Long Distance Success With Easyboot Gloves

Submitted by Sue Basham, Team Easyboot Member

Late winter in Wyoming teases us with temperate days and little snowfall. Just as we become accustomed to the nice days winter returns with a vengeance. Single digit & below zero temperatures, accompanied by wind driven snow, do little to encourage me to ride. Instead its time to clean tack, go through gear to see what needs to be replaced or replenished and make plans for the upcoming ride session.

In early 2012, my good mare Tayyara showed some lameness which was diagnosed as heel pain with navicular changes in her front hooves. Tayyara is a 1000+ mile horse with two Tevis completions so this news was devastating.

I immediately pulled her shoes and began researching navicular syndrome. My farrier and veterinarian both told me her feet did not look like typical navicular hooves and they were uncertain why it occurred. All my research pointed to giving her an easier break over and encouraging a heel first landing. I used Gloves to protect her soles as she transitioned back to barefoot on my gritty ground. Frequent trimming maintained her hoof angles so keeping her barefoot made sense. She spent most of 2012 turned out on pasture and has only been ridden lightly the past couple of years. Although her hooves have really toughened up on my decomposed granite ground, I use Easyboot Gloves with great success when the trails are rocky. I plan to bring her back into condition and competition this spring. Easyboot Gloves will be the mainstay of my hoof protection for her but I also plan on trying the EasyShoe. I'm hoping the EasyShoe will give her the most optimal break over, a more cushioned impact and help return her to her previous performance level.

My other mare, Kismet Cognac, came to me in shoes shortly after Tayyara's diagnosis. I took her to the Shamrock ride, a wonderful ride just north of my home in Cheyenne, with the intention of riding all three days. Shamrock is notoriously hard on steel shoes but I couldn't find a farrier on short notice to replace her shoes with new ones. At the end of the second day, with no farrier onsite, it was obvious we were done unless we pulled the shoes and went with boots.

Luckily, I had four Easyboot Gloves in her size from an early venture into boots with Tayyara. With help from knowledgeable friends we got KC trimmed and booted up that night and we went on to complete the 3rd day. Although I'd recommend training in boots so the horse gets used to them, in this case they performed flawlessly and  KC was awarded Overall Champion & Best Condition. Since that day she has competed exclusively in Gloves or Glue-ons. The Gloves are great for our training miles and some of our 50s but I love the Glue-ons for 100 milers and multi-day rides.

Like I said earlier, this wintery weather is a good time to check through my gear and see what's needed. I've had such good success with my Gloves and Glue-on shells that its easy to get complacent and just go with what works, but there are lots of options to try with the EasyCare product lineup. I ordered new Gloves, shells, power straps, pads, packing material, etc. All kinds of cool stuff to try this summer. Now if spring will just hurry and get here, I'll get out on the trail and try my new stuff.

 

Cattle and Deer and Alpacas: OH MY!

You know when you’ve been at a tradeshow for a few days, the first thing you want to do when you get home is pack up for a race right?

Garrett, Kevin and I had a fantastic time at the International Hoof Care Summit, sharing new product prototypes and hosting gluing contests for all walks of farriers.

Garrett had a couple of horses that he wanted to get through a 25 miler and invited me to ride Djustify, a talented 4yr old chestnut.

I met Djustify while riding with Garrett and Lisa in one of the washes in NM. I was on Durham, a bay gelding of theirs and Lisa was on Djustify, so I got to watch him from an exterior view for much of the ride. We happened to have with us a particularly spunky pony, who was loose.

If you’ve ever taken a baby or youngster with you and intended to turn them loose, you know you’ll have to be up for pretty much anything. What were NOT expecting was our happily loose pony to go rogue and try herding us and racing us. Where did the winter-wooly portly pony go? We were left with a wild stallion who darted off into bushes, assessing danger and then bursting back through the brush to herd us into a tidy group.

Halfway through the ride Lisa and I switched. We swapped saddles on the two horses and I was now on Djustify. He was very forward yet very controllable. I had a hard time believing he was 4. Even with a loose horse and other riders ahead or surrounding him; he was super sane.

Of course I wanted to ride him in his first race.

