Backcountry Bootin'

SML
I am Sabrina Liska. My blogs cover trail and pleasure riding. Follow me as I uncover stories of boots and their adventures from people who do things other than endurance.







Whoda Thunkit?

Recently, I went riding in Groom Creek, which is in the Prescott area of Arizona. The trails are so nice and Groom Creek is a popular place to gather with your friends for a weekend horse campout or just a day ride. I decided to get together with four of my friends who have barefoot horses and blaze the pine tree lined trails for the day to get out of the Phoenix heat. Midway through our day, we stopped in the shade for a small breather. I smiled and then snapped a picture. 

The horse I am on is wearing Easyboot Gloves. The horse behind the tree is wearing Easyboot Trails and the horse on the right is wearing Old Mac G2's. The black and white horse is wearing Easyboot Back Country's. The large horse on the left is completely bare. As a Team Easyboot member, it prides me to see Easycare products...but I had to laugh, how we all came together, each had different boots on our ponies, and that they ALL were EasyCare!  

After this picture was taken, we had a wonderful conversation about why we chose the boots we had on our horses. The barefoot horses' owner, although not booted on this ride, likes the Easyboot Gloves for her jumping and dressage events. What a nice day of riding, chatting, laughing and talking about two of my favorite subjects - horses and hoof boots.

Hoof Boots: Just for Riding?

Recently, a friend had a terrible thing happen to her longtime best pony, Nerf. He foundered. Kara quickly had Nerf's shoes pulled and the toe bevelled. What now? Boots and pads. Which boot? What would you use in this situation?

Here are some suggestions for this type of protection needed.

 Easyboot Rx, Old Mac's, Old Mac's G2 and Easyboot Trail

The Easyboot Rx has built-in orthotics in the boot. The Old Mac's, G2s and Trails can have padding added without compromising the fit of the boot.  My personal preference, if the need were to arise, would be the EB Trail. 

The Easyboot Trail, as with the others, can handle a pad added and or taped hooves. The Trail, however, is easiest, in my opinion, to apply and close. In foundered horses, this is imperative. The affected horse wants no part of bearing all weight on one painful hoof while one applies hoof protection to the other hoof.  

This face deserves total comfort.

Currently, Nerf is sporting the Rx boots. He has rotation of the coffin bone in both fronts, but the right one is worse. Good news: Nerf is eating and drinking comfortably and he is walking around in his stall almost normally. Today was a great day for him. Hoof boots aren't magic, they just seem like they are.

I suggested the Easyboot Trail for the future, for when the Nerfster starts moving out mor and for riding. It is durable, can take the daily usage and again, is easy and quick to put them on correctly.

This is the ultimate goal for Nerf and Kara.

 

Boot Gluing Troubleshooting AKA What Are We Going To Do Now?

Being a part of Team Easyboot 2012 is amazing. I love reading Team Easyboot blogs and learning new tricks about booting successfully both for my horses and others who need help. Hopefully my blog will give you comfort about an OMG gluing moment, should you ever have one.

I had a fellow TE12 member come over to help me glue on front boots as I was still chicken and couldn't do it alone, yet. I am one of those that gets as much or more glue on me and my clothes than on the actual hoof and boot. Everything started out well. We trimmed up the hooves nicely and prepared them for the Glue Ons.

We started the gluing process and bam! the glue gun broke. What? Now what? We are in the middle of carefully handling the Glue-On boots with gloved hands, we have clean hooves and everything is set. No glue gun. Sheesh. The sun will set soon and I feel like I am having one of those days. If it were just me, I would have bailed on the project, gone in the house and pouted for a few days, maybe stomping my feet along the way. My fellow TE12 member/friend/brilliant lady of all time told me not to panic. We would figure something out. That we did.

We got an old plastic type small bowl and some plastic silverware to mix the Adhere solution and just pushed on the ends of the tubes until we had about equal parts of the two mixes. It was a hurried project, but we had nothing to lose at this point. 

The boots went on as normal, and they stayed on just like they were supposed to. I was so impressed with the innovative thinking on my partners' part. Genius.

I highly recommend that if you are a panicker, like I am; buddy up with another team member who isn't. That way if an OMG situation comes knockin', together you can get through it.

 

Our Tevis Adventure – Reflections from a Motley Crew

By Kandace French with Cathy Peterson

What happens when you are sitting at your desk at work and you get a call from Rusty Toth and Kevin Myers, asking, “Would you and Cathy be available to crew for us at Tevis? Oh, and we want to Top 10. It will be hard work.”

What else could two fun loving adrenaline junkies do? We said “YES”.

