I am pleased to introduce our first ever video on how to install Quick Studs into your boots! Grab the popcorn and enjoy.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough to get you excited, read on HERE to find out about another brilliant use for Quick Studs! Hint: don't let your horses have all the fun! Now go play outside!

 

Rebecca Balboni
easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

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

EasyCare Fix It Friday: The Buckle Locking Pin

The Easyboot Epics, Original Easyboots, and the Easyboot Grips have a sidekick that may be of interest to you if you’re planning a ride where you have no time for a buckle hitting a rock and potentially popping open: the buckle locking pin.

It utilizes nearly the same mechanics as the pin on your truck hitch and is just as trustworthy.

 Rebecca demonstrates using the buckle pin below in our YouTube video from EasyCare’s YouTube channel, EasyCareVideos.

This item is an accessory, not a necessity, so EasyCare sells the pins separately on our boot accessories page. Horse’s with peculiar hoof angles that result in a tendency of the buckle to flip open can benefit greatly with this product. The pins also bring great peace of mind in rocky terrain or on a horse that tends to have hoof-to-hoof contact when moving out.
 

 

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.

Fill Your Tank and Hit the Trail

The start of the New Year marks the time to recalibrate my annual horse budget, evaluate my goals for the year, and establish a schedule that balances work and riding. Time and money are perpetually in limited supply, but I've gotten efficient over the years. From managing my feed program (quality vs. quantity improves equine health and minimizes waste), to embracing the barefoot movement, to maintaining my horses' wellness and soundness (reduced vet bills), I'm able to do a lot with my six horses and stay within my budget.

Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control often dictate my course of action. For the past six-plus years, the price of fuel has greatly impacted my ability to pursue riding to the degree that I would like to. I don't travel around the country with my horses like I used to. I've adapted to planning training rides closer to home, opting out of some horse camping trips and being selective about the endurance rides I go to. I'm sure this is the same for many horses owners.

That seems to be changing for the better. As I write this, the CBS Evening News is reporting that the price of oil has dropped for a record 108 consecutive days, and the national average for a gallon of gasoline is $2.14. Gasbuddy.com posts stations in the Midwest with prices as low as $1.61. Of course, California still has the highest prices in the U.S. The highest-priced gas in the 48 states can be found in San Francisco--$2.66 per gallon.

Diesel is still higher, of course. (Do you remember when diesel used to be cheaper than regular gas?) My local gas station in Calistoga has the best deal for diesel, for $2.75. Not cheap, however, I can still vividly recall the summer of 2008, when the national average for diesel peaked at $4.25 per gallon and the price tipped over $5.00 per gallon here in California. Ouch!

The falling gas prices are liberating, because my horse activities are strongly dictated by the price of diesel.

As I plan my competition schedule for this year, I am putting rides on the calendar that I haven’t in the past due to the high cost of diesel. Now, when I peruse the AERC ride calendar, I can set the search criteria for rides in the Pacific South, Northwest and Southwest, in addition to West Region rides. This is the first time in years that I've considered rides outside my own region. If gas prices continue to fall, I'll be able to go farther and do more with my horses.

For example, at the end of February, Hubby Barry and I will go to the 20 Mule Team Ride (one of our favorites) in Ridgecrest, Ca. It’s an 8-hour drive to get there. Afterwards, we plan to continue on to Arizona with the horses and spend two weeks riding in desert. Then we will drive south to Sonoita for the Old Pueblo Pioneer ride. From there, we’ll make our way home. This entire trip is 1,900 miles. The fuel cost  for the trip will be about $500. That’s a bargain for the two-week horse vacation we've talked about taking for three years.  We have a trip to Colorado planned for mid-June, and if the price of gas continues to decline then we will certainly drive.

Hubby filled up the Land Yacht for $135.00. That's a bargain considering we've paid as much as $240 for 50 gallons of diesel.

As gas prices fall, more Americans go on vacation. For those of us who drive gas-guzzling diesel trucks to pull our horse trailers, these dropping prices mean we can go farther and more frequently than we have been able to for years. There is much talk about the decline in entries for AERC rides. I've always felt that this was due in part to escalating fuel prices. I know this has certainly impacted the number of rides I attended. I hope to see more people out on the trail enjoying their horses and going to endurance rides while falling gas prices give everyone more opportunities to do so.