We drove out to NM and landed late in the evening. We popped up corrals in the dark and watered and fed the boys and went to bed. Early morning saw a beautiful sunrise over the grass-riddled desert and I couldn’t help but get some pictures.

We vetted in for the 25 amidst the milling 50-mile starters. Djustify was at 36 heart rate and didn’t get frantic if his buddy wasn’t near him. He was soaking it all in.

Garrett had glued a new prototype boot, the Slipper, on the front feet of his ride, Nouveau. We would be putting Mueller tape and Gloves on his hinds and the same on all four of Djustify’s feet. Garrett had also drilled holes in the boots to add in Equi-Pak Soft.

Djustify, rocking his cushion-filled Gloves.

He had already done a pour-in cushion with Shufill Urethane Medium for Nouveau’s fronts when he applied the Slippers. (Note, this product was given to us just days before at the International Hoofcare Summit by Stephan Van Der Heijden of Glue-U, who says this product is a hybrid that works well in cold and sticks to the hoof. It is different than their other sole product line which are silicone.)

As you can see, the Slipper is the love child of the Glue-On and the EasyShoe Performance.

Tacked up and race started, we stayed at the back and walked to warm up the horses. We picked up a jog to loosen them up and then picked up more of a working trot. Quite soon, we were in the front. This wasn’t meaningfully in the front, as we were treating the day like a training ride.

We hopped off at water troughs and got Djustify used to the pleasure of being cooled on the trail, albeit, I was just scooping water onto him with my hands. At one point, Garrett used his helmet as a scoop and the amount of water made Djustify’s eyes light up. YES PLEASE!

We alternated leading and the 4 yr old surprised me again with being a very forward and spook less youngster. I have to say, horses off the track have been ridden a lot! You have to forget that mental age as they are big boys now with a job.

We walked up a canyon and then hopped off to hand-walk them down the other side. Mounting and dismounting on the trails and scooping water and hiking were all part of the job and Djustify was going to see the support that his rider-mate would offer him during a race.

Practicing leap-frogging on the trail so both horses could pass and be passed.

It was rocky too. I was off walking and having trouble not rolling my ankles in my little, leather, heeled riding boots. I was watching Nouveau’s hinds and marveling at the way the tread capably covered the rock strewn ground. It was also neat to notice that they didn’t “pound” the ground blindly.

 

I could see when Nouveau stepped on a rock directly and would not put full weigh on the foot and sort of softly go over it. He could still feel the terrain and take care of his soles, which was nice to see.

Hopping back on, we climbed back out of the small canyon and headed into camp.

Sure, she's a fixer-upper, but look at the views!

We vetted through wonderfully and let them roll. Djustify was trying to figure out if we were done. How is this a group ride when everyone is coming and going? Am I done? Where are THEY going? I sponged off his saddle grime and got the sand out of his nooks and crannies. He then settled into eating his mush and diving into his hay. This is not a bad deal.

"Where are they going? This is the strangest training ride."

We stayed in camp a few extra minutes, as we weren’t in a rush (read: I don’t really keep track of time and I wanted to wolf down a yogurt before I saddled up). When we left camp, Djustify was so excited that he twirled a bit while I was getting on. Rather that, than a horse that doesn’t want to leave camp.

We hit the trails with a plucky trot and took turns leading again on the single-track that followed the ranch fence line. We had seen no real wild life, but were now approaching a pasture of cattle. I don’t know about you, but reading cattle is dicey. I can’t tell if they are happy to keep sitting in the shade, or they are going to stampede. They have the same look either way: intently watching horses, totally frozen.

Nouveau saw them first and gamely trotted up the next rise. Djustify saw them and his instinct was to do the baby thing: stop and face the cows and assess. It would’ve been a stand-off, as the cows just stand and stare too. So before he could decide to have his OK Corral moment, I headed him up the hill after Nouveau.

We saw deer next, with not much fuss, even when they left. The footing was getting better, but randomly deep where there were odd gopher holes. They say everything is bigger in Texas, well the gophers in NM must be the size of small cars, because these mounds were impressive. I was equally impressed that I didn’t pop off any of my Gloves and they didn’t collect dirt.

Garrett and Nouveau on Loop 1. I was digging the tread pattern on his Slippers and Gloves.