Crewing for Team Easyboot? Seeing the trails we would be riding for the first time in 2013. Getting the Tevis experience from a crew’s perspective? Being part of “the world’s best known and most difficult Equestrian Endurance Ride”? Learning and watching some of the best riders and crew members on the continent? Oh yeah!

The best way to describe it is like being a part of the winning Super Bowl team, Oscars and Olympics all rolled into one. It was amazing; exhausting but amazing. We still have no idea how we were able to do it, except from pure adrenalin. We still get goose bumps just thinking about that weekend. It was a once in a lifetime experience. We managed 8 hours sleep in three days.

Because of work commitments, we couldn’t leave Arizona until the Thursday afternoon before the ride. We drove straight through and arrived in Reno at 4 a.m. Friday morning. That was as far as we could drive without sleeping. We pulled into a strip mall parking lot and slept in the car for two hours, woke up at 6 a.m., tried to figure out where in the heck we were and stumbled into a nearby Heidi's (a step above Denny's) for warm food and coffee. We cleaned up in their bathroom and then headed to Robie Park to prep for the start of the ride. It was a hint of sleepless days to come.

We met our team of horses and riders as well as our fellow experienced crew member (and life saver, Leslie Spitzer). After patient instructions on parking and camp set up, it was time to give the ponies, Far and Stoner, their body clips and pre-ride preparation. They were such awesome ponies to work on too. Of course, we got to do some shopping too - lots of fun endurance vendors!

Cathy Peterson clips Stoner for the big event - Photo by Merri Melde.

We headed to Cool, California (the town, not the temperature) for four hours of sleep Friday night at the awesome home accommodations offered by Leslie’s mom, Lynda Taxera (Another Tevis regular we could not live without). Saturday morning, Lynda guided us to Robinson Flat at “OMG” early in order to beat the crush of cars and to set up for our riders. Everything we ever heard about the backlog and hiking to this hold was highly understated. But we were excited.

No sooner did we get everything set up in our camp then it was time to wait for our riders. Rusty and Kevin trotted in at around 15th place. The hour sped by as we dipped, cooled, sponged ponies while coaxing Rusty and Kevin to eat, rest and let us feed the horses, clean them up and resupplying packs with water, electrolytes and trail food for them. The guys changed into shorts and donned caps with plans to run on foot with the horses for most of the canyons to come.

Rusty and Stoner at Robinson Flats - Photo by Merri Melde

Rusty and Stoner come in to Robinson Flat - Photo by Merri Melde/Endurance.Net.

The hour flew by and we were now off for Foresthill, the second one-hour hold. After getting this stop set up, we jumped back in the car and headed backwards to Michigan Bluff.

At one time, Michigan was a vet hold because it is the first time riders can see their crew after emerging from the hot, brutal canyons. Though we knew it was going to basically be a ride-through for our guys, we met them in order to help to cool the horses and to give the guys some moral support.

Garrett and Lisa, followed by Rusty and Kevin came trotting around the corner and boy did they look great! They enjoyed the cold water for them, the horses enjoyed the oats. It was a quick five minutes tops and they were gone. We really had to hustle to get back to Foresthill. I don't think we waited 30 to 45 minutes and they were there. This is an amazing  stop. As the riders come up Bath Road, everyone lines the road waiting for them, cheering - crews and locals alike.

Kevin and Rusty coming up Bath Road - Photo by Lynn Glazer

Kevin and Rusty, with Far and Stoner, jogging up Bath Road - Photo by Lynne Glazer.

When they arrived at this stop we aggressively cooled off the horses. The horses looked very good here, but the guys had worked very hard. They had gotten off the horses and jogged the canyons, up and down, to give the horses a break. Did I mention these guys are in shape? In less than an hour, our team was at the line and ready to head out again. No time wasted. We headed down to the fairgrounds to wait for them to come in to the finish. Throughout the day, Garrett and Lisa, Rusty and Kevin had climbed up the leader board. When they left Forest hill Kevin and Rusty were in 4th and 5th place.

At 10:05 PM Saturday night, Garrett Ford and Lisa Ford came into the fairgrounds arena in first and second place to a standing ovation and cheers and tears. Fifteen minutes later, Kevin and Rusty came into the arena to finish 3rd and 4th. Their horses still looked great. After another cool down, they got their official vet check - heart rate down and soundness check - it was official! They had gone out wanting to top ten, but they got a top five! Four of them were coming back in the morning to present for the Haggin Cup. Our work wasn’t over!

Far relaxes in his stall after his big finish - Photo by Catherine Peterson

Far relaxes in his stall after his big finish - Photo by Catherine Peterson.

