Modifications of Easyboot Gloves and Glue-On Shells: Part I

Submitted by Pete Ramey

Easyboot Glove hoof boots with optional Power Straps added to the top of the lower shell. 

Since they were only prototypes in 2008, the Easyboot Gloves and Glove Glue-On Shells from EasyCare Inc. have been my primary tools for hoof protection. There are many great boots and gluing options out there and I have tried a majority of them but these have remained my favorites.

Easyboot Gloves

These boots are light, compact and durable; but the reason I am so fond of them is that I can modify them in so many ways to suit individual hooves. This is particularly important with flared or rotated hoof capsules or hooves with low heel/long toe syndrome. The toe of the boot can be heat-fitted to expand, allowing the breakover to be placed correctly – critical to correct movement and thus rehabilitation of these hooves.


Glove shell heat-fitted to a rotated hoof capsule. The breakover will also be modified in the sole as shown below. Note the “shiny” areas of the boot – a key part of judging the heating process.

Heat-fitting is useful for more routine fitting on “normal” hooves, as well. The Glove is so light, durable and compact partially because it does not rely on buckles, straps and overlapping layers of materials to keep it on. Instead, it relies on perfect fit. If the boot is touching the foot everywhere, with no excessively tight areas and no areas with air space between the foot and the boot, it will perform like no other. But – and this is a big but – if the boot is tight in some areas and has air space in others, it may be one of the least reliable boots on the market. Fit is everything with this model, and if the foot is changing, the boot will have to change along the way as well. 

That means that this boot is not for everyone and not for every hoof; however a well-fit Glove is the highest-performance option, so each owner must decide whether to go this route. I suppose this is similar to a racing engine that must be pulled apart and rebuilt after every race. Is this a good engine? It depends on your perspective.

This is an easy choice for horse owners who are lucky enough to have a hoof professional who does all this modification for them. But for horse owners “on their own,” the Easyboot Glove may not be the best boot choice.

Heat-Fitting

I use the Digital Heat Gun from Ace Hardware that reaches 1100° (Fahrenheit) although any other brand will work, as long as it reaches this temp. Place the boot (or shell) on the foot and then palpate the boot walls. You will usually find that some areas of the boot are tight against the foot, and some are loose – you can press inward to close the air space inside. Mark any areas that are tight with a Sharpie. When heat fitting, you will generally be moving the foot forward into tight areas until the loose areas become tight. 

As you close these loose areas, you will simultaneously be optimizing breakover and placing the heels in the perfect spot to be snug (but not overly tight) and sitting all the way down on the boot floor (not standing on the heel portion of the shell or the gaiter).
Remove the boot from the horse for the heating process, and be careful to direct the heat away from the gaiters (and your hands). Only the lower shell is heated. You need to heat the boot gradually, so it heats all the way through. The timing varies daily with the power source, heat gun, ambient temperature, and the temperature the boots endured in the back of your truck the previous night. So each time I heat boots, I must determine a new timing. I do this by seeing how long it takes the area I’m heating to develop a sheen.

On the outside of the boot, hold the heat gun parallel to, and ¾” away from the surface, moving the heat gun small in rapid circles to distribute heat. As soon as you see a slight sheen appear on the surface, move the heat quickly to another area. Keep the heat focused only on the tight areas you previously marked, trying to avoid heating areas that were already loose on the hoof wall. Once you have brought a slight sheen to the desired areas on the outside walls of the boot, switch to the inside of the boot. You will not be able to focus heat as accurately or see the sheen on the inside, but instead, apply heat for the same amount of time as you did on the outside. Repeat one more time inside and out for the same amount of time as it took to develop the sheen in the first lap.

Caution: In used boots, you will not see the sheen develop – the ground-in dirt hides the sheen until the boot is over-heated. Learn today’s timing on a new boot before trying to heat up a used one.

If, at any point in the heating process, you see tiny bubbles emerge on the surface, move on from that spot and don’t return – that area is slightly over-heated (but may still need more heat from the inside of the boot).

After this process is complete, move quickly to the horse and put the boot on. You may need a rubber mallet to drive the boot back far enough. When the heels are in the perfect spot in the boot, put the foot down, let the boot cool for two minutes, and evaluate your fit.

Evaluating Boot Fit

The key to Easyboot Glove success is at the heels. If the heels are too tight, the boot will be constantly trying to “squirt off” the foot (plus heel rubbing is likely, as is gaiter failure). If a mallet is required to put the boot on, the heels are probably too tight. The boot should slide on readily in hand. 

If the heels are too loose, the foot can twist in the boot. If it can twist with hand pressure, it will twist when you ride. So to combine these two extremes, the perfectly fitted Glove will slide right into place with firm hand pressure (no percussion), but then “suck” into place with no turning of the boot on the foot.

Secondary to heel fit is the percentage of boot wall touching the foot. Ideally, the boot will be touching the hoof wall everywhere with no air spaces. But this perfection is sometimes impossible to achieve – particularly with wide feet or feet with large quarter flares. The boot can perform well with about 30% airspace, but always strive for “the best you can get.” At this point, I often reheat small, tight areas to close more air spaces, particularly at quarter flares.

Hind Feet

I fit hind feet the same way, but it usually looks very different. Hind feet tend to be more pointed than the rounder front feet. The Gloves (and all other hoof boots) were designed to fit the front feet. This is why hind boot fit issues are so common, and this is where the Gloves can really shine. I generally pick a hind boot size by its width.

This usually means the foot is way too long for the selected size. I then heat the center of the boot toe, allowing the horse’s more pointed hind toe to hang over the front of the boot, much like a laminitis case. This, of course, locks the foot in place within the boot, preventing the twisting so common with hind boots.

Boot Sizing

Sometimes, by the time you get the toe area fitted, the heels have become too loose. This boot will not function well because the heel fit is the most important aspect. You simply need to go down a size (or two) and start over. This is not a big deal for professionals, who can simply sell the other boot to someone else who needs that size, but can be really bad news to a horse owner who has one horse and one set of Gloves. With experience, you can learn to prevent this (usually) by simply thinking things through before you heat. If, during the initial assessment, I see that I have significant changes that need to occur at the toe, but my heels already fit nicely, I automatically know I need to start with a smaller size. 

It usually works well to size the boot for the width the foot would be if there were no quarter flares, and then heat-fit to accommodate toe length and any wall flares. At best, with distorted feet, this will take some experimentation, so it is always best to have several different sizes around to simply try on.


One Foot, One Boot 

Like your own shoes, horse boots adapt to the foot with use. For best results and performance, designate one boot to one foot (I “earmark” them with nippers and/or a hole punch, as writing on them doesn’t last). While this will help with the performance of any boot model, it is particularly critical with the Gloves. If you need to share boots between horses, I recommend you choose a different model – one with buckles, straps and overlapping layers of materials. 

 

Other Glove Modifications

Insoles

The most common modification I make is the addition of padded insoles to the boots. This puts the sole, bars and frog to work, thus relieving strain on the laminae and provides a cushier ride to the solar corium. A weakness of the Gloves (vs. some other models) is that they generally won’t accommodate pads thicker than 3/8-inch. When I need thicker padding for extreme rehab cases, I use a different model.

But for most horses, 1/4”-3/8-inch pads are all we need, and these work well in the Gloves. A wide array of pad choices are available – your imagination is the limit – but the best pad is the one that makes the horse feel the best. Particularly with lameness cases of any kind, it is wise to experiment with multiple pad choices and pick the one that yields the best movement of the horse.

I am a big fan of the EasyCare Comfort Pads (as I should be, since I originally picked out the materials). They come in two thicknesses and three densities that cover most needs. It can be a big money-saver, though, to find large quantities of raw foam/rubber from other sources. Horses with thin or otherwise painful soles tend to choose this type of padding over other options.

Another favorite of mine is synthetic felt in 1/4" or 3/8” thickness (thanks Sossity and Mario of Wild Hearts Hoof Care). Horses with caudal foot pain tend to prefer these. They are also better for moisture management, so I really like them for boot turnout and in glue-on shells. Sourcing the material has been a bit of a problem. It is readily available online but seems extraordinarily expensive. So far, I have continually found new saddle pads and liners at clearance sales for my own use, and I am always sticking my nose into clients’ tack rooms looking for a deal on an unwanted felt saddle pad. I have also found the thick (1”-1 ½”) felt pads can be easily cut/torn into thinner pads, as the material is put together in layers.

Some horses show no preference between the foam/rubber pads and synthetic wool felt. For these, I tend to use the felt, as it is cheaper and more durable (always a good combination).

Thick leather is another durable pad choice. Go to a leather shop and buy tanned, full thickness cowhide. These pads offer less shock absorption so may not be the best choice for most thin-soled horses. But for sound horses that you simply want to provide more load distribution, leather is a great choice. I also prefer leather when I need to unload an area of the sole by cutting a relief hole in the insole. This comes up with surgery sites on the bottom of the foot, and with “sole penetrations” or other exposure of the solar corium. 

Regardless of the material selected, you will need to cut it to shape. With Easyboot Gloves, I place the boot on the pad material with ½” of boot heel tread hanging off the edge of the pad. Then, using a Sharpie, I trace the boot outline onto the pad. I cut the pad with large shears or a razor knife, following the inside of my mark, leaving the mark and 1/8” of extra material on the unused portion of the pad. The desired end result is a pad that fits the inside of the boot well, with no wiggle room, and no lapping up onto the sides in any area.


Power Straps

These are stretchy rubber additions to the top of the Glove boot, available as add-ons from EasyCare. They are very handy for eliminating boot fit/performance issues, but they do make boot application more difficult for the average horse owner. When I first started using the Gloves, I knew nothing about heat fitting them and found I needed Power Straps on about 20% of front feet and 80% of hind feet. As I got better at heat-fitting, I use about two sets per year.

Their best use may be for economy. When you fit Gloves to a flared or rotated foot and then succeed in growing in better-connected walls, the foot size is generally smaller. This means the boot fit will have become loose and sloppy. The correct thing to do at this point is fit a new set in a smaller size but adding the Power Straps can be a cheap alternative that extends the life of the old boot.

Power Straps come with cut and punch marks labeled for each boot size. I have found that, rather than using these marks literally, I do better thinking my way through it and punching the holes where I think they need to be for the individual fitting needs.

Add-On Buckles

As an extension of the Power Strap idea, you can add buckles to the boots to gain even more adjustment. The buckles in the picture below are replacement buckles for O’Neal motorcycle boots I ordered from Amazon. Of course this eliminates some of the compact nature I love about the Gloves, but the result is still more compact than most types of boots.

 


Replacement buckles for O’Neal motorcycle boots I ordered from Amazon (part #0290-095 and #0290-091) added to the Power Strap attachment points. Apply buckles so that they are on the lateral sides of the boots to avoid interference.

Drainage Holes

In other models of boots, I usually drill drainage holes in the sole to quickly drain the boots after creek crossings. Due to the close fit of Gloves, particularly if insoles are being used, I find there is no need to do this – there is not really any room for sloshing water in the well-fitted Glove. But opinions (and fitting) vary, so if you feel the need to drill drain holes in your boots, there are certainly no problems with it. I generally like to use a ½” drill bit and place multiple holes in the tread over any open areas inside the boot. This hole size seems to be a good compromise – large enough to resist clogging and small enough to minimize the entry of pebbles.

Trim Cycle

By nature, Easyboot Gloves are probably more sensitive to a tight trim cycle than other models. This works to some horses’ advantage because boots have been used by many owners as a tool to allow neglect. 

The boots should be fitted to a freshly trimmed foot. There is generally enough stretch in the Glove shells to accommodate a six-week trim cycle if there is minimal wall flaring on the hoof. But for horses with significant wall flares, the foot gets much larger in circumference during the trim cycle. By six weeks, you usually will not be able to get the Glove on. These horses will need a shorter trim cycle until most of the flaring is successfully grown out – but again, this is a good idea, anyway. It is worth noting, though, that the bulkier types of boots with buckles and overlapping layers of materials will be more accommodating to long trim cycles on flared hooves. The Gloves aren’t for everyone.

Modifications to Tread

Breakover Adjustment

The stock bevel built into the toe of the Glove is generally just right for horses with perfect wall attachment at the toe except that since horses need to turn, I feel that same shape should continue from a 10:00 to 2:00 position around the toe. This modification, I do to almost every pair I fit. I use a brand new Heller Legend hoof rasp that has never trimmed a foot for this (and most other modifications to the boot soles). Many types of sanders and grinders work well, too – your choice.

In horses with separation of the toe wall from the coffin bone, I generally accommodate most of the needed breakover adjustment with heat-fitting of the boot’s toe, but an additional inch of breakover change can be trimmed into the boot sole as well. This is handy for joint, muscular and other problems with locomotion as well.


At 2:00, the typical rounding of the breakover I do to most Gloves and Glue-Ons. Additional breakover adjustment can be added – I often rasp it back to the second traction groove at the toe, taking care not to rasp up to the tiny seam between the boot tread and sidewall. 

At 7:00, I have added a typical heel rocker I like for chronic toe walkers, hoof capsule rotations, and some club feet. This shape and size can vary as needed. Center, is a common vent (discussed below) I do, only on Glue-Ons – not Gloves. This is a size #1.5, the hole was made with a 2 ¼” hole saw and drill.

Heel Rockering

There are countless reasons (I won’t go into here) that rockering of the heels can create an advantage for the horse – club feet, forging issues, chronic toe-walkers, joint problems, caudal foot pain, hoof capsule rotation to name a few. I often do this, both to bare feet and to any appliance I add to the foot, including hoof boots. The Gloves accommodate this very well.

Wedging

Occasionally, there is a therapeutic need for mediolateral or dorsopalmar wedging of the foot. If no more than 3/8” of deviation is needed, I prefer to simply remove the unwanted material from the boot tread. If more were needed (rare), farrier wedge pads (up to 3/8”-thick) can work in the Gloves. 


Traction modification for deep footing. Be sure to leave an adequate “shelf” for the toe to stand on. Because of the increased likelihood of gripping the ground too well or snagging on something, use this with Glue-On applications or with Mueller Tape added to a Glove as discussed below. Also, of course, consider the safety of the horse – this is suitable for loose arenas or tracks but not trail work.

Traction Modifications

Two types of add-on studs are available from EasyCare – a large nut/bolt type stud and smaller ice studs. I have also experimented with using a hole saw to drill out and open the bottom of the boot, leaving a narrow rim of shoe at ground level and an exposed sole. This gets great traction in muddy and most arena conditions but may have the same disadvantages of a thick metal shoe; clogging and carrying too much weight of dirt, which could limit performance and hasten fatigue.

A better modification for deep or muddy footing is to use an electric router and guide to thin the boot tread to ½” wide. Next, heat up the remaining boot sole and push it up into a dome shape (I press the boot sole onto one of my daughter’s softballs to achieve this shape. The prototype traction sole shown below was simply a computer duplication of a Glove shell I modified in this fashion.

The idea (much like a bare foot) is that the tread will clean out with every stride (spray with WD-40 or Pam for better results). I believe that these get better traction on mud, wet grass, arena surfaces, tracks, etc. than cleat-type treads or a metal perimeter shoe because of this resistance to clogging. An additional advantage from a performance standpoint is not carrying the added weight of the dirt/mud.

Prototype Glove traction sole. You can build one from a standard Glove (except that the outer rim of tread will be slightly more shallow) using a router with a guide and square bit, a heat gun, and a softball.

This boot will, of course, wear out faster on hard terrain but as with human athletic cleats vs. track shoes, I don’t think it will ever be possible to optimize turf traction with the same tread pattern that is perfect for road work. You’ll need to own both.

Boot Turnout Done Right

The Gloves are designed and intended for riding and other work, with the assumption that the boots will be removed when the horse is turned out. In spite of that fact, after trying countless options, I have found Gloves are my favorite turnout option for horses that are temporarily lame in their own turnout environment. Boot turnout is no picnic for the horse owner – there is work involved – but, in my experience, padded boots tend to provide more pain relief and quicker healing than any other shoeing option. If increased movement and a lack of compensative movement are achieved while simultaneously “doing no harm,” the result is healthier growth of every part of the foot. So boot turnout tends to be the quickest path to feet that are healthy enough to be comfortable barefoot in their own turnout environment.

This is most critical with laminitis cases. Only in a padded boot (or sometimes bare on the most perfect terrain) can you hope to get away with unloading the walls (and thus the laminae), carrying the load on the sole while healthy laminae are re-grown. This is beacause only boots offer a full release of pressure to the sole when the hoof is in flight.

The primary reason I like the Gloves best for turnout is that with heat-fitting, I can adjust breakover to the correct area on horses with flared or rotated walls – a key feature of most horses who are unsound at turnout. For caudal foot pain cases, assorted pads can be tried in the boots to achieve flat or heel-first impacts – the key secret to success with these cases. The Glove tread readily accepts modification, as discussed above, often critical to rehab cases. In my experience, a well-fitted Glove is less likely to cause rubbing of the bulbs or hide than any other boot I've used. All this and more can be done in a lightweight, very compact package, which also very important to me.

Turnout is hard on boots. Constant exposure to UV rays break down the nylon and plastics. Generally the same boot that might last an endurance rider 450 miles (or the average trail rider five years) will be destroyed by 2-3 months of turnout. The Gloves are no different except the only part that gets destroyed is the gaiter. Replacing the gaiter is much cheaper than buying a whole boot.

Note: Gaiter life is greatly extended by wrapping the gaiter with Vet Wrap (or other tape) when using the Gloves as turnout boots. It blocks UV rays, and helps prevent horses from nibbling on the Velcro closures.

The Gloves do also have weaknesses as turnout boots, compared to other models. Some cases will need thicker padding than the Glove can accommodate. I use ½”-thick pads in Gloves on lame (lower performance) horses, and it works well. But if you need thicker padding, you will need to select a different boot model. 

Another issue already discussed is that with the Gloves, you are more likely to need 2-3 boot sizes as you grow out a 20+ degree rotation than if you were using a boot with buckles and layers of overlapping material. But since you generally can’t get breakover right on a rotated foot with those other types of boots, I feel you are much more likely to grow out a rotation if you use heat-fitted Gloves. The extra money is well-spent.

Regardless of the boot you choose for turnout, the primary problem is the rotten “funk” that quickly builds up inside the boot. This can complicate infections in the white line and frog. It can also get in the way of growing a healthy sole, one of the key features of a horse that can be sound for barefoot turnout. To eliminate these problems, the boot must be removed and washed daily. During this time, clean the horse’s feet and place him in a dry area suitable for whatever problem he has (deep shavings, a deep bed of pea rock, etc.).

During this time, inspect the bulbs and legs for rubbing. If this occurs, it is probably because the boot is too tight at the heels (jamming), or too loose (twisting/movement is occurring). Re-fit your boots and/or bandage or use a man’s tube sock on the horse prior to booting.

After – ideally – two hours of drying time, powder the inside of the boot with Gold Bond Medicated Powder (available from most pharmacies) and replace the boots. Re-wrap the gaiters with Vet Wrap (or other tape).

Yep, this is a lot of work for the horse owner. But for many problems, particularly laminitis and caudal foot pain/navicular syndrome it works better and is way-cheaper than any shoeing option I know of. I expect/demand horse owners with a horse with the above problems to give me 2-3 months of good boot turnout. During this time, my goal is comfortable, non-compensative barefoot turnout. If I cannot achieve this, I let the horse owner off the hook and seek other options.

Some problems are permanent. Others may take years to fix. This is when I reach for glue-on shoes. The healing rate is slower, compared to booting, but the daily maintenance by the owner is more reasonable for the “long haul.”

Please stay tuned for EasyCare's July newsletter for Part II of Pete Ramey's "Modifications of Easyboot Gloves and Glue-On Shells". Don't miss out! Subscribe to EasyCare's newsletter today.

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The current ebay selection has the following boots:

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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.

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Easy Cuff for Gloves

Submitted by Pascale Winckler, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

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

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

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

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Power strap inside the boots, ready to be glued.

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

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

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

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Gloves with power strap glued.

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

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Boots removed, power strap glued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sik Method: How to Glue on a Pair of Used Gloves, Just Sik'm On There

Submitted by Tennessee Lane, 2014 Team Easyboot Member

For those of you who are intimidated by the Glue-On Process, this is a great, easy, and cost effective alternative.  I have referenced an old blog about this "ghetto" style glue job so many times that I have decided to bring the topic back to the surface.

First and foremost, please bear in mind that the guidelines Easy Care provides for gluing boots on cannot be beaten, it is by far the safest and most effective way to glue your brand new Easy Boot Glue-Ons or EasyShoes.  You will notice that when it really matters, for example at Tevis, I follow their prescribed method to a "T."  There are times when you just don't want to mess around or take any risk.  Feel free to find out a little more about how I, personally, decide which product to use for each challenge by reading The Way I Do It - by Tennessee Lane.  The Sik Method is not my first choice, but it quickly becomes my first choice when my usual first choice gets knocked off my menu of options, or if I'm feeling lazy... or cheap.

However, I have used the Sik method many many times with great success.  Yes, I have done multi days (multiple days of 50 milers back to back,) and even 100-milers in a set of broken-down old Gloves.  As I mentioned, I use this method out of necessity, laziness (because it is VERY easy and stress-free,) and if I have an old set of Gloves ready for retirement.  How do you do it?  You just Sik'm on there!

Above, Tennessee gallops Shazam out of the vet check at the North American 100 mile Championship ride, having used this Sik Method.

Scenario:  You've been training/riding your horse while he wears Easyboot Gloves, maybe you've been racing in them too, they still have some useable tread on there but they really are a little tore up.  The gators and hardware are trashed, they're stretched out, they've got holes in the toes, they've done some hard time, and it's time to order up a new set.  Don't throw them away!  Use this Sik method to glue them on for your next multi-day!  Go ahead and order your next set of Easyboot Gloves while your at it, this will be your old set's last hurrah.

You will need: Your horse, your hoof trimming equipment, your old EasyBoot Gloves, a caulking gun, 1 tube of SikaFlex 227, 1 popsicle stick, 1 phillips screwdriver (also great to have rubber/latex gloves, alcohol in a spray bottle, a tall Gin and Tonic.)  This process must be done at LEAST 1 day prior to riding your horse.  For example, do it the evening before your big ride so the glue can set up over night.  This is NOT an option for a horse that will stand and paw afterward, he will paw off the boots.

Sik Method Step 1: Prep your old EasyBoot Gloves

Toss them in a bucket of soapy water to soak.  Scrub them out thoroughly.  Use your screwdriver to scrape out any dirt that might have gotten compacted in the toe.  Rinse them out thoroughly to insure the soap, dirt etc is off.  Set them upside down to dry like dishes.  Consider spraying the insides down with alcohol, totally optional though (don't wipe them down with alcohol, the remnants and dust from your paper towel is no bueno for glue.)  Set them upside down to dry thoroughly and leave them upside down until you are ready to put the glue in them, this will insure that all the dust from your horse moving around doesn't settle on and stick to your nice clean boots.  

Step 2:  Loosen the screws

This is important!  Take your screwdriver and loosen all three screws of each gator on each boot.  You just need to break that super-tight seal that you usually strive to have on a new set of Gloves.  Sometimes the screw heads are so worn down from action that its hard to get enough bight on them.  You want them to hold lightly, but you REALLY want to make sure you will be able unscrew them once glued to your horse (below.)

Step 3:  Prep the hoof

Make sure your horse is trimmed as you would usually trim him before your ride.  Easyboot Gloves are meant to be worn over a nice fresh trim so they fit like a GLOVE.  Use a wire brush to scrub/scrape any dirt from the hoof wall.  The hoof should be dry but this process will even work on a damp hoof as long as it is very clean.  Consider spraying the hoof wall and sole down with alcohol, helpful but not necessary to this process.  This prep is the same as the usual Glue-On protocol, however, the Sik method is much more forgiving, for example it will work fine on hooves and boots that are not immaculately clean or dry.  Just do the best you can under your circumstances and don't stress about it.

Step 4:  Sika Flex

Put on your rubber/latex gloves and use your caulking gun to apply SikaFlex 227 in a triangle at the base of the boot where the frog will be in contact with the boot.  The more concave the hoof, the more glue you will need to fill that concavity.  It is important to fill the concavity of the frog but not overfill it.  That part is exactly the same as the approved EasyBoot Glue-On Protocol, but here's where the Sik method diverges...  Squeeze SikaFlex onto your popsicle stick like you are putting toothpaste on your toothbrush.  Use the popsicle stick to "paint" a solid layer of SikaFlex on the inner vertical wall of the boot.  The layer should be about as thick as a dime and should cover the entire wall which will soon be in contact with your horse's clean hoof wall.  Take your time, have a seat, have a sip of that gin and tonic.  You are working with SikaFlex, not Adhere, so time really isn't of the essence here, chillax.  One tube of SikaFlex will be perfect for all 4 boots.

Step 5:  Apply boots

Put the Gloves on your horse like you always have.  They will slide on and twist around a little easier than they normally do because there is a slimy layer of SikaFlex lubricating everything.  Once it's all the way on, twist it back and forth a couple times (clockwise and counterclockwise) just a 1/4 to 1/2 inch to make sure the glue has effectively smeared onto the hoofwall.  Make sure the boot is on straight and set the hoof down.  Velcro the gators on tight.  If you put way too much glue in the frog, it will squirt out the heel, wipe it out or this glue will attach the gator to the horse's heel bulbs and the back of his pastern which is no bueno (you'll end up "waxing" him when your remove the gators, youch! Yet still functional with bald heels LOL.)  Excessive glue will also cause the boot to slide around and twist excessively but don't worry, it's salvageable.  The Sikaflex takes a while to set up.  If the boot twists, just calmly pick the hoof up, straighten it out and put it back down.

Step 6:  Observe 

Let your horse stand there, maybe feed him for entertainment's sake, and allow that glue to set up a little bit.  Unlike adhere, this glue will be setting up for the next 8 hours.  If he twists a boot, just straighten it out.  Have a sip of that gin and tonic, talk to your neighbors, play fetch with the dog, call your mom, clean a stall, just give it a little time, at least 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on him and if he twists, straighten it and re-tighten the gator.  It's easy to waste time around your horse for 10 minutes or even an hour to check on him.

Step 7:  Walk away

Put your horse back in his run (or back on his HiTie or load him in the trailer for your 6 hour drive to the race,) with the glue still wet and his gators on tight.  It seems crazy, I know.  But it works.  Just walk away.

Step 8:  Remove the gators & Voila!

When the glue is set up (6-8 hours later) use your screwdriver to unscrew all of the hardware on each boot and tear those nasty old gators off.  Retire them permanently, or if you're really a hoarder, then keep them around for spare parts.  Voila!  You've got boots glued-on for your ride, no gators to worry about.  Yes, the screw "backings" remain behind and are harmless hitch-hikers.

PROOF #1 The NAETC or North American Endurance Ride Championships (Picture at top in blue Gloves.)

I traveled through an ice storm and -37 degree temps to FL to represent the mountain zone at a championship 100-mile ride.  I was very sad to find out shortly before the race that my adhere had frozen and gone bad.  It was too late to acquire new Adhere but I had what I needed to Sik'm on (a full set of Easyboot Gloves that fit him and a tube of SikaFlex.)  I Sik'd them on Shazam in the pouring rain, threw him in the trailer with wet glue for the last leg of our journey, and he stepped out of the trailer ready to race.  We ran 100 miles in 10hours wearing ghetto, Sika'd on gloves and he was the fastest mountain horse to complete.  The only problem was that I had packed nice new Gloves as my spares so 1st of all, I wrecked a perfectly new pair of Gloves, and 2nd of all, I totally forgot to loosen the screws and had to cut the rubber to get the gators off.  But the boots were in great shape at the finish of the 100 and were difficult to remove even weeks later.  I spared you the pictures of me gluing them on in the rain and mud.

Proof #2 Mt Carmel Multiday

My beast of a mare thinks it's her job to test the strength of gators.  There's no way I was going to make this set of old glove last 3 days of extreme terrain attached to the hooves of a freight train.  I Sik'd them on and she smoked through 3 days and 155mile of rough terrain and high speed in a pair of gloves that were literally about to go in the trash, in fact two of them even had large holes in the toes - it doesn't matter once they're glue-on, as long as there's amply tread to protect the bottom of the hoof.

Proof#3 

I slapped these babies on a horse that was totally freaking out and I was in such a hurry.  There was glue everywhere.  It was the shoddiest job I've ever seen.  I was so "over it" and I had to go so I just threw him in the pasture, the boots were so sloppy and still making sloshing noises, and the horse was FREAKING out back in the pasture, literally pacing at a gallop.  I figured they would be off or worse - glued on backwards the next morning.  But they weren't.  The next morning (yes there was glue EVERYwhere) the boots were on fine.  I unscrewed the gators, tore them off, and rode the ever-loving snot out of that horse for the next 6 days in a row - hard, steep, mountain work.  Boots were fine, horse was even better.

I'm not really sure where to stop with the proof because I have done quite a few 100s and tons of multi days with ancient, tore-up, old Easyboot Gloves that I just Sik'd on for one last hurrah.  It's crazy the mileage you can get out of these things, and this is the best way to get some awesome final mileage out of a set.  It's not artwork, but it's a great alternative for someone looking for alternatives.  Although I always use new Glue-On shells and follow the extreme protocol for important rides, I do this "Sik" method often, and I feel like I'm cheating.  Give it a try, it's so Easy!

"Horse Crazy" Infects 10 Out of 10 People Exposed to Horses

Hello! My name is Holly Jonsson. I have huge shoes (or boots, I should say) to fill as the newly appointed Director of Sales at EasyCare. While I come from a background in international sales, domestic sales, training, R&D, quality control and everything in between, I am first and foremost a horse lover. It doesn't matter the breed, the discipline, the size of horse, or the country your horse is in: I love them all. For me, it started very young...and it has made me happy ever since.

I had a 9hh mini stallion that I would take jogging in my neighborhood. He hung out with my Weimaraner and I would often come home to find them both passed out on the cold tile floor in the room adjoining the back yard. My little stallion taught all my dogs that apple slices were worth begging for.

While I had ridden a little over 3,000 miles in endurance and even more on trails, for the first time I had to rethink shoeing my "horse". Who made shoes that tiny? I figured leaving him barefoot wasn't that "bad" because he didn't weigh as much as a normal horse, so probably wouldn't hurt his feet with no protection. Little did I know.

Queue my largest horse, a 19.2h Shire rescue.

For the first time in my life, I had a horse that weighed a literal ton and feet the size of frying pans. When I first went to "try him out" I saw his feet were a mess. "Of course they were! He had no shoes on!" But seeing as he was happy and sound and his feet needed loving, I held off on shoeing him. In my mind, I invented excuse #2, "If you aren't riding them much, you probably don't need shoes." I thought I was being cheap. Little did I know I was doing the right thing. He was the first to show me that, regardless of size of horse, they were happier barefoot.

In fact, it wasn't until I had seven horses and the cost of shoeing was a bit too much did I take a step back and try to confront feet. I knew of no horse owners who tended to their own feet and felt like a foreigner. I was lucky to have a familial mentor who showed me the basics of mapping a hoof and lent me a book by Pete Ramey. I was hooked.

I trimmed nearly as often as I cleaned out hooves. It became second nature to just tidy up feet. While my horses were in decent sized turn-outs, I knew that they needed a bit of assistance with light rasping, especially for my girls that weren't being ridden.

When I got Emmitt, a 2 year old halter show filly, they advised me that she really "sparkled" with the right help. That "right help" being a 5 quart bucket of Diet Coke and a large bag of Doritos. She was like flying a kite on a string. I figured I already had my hands full with her, so why not bite the bullet and be her trimmer too? I quickly found how happy a horse could be, once their toes (and diet!) were happy.

She taught me so much in her behavior and with her feet (all four were different: who'da guessed!?) that I knew I would never go back. She was the most happy and easy-going horse I've owned and she was never shod with steel shoes a day in her life.

