EasyCare's September Dealer of the Month - Metcalfe Hay and Feed

Congratulations to Metcalfe Hay and Feed, EasyCare’s Dealer of the Month for September.

Metcalfe Hay and Feed is located at 3593 Wilson Road in Oak Harbor, Washington, and is not only one of our newest EasyCare Dealers, but they are the fastest rising star in dealers that we’ve seen in awhile. In three short months, they have built up their hoof boot business to amazing heights.

Through hard work and innovation, owner Steve Metcalfe grew Metcalfe Hay and Feed into what it is today. Steve and his friend started out bringing hay over the pass in Eastern Washington for thier own horses and soon, he found he was bringing hay over for friends as well. He went from a one ton Dodge Dully to a 98 Freightliner and came back with 19 tons of hay on the first trip. And, so Metcalfe Hay and Feed started. From there, he decided to start bringing in pet food and then tack and that's when his wife, Tatyana, stepped in and started running the store while Steve handled the feed. Two years of hard work and they are now in a new, larger facility where they can offer even more great things like EasyCare hoof boots.

Starting out at the end of May, Steve took advantage of every monthly Promo that EasyCare offered and reaped the savings so he could keep his prices competitive. Steve carries the Easyboot Trail, the Easyboot Transition, the Rx boots, the Soakers and the Old Mac G2. His personal favorite is the Easyboot Trail.

As part of his marketing strategy, Steve uses hoof boots on his own horses so his customers see that he uses them himself. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. Another part of his marketing strategy is his use of his own Facebook page. As soon as Steve became an EasyCare Dealer, he posted his dealership on Facebook. He then posted a picture of every hoof boot style that he carried, with a brief description and size charts.

He then posted a blog concerning measuring and fitting and told his customers that, if they needed help, to bring their horses to the store for a free fitting. Now, that’s customer service!

And still another part of Steve’s marketing strategy involves getting out into the public and attending events. His favorite is a 3-Day event on Whidbey Island. He normally rides in this event and has helped with the course itself in past years. He says that it brings a lot of joy to see people riding in this event and can’t wait to bring his young horse there when he’s ready. In hoof boots, of course.

Steve feels that the key to his success is a lot of hard work and his passion for the horse industry and his business. Steve grew up in a small townhouse, but was fortunate to be able to spend summers on the farm with his Grandfather, who bought him his first horse when he was nine years old. He learned a lot from his Grandfather and has a lot of good memories.

Steve owns five horses and they are all barefoot and in EasyCare hoof boots. He said he remembers as a child, that all horses were in steel shoes. He feels that the new, advanced hoof boot technologies have taken things to a whole new level in hoof health. In three short months, what is his most memorable experience? “Changing from steel shoes to the Easyboot Trails on my 30 year old, retired event horse. He acted like a young horse again and felt much stronger. It was just a great feeling to enjoy the freedom that riding gives you with hoof boots.”

Visit Metcalfe Hay and Feed in Oak Harbor, Washington or friend them on their Facebook Page and see what' s new.

August: Sabine Halfhill Hoof Care

August is here and the weather is not the only thing heating up as riders blaze across the country heading off to last adventures before summer's end. Hoof care professionals in much of the US are working double time in triple digits to meet the needs of our equine partners. Be it showing, racing, ranching or hitting the trails, these professionals have our backs and help keep our horses performing at their best.

Sabine with her two horses Romeo and Pumpkin.

This month we head to Simi Valley, California, to catch up with EasyCare dealer Sabine Halfhill of Sabine Halfhill Hoof Care. Sabine joined EasyCare's team of dealers in 2012 and has done smokin' well with our products from day one.

Sabine became interested in hoof care when her beloved Quarter Horse, Romeo, began to experience lameness issues. Traditional therapeutic shoeing was not working and Sabine was determined to find other options. As she began researching, she realized she knew absolutely nothing about the hoof; how it functioned or even what a healthy foot should look like. The more she read, the more she became fascinated with the subject and read everything she could get her hands on. As she began to trim her own horses, the passion took on a life of its own and Sabine decided to pursue a career in hoof care with training through Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners. Today she has a thriving business with about 120 horses in her practice.

One of the fist things Sabine did when she started her business was to become an EasyCare dealer. Having used the products herself for years on her own horses, she was very familiar with the product line. She also received excellent training in booting and fitting through her PHCP training. Sabine feels boots play a crucial role in successful barefoot transitions and will not pull shoes on a horse unless the owner is willing to buy boots to ensure the horse's comfort. The day the shoes are pulled, she fits the horse for boots. If the size she needs is not immediately available, she provides the horse with a pair of temporary loaner boots or instructs the owner to keep the horse off rocky terrain until their boots arrive.

Her stocked, go to products are the Easyboot Glove Back Country, Trail, Transition, Glove and EasyShoes. Her best seller and personal fave is the Back Country with her second best seller being the EasyShoe.

For Sabine the EasyShoe has been the missing link in her business. Preferring to keep horses barefoot whenever possible, she feels in some situations it simply may not be the best option for the horse. Today, shod horses that Sabine may have originally turned down, she now putting into EasyShoes. The shoe provides 24/7 protection that allows the horse's hoof to flex and expand with each step, absorb concussion and offers excellent support. Sabine has been impressed with the versatility of the shoe and has used them for a range of needs from thin soled horses to Navicular syndrome, chronic laminitis, ring bone and pedal osteitis.

Sabine's gluing set up. This girl doesn't fool around!

Sabine's handy work with the EasyShoe Performance

When asked what she believed to be the top three things needed to be a successful trimmer, she replied, "There is a quote from Dr. Kerry Ridgeway that really resonates with me, "The intrusion of dogma into any system creates a closing of the mind and reluctance to change in spite of new knowledge." I feel this is especially true with hoof care. One should always put the horse's well being and health first. Don't let your own ideology get in the way of that. Learn to be flexible and creative in your approach. There is no one size fits all method in hoof care. Be willing to be open to the the best solution for the horse." She goes on to say "Be prompt, organized and courteous. Show up to appointments on time, return phone calls and emails in a timely manner and try to keep your schedule on track so that horses don't fall behind schedule. Communication and follow up are huge. Keep the communication lines open with owners and follow up to see how the horse is doing or to see how the new hoof boots are working out. If there are any issues do the best you can to remedy the situation right away."

Like so many hoof care providers, handling business and growth can be challenging. Sabine works hard to pace herself as the job is both physically and mentally demanding. She strives for balance so that she will be able to give 100% to each horse while staying healthy and safe so that she can continue doing what she loves: helping horses.

Sabine is obviously passionate about horses and admits her life pretty much revolves around them. She has two horses of her own, one Quarter horse, the other a Shoshone Mustang. She is happily married to a man who is her best friend and shares her love for horses. When they are not caring for their equines, they are out on the trail together. Sabine also loves to travel, interior design, gardening and cooking. She is a member and student practitioner through Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners and has attended numerous clinics and farriers courses at her local college. Located in Simi Valley, CA, Sabine covers all of Ventura County and parts of LA County. For more about Sabine and her work please visit her website.

This gal is on fire for hoof care and a blazing success.

The Cheshire Horse - July EasyCare Dealer of the Month

We are very pleased to announce that The Cheshire Horse is EasyCare's Dealer of the Month for July, 2014.

Established in 1997, The Cheshire Horse is a family-run business located in Swanzey, New Hampshire. They offer a 23,000 square foot retail store, set on five acres, made up of a 13,000 square foot showroom and office space, as well as a 10,000 square foot warehouse space incorporating a drive-through for the convenience of their customers. The store also contains a lounge area with a large-screen TV, couches, coffee and snacks.

In 2003, former employee Kristin Young partnered with the Hamshaw family to open Cheshire Horse in Saratoga, New York. This New York store offers the same inventory and service as the New Hampshire store, on a smaller scale and close to area attractions such at the Saratoga Racetrack, the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States, and Skidmore College, boasting one of the nation's top intercollegiate riding programs.

Cheshire Horse offers the best and largest selection possible backed up by knowledgeable staff and exceptional customer service. Their retail locations stock everything needed to equip you, your horse and your barn. They also offer a wide range of products on their website. Their expansive inventory and continued focus on personalized customer service and convenience brings people from throughout the Northeast to see all that they have to offer.

The Cheshire Horse has been carrying EasyCare Products since they first opened their doors in 1997. While the Easyboot Glove is their best seller, they feel that the Easyboot Trail has shown strong sales as well, believing that the Trail could be their best seller yet. They feel that the Easyboot Trail is very user-friendly and versatile for their customers.