After taking care of the horses and some rest and food for the riders, Rusty took the first shift sleeping with the horses and we headed to the hotel for our two hours of sleep. We needed to be back at the fairgrounds to get the horses ready to show for the Haggin Cup “Best Conditioned” presentation. We arrived back before we knew it and it was time to start to work. Ready, set, go!

Following Far and Stoner to the arena for the trot out; the cheers, the beautiful horses and talented riders. It was mind-blowing. Just watching the presentation was emotional. Being part of it was indescribable. The horses went back to the barn and we rested and hung out, basking in their success until we got a text to get down to the Awards Banquet.

Does anyone else think awards banquets can be rather boring? Not here. The Tevis Awards Banquet was electric. Everyone was so charged up. After the presentations of appreciation, special awards, recognizing sponsors, etc. they brought the top ten horses through to receive recognition and to receive their top ten swag. They saved Garrett Ford and The Fury for last and presented him with the Tevis Cup Trophy. Head veterinarian, Dr. Fellers, gave a speech about what the Haggin Cup really means. He choked up a bit while giving the speech. It means that much.

Listening as the Haggin Cup winner was announced was breathtaking and the excitement was overwhelming. As we hear, “The winner of the Haggin Cup for best conditioned goes to Farrabba aka “Stoner” ridden and guided by Rusty Toth!” We have never been more excited for someone else's achievement in any sport than we were that day. Four amazing horses. Four awesome and talented riders. First through fourth place and now, Best Conditioned. Cheers, congratulations, back slapping and hugging abounded! The horses took it all in stride.

The smile says it all - Photo by Steph Teeter

The smile says it all - photo by Steph Teeter/Endurance.Net.

What an adventure. It was an honor and a privilege to be a small part of this amazing, incredible, astonishing event. Even more extraordinary was watching all the horses with Easyboot Glue-Ons cross the finish line at the most memorable endurance event in our lifetime. When asked, we say we have been spoiled crewing for the Easyboot team. After all, how many get the opportunity to say they crewed for two of the Top Four Finishers, Team Easyboot and the Haggin Cup winner?

Sleep is overrated.

Kandace French with Cathy Peterson

Learning From Teaching the Team Easyboot Way

By Kandace French and Sabrina Liska

One of the greatest aspects of being members of Team Easyboot 2012 means great and abundant questions about boot fit, types of boots and how to use them. To cover more topics and address a wider audience, fellow Team Easyboot 2012 team-mates and buds decided to jump in with both feet and offer a Easyboot Fitting Clinic in Desert Hills, Arizona on June 3, 2012. Due to the warm temperatures, we started early in the morning. But neither the weather nor the early hour deterred people. Unlimited auditors and a ten-horse limit maxed out the crowd. Attendees were encouraged to bring their questions and their current boots if they were using them.

Approximately 20 people and eight horses attended the clinic that included information on Why Bare and Why Boot?. There was a presentation on the types of boots available for every fit and need. There were great questions by the participants about boots in each category of trail riding, endurance and therapy.

What to Use and When to Use It



Hands on view of various boot styles, hints and equipment.

There was a hands-on demonstration and presentation of the Epic, Bare, Trail, Back Country, Glove and Glue-On and a presentation of which boot works best for individual horse's needs and applications. There was also a discussion regarding when to use Glue-On boots. Participants were surprised to know the actual length the Glue-Ons could be left on the horse safely.

Sabrina addressed the importance of a proper trim and we were able to show more than one attendee that their boot fitting problems were actually the result of long toes or improper sizing.



Measuring how-to for fit and accuracy.

The clinic also included the importance of measure in metric for best fit and discussion stressing that different types of boots use different measurements for a proper fit.


 

Detailed information, explanation and demonstrations were provided on how to measure the hoof and the importance of understanding the buttress line. Hand-outs, using information found on the Easy Care, Inc. website and brochures provided the additional information attendees needed to appreciate proper measurements.



Fitting an Epic.
 

Demonstrating the proper taping technique using Mueller Athletic Tape.

Great fun was made of the demonstration of proper boot fitting and removal and guests’ horses gave an excellent live demonstration of what a proper (or improper) fit looked like.

One of the Special Needs hooves. There will be a separate blog about this girl.

Horses were presented with a club hoof, a damaged hoof, shod, unshod and odd shaped.

Information and education was well received regarding Helpful Hints such as Power Straps, Athletic Tape, the use of knee-high panty hose, removing and reusing Glue-Ons, replacing parts, checking screws in new boots and great interest in the use of Loktite threadlocker. Kandace gave all the attendees a view of the emergency kit she keeps in her own pack consisting of extra screws, a short screwdriver and a tube of Loktite.