We turned a final corner on the fence line we were following and were about halfway through the loop and officially “heading towards camp”. As the trail left the single track and picked up on the wide road, Djustify dug in and wanted to canter. Picking up an easy lope is really enjoyable on a racetrack horse. They really know how to use their hind end and know how to do lead changes nicely. They work one side of their body and switch gears to the other side when needed.

We came over a rise and Garrett asked me what that was in the distance. Not having glasses on, I hadn’t the foggiest. I had to get relatively within distance to note that it was two, lone alpacas.

"I didn't choose the alpaca life, the alpaca life chose me."

One circled around and came between us and the 2nd one. We immediately understood that he was the male and she was “his”. Garrett slowed up to a walk, but the look on Nouveau’s face read, “If that thing comes any closer, I’m getting BOTH of us out of here.”

Our intrusion lead the alpaca to snake his head down and then the ears went back. He started jogging in a flat, confrontational manner at us. Garrett made a few whoops and hollers at him and it was enough to deter his charge. He turned and pranced back to his missus with his head held high. I might've gotten a picture of him at the beginning of his dance, but I got both hands on the reins and ditched the pictures once he started coming our way.

We get it buddy. She may be 87 years old and missing a tooth, but she’s the only female in all of the ranch and she’s YOURS. You can have her. Djustify thought it was all so exciting.

Cattle and Deer and Alpaca: Oh MY!

We hit the final water trough on the trail and he happily cameled-up.

We now had oncoming traffic from horses leaving on the 50-miler loops and he did great with that. He saw the white trailers and camp in the distance and I could almost hear his thoughts, “Snackie time! Holly is going to sponge bathe me! I get mush! I get to see the vet! I get rolling time!” Everything is so exciting to a happy horse, or maybe all my internal monologues occur in that tone.

It’s really nice to take the time to ride a race right, to ride a race for the horse, to let it be his introduction to the world of distance riding and to make it leave a sweet taste in his mouth. We strolled across the finish line and pulled tack as we passed the trailer. We walked to the water trough at the P&R area and let them have a drink, then P&Red to officially finish. Djustify was at 40. With his vet check and trotting out and back, he was still at 40. What a guy! All vetted through; we let the boys have a celebratory roll. We finished in 1st and 2nd and both horses looked absolutely ready to go out again.

All four Gloves still looking pretty.

Djustify drank eagerly and dove into his food. I could tell he thought he was actually still racing and he was tanked up and ready. I laughed and let him know we were done. The look in his eyes said, “Please, one more loop!”

"I think we're still going out again. Other horses are doing it!"

I was happy to report we lost no boots and had no sand or rock accumulation in them. We also saw a number of people using Easyboots and Easyboot Epics on their horses. One guy had Epics on over the top of his shod hooves, as he knew the trail was rocky and wanted solar protection. He had done the first 2 days of the race and was on his 3rd 50-mile day. I really loved seeing Garrett meet up with people and answer questions about boots. If our ponies were happy, their ponies should be happy.

Djustify and me.

Until the next ride!

If You Don't Change the Process, You Won't Change The Result

Submitted by Ashley Gasky, 2014 Team Easyboot Member

Thanks to the American Association of Professional Farriers Mentor-Mentee program I’ve been able to work with seventh generation farrier Timothy Cable, APF.  

Tim began his farrier career at 13 years old, apprenticing for his father, just as the previous generations of Cable shoers had. He has a large client base of Standardbred race horses, as well as dressage horses and Show Jumpers all over the United States and Canada.

 

Tim and Hall of Fame Blacksmith Red Renchin

The Cable family is responsible for awe inspiring pieces of blacksmithing, and the horses they’ve shod have found success in any discipline you can think. Succinctly, they are a very skilled group of professionals.

Chrome Horse Shoes crafted by Phillip Cable

My business, Precision Hoof Care focuses primarily on non-metal horse shoes, effective glue techniques, and healthy bare hooves. I've been successful at what I do, selected as an EasyBoot Elite team member for Tevis 2015, but I am always looking to learn new things.