The Cheshire Horse has found that their successful marketing strategies have recently gone more toward social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where they've had very good results. However, their favorite event of the year is their Fall Anniversary Sale. The event includes a large vendor tent, which allows their customers to talk directly with manufacturers and sales reps and ask specific questions about products. They also offer great prizes, door busters and samples.

When talking to Elizabeth, she said that they are a "super center" for the equestrian. They offer a fully stocked inventory that includes all the items a horse customer would need for themselves and their horse. And, in the last few years, they have expanded to include a large pet section, as almost every horse owner has another pet.

Elizabeth has a strong background in dressage, but also enjoys basic trail riding as do many of The Cheshire Horse's customers. She owns a retired Warmblood and a pony, both are barefoot. She feels that the hoof boot industry has changed a lot since she became involved. "I remember when the Easyboot was pretty much the only option available to customers. So much research and product development has been done, which is truly a benefit to horses and riders."

Elizabeth believes that horse owners are really starting to recognize and understand the benefits of having a barefoot horse. "From hoof health reasons to financial savings, more and more customers are going in the direction of barefoot horses." And hoof boots! 

Her most memorable event? "Thinking way back on a personal story, I can remember finding my horse missing a shoe on the day of a show. Thanks to an Easyboot, we were still able to go and compete!" 

Visit The Cheshire Horse in Swanzey, New Hampshire, Saratoga, New York or on their website.

May 2014: Three R's Ranch

We are very pleased to announce that Three R’s Ranch of Reno, Nevada, is EasyCare’s Dealer of the Month for May. Tami Rougeau is the owner of Three R’s Ranch as well as a Member of EasyCare’s Team Easyboot.

Three R’s Ranch became an EasyCare Dealer in the Spring of 2013 and very quickly became a strong presence. While Tami’s original focus was on hoof boots, she also carries the full line of EasyCare products. Her best seller is the Easyboot Glove, since most of her customers are primarily endurance and trail riders. However, she is now thinking the new EasyShoe might take over the best seller spot. Tami indicates that the EasyShoe has really expanded the number of customers to now include those who are not traditional barefoot riders. Her personal hoof boot favorite is the Easyboot Glove.

Tami’s marketing strategy is very simple. She uses hoof boots on her horses and is present at a lot of rides so she feels that the products sell themselves. She feels that using the product is a huge plus. “When people see others being successful and having fun, they are encouraged to ask questions and find out what is working. I frequently ride with other members of Team Easyboot and quite often we will come upon riders that have lost a shoe or are having a boot issue. Between the two of us, we carry the most common sizes and can usually get the person back on the trail in a matter of minutes. When you can save someone’s ride, that is a good marketing strategy. At one ride, I actually had a lady approach me saying that her horse lost a shoe and was off. She said the vet sent her to me. Now that is a compliment! We did a little maintenance to the mangled hoof, put on a boot and the horse trotted off sound. She got to complete her ride.”

We asked Tami about her favorite yearly event. “All of the rides that I attend are wonderful, but by far, my most favorite is the Virginia City 100. It is really beautiful and tough. The trail is just made for hoof boots in that it is rocky, full of hills and is a very technical trail. To top it off, it is a historical ride created by the pioneers of our sport held in historic Virginia City, Nevada. This is one seriously cool town. You start the ride in the middle of town in front of the Delta Saloon. How many posses over the years organized in that very spot? Or miners riding into town announcing their find? Mark Twain spent time here as well. It is just overwhelming to think that we can ride our horses over the same ground as those who helped build this country. I could go on and on, but this ride requires strategy and thinking to get your horse through safely. The feeling of accomplishment and pride this felt when you are walking back through town after conquering the trail is like no other.”

Why is Tami successful? She says she has really amazing horses! “My horses have taught me so much and they really love their job. In the way of boots, each of my horses has had a different hoof challenge that had to be dealt with and boots have helped them be successful. Also, my family, who are so supportive of my crazy horse habit and especially of my starting this new chapter. They are not horse people, but they sure step up to help whenever they can. I could not do any of this without my husband, my son and my parents as well as my good friends who encourage me and keep me grounded.”

Tami currently owns three horses. She has two mares that are half-sisters and a gelding out of her older mare, Fancy. All of her horses are booted. Fancy is 18 this year and has never been shod. May is 14 this year and was shod for a brief period when first starting out. Rockett is just coming 5 and was fitted for his first boots this year. And, Tami has just put him in EasyShoes.

When we asked Tami how she thinks the hoof boot industry has changed, she answered, “Hoof boots and hoof protection has really come a long way. When I first started booting, there were not many choices. Of course, I was in Easyboots, but if they did not work for you, there were not many other options, especially for endurance riders. Now there are boots for practically any circumstance. We now have therapy boots and boots to help during transition, not to mention the options for riding boots. If one does not work, then we can try another until we find the boot that fits for the horse and rider. Now we even have the EasyShoes, which are opening up whole new options to a new group of horse owners. I am really excited to get the shoes on lots of different horses to see what they can do. The first pair I sold was actually nailed on. There was an immediate improvement in the way the horse moved and the owner is just ecstatic. Now, I have them on several horses and they are all doing well. The fact that they can be nailed on in the traditional fashion is a big deal. A lot of folks simply do not want to mess with glue. They want to nail on the shoe and not think about it again. This option opens the door to a whole new group of riders.”

Tami sees the barefoot industry really growing and expanding because there are more and more people choosing barefoot as a viable option. She feels that for some, it is the desire to do the best for their horse and the desire to do what comes naturally. And, for others, it is simple economics. The more people see others being successful in a variety of sports, the more inclined they are to try it, particularly, when they find out how easy it is. “It seems there is a perception that if your horse is barefoot, you have to be able to trim their feet yourself every week. This is not the case. Barefoot is really pretty easy, it allows riders to not be tethered to an appointment or lose a riding day and it encourages a solid relationship with your horse partner. With all of the options available, it really gives people choices. I have clients that are trail riders and they go horse camping several times a year for a week or so at a time. They use Gloves and Easyboot Epics. One lady said that, sometimes by the end of the week, she is just too tired to put on boots. I suggested that perhaps she use Easyboot Glue-Ons so that she would not have to mess with boots for the whole event. At first, people are skeptical, but when I tell them that we glue them on for multi-day endurance events without issues, they are sold. With hoof boots, it’s not a matter of “it won’t work” it is a matter of “I have something that can fix that.”

And Tami’s most memorable hoof boot success story? “I have seen loads of unsound horses become sound and comfortable with good trimming and hoof boots, but my personal experience is still the most memorable for me. When my Thoroughbred went from totally unsound in shoes, we turned to barefoot trimming and Easyboots.  We did retire him, but he lived another ten years being comfortable and happy while babysitting the young horses. Most recently, my “once in a lifetime” horse was diagnosed with osteomyelitis of the navicular bone. She decided it was not her time to go and we were able to successfully treat her. During her treatment, we had to support the foot. The Vets wanted to put shoes on her, but I knew that anything that could be done with a shoe could also be done with a boot. So, I customized boots for her in various wedge angles which we lowered. The benefit of the boot was that we could take if off to assess the foot whenever we wanted and change it out in a matter of seconds. As her heel grew out, we got rid of the boot and let her go naturally. She now has a normal heel height and is sound – to the amazement of all of the vets and even myself!” 

April 2014: Rachel Rezos

As most of the United States patiently awaits Spring, EasyCare dealers out West are starting to enjoying “hair in the air weather” brought on by longer days and warmer temps. EasyCare’s April 2014 Dealer of the Month lands us in a sunny state with our spotlight shining brightly on hoof care practitioner Rachel Rezos of Martinez, CA. Rachel joined EasyCare's dealer network in April of 2010 making this her fourth year anniversary as a mover and shaker with EasyCare.

Rachel’s story is a familiar one. Her interest was piqued in 2007 by trimmer and EasyCare dealer Marylynne Nicholson. Through their interaction Rachel became interested in the trade. Yet another example that mentoring  matters, Rachel is grateful to Marylynne for giving her a career that she loves. "Mary invited me to join her on her rounds and I apprenticed with her for two years. These days I am trimming about 170 horses. Sometimes I think perhaps it's time to stop taking new clients but I admit I'm just not good at saying 'no'. I simply love to help people and horses."

An EasyCare dealership has helped Rachel to provide options for her clients and make barefoot living easy on the horse and their humans. Rachel currently stocks the most popular sizes in the Glove and Epic and says the Glove is a customer favorite. As for Rachel, if she had to choose, the Glove takes all. She is excited about the new EasyShoe line and believes this is a great new tool for achieving healthier hooves. Rachel feels this product will have an especially strong appeal to those that understand the drawbacks of fixed metal shoeing but are unable to go without twenty-four hour protection.

Rachel is truly passionate about helping problem hooves improve and particularly enjoys connecting with troubled horses. She says, “I get a charge out of the 'conversation' that I have with them as I do my work. Many of them lift their feet with only a look or gentle stoke down their leg. I challenge myself to see how soft I can ask and have them respond and I feel their appreciation." She recalls watching a 20 year old Quarter Horse with navicular stride out and land heel first in his Epics with Comfort Pads. The horse had been landing toe first in steel shoes but after two strides in the boots and pads he relaxed and totally changed gait, moving properly most likely for the first time in years.

Horses dominate Rachel’s life as they are both her livelihood and favorite hobby. She loves natural horsemanship, attending clinics as often as possible and is passionate about connecting and communicating with horses. When Rachel can drag herself away from horses she spends time with her husband enjoying comedy, sci-fi, cooking and enjoying great food. Rachel currently owns a draft cross, PMU gelding and Azteca mare. She loves to hit the trails whenever possible and is currently a member of the Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners.

The foundation of Rachel's success are these key concepts: listening closely to both the animals and their guardians, the love of learning and patience. Words of wisdom indeed!

March 2014: Horseshoe Mart

Congratulations to Selina Galick, Owner of Horseshoe Mart, EasyCare’s Dealer of the Month for March. Horseshoe Mart, located in Santa Rosa, California, and has become one of EasyCare's most successful retail stores with a banner year in 2013.

Horseshoe Mart’s website, boasts, “We carry the Easyboot line for the horse owner. We also have everything you need to shoe your horse. We are a full-service farrier supplier.” Horseshoe Mart has been serving customers for 25 years.

Horseshoe Mart has been carrying EasyCare products for over twelve years.They carry the Back Country, Trail, Glove, Transition and the Rx. They can also do fittings. While the Glove is their best seller, Selina says that the Back Country is her favorite boot.

She feels that part of Horseshoe Mart's success is attributed to making the store very convenient for the Hoof Care Practitioners by having a large inventory so that they always have the products they need on hand. Selina also makes a concerted effort to help educate the horse owners. She works individually with people and also co-sponsors clinics with Linda Cowles, a well-known Hoof Care Practitioner. She continues to look forward to the Tevis Cup every year as this is her favorite event.

Selina has been a horse owner, who has been involved in the equine business for years and really strives to promote healthy hooves and the use of hoof boots. Currently, she owns two mules and they are both barefoot.

When asked how she felt the hoof boot industry has changed, she said, “Fifteen years ago, there weren’t many hoof boot choices. Today, there is a hoof boot for every horse, every hoof, every riding discipline and every therapeutic application resulting in more and more healthy hooves.” As to where she sees the barefoot industry going, she states, “The end is not even visible. The barefoot industry continues to grow and I’m hanging on to the “tigers” tail!”

Her favorite hoof boot story? Selina was working with a Hoof Care Practitioner on a Thoroughbred with enormous hooves. She said that you could almost see the smile on this horse’s face, he was so happy. "And, now he has big, strong, beautiful hooves.”

Visit Horseshoe Mart in Santa Rosa or go on her website. Selina possess a vast knowledge of horses, hooves and how to keep your horse’s feet healthy and in good shape. With her cartoon horses and her great sense of humor, you can bet you will leave with a smile!

The Extra Degree for Dealers in 2014

As we ride into the new year, our minds are filled with New Year’s resolutions, new goals, hopes and dreams. The mere fact that 2014 is the “Year of The Horse” has things off to an excellent start but have you stopped to think what will give your business that extra degree of edge in 2014? Well if you haven't now is the time!

Will it be:

Effort: The majority of our dealership continue to experience strong growth and the demand for skilled hoof care professionals continues to rise sharply. 2014 will find many hoof care providers with more business than they can juggle. Regardless, success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Ensure you are maximizing your opportunities that extra degree.

Relationships: The growing awareness and popularity of alternative hoof care ushered in a group of  very ambitious new dealers this past year. Do you know someone who is interested in becoming a dealer? We greatly value your referrals and our dealer referral program is still in effect. The extra degree philosophy agrees that by helping others you also help yourself.

Pricing: Who doesn't want buying power? EasyCare will offer dealer specials throughout 2014 so please make sure to take advantage of these opportunities to increase your bottom line. We also have specials catered to hoof care professionals.

Selection: Your customers are looking to you for the best and latest in hoof care technology and we thank you for choosing EasyCare. In addition to our already extensive selection of products, the Easyboot Transition hoof boot was released this past November and the much anticipated launch of the EasyShoe is right around the corner. Be sure to keep an eye on your email for when EasyShoe preorders can be placed.  

Clearly there are many more elements than what is mentioned above. The video below speaks of attitude, kindness, belief, focus and perseverance. I hope you find it inspirational and motivating. The second half of the clip is a bonus for those who manage others. The extra degree, is an interesting concept. What will set your business apart from the crowd in 2014? One extra degree makes all the difference...

November 2013: Solely Equine

November finds us with cooler days, changing leaves and wild and wooly horses. November also brings Thanksgiving. A time to reflect and be thankful for friends, family and our hoof care professionals!

This month's EasyCare's dealer spotlight has landed in Arlington, WA, the home of hoof care professional Laura Rice of Solely Equine. Laura is a relatively new dealer teaming up with EasyCare for her booting needs in 2012. Her business savvy, skill and attention to detail keeps her in high demand and going full throttle maintaining around 300 head of barefoot horses.

Laura Rice of Solely Equine feeing right at home.

As many in the hoof care field will tell you, you don't choose hoof care rather it seems to choose you. Laura had no intention of becoming a full time trimmer but destiny had other plans. Her cousin introduced her to natural hoof care and the journey began with six of her own horses, an old rasp, a spent knife and a few trimming tips from her farrier. Attending a Horse Expo she learned from a trimmer presenting about Pete Ramey and dove into learning all that she could. Laura who was working full time never considered trimming as a vocation but rather a means to maintain her own herd. Again destiny called. It has been six years in the making but Laura has worked her way out of the office and out into the field as a full time trimmer.

There is nothing like a good referral and Solely Equine was built on word of mouth advertising. Happy horses equal happy clients and the rest takes care of itself. End of story. Part of the happy horse/ happy client equation is having a good working range of hoof boots with her at all times. Doing so enables her to meet her customers hoof care protection needs on the spot and her customers take notice. Punctuality is also a priority and her customers appreciate that they can set their watch by her timeliness. Laura treats each horse as it it were her own and her horse handling skills win her big kudos with her clients. Employing natural horsemanship methods makes her job easier and the horses happier. She humbly admits some of the most rewarding experiences as a trimmer is trimming the un-trim-able. Staying calm with uncanny patience goes far with these horses and they respond. Laura admits it is not easy but the job will be done in calm manner that is respectful to the horse.

Laura loves that hoof boots keep evolving and that EasyCare is making boots increasingly durable and easier to use. She feels this continued evolution is encouraging a greater number of horse owners to make the move to natural hoof care. Laura has been using the Easyboot Epics for about seven years but these days the Easyboot Glove is her favorite and best selling boot. She also stocks the Easyboot Glove Back Country and the Easyboot Trail. She sees the barefoot industry growing leaps and bounds and has several vets in her area that are acknowledging the benefits and results horses are achieving barefoot. She says horse owners are definitely becoming more informed. Owners are researching their options and educating themselves on hooves, barefoot hoof care and diet and how all tie in with accomplishing healthy hooves and a healthy horse.

We all love success stories and Laura shares one of her best. A previously foundered mare came to her with shoes and pads all the way around. The owner was looking for options and wanted to give natural hoof care a try. Laura was called, pulled the shoes and set the horse up in boots. The plan was boots for turnout and riding, then gradually used just for riding. Things were going well but the owner thought about moving back to shoes. The owner had other horses being shod and when approaching her farrier about shoeing the mare he refused, saying the horse's feet had never look better. He advised the owner to keep doing what she was doing and so it went. Recently Laura received a call from this owner saying she was on her way home from from a weekend riding trip with the mare. Outfitted with Back Country boots on the front and Gloves behind, the owner was thrilled with how comfortable the horse was moving and that the mare was feeling like a whole new horse. Mission accomplished! 