The clinic concluded with helping attendees with individual measurement and booting fitting/checking.

The greatest impact to the presenters was that a majority of the horses were wearing boots that were too big. Without the clinic and hands-on presentation, users simply don’t realize how to fit a boot or how snug it should be. Even more were happy to learn how to get a boot off without ripping the gator. “Work smart. Not hard.”


 

The clinic was well received and there are already requests for another clinic in the Fall. The audience left with a much better understanding of the product and three horses that were previously shod are going to be taken barefoot.

Thank you EasyCare Staff for all of your support! Your answers and encouragement help to make this little clinic of ours a success!
 

Love Squared

Another blog about the Backcountry Glove? Yes! I, myself, am very excited about this new protective horse boot and I will shout from the roof tops if I have to.

I received my new boots and couldn't wait to try them.The next decision was to where would we take them on their first journey. Knowing I would eventually take them to the limits, I wanted our first endeavor to be a whopper.

I used the new Glove Back Country boots on my big TWH mare with large hooves. We went to South Mountain Regional Park, and although we only rode about 7 miles that day, it was the ever so famous Arizona terrain we all know and love. We did climbing and very little gaiting, and I tried my best to find a fault in this new boot. I couldn't. Believe me, I tried.

Why yes, this is the trail.

Taking a short rest. This is about the best footing we found up on the mountain.

I watched my Glove Back Country boots from horseback. I wanted to see if I had any twisting, damage to the boot or any sign that the boot was not on securely. Is it wrong that I had a little disappointment that these hoof boots performed perfectly? I even checked for rubs with a fine toothed comb and there weren't any. None, zilch, zip, nada. When all was said and done that day, I did do a little happy dance behind the trailer so no one could see me. 

I love the Easyboot Trails and I love the Easyboot Glove, and I am so in love with this idea of the combining the two. I guess it would be called Love Squared. 

Try them and do your own happy dance behind the trailer.

Sabrina Liska

Trim the Feathers?

There is always talk of the importance of boot fit, but what about gaiter fit? Is it too loose? Too tight? Well, I am going to give a few tips, so sit back and take a deep breath. 

Let's use the Easyboot Glove as an example, even though any EasyCare boot with a gaiter could be used.

Typically, the gaiter should be very snug once the boot itself is on the hoof correctly. I have seen other riders with snug gaiters, finger loose gaiters, and just plain ol' four fingers between the pastern and gaiter loose gaiters. I think each horse/rider team has a preference, as it should be. But what else can be done for a happy fit?

If your horse is anything like mine, there are those feathers that get in the way. What am I talking about? Check out the photo below.

Hair much?

Ahhh, much better.

So the question is, should I trim or even clip those hairy feathers away? The answer is: it depends. If the hair under the gaiters are getting matted, full of sweat and mud or you think the gaiter doesn't have the best fit in your opinion, then yes. Also, if you are concerned about underlying possible rubs it would be a good idea to nix the hair. Starting with a 'clean' slate will give you an idea about boot and gaiter fit. As a distance rider and a rider with very long hair, I personally feel for the horse and like to get all that hair out of the way. I know I would appreciate it.

Tight gaiters, loose gaiters, hairy pasterns or not, the importance is a comfy horse in well fitting EasyCare boots and a happy ride.

NATRC and Easy Boot - A Buzzing Success

Submitted by Kandace French

As a NATRC rider and ride manager, I have often heard in the last year that “NATRC now allows hoof boots in competition.” This isn’t quite an accurate statement, but the recent changes in boot requirements in NATRC have created a more enthusiastic outpouring of competitors with barefoot equines. Effective at the beginning of the 2011 ride year, the North American Trail Ride Conference (“NATRC”) amended the rules of competition to include hoof boots over the coronet band, including boots with straps, gaiters and keepers, provided the attachments do not extend above the pastern.

This opened up the opportunity for riders with barefoot horses to use boots with gators and keepers during a NATRC ride without having to glue boots. This was especially welcoming to the rider that was only riding one day, or less than 50 miles. How wonderful to slip on an Easyboot Glove, tighten the gator and go! What amazing transformations are taking place in the competitive trail ride venue! Since this rule change, I am excited to see the representation of barefoot horses increase exponentially at the NATRC rides. While NATRC has long allowed glued boots, the rule change seems to have brought a real camaraderie and supportive environment for barefoot horses in competitive trail rides.