 In developing a Mentor-Mentee relationship with Tim, I sought to learn about ‘how the other half lives’, that is to say, farrier fundamentals and blacksmithing. I’ve had the opportunity to visit world class Equine facilities in Connecticut and Florida as part of the arrangement, meet world class professional horsemen and hall of fame farriers. I have a video gallery of forging techniques I’m years away from attempting, and several notebooks filled with hints and wisdom to show for the experience. Throughout this, I’ve even done a bit of teaching myself. I had the opportunity to introduce him to Easyboots and EasyShoes.

You see, Tim is something of an innovator, and has been using non-traditional tools and techniques in his every day shoeing for a long time. For example he designed an attachment for his shoeing caddy to simplify the process of gluing on horseshoes.

It’s been very exciting for me to watch someone so steeped in tradition, with blacksmithing engrained from a young age, nail on a pair of Performance N/G's, measure a hoof for accurate fit of an Easyboot Glove, or shape glue on EasyShoe Competes at his anvil.

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Traditional steel and aluminum horse shoes certainly have a place, and so do the professionals who use them exclusively. However, seeing how readily Tim and his clients accepted the change in shoeing material gives me hope for an open minded future. I am just as excited to learn how to move metal as I am to watch alternative hoof wear go mainstream. The market for these products is growing and the horses using them are succeeding.

It is not always a pleasant journey when you are swimming against the current. Perhaps some of you can relate. Therefore it is important to celebrate victories and accomplishments no matter how small. I helped a talented farrier find tools to help certain horses in his care. These small steps are what I believe to be the seeds of change, germinating towards a bright future for horses and healthy hooves. For me, that is what it is all about!

February Dealer of the Month: April Volling

This month we head south to Florida were we jump in the truck with EasyCare Dealer of the month April Volling. April joined our dealer network in 2012 and each year continues to exemplify excellence in product knowledge and application. She resides in Micanopy, Florida located just south of Gainsville where she serves clients from Ocala to Alachua.

April Volling with 3yr old Dutch WB Glamdring, 13yr old Oldenburg Windsor.

As a horse crazy little girl, April took in all things horse. She attended the University of Florida in 2001 majoring in animal science with a focus on the equine industry. She joined the University of Florida Horseman's Association and through the group became involved with the Horse Protection Association of Florida. She quickly found her niche there and began volunteering to get her horse fix where she would care for the horses, ride and work with a natural horsemanship trainer. After graduating from college April met KC LaPierre and says she was hooked after her first class. A few short years later, she graduated from the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry and began her journey as a professional hoof care provider. Today, she maintains a clientele of approximately 230 horses and still helps out at the rescue where there is now roughly 70 horses. Most of her business has come the old fashioned way, by word of mouth but she also has had the good fortune to work with some fantastic veterinarians. Now April only takes on new horses who have been vet referred. 

April says becoming an EasyCare dealer has given her more tools to deal with hoof issues and enables her to offer her clients a range of hoof protection options. She consistently stocks the Easyboot Glove Back Country for her trail riding clients and attests to their staying power on the Florida trails. She also favors the EasyShoe Performance glue-on shoe, with which she has had great success.

When asked about her thoughts on the EasyShoe, she feels they are a great option for horses and quotes her vet, "A lame horse is an expensive horse." She feels the extra work and cost are a small price to establish and maintain a sound horse. They are perfect for our hot, humid and wet summer conditions. It is these very conditions that tend to create flat, thin-soled feet. It is just not always practical to keep a horse bare, especially a performance horse, and this is where the EasyShoe shines. April loves having these options and really has enjoyed the journey of learning how to apply the EasyShoe. Because you can rasp and mold the shoe, she feels the possibilities are endless. April can create balance and proper breakover while at the same time creating correct movement, protecting the hoof and encouraging proper growth.

What has helped April become such a success? She attributes patience, a passion for learning and organizational skills. Patience with the horse will always go a long way, she says. Giving them the benefit of the doubt and helping them be comfortable will allow you to get the work done and more than likely they will be more willing the next time you visit. Passion for learning: April feels like everyone has something to teach you, including the horses, as long as you are willing to listen. Keep an open mind: this allows you to remain creative and solve problems effectively. And finally, make a solid commitment to continued education. Hone your organizational skills: April acknowledges being organized, keeping notes, scheduling clients and stocking supplies can be challenging. She loves the QuickBooks app on her iPhone and iPad and can keep track of all her invoices, email them to clients and track expenses. She is not 100% digital yet but it is her goal to be so by the end of the year. She is diligent with record keeping so things don't get lost or forgotten and knocks out her to do list as soon as possible to prevent worry or being ill-prepared. She is a stickler for rescheduling clients before she leaves which allows her to schedule ahead of time avoiding overloaded work weeks and ensures clients stay on a consistent schedule.