Laura is a member of  Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners and you can find her at solelyequine.com and on Facebook.

EasyCare is thankful for all of our amazing dealers and customers across the world.  We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

October 2013: Double LL Tack & Feed

Double LL Tack & Feed in Coats, North Carolina, was started in 1980 by Leroy and Lynda Byrd. The Byrds had been operating a horse boarding business in addition to breeding and raising Arabians and were often asked where people could purchase quality tack for their horses. Seeing the need for such a store, Leroy and Lynda opened the Double LL Stables Tack Shop in a 144 square foot building. What started out as a side venture has expanded over the years into a full time, full service tack and feed store. The business name has subsequently been changed to Double LL Tack & Feed, since they no longer board or raise horses.

Double LL Tack & Feed is still family owned and is now managed by their son, Jim Byrd and their daughter, Vicky Schiller. Although Leroy and Lynda have retired, they are both still active in several aspects of the business.

Left to right: Lynda & Leroy Byrd, Cindy (the Double LL Mascot),
Cody & Duke (Vicky's horses wearing Trails), daughter, Vicky Schiller and son, Jim Byrd.

The business consists of a 5,000 square foot building housing quality tack, equine health supplies, gift items, boots and so much more.

In addition, there is an 8,400 square foot warehouse to store the various brands of quality equine and companion feeds.

Double LL Tack & Feed's mission is to provide customers with excellent customer service in a well-maintained environment and a friendly, down-home atmosphere. Their goal is to supply quality products, feeds and services that their customers need to make themselves and their animals healthy and successful.


Double LL Tack has been carrying EasyCare Hoof Boots and products since the year 2000. They currently stock the Easyboot Glove, the Glove Back Country, the Easyboot Trail, the Epic, the Rx Therapy boot and the Soaker. Vicky states that the Easyboot Glove is their most popular boot.

When we asked Vicky how she felt the hoof boot industry had changed since she became involved, she responded, "Dramatically! In our area, hoof boots were only something that you carried in your saddle bag as a spare to get you by in case your horse lost a shoe. Now, the hoof boot has surpassed that mindset and our customers are looking for the perfect boot for their horses and their riding discipline."

Vicky and her brother, Jim, attribute the success of Double LL Tack to "listening to the customer." "We don't claim to know it all and we can't carry it all, but we do listen to our customers for feedback and suggestions on all types of products for our store. We ask our customers, who specialize in specific equine activities, advice on certain tack/equipment that we need to carry in the store. Our goal is to carry durable, quality equipment needed in those activities."

Vicky told us that their best marketing strategy was just as simple as having a website created for the store. And, now with social media, Facebook has been their next smartest marketing strategy. They get to freely share all types of information with their customers. She says that their goal is to educate, entertain and inform their customers about Double LL Tack & Feed and the current trends in the equine industry.

Double LL Tack & Feed provides different types of events for their customers throughout the year. They have had Coggins/Vaccination Clinics, Veterinary Informational Clinics, Canine/Feline Rabies Clinics, Horse Training Demonstrations and Equine Nutritional Clinics.

Vicky says that they have two events that they look forward to each year. They host a Nu 2 U Tack Sale in March, where customers set up (for free) and sell their used tack items. This allows the sellers to clean out their tack rooms and get rid of unused items and allows the buyers to get good deals on some used tack. Their other favorite event is their Customer Appreciation Day, which is always held the first Saturday of October since the business was started in 1980 by her parents.

Vicky and her brother, Jim, both have experience in customer service and sales. They have both been around horses for a long time, as their parents boarded horses while they were growing up. Vicky owns two horses: Cody, a 16 year-old Arabian and Duke, an 11 year-old Morgan. Both horses are currently using the Easyboot Trail. Vicky says she is just a casual rider so the Easyboot Trail fits her needs due to ease of application and room for hoof growth. She has been using the Trails for about a year and says that, so far, the Trail is her favorite boot. However, she feels that she may be getting ready to try the new Glove Back Country.