Knowledge of the benefits of barefoot equines and natural hoof care is increasing. Horsemanship judges and veterinarian judges alike are asking excellent questions, looking at the change and seeing at all the ways that boots can benefit both the horse and rider in competition. On February 17, 2012, I was the ride manager of the Second Annual Bumble Bee NATRC Competitive Trail Ride in Bumble Bee, Arizona.

This desert environment was challenging and the footing varied, including rocks, sand, water, climbs and hard packed flats. The increase in booted competitors entered at this ride was exciting. Over one-half of the horses were booted or barefoot and the largest representation of hoof boots was Easy Care brand.

Prior to the ride, I was thrilled to be asked to glue boots on two of the competitors’ horses. One of those entered horses went on the win the first place Novice Lightweight Horse division and the Novice Sweepstakes Horse. The other horse placed 3 in a field of 14 entries. I was also encouraged to overhear one of the long time NATRC veterinarian judges check out a horse and rider team at the end of the ride and answer questions for the rider about her hoof boots and correct hoof boot fitting. He was educated and supportive of the Easy Boot Gloves and knowledgeable about the benefits of Power Straps.

The number of barefoot horses entering competitive trail riding (“CTR”) events is growing. Booting knowledge is increasing. The number of booted competitors winning in NATRC is growing as well. Not only are more horses entering competitive trail rides, but the attitude and general acceptance of booted horses in CTRs is changing. Booted horses are no longer looked at with curiosity, but admiration instead. More riders are asking intelligent questions and more information is available. As the choices in Easy Care booting options increases, booted horses in NATRC competition increases as well. The pairing of NATRC and Easy Boots at the Bumble Bee NATRC CTR was a buzzing success.

A First Place Foot

It is just the beginning of another great opportunity for the benefits of barefoot and booted horses to strut their stuff. The proof is in the boots.

Kandace French

A Simple Glue On Experiment

I admit it, I am a 'glue phobic'. I have seen the glue-on process many times, but I am just terrified to try it myself. So I thought I would experiment.

I recently did a 50 mile endurance ride in Sonoita, Azrizona. I used a pair of Easyboot Gloves and iI secretly removed the gaiters. I did not rough up the outer walls of my horse's hooves. Instead I cleaned them really well with a pick and a brush. I then Goober Glued the bottom of the hooves thoroughly using a putty knife. I applied the boot, then wrapped the boot on with my Mueller Athletic tape. I applied the boots just prior to leaving my house so the trailer ride would give the glue time to set while the horse was as still as possible. The biggest enemy of any glueing type, is the dreaded twisting of the hoof. Nothing is worse than  to have the horse twist right out of the boots. 

This is after 50 miles. Success!

The experiment.

I left the tape on during the 50-mile ride. It just added extra hold and acted like a sealant.

The experiment was a success for me. The picture above is after we completed. Viva La Experimentation! 

Sabrina Liska

Easyboots And The ICU

This blog was hard for me to write. It is very personal to my heart but I feel the direction in which hoof boots are taking natural hoof care is nothing short of revolutionary.

A few weeks ago, I have a friend who, with her beloved horse Yankee, completed their first 75 mile endurance ride. She competed in Glue-Ons all around and vetted out with straight A's. She and Yankee were on top of the world! Once home, she left the boots on. With a heavy work week and the holidays coming up, it was safe to let the boots be for a while and pull them the following week.

Yankee November 2011

A week after the ride, Yankee was rushed to the local equine hospital. Yankee was in dire straights with a serious intestinal bacterial infection unrelated to the ride. I wont go into details, but the situation was not in favor for Yankee. On top of everything else, due to the tremendous amount of toxins and edema in Yankee's system from the infection, laminitis was a huge possibility and probability. 

When Yankee was admitted, the vets were curious about the Glue-Ons, how they were applied, and why Yankee was still wearing them. After a thorough explanation in detail regarding the boots, (they weren't familiar with them, but loved them after a description of what was on his feet, how it was done, and why) the vets all concurred it was better for Yankee's feet to have the support of the Easyboot Glue-Ons and to leave the boots on. They were hopeful that the added padding from the Goober Glue and the overall boot support, would aid in the prevention of Laminitis and Founder. Whether or not it would actually help is moot. The fact that the vets were on board and supportive of the Easy Boot hoof boots aiding in health issue is huge!

Yankee in ICU

Yankee is finally home and on the mend after spending eight days in ICU, and he appears to have avoided that dreaded laminitis! Did the Glue-Ons help in warding off the Founder? I don't know. I'd like to think that they did. 

Thank you KF for permission to post this.