When asked about where she see the future of hoof care, she acknowledges that things are definitely moving in a healthier direction. Products like EasyCare hoof boots and the EasyShoe help her keep her client's horses happy while developing a healthier hoof.

April enjoys her three horses which all have their own set of Back Country hoof boots for protecting soft feet from Florida's rock and root, riddled trails. She is passionate about dressage, natural horsemanship, trail riding and the beach.

April puts the finishing touches on a full set of EasyShoes.

 

Glue a Shoe and Win All the Money

Will you be attending the International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 4 & 5, 2015? If so, you should stop by at the EasyCare/No Anvil booth #723/725 and enter the 2015 EasyShoe/No Anvil Gluing Contest presented by Blacksmith Buddy.

With $2,000 in cash prizes across two gluing divisions, this is your chance to pay your way to the IHCS. Come get your glue on with us. Choose to apply a Polyflex Horseshoe or one of the four EasyShoe models to a Blacksmith Buddy foot. We will have with us all the materials you need to make the best gluing application of the whole competition. Enter either the Polyflex or EasyShoe division by signing up at: easycareinc.wufoo.com/forms/easycarepolyflex-gluing-contest-registration/.

ESP.jpgpolyflex turf shoe.png

Contest Details.

  • All tools and supplies will be provided to the contestants at no cost.
  • EasyShoe Bond Fast Set will be used for gluing.

Judging will be based on the following: Cash prizes: $500 for 1st place, $300 for 2nd place, and $200 for 3rd place in each division.

  • Hoof prep technique.
  • Quality of shoe fit to the Blacksmith Buddy foot.
  • Overall gluing application skills, including volume of glue used, neatness of application.
  • Quality of final finishing.
  • How closely did the contestant follow the recommended gluing protocol?

Contest numbers are limited and gluing appointments will be assigned based on a first come, first served basis, so do not delay. Sign up at easycareinc.wufoo.com/forms/easycarepolyflex-gluing-contest-registration/.

We look forward to seeing you in Cincinnati!

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-kevin-myers

Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.

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!

EasyCare Announces the 2015 Easyboot Elite Tevis Gluing Team

We announced today the selections for the 2015 Easyboot Elite Tevis Gluing Team. Six individuals were chosen from more than 100 applicants from across the world. Together, they will take on the challenge of applying Easyboot Glue-Ons to more than 50 horses entered in the 2015 Western States Trail Ride, aka the Tevis Cup.

We consider the booted Tevis horses in 2015 very fortunate to be under the hoof care and supervision of six such accomplished individuals for the most challenging 100-mile endurance event in the world.

The 2015 Easyboot Elite Tevis Gluing Team members are:

Curtis Burns, Wellington, FL
Ashley Gasky, Ballston Lake, NY
Jeremy Ortega, Mokelumne Hill, CA
Deanna Stoppler, Fairfax, VT
Peter Van Rossum, Ramona, CA
Derick Vaughn, Durango, CO

Each of the team members was selected based on their prior experience in hoof care, expertise in the application of composite shoes and hoof boots, as well as an ongoing demonstrated commitment to continuing education and evolution of their hoof care practice. 

MCM Last Dance in Easyboot Glue-Ons with Barrak Blakely with and his family at the presentation of the 2014 Haggin Cup award. 

It is an impressive group of hoof care professionals who boast significant achievements between them. Whether it be applying Polyflex horseshoes onto the winning horse of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, gluing hoof boots onto the Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup winning horses, applying EasyShoes onto the highest performing dressage horses in the country, or dedicating their time to working in partnership with the finest farriers in the country, this team truly represents the elite in today’s hoof care industry. How fitting that they will be applying hoof boots to horses who will cover the most grueling 100-mile horse event known to man and woman.

