June 2012: Wild Hearts Hoof Care

Wild Hearts Hoof Care is based in Ventura Country, California. Sossity Gargiulo believes the hoof care industry is changing in such a positive way because there are so many more choices and the innovation is exciting. "I think it shows that alternative hoof protection is not a fad and is here to stay -- it works." She believes hoof boot designs are prioritizing a horse’s rehabilitation and comfort at the same time as ease of use for the owners.

Sossity owns two horses – a 13 year old Arabian/Trakehner mare named Faith out of her beloved (now passed away) first horse, an Arabian mare Hope. She also owns a 12-year old Oldenburg gelding named Jordan. "Faith is an amazing teacher," says Sossity, "and was the original reason I got into hoof care – and then all of the related elements of holistic horse care such as diet and lifestyle as well." Both horses have been ridden and shown in dressage, and have some trail riding experience.
She attributes her success in part to lessons learned from Pete Ramey through clinics, articles, videos, etc. "I feel like his approach has the right blend of science and art, and incorporating all of the pieces of the puzzle so to speak. I didn’t feel like I had to ‘unlearn’ certain things, which has been really helpful in moving me forward." She has also benefited from being a founding member of Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners, where she can learn from, bounce ideas off of and commiserate with other trimmers and members, participate in clinics and share case studies. "It’s a friendly group dedicated to helping horses and each other, with a holistic approach to hoof care. She is a board member of the American Hoof Association. 

Wild Hearts consists of Sossity and her husband, Mario. "Having a trimming partner has been a great experience overall: I love having the help, support, sharing and camaraderie. We each have our specialties and talents that we bring to trimming, and we hash out and debate theories and ideas, share tools, hold horses for each other, talk to clients together, and generally I just think we make a good team."

She says she could not be successful in this career without hoof boots and attributes a sizeable portion of her success as a trimmer to the boot industry for helping horses heal.

When asked about successful marketing strategies, Sossity says clients love seeing before/after shots of their horse’s feet. It also provides good educational opportunities for her as a trimmer. She gets compliments on her website regularly. "It may be homemade, but the information is from my heart and what is important to me, and I think people pick up on that. The main thing people like is all of the before/after photos, because they can recognize their own horse’s issues and see what types of changes are possible."

Sossity also distributes a monthly newsletter with articles relevant to her trimming business in some way. She includes a featured client or case study of the month, update on clinics she has attended or are upcoming, nutrition information, booting tips and tricks. "I've been doing them for about a year and a half now and even though they can be time consuming to do, they’ve given me a chance to talk about and highlight important, fun or interesting things." The largest portion of her customers is via word of mouth: the horse world is small and loves to share.

Wild Hearts has been an EasyCare dealer for four years. They primarily stocks Easyboot Gloves but also carry Easyboot Trails, Easyboot Rx and some Glove Back Country boots too.  She stocks Power Straps and assorted Comfort Pads. Easyboot Gloves are her best seller and her favorite hoof boot: "I love how sleek and low profile they are, while still offering great protection."

Sossity got her first horse when she was 19. Since then, most of career has been spent working in the horse industry - not in the field but rather in offices. Her most recent job before becoming a full-time hoof care practitioner was with a large biotech company. Her formal hoof care trimming training started in 2005 through the AANHCP and then PHCP. She was subsequently accepted by AHA in 2008.  

When asked about her most rewarding experience as a hoof care practitioner, Sossity tells the story of a severely foundered mare she had been trimming for several months. "We got her as a client when she was already foundered, and I had never seen her walk normally: it was always a pained crawl and only if she was really required to move." The mare had been in shoes with a club foot, metabolic and hormonal issues, and had subsolar abscessing. Even the normally optimistic vet was concerned she was not going to make it. "One day we showed up to trim her, and she just walked up to me like a normal horse, and pressed her head against my chest. It was so incredibly rewarding to have been able to be a part of her road to recovery."

To learn more about Wild Hearts Hoof Care, go to http://wildheartshoofcare.com.


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