Is everyone sick of hearing about the EasyShoe from me yet? If so, I apologize, but the EasyShoe has truly been a game-changer for myself and this particular horse. I don't believe it's a one-size-fits-all miracle, but for my situation, it has bridged the gap between barefoot/shod and sore/sound. In the past few months, while the product has been prepared for launch, there has been much ado. There has been criticism, judgment and some nasty words. I chalk the nastiness up to misdirected passion, from people who believe so strongly in keeping horses barefoot and as natural as possible. I truly believe the naysayers feel any form of semi-permanent hoof protection is a sure demise in the integrity of the bare hoof. They say any horse can be "fixed," with a better, more competent trimmer, a more natural environment, a lower sugar diet, more exercise, less civilization, magical lotions, potions and more. In reality, most of us ride the horse we have. We do the best at providing the horse with good, if not superior-to-most hoof care, we make improvements to living conditions, we consult other trimmers, friends, veterinarians. We stuff slow-feeder hay nets, feed three times the amount of grass hay when we could be feeding much less alfalfa and diligently read and learn all that we can. Yet, sometimes, our horse fails to read the book, and doesn't thrive the way we think they ought to.
The EasyShoe has added a piece to the puzzle for this particular horse. My horse, Topper. He has spent the last four months in EasyShoes, and every time I think it's as good as it's going to get, he gives me more. In some ways, I feel awful for not recognizing that he truly needed more support. In others, I am just thankful for doing the best I could, and even more thankful for having a better option for him at this time. I'll be the first one to admit that keeping a horse in shoes is not absolutely ideal, however, I think the EasyShoe is going to be an amazing tool for a lot of horses, in a lot of different situations.
Four weeks in this set of EasyShoes, applied by yours truly.
At four weeks on the second set of EasyShoes, I am about where I was at this point on the first set applied by Christoph. I feel a little itchy to get my hands on Topper's feet and give him a good trim. The hoof capsule is getting a bit long and his ever-running-forward-toes could be shorter. Is this the end of the world? I sure don't think so. And if you did, you could easily remove this set, trim the foot and re-apply a new set, or, remove the shoes, lightly trim and let the horse spend a period of time barefoot. Either way, Topper has grown some foot, still has his hoof wall in-tact due to the lack of nail-holes and is very, very sound. He has been able to gallop, trot and play over the rock-hard frozen ground, while the other horses have cautiously moved about. I haven't observed him appearing to have less traction than the rest and he hasn't gotten the nasty snow-balls like the rest of them. Winning!
Observing the beginning of the Great Spread, on both the left and right front. His hind feet are bare, and don't appear to bother him at all.
After a month of frozen ground that was literally as hard as concrete, we have been blessed with a tropical heat wave of above-freezing temps, which, while delightful to the body, has given us standing water, mud and slop. I'll admit it, I haven't actually cleaned out Topper's feet more than a few times in the past month, but upon closer inspection tonight, they don't appear to be holding up too badly. For those who have asked about how the glue holds in wet conditions, my preliminary opinion is GOOD! Despite standing in wet for the past week, and maintaining a pretty solid work schedule for the last month, the Adhere bond is solid and the EasyShoe shows no sign of detachment. After cleaning out his feet, I sprayed a bit of copper sulfate product in the opening as a precaution. From what I can see of the sole, his feet appear no different than my other barefoot horses. And, just like last time, the EasyShoe is moving with Topper's hoof as it grows, spreading at the heels, a feature that I believe is the ticket for horses who require long-term hoof protection. No contracted heels here!
Happy Topper, playing in the snow without a care in the world.
My opinion on the EasyShoe has surpassed my expectations. I found the application totally doable and have been thrilled with my horse's progress. Will I put them on all of my horses? No, but I sure like knowing they are available if needed. I have been blessed with horses who handle being barefoot and competing booted very well, but I'm not about to make any blanket statements about never putting "shoes" on any of my horses. I am so excited for the EasyShoe to hit the shelves next month! Just think of all the horses that may be helped! Thank you, Garrett, for continuing the think outside the box and standing up against the naysayers. It takes people like you to give us more and more options. Cheers to the EasyShoe - may the Year of the Horse be rockin'!