Easyboot is no newcomer to the annual Western States Trail Ride. In 2014, ten of the horses in the top 15 horses were wearing Easyboots. The first place horse in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 was wearing Easyboot Glue-Ons. The Best Conditioned horses (Haggin Cup) in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 were wearing Easyboot Glue-Ons.

The Easyboot Elite team will work in pairs for three days during the week of the event. Based out of the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, California, the three teams of two professionals will care for more than 50 competing horses in preparation for race day on Saturday, August 1, 2015. It will be the 60th anniversary of the event, and the sixth consecutive year that Easyboot Glue-Ons have been used to traverse the Tevis trail. 

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-kevin-myers

Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.

EasyCare's The Best Of 2014

2014 was one of the fastest years on record for EasyCare and seemed like a blur.  The EasyShoe launched, and travel to tradeshows and clinics in the USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai seemed to dominate our free time.  Looking back at a crazy year, here are some things that stand out.

1.  In February, EasyCare shared a booth with Polyflex Horse Shoes at the International Hoof Care Summit to launch the new EasyShoe product line.  The show was a huge success and our booth was many times standing room only. 

The International Hoof Care Summit video.  The first clip in the video shows the EasyCare/PolyFlex Horseshoes booth. 

2.  The EasyShoe launch has exceeded our expectations.  The entry into the flexible, synthetic horse shoe world has been an awesome journey and we have seen many horses helped by the product line.  Horses have won on the flat track, in FEI 100 mile endurance races, in the dressage ring and have helped many laminitic horses. 

 

Michele Moon and Highlight spring back to competition in the EasyShoe after many months of unsoundness. 

Jeremy Olson and Wallace Hill Shade are the only USA horse to finish at the Alltech World Equestrian Games.  They do it in EasyShoes

3.  Easyboots win the Tevis and Haggin Cups again in 2014.  First Place, Second Place, Best Condition (The Haggin Cup) and 10 of the top 15 horses in finished Easyboots.  The Tevis Cup is the most difficult 100 miles in the world and Easyboots continue to excel.  Easyboots have now won the Tevis Cup each of the last four years. 

Barrak Blakeley and MCM Last Dance win the 2014 Haggin Cup in Easyboots.

4. EasyCare recruits a gifted group of hoof care professionals for the first Easyboot Elite Team.  The team will trim, prep and install EasyCare products for competitors in 2015.  The goal of Easyboot Elite is to bring awareness to flexible, synthetic hoof protection options.  We plan to announce the final team this week. 

5.  Several new exciting projects were started in 2014 and will launch in 2015. In 2015 EasyCare/Polyflex Horseshoes will launch a new podiatry line, the EasyShoe Slipper, a new comfort pad, the Easyboot Zip and The Easyboot Cloud to name a few.  Adding new products and improving current product lines are our future and will continue to be our priority. Several images of products in the works can be seen below. 

The "Bicking" base.

Prototype of a new custom sizing glue-on. 

Possible base plate patterns.

The new Easyboot Zip.

Testing dual density sole options.

 

The Easyboot Cloud.

We are excited about the horses we were able to help in 2014 and look forward to more advancements in 2015. It looks like 2015 will be another blur and hoof care professionals will have more options for their clients in the new year.  Thanks for helping make 2014 a great one. 

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.

I Go Both Ways

Submitted by Susan Summers, 2014 Team Easyboot Member

I’ve stalled long enough and felt guilty for a long time because I’ve not done my part in writing a blog for EasyCare.  I’ve been a part of the team and used their products for many years successfully on many horses. What’s stopped me all these years? Well I’ve been a little scared to admit that I go both ways. Yup, I nail steel or aluminum on and also boot. 

So you ask, why do I do this? Well I am a trained farrier and have been shoeing horses the traditional way for many years with a lot of success. My husband and I have won and BC’ed many rides on many horses with traditional shoes so I was of the “if it ain't broke don’t’ fix it” mentality.  We are of the belief you can ride competitively and also have longevity. I have 3 decade horses with a total of 32 starts and 31 finishes in 100 mile rides alone and a good many of those were competitive miles and in steel shoes. 