Along my path I accumulated three PMU foals, a Friesian stallion, a Gypsy stallion, more Arabs than you could shake a stick at and several Gypsy mares and crosses. I currently have my first ever Quarter Horse! I am very passionate about the happiness of the horse and it is abundantly clear to me that happy feet are the start of it. I've seen so many different feet, shapes, and health conditions that affected the hooves. 

Whether you are jumping, doing dressage, doing gymkhana, endurance or simply enjoying your horse on nature trails as a team, I will strive to keep you and your horse in partnership and happy. As Winston Churchill said, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." While I know not everyone can have a horse, it doesn't keep me from thinking everyone should. Just as there is a hoof for every horse, there are a number of great hoof function, performance and protection products that I am now very happy to be partnered up with.

To a great 2014! Kiss your horse, get muddy with your pony and, if you don't have horse hair on your clothes; the happiest part of your day is yet to come.
 

Holly Jonsson

easycare-sales-director-holly-jonsson

Director of Sales

Through a lifetime of "horse crazy" and the fortunate experience of riding nearly every shape and size of horse, I got to see a wide array of hoof shapes and sizes. No Hoof, No Horse is very true to me. I want to ensure that horses on every continent have a variety of footwear to pick from, to ensure the best match is found. I want your partner to be happy from the ground up!

Gluing. Simplified.

Gluing boots is probably the biggest concern I hear from friends and acquaintances wherever I go. While there are plenty of ways gluing can turn into a disaster, there are a few simple steps that can make the process pain-free and downright easy! 

Yesterday I decided to glue boots on Topper for the upcoming City of Rocks endurance ride. We have been having trouble with him this summer as he has been abnormally sore-footed. I was concerned enough to have digital radiographs taken a while back, which showed very thin soles. On a positive note, his angles looked GREAT and his coffin bones are lovely. While I can probably be blamed for his thin soles, I can also take credit for balancing him nicely, keeping his toes back and his angles correct. I can be pretty hard on myself so it is a good thing his feet weren't a total disaster! He has since grown some foot and with some pointers from a few different and very talented trimmers, we're looking better and better all the time. I still wanted to offer him as much protection, concussion relief and stability as I could, so gluing it was! I don't know what I ever did without Easyboot Gloves and Glue-Ons! Oh right, I had someone else shoe them. Those days I do not miss. 

Unfortunately, the weather didn't get the memo. Like many parts of the country, we are suffering through a pretty significant heat wave, on day five of 100+ temps. No worries, we could do this! The biggest thing I was concerned about was my Adhere setting up in .002 seconds, instead of the normal .2 seconds. To prevent this, I put the cartridge of Adhere in a box with an ice pack to keep the temperature cooler. It worked  like a charm and my Adhere set up at a reasonable rate without giving me any anxiety attacks. 

 

While gluing takes a little work and preparation, the more organized and prepared you are, the better the outcome. I repeat- get yer shit together first! Running around like a chicken with its head chopped off is not ideal!

Here is how I make things work: 

First off, gather all of your supplies. By all, I mean *all." The last thing you want is to realize you forgot your mallet as the Adhere is drying in the boot and you have no way to fully seat it on the foot. No bueno! My box has the shells I need (extras if you're really good, sometimes you just never know what's going to happen!), a tube of Adhere, Vettec gun, plenty of tips, a tube of Sikaflex, a box of latex gloves (never underestimate how many you might need. For real.), hoof pick with brush, rasp to prepare the foot, hoof knife to trim up necessary frog/bars/etc, nippers to open the glue, rubber mallet to whack on the boot, a towel to wipe up and a partridge in a pear tree. 

 

The next thing I do is prepare my area. I like to glue on a flat surface with rubber mats, and obviously today, shade was NECESSARY! Thanks Sally, the use of your trailer for shade was muuuuuuch appreciated. I owe you. I also hang a full hay bag, put out a bucket of water and sweep up all the debris that mostly just irritates me. After preparing the horse part, I lay out all my stuff so it's within easy reach and do a double check to make sure I have everything. Today on my double check I realized I forgot to bring over my mallet and my gloves! After my third check, I go get my horse. 

Ready to rock! You can DO IT!

I set right to work when I bring the horse over by thoroughly cleaning up the feet that are going to be glued, and after cleaning the feet, I score the hoof wall with the edge of the rasp in a diagonal pattern to create a better bond between the glue and hoof wall. I then try on my shells, to make SURE they fit! I was incredibly embarrassed when EasyKev was gluing boots on Nero at the Owyhee Fandango ride and I realized the size boots I thought fit his back feet didn't actually fit! The last thing you want to do is find this out with a boot full of glue. Not ideal! After confirming your fit, you are good to go and on the downhill slope. 

The first thing I do when I'm ready to actually start gluing, is put on four pairs of latex gloves. Serious guys, I put two pairs on each hand, which makes it really easy to just peel one layer off for a fresh layer if necessary. I abhor glue on my hands! I then open up my Sikaflex and apply a thick bead around the inside where the wall of the boot connects to the sole, as well as a frog-shaped triangle on the sole of the boot. Then I squish the Sikaflex on the wall making sure there is enough, and peel off that first layer of glued gloves. The beauty of Sikaflex is that it takes forever to cure, so doing this all at once doesn't hurt anything. I then take whichever boot will be going on first over to the side of the horse, as well as my ready-to-go Adhere. Squeeze some Adhere onto the upper wall of the boot and get ready to move fast. 

Boots with Sikaflex. I leave the yellow stickers in for good luck!

Place the boot on the foot, taking care not to let the toe of the foot drag the Adhere further down, twist on and whack with your mallet. I like to make sure the boot is fully set on the foot and then put the foot down and immediately pick up the opposite foot. When watching the EasyCare crew glue, I saw they hold the foot up until the Adhere cures, which may be a better method, but I've always put the foot down. While holding up the other leg, I spread the oozing Adhere around the top of the boot, creating a seal. If there isn't enough at this time, I'll do a seal on all my boots when I'm done with the gluing process, in order to save Adhere tips. I can be cheap when I want to be! Rinse, repeat and set. 

The actual gluing process takes minutes and goes quickly. I know I'm not the only one with ridiculously impatient geldings, so in order to save patience I like to get the horse right before I'm ready. Because the horse needs to stand quietly (HAH!) tied for about an hour or so after your done gluing, it can make for a long time tied and crabby ponies if you get them out too soon. If you were short on time or heavy on fidgety horses, you could increase the amount of Adhere used to really set that boot. Luckily, when it's over 100*, even impatient young geldings stand quietly in the shade munching their hay. Positives in everything, ya'll!! After letting Topper stand for an hour and a half, I turned him out and cleaned up my small mess. 

I know I said this before, but it deserves to be repeated: A little PRE-organization and preparation can make or break your day. Make it! Don't break it! You can do this!

There Is An Easier Way – Some Thoughts On Grinder Trimming

By: Lisa Morris, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

 
I am a Barefoot Hoofcare Practitioner in the San Antonio Hill Country area of Texas. In my spare time, I am pulled in many directions. I have a busy family with three lovely kids. We live and work a ranch that has been in my husband’s family since 1867. I am active with my children's school. My time is precious and in short supply.
 
Mary Alice and Buddy
 
My daughter Mary Alice has inherited the horse crazy gene.
 
I enjoy recreational trail riding and I have begun training my naturally gaited, barefoot, Tennessee walking horse, Gator for ACTHA Competitive Trail Challenges. He is my steady riding companion who had a previous life as a Field Trial horse in Mississippi. Gator graciously agreed to model grinder trimming for this blog.  
 
 
Gator rocks his Easyboot Epic hoof boots with 12 mm medium comfort pads. Rack on.
 
I board a few horses, include the occasional soundness rehab project. So, in addition to trimming 15-20 outside horses on average per week, I maintain the horses at home. Last summer was brutal; the temperatures in Texas during the drought were record-setting. I was in survival mode to try to get everything done without getting heat stroke. To add injury to insult, the hooves were rock hard from several months of drought. I got serious about using an angle grinder to trim horses. The result is that my own personal horses, and the client horses that I have introduced to the grinder are fine with the process. Grinder trimming is very fast and effective. It’s easier on me physically than wielding traditional tools. A nice quality, new rasp and sharp GE nippers are hard to beat, but it is nice to have alternatives. Even when I lug my traditional tools around to work at the local barns on customer horses, I enjoy the change of using a grinder to trim our own horses.  
 
