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!”