What is their most memorable hoof boot success story? Vicky says that recently, two ladies brought their horses to the store. One of the ladies wanted to get her horse fitted for boots, while the other lady just brought her horse along for the ride. While fitting boots for the first lady, Jim discovered that the second lady had been discouraged from boots in the past because she could never achieve a good fit and often lost boots when riding. Once Jim successfully fitted the first horse with boots, the second customer decided that she would let Jim attempt to fit her horse as well. They found a great fit for her horse with the Easyboot Gloves. She purchased the Gloves that day!

Vicky sees that the barefoot industry is gaining interest in their area. She feels that the consumer seems to be more receptive to the idea of maintaining the integrity of the hoof. Also, farriers in the area are also more positive in their views on barefoot trimming and the use of protective hoof boots. She said that some of the farriers have recommended boots instead of shoes based on the needs of the hoof and have sent customers to Double LL for boots.

You can visit EasyCare's Dealer of the Month, Double LL Tack & Feed in Coats, North Carolina or on their website at www.doublelltack.com. While you are there, sign up for their Newsletter and visit them on Facebook.

September 2013: Bare Feet by Katy

She needs no introduction, her truck says it all: it's Bare Feet by Katy. EasyCare's featured dealer for September 2013 is passionate, dedicated and, yes, fun. It's business with a smile when your natural hoof care practitioner is Katy Banks of Corbett, OR.

Katy became a certified farrier in 2000 and shifted her focus in 2005 to natural hoof care. She hit the ground running as an EasyCare dealer in 2008 and has been a fantastic addition to our hoof care practitioner dealer network. 

As a single mom, Katy recognized that what she really needed was a skill that could afford a flexible schedule and be used and taken virtually anywhere. Having spent her life with horses, the transition to a career in hoof care was a perfect fit. Being self employed allowed her the needed flexibility to be available for her children and still pursue a successful career helping horses. When Katy first started her venture, her daughters were only ages four and two so this was certainly no small undertaking. The girls, now teenagers, continue to keep things hopping at home for Katy. Add to the mix a clientele of 150 head of horses a month and you have one very busy lady.

When asked about her marketing and business strategies she says, "It's hard not to put the truck at the top of the list. The "big girl truck", as my mom calls it is recognized nearly everywhere in the NW Oregon and SW Washington area. The other key element I believe is my personal attention to my clients and their horses. Customer service must be a priority in my line of work. If my clients and their horses are happy then I've delivered on my end of the deal. I strive to be available to my clients and consider their needs a priority, always taking into consideration their input. After all, they really know their horses better than anyone. I ensure they have access to as many resources as possible to keep their horses happy and healthy. Part of that equation is keeping EasyCare hoof boots and accessories on hand. The Easyboot Glove and Back County are my most requested boot styles."

As far as advice, she recommends her fellow hoof care professionals maintain the highest level of communication possible with clients. Keep appointments and never, ever stop learning. She also encourages hoof care providers to think independently and to assess new ideas carefully. To the horse owner, she couldn't stress more the importance of working with your horses so that they can stand quietly and comfortably while being trimmed - your horse and hoof care provider will thank you.

As is often the case, taking the road less traveled hasn't been without a few bumps. Last fall, Katy received news she had developed an acoustic neuroma that would require cranial surgery. Things came to a screeching halt and there was a big question mark placed on a lot of things. Ultimately Katy came through it more determined than ever. Clients and friends stepped up to help her through the rough spots and Katy says she was completely overwhelmed by the love and support show she received. The surgery resulted in many challenges and has left Katy deaf in one ear, but her recovery and successful return to trimming is one to rival a Rocky movie.

When asked about her favorite hoof boot, she'll tell you she really doesn't have one but rather her "favorite" is the one the that fits and suits the horse best for his job at that given time. She is quick to mention however that her youngest daughter loves the Back Country for her gaited horse.

Katy has many great stories but the one most near and dear to her heart is of a paint mare with navicular that came into her possession. The horse had been shod with pads and wedges for the previous five years (she was 13 at the time). The shoes were pulled and after six months of diligent trimming the mare was pasture sound barefoot. This mare progressed from a size #0 wedge/bar horseshoe to a size #2 in a hoof boot and was able to be ridden on the trail in boots with pads. Katy adds that the whole experience was so satisfying and fun. "Watching her moving freely in the pasture with the other horses and being able to keep up on her own, well there is simply nothing like it." 

Thank you Bare Feet by Katy, it’s a pleasure having you as part of our amazing team of hoof care practitioner dealers.