 
Gator has his tail tied in a knot and secured with a hair band for grinder trimming.
 
Here are some observations that may be helpful if you have considered stepping away from your rasp.
 
1. Consider the temperament and training of the horse.
If your horse is well trained and desensitized to body clippers, more than likely it would accept the noise of the grinder without any due regard. If the horses panics with clippers touch him, don’t even think about using a grinder until that is resolved. Even if your horse is a sleeper, introduce it to the grinder in a very logical approach and retreat manner; train it to accept the machine. I find that it is easier for the horse to accept the noise if it is constantly running, rather than off and on. Keep it running steady when possible. Start by having a helper hold your horse and touch your horse with your right hand, with your left hand holding the running angle grinder. Touch him in the safe zone of his shoulder and wither area. Your horse will feel the vibration of the machine in your free hand. When he relaxes, and accepts the grinder, back away and turn off the machine as a reward. Rinse and Repeat, both sides of the horse until it could care less. Don’t force the issue, look for acceptance and retreat. This is a nice situation to give your friend a cookie as a reward for accepting the noisy machine.  
 
Start the trimming process with the back hooves. As odd as it sounds, the horse accepts it more readily. I think the air from the grinder blowing on the belly is harder to accept for most horses. Some people also desensitize their horses with a blow dryer before they trim with the grinder. I usually start by trimming from the top, keeping the bevel low on the hoof wall. I then put the hoof in the hoof stand cradle and balance the bottom of the hoof. If the hoof is rather long, I usually just use my nippers and give a rough trim first.  
 
 
Working on the bottom of the hoof, trim in progress. HIs hooves were overdue.
 
2.  Consider your own training and expertise.
Are you already experienced with trimming horses with conventional tools? Can you map out the strengths and weaknesses of the horses hooves and objectively balance them correctly? If you are a beginner trimmer, it is best to continue practicing with quality conventional tools. If you are frustrated with your tools, perhaps it is because they are cheap and ineffective. Invest in quality tools. The angle grinder is a great tool, but it is easy to over due things quickly. If you are not experienced at handling horses in spooky situations, I would skip the grinder. You and/or your horse could get hurt.
 
 
Angle Grinder with trigger switch, hair bands, safety glasses, 60 grit flap disks.
 
3.  Invest and use the right equipment.
Even if you are just experimenting with grinder trimming it is best to have the correct things you will need. The lighter the grinder is to hold, the better off you will be. Compare the weights and hold them when shopping for a grinder. I like an angle grinder with a paddle switch or a trigger. A grinder that has a constant on/off switch only is much more dangerous when things go wrong. With horses, things will eventually go wrong. If you are working anywhere around water, like a wash rack, use an extension cord with a circuit breaker GFI plug. Cordless angle grinders are great, but much heavier due to the battery packs.  
 
I use 60 grit flap disks and I only trim a couple of horses before replacing the disk. They get dull rather quickly. I am also one who is quick to change out a rasp if they are somewhat dull. Use a quality hoof stand with a cradle; do not use a tripod type stand. Do not attempt to hold the horses’ hooves in between your legs or in the traditional farrier stance. If the horse spooks you do not want him tangled in your legs, extension cord.  
 
TFTT
 
Keeping the bevel low on the hoof wall. I can release the trigger in the event of a spook and my grinder stops.
 
4.  Obtain and use safety equipment.
The trimmer should use gloves, I like the latex gardening gloves, ear protection and eye protection. I have longish hair, and I always wear it pulled back and in a hat. You do npy want your hair or your horse’s tail wrapped in a grinder. Don’t wear loose or flapping clothing.
 
Tie up your horse’s tail in a knot and secure it with bands. Have a horse savvy helper hold your horse. If you must tie him, only use a quick release ring like the famous clinicians promote. Make sure the area you are working in is safe and free from anything that could injure your horse if it decides to spook or otherwise have a tantrum. Have your horse treated with fly spray so it isn't stomping flies.
 
Tied Blocker Ring
 
Gator with a safety tie ring and tools, we are ready to trim.
 
Be conservative when trimming. Always stop before you think you need to and check your work from different angles. Give your horse mental breaks when he needs it. Summer is coming and I will probably start using my grinder a bit more again. I am glad I have an easier way for trimming when needed.
 
Have you tried using a grinder to trim your horse? What was your experience? Do you have any tips that I missed here? What equipment works for you?
 
Lisa Morris

Thinking Outside the Box (Or is it Bottle?): A Glove Twist/Loss Solution

Are you still twisting those hind hoof Gloves, or, worse yet, losing them completely? Even with the proper use of Mueller Athletic Tape and a good trim and boot fit? I do... Why? Well, look at my mare's legs in the pictures, and you will see why! She is a great horse, but took the philosophy that a little cow-hocked is fine in a horse, and ran with it a bit too far. Thus, she toes out a good bit and with her nice, Morgan/QH rear end (wish her brains were there too: lately the Arab half has come out on that end), she powers along with a good twist to her hind leg movement.

This means every boot (EC styles and competitor brands of all kinds) has not stayed straight on her hoof, and can come off altogether at a canter. Glue-On boots solve that for multi-day rides, but for a single day ride, I don't want the hassle or expense. So I had to come up with a solution for her. I tried varying ones (Goober Glue, Vet Tech products, etc) and finally found a cheap and fairly easy solution: a bottle of Gorilla Glue and some athletic tape.

How it Works
1) Use athletic tape on the hoof as you usually would (see how she toes out? Add a "twist" with every push off of the hoof, and you have a lot of torque on the boots).

GG1

2) Put on the Gloves as usual. I put power straps on the inside here, but also use them on the outside. With Gorilla Glue, the boots are totally re-useable. This is the fourth gluing on these particular boots.

GG2

3) Gather your tools: Gorilla Glue, flat head screwdriver (smallish is better), gloves for your hands, and more athletic tape or duck tape if you prefer.

GG3

4) This is where it can get tricky if your horse is new at it. Having a helper hold up one of your horse's front feet to keep them from picking up the rear one or walking off can help until (like my mare) they figure out you want them to keep the foot down and still.

Insert the screwdriver between the hoof wall and the boot, gently prying hte boot away from the wall and exposing a gap. Start near the back where the gaiter attaches and work all the way around the hoof (see photo below).

GG4

5) Insert tip of the GG bottle into the gap, and squirt glue down into the boot. You will figure out with trial and error how much you need. Just like with Adhere and Glue-On boots, some horses need more or less. Try at home before you go to an event. Do this all around the boot from gaiter edge to the other gaiter edge. I have not needed any in the rear of the boot so far, and a little will flow back there anyway on its own. Using two hands works best. I had to take a picture with one hand, so had to figure out how to balance the bottle and screwdriver in the other.

GG5

Below is a close-up of the glue down in the gap. GG foams up as it dries, expanding and thus filling in some of the gaps that cause the rear boots not to fit as well, as well as providing 'stick factor'.

GG6

6) Take your roll of athletic (or other) tape and wrap it around the top edge of the boot, all the way behind the heels and the front. A few times around is usually plenty. This helps keep things in place while the glue dries (it takes a few hours) and puts a little pressure on the boot to help the glue foam into all the gaps, instead of out the top of the boot. You can see the foamy old glue on the outside of the boot.

GG6

Both feet finished and waiting to dry. Do this after a ride or anything else that will cause your horse to move around too much. Remember, it takes a few hours to really set up nicely, and you don't want it to set up twisted on the hoof. I do this the night before an event and just leave the gaiters loose overnight, then tighten in the morning.

GG7

Removal and Cleanup
Removal works just like with Glue-Ons. Using a flat-head screwdriver and a rubber mallet, carefully pry the boot away from the hoof. This works best if you stick the screwdriver head between the hoofwall and the athletic tape. Once you get the boot off, just pull the tape out of the boot, which removes most of the glue.

I actually like some of the glue to stay in, as it creates a custom shimming in the boot, so I can use the boots on training rides with minimal twist and no glue. Just mark the boots so you know which goes on the right and left hoof. The glue comes out pretty well, and it is 'softish', so leaving some residue in the boot (even on the soles) doesn't bother the horse.

This was a shot of the boots after three gluings, just before I put them on for this one.

GG8

You can see how the glue and some left over tape has lined the inside of the boot, making it somewhat of a custom fit boot.

GG9

And the other boot: much less glue stuck to this one. You can see the power strap a bit better on the inside as well.

GG11

I hope this helps a few of you. It works great on my horse, and we tried it on a little gaited horse that also twists off Gloves. It worked great for her too!

Natalie Herman

Cheap Horse Boots

Hoof boots sold cheap on eBay

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 the consumer to send in a boot that may not fit their horse correctly or isn't working on their specific horse.  Worn out or used boots can also be sent in for exchange on a half price purchase of an EasyCare branded hoof boot.  It's a great opportunity to try the lightweight and agile Easyboot Glove.  The exchanged boots are then listed on ebay at a cheap price and sold as a complete lot. 

Cheap Horse Boots

The complete photo of the exchange hoof boots that will be sold on eBay.
The current eBay selection has the following boots.

2 Delta Hoof Boots
10 Swiss Horse Boots
2 Marquis Hoof Boots
5 Davis Barrier Horse Boots
11 Renegade Hoof Boots
47 Cavallo Simple Boots

Swiss Horse Boots Cheap

Swiss Horse Boots


Cavallo Simple Boots at a cheap price

Cavallo Simple Boots


Renegade Hoof Boots for sale cheap

Renegade Hoof Boots

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 80 lbs.  Winning bidder pays shipping via ground transport.

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.

Uno Gets a Mega-Trim

During the week before Virginia City 100, in two separate evening sessions, I trimmed and stuck Glue-ons on Uno's front and back feet. It took me about 20 minutes to trim and glue the rears—and an hour and a half to do the fronts. Why? Because I was desperately trying to smoosh Uno's large front feet into a size too small boot.
 
This was a gradual trap to fall into. Each time I'm trim him, I'd have to take a bit more off until I'd crossed that line from "slight reshaping of hoof to get a nice snug fit" to "complete resculpturing of the foot to get them on" <grrr>. I'd also made a mistake about two weeks previously: during a moment of inattention, I'd trimmed one heel on his right front too short (I have to work really hard to not be over-enthusiastic with my new nippers), so had to even them up.

What a dummy <sigh>. Just what we needed before Uno's first 100. I wasn't terribly surprised when we lost both front glue-ons about 45 miles into the ride. It kind of reminded me of a pair of riding tights I made for myself - I was warned to be sure the calf was good and tight and of course made it too tight. As a result, the stupid things are always slipping down. You want your boots snug, but if they are too small they'll just tend to boing off.
 
Realising that it was time to take a step-back and that Uno was on break for a month anyway, I let his feet grow out for nearly seven weeks    =8^o   (<-- that's ASCII artwork showing "hair-raising") so I could start again from scratch and see what was really going on.
  
So here's my attempt at a step-by-step trimming example.
 
If you're a new trimmer and considering starting to do your horse's feet yourself, I'd recommend not doing it this way. It's way harder to trim a horse with 72"-long feet, than to touch-up an existing un-out-of control foot, so better to get a "Hoof Care Professional" to get the foot where it needs to be and then work from there.

What you will need:
  • A rasp (this is crucial)
  • A hoofpick (I like those ones with the spiky brush on the other side to get the bits off the hoof)
  • A hoof-stand (trying to trim without a hoof-stand is possible, but it's about 50 times harder than with a stand, and much, much harder to do a competent job without becoming demoralised)
  • A hoof knife (I like a narrow-bladed one to get into the nooks and crannies of the frog). 
  • A horse with feet.
In addition, a pair of really good nippers is wonderful. Having said that, for the first year or so, I didn't have nippers and did everything with a rasp. This works fine until you don't get around to trimming someone for many weeks and then have to remove half an inch of hoof wall in the middle of the summer.  Can you say "sweat and biceps"? 

If you're worried about shelling out lots of money buying expensive tools for something you're not sure you're going to be able to manage (and you won't be alone - I was that person once), get the hoof-stand before the nippers. The hoof stand will make your life so much more pleasant and you're more likely to feel like you are capable of trimming your own horse.

Anyway. On with the show. My caveat is that I'm self-taught and this is meant to show how I trim my horses - knowing how they grow, how they move, how much work they're going to be doing, on what kind of terrain, what has/has not worked in the past. I'll probably forget to mention some super-important detail, so please don't follow this as gospel and lame your horses because of it. This is just what I do.  You need to read as much as you can (I highly recommend Pete Ramey as a common sense, non-radical, real-life trimmer), think about what you read, discard things that don't work for you, and experiment to see what does. 


1. Above we see Uno's right front pre-trim at 7 weeks. Euw - bull-nosed toe (I'd rasped and rasped to get it in the stupid boot. Remember - do not try this at home, it works really badly), and very long and spatulate-like.


2. To start with, clean the crud out of the foot, so you can see what's going on. I scrape most of the mud off the outside of the hoofwall, as well as the underside of the foot. Clean out the frog so you really know where the mud ends and the foot starts. Then take a look at what needs to be done. 
 
In Uno's case, I see is horrendously long heels, overlaid bars, lots of sole, and raggedy-thrushy frog.

3. He was shedding some frog at the front, some of the rear portion had lots of funky flaps and pockets for thrush to hide in, and there were some flaps along the groove, so using my hoof knife I trimmed all the rubbish off. 
 
My objective with the frog is to leave it as much alone as possible (although you couldn't tell that, looking at this example), but at the same time I'm trying to avoid hidey-holes in which for thrush to develop - so what/how much you cut off becomes a judgement call. If I know the horse is going to be ridden barefoot exclusively so will self-wear (or if the horse hadn't been allowed to grow out for 7 weeks and get completely out of whack) then I'd be much less aggressive in my frog sculpting. What you see here is way more radical than I would normally be comfortable with.
 
But, yikes, trimming off that frog made his heels look even longer!

4. Another view showing his long heels.

One question that comes up is "how do you know how much foot you can trim off?" My guideline is the seat of the corn (see red arrow) - this is the little corner of sole which sits in the V-shape of the bar/hoof. On a horse with lots of overlaid bar, it can be hard to find sometimes. This is part of the heel area that you're trying to trim down to move to the back of the foot for support. I clean that area out down to proper sole (as opposed to mud or crumbly sole) and that's my limit - I go no deeper than that.

For the rest of the foot, towards the end of summer most of the horses are hiding proper sole under lots of dry, dead, false sole which presents a problem. Do you dig around and take it off, or do you leave it?

Ideally, you want to avoid paring away sole - you're hoping to get that nice barefoot callous going. But in reality, if your horse isn't housed on rough terrain there is usually a time when you need to get the old sole off because it's packed in there (by the end of summer, my horses are living in fluffy dirt in their dry lot - the chances of anything wearing off their feet are slim to none).

So the answer to that question depends on the horse. A few months ago, a friend and I trimmed four horses between us, aggressively removing false sole from all of them. Given how much I'd taken off, I expected mine to be sore but surprisingly they weren't. Of my friend's two horses, one was fine, while the other (trimmed in the same way) could barely walk for about a week.  So the trick is know your horse - and experiment little by little.

When I first started trimming I took very little off. The only thing I used on the sole was my hoof-pick - if the sole didn't come off with that, it could stay there. Now I'm more enthusiastic (did I mention my new nippers?) and have to mentally curb my desire to hack away at the sole. I'm guessing the ideal is somewhere in between the two.


5. Here I've taken my nippers and worked on Uno's overlaid bars. He grows lots of bar and if not kept under control, it starts to flop over onto the sole. I've also trimmed off some of the more upright parts of the bars. On some horses you can do this with a hoof knife. Not Uno, though, he grows bars of steel.


6. Here I've gone a step further. I'm gently poking around on the sole to try and ascertain what's healthy sole and what's junk. Because Uno has been allowed to grow out and because it has been wet here, his feet are very soft and crumbly underneath. In reality, until I get some of the loose sole off, I can't tell what's what, so I'll just scrape away any obvious excess junk sole. If I were to look at his feet again in a week or two, there will probably be more sole to take off, but I'm going to err on the side of caution here and not go bananas this time around.

Again, if Uno was working, if it was drier here, if he was walking on rockier stuff, etc, his soles would be nothing like this - they'd be hard, shiny.


7. Here's my first pass with the nippers. Now the foot is starting to get where I want it.
 
In the olden days, pre-nippers, I'd have to rasp off all the excess hoofwall, so being able to chomp my way around it is a good thing (provided I am very cautious about not taking off too much heel <grin>).
 
The red arrow is indicating some bruising that I found under his overlaid bar - if too much of it builds up, it's like a stone in your shoe - not comfy. 
 
The blue arrow is showing a crease in the sole - this is a slight separation between bar and sole and was initially completely hidden by the overlaid bar. Some crud has got in there. 
 
His hoofwalls are nice and thick, although there's some separation along the white line on the inside quarter (the black stuff along the edge of the hoof below/left of the red arrow). The longer the hoof, the worse this can become - the hoof is being bent away from the foot and stretched. This will result in the horse getting ouchy, unwanted crud working its way into the resulting groove, and your horses feet never improving. So the goal is to keep the feet nice and short to avoid this happening.
 
One area that is fairly sacred is the toe-callous - it's the area of sole closest to the toe, between the end of the frog and the front of the hoof. You want good, thick sole there to protect the front edge of the coffin bone on your barefoot horse, so always consider carefully if you feel the need to take anything off that area. Often I'll leave it completely alone. Here, however, I've been quite aggressive because I know Uno is long and grows lots and lots of toe. But this would be an area for caution on a horse you don't know.
 

8. Once I've gotten this far, I switch out the cradle on my stand for the rubber stopper and work the hoof from the top. In the old days, pre-nippers, I would do most of my work from the top - it's easier to take off extra hoofwall working from the top than the bottom, so if you're nipper-less consider that.

This is also the point you would be looking for any flare on the hoofwall and removing it. In Uno's case, there isn't much flare on his fronts, so I'll have to wait for another example to show that.

To start, I took off a bunch of that nice thick toe - good to have it as protection, but not so good in terms of faster breakover and strain on the tendons - I like my toes really short. Another consideration is that having short toes, especially on a toe-y horse like Uno, you're far more likely to have success keeping your boots on than if you have long toes.
 
Uno still had globs of Adhere Glue (the black stuff) stuck to his hoof walls from his Glue-ons at Virginia City, so I chiselled that off a little, and worked my way around the bottom edge of the hoof, bevelling it slightly.


9. And this is what it looks like on the underside now - much less toe and hoofwall, and no sharp edges to snag hoofwall. And bravo, Lucy - you have resisted hacking away at the still-too-long-heels in favour of a slightly more finessed rasp-approach – still to come.

Looking at this photo, it's a pretty radical trim and not what I would do on a horse that didn't grow as much foot as Uno. Again, it's a case of knowing your horse and knowing his characteristics. I will try to take a photo in a week or so to compare with this to show how much he grows.


10. One thing that is worrying me at this stage is how deep a groove he has (where my index finger is pointing). I don't know if this is because he has excess sole still to shed, or if I need to trim more off. For now, I'm not doing more, but will watch this to see what happens. He's very flat-footed - I seldom see much concavity in his feet - and even less right now. Again, how much of this is a product of letting him get so long?


11. Here we're much closer to being finished. I'm working from the underside again.

Holding the leg by the fetlock, let the hoof flop vertical and sight down the foot. What you're looking for is any unbalance from side to side. Is one heel higher than the other? do you have a bulge of foot somewhere that needs to be taken down? When the foot lands, will it have a nicely-balance platform?

I've taken a rasp and rolled the entire outside edge, filed down the heels, and have paid special attention to that separated area on the right in this photo - I don't want the hoofwall there to get snagged on anything, so roll it extra specially. When I think I'm done, I'll run my fingers around the bottom edge to see if I can feel any areas that might get snagged by rough ground and chipped/bent and touch them up into a nicely smoothed bevel with my rasp.

As a final step, if the foot was thrushy, I'll treat it with some magic potion before letting the horse go out to play. My potion of choice is Coppertox, but I know many people feel it's a bit too toxic, you end up with green hands, green horse and green stall, it's stinky, and it's not that cheap. This is an area for research - see what others are using and decide for yourself.


 12. The finished foot, compared to its neighbour... ah, that's better.

For me, figuring out what the foot should look like is a little bit like being able to recognise good conformation in a horse. To begin with it just looks like a horse. Then gradually you start to recognise "well, that horse's back is rather long"... and your mind starts to filter out "horse shape" and see "good/bad conformation horse shape". Same with trimming. Eventually you won't just see "horse foot", you'll start to notice "too much heel", "too much toe", "flare on the outside"... etc.

13. The finished right front foot.
 

14. The untrimmed left front neighbouring foot. Ack.

Because I let him go so long, I will probably check again in a week or so to see what's happening. That's one of the neat things about doing your own hooves - you can keep poking at them and see what happens.

You know what you're aiming for: short heels, short toes, no flare, minimum chipping, and lack of thrush. By working towards those goals, the feet should eventually turn into what you're hoping for - it might just take a while. But one day you'll look at them and think "Huh, all that [insert whatever hoof problem your horse had] is gone and I didn't even notice". 

If you make a mistake (as I did, over-trimming Uno's heel... and then did exactly the same thing a couple of weeks later with Roop), the foot regrows. Your horse may not be too impressed with you, but so long as you learned from the experience, you can try to avoid repeating it.

In the early days, I would take off much less foot, unwilling to get too carried away, but invariably would look again a few days later and wonder why I thought I had done enough - a fresh eye often shows you things you didn't notice at the time - either in terms of uneveness or just not taking enough off.


This is actually Fergus, who got trimmed next. Patrick bought me this little rolly-stool which I sometimes use for initial foot clean-up. Whilst it helps my back, I would caution the use of one of these - you need to consider your particular horse/trimming situation carefully and make sure you aren't inviting a recipe for being trampled. As an example, I would never use it on a windy day <grin>.


If I know I've got plenty of time to trim the entire horse (sometimes I'll only do the feet two at a time and come back later to do the other two), I usually work my way around the horse, instead of doing both fronts followed by both rears.

My reason for this is that if you do the feet in pairs - both fronts, then both backs - a mysterious force means that the right rear foot will always get done last. Since the right rear foot is the only one that ever does any work, it's usually the one the horse is least comfortable on, so better to get it over and done with earlier on while you're still fresh and can cope with a wriggling horse.

In Uno's case, this time around, I did RF, RR, LR, and LF.

It takes me about an hour to trim each horse - depending on how dirty they are; how long the foot is; how cooperative they feel; how my back feels (this weekend I did three horses and my back was pretty sad by the end - I don't do this for a living. I take lots of breaks to untangle mane, watch the chickens, admire my horses, etc). It also depends how much time I spend staring at the foot to see what needs to be done - Fergus has a wry foot; Roop is toed-in; Jackit grows high heels; Provo grows long curly toes but no heel; Uno just grows and turns into dinner plates; and Hopi, who has the best feet of the whole herd but is the hardest to trim because he's Hopi, gets done too infrequently.

If you poke at the feet more often (once a week? ...much easier to do in the summer when they aren't covered in crud), you'll do yourself a favour and it'll take a lot less time because you're just touching things up not having to do a complete overhaul as I have here.

Oh. And what did I discover at the end of this session? The whole reason I left Uno so long was to discover what size Glove he should actually be wearing - and as suspected he's grown into a size 2 (I put a shell on and then couldn't get it off - always an encouraging sign). Luckily, Fergus wears 1.5s on this back feet, so Uno's front 1.5s can go to F and I'll have to get Uno some 2s. This should really help prevent my recent struggles and help avoid boot-losses. Yay. Mission accomplished.