What originally brought me to boots was my horse Hummer. He is a rather large Arab/Bashkir Curly with loooonnnnggg legs, a short back, a huge engine and amazing feet. I tried all the tricks I learned in school to keep shoes on him and was never able to get past 10 miles without pulling a shoe off.  We train quite hard on hard rocky logging roads so barefoot was not an option. I tried but the wear exceeded the growth and his feet would become nubbins. Rock hard but nubbins no less. Enter Gloves and Glue-Ons. I started using Gloves on the front and steel on the hind for training and Glue-Ons on the front for races. This combination worked fabulous and I never had to worry about pulling shoes again. Hummer and I became very happy campers and went many miles as a team until his retirement last year at the age of 19 still sound.

Riding Hummer in boots I noticed how comfortable he was on rocky ground which I normally would slow up on. We were able to pass other horses and make up time where they weren’t able to. So this got me going hmmmmm.  Why not give more of our horses the same advantage. Next victim my husbands horse Bogart, a half Arab half Mustang also with amazing feet.  Dennis isn’t the kind that would take the time to boot with Gloves BUT loves the Glue-Ons for racing. So Bogart is in steel shoes to train and Glue-On boots to race. One of the luxuries to having a wife that’s a farrier.

Although Glue-On boots are my favorite EasyCare product I’ve been playing with the EasyShoes.  I have glued them on and nailed them on both with success. My new prospect Egypt is sporting a brand new pair of EasyShoe Performance N/G's. I really like these as I can set them back and get the break over point exactly where I want it. And no worries for a whole shoeing cycle, just saddle up and ride.

I’m pretty sure I’ll always go both ways with our herd but thanks to EasyCare we now have options for hoof care that are horse and race specific and I believe will help with both competitiveness and longevity.

 

Nailing EasyShoes: It's a Clinch

This blog is not intended to teach you how to nail without hands-on instruction and is intended for hoof care practiotioners who wish to expand their practice into nailing composite shoes. Unless you are a trained professional, please do not attempt nailing on composite shoes. In nine years of working with composite shoes, I’ve learned to appreciate a couple of well-placed nails, especially when used in combination with some glue, the nails aren’t hard on the foot, and when needed, have more advantages than disadvantages. 

For a healthy foot I also like the simplicity of straight-nailing shoes as well: less expense for the owner and a less complicated application for the farrier. My most common application is with clips removed, acrylic glue and two nails. The nails add just a bit of extra security in case of glue failure (doesn't happen often, but can), or an act of God (the horse spooks and steps on himself so hard he rips a shoe off).

If you don’t currently know how to nail, it can feel very intimidating to learn. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started:

Nails have four main components:

  • Head: seats the nail into the shoe for security.
  • Blade: can vary in thickness and length depending on use.
  • Maker’s Mark: not only identifies who made the nail but also helps the user know which way to turn the nail before driving into the foot.  
  • Taper: turns the nail as it's going through the foot

The maker's mark should be turned towards the interior of the foot, which ensures the taper turns the nail the correct direction:  Out of the foot.

The best nail for composite shoeing is some kind of combo nail, meaning the nail will have a larger more square head with a slim blade. The larger head of the combo nail is beneficial because it will seat down into the tread of the composite shoe. The EasyShoe Performance N/G specifically has an integrated metal plate in the shoe designed to aid in nail stability and shoe retention. You can see the silver metal plate in the EasyShoe Performance N/G here:  

Notice the nail holes in the metal plate are quite large. Because the nailing area in most composite shoes cannot be shaped to fit the exact contour of the white line/inner wall, the larger area for the nail allows the farrier to position the nail ideally for that foot. Nails can be set to the inside or outside of the hole, and can easily be pitched or angled for best placement.
 
As far as nail selection, I like the Mustad MX-60 for size 0-2 EasyShoe N/G, and an E-6 for size 3 and larger. 
 

Best practice would be to check each nail you plan on using before driving into the foot. You’ll want to check for straightness of the nail, and confirm that the taper is turning the nail away from the internal structures of the foot. Don’t assume that the maker’s mark is stamped on the correct side of the nail.   

Nails should ideally be driven into the white line/inner wall region of the foot. One of the benefits of glue-on shoes is that they are very forgiving of different trim styles. Therefore, one consideration in trimming the foot for a shoe with nails is possibly leaving more wall on the ground, which allows the nail more wall to grab into.  

There are many different techniques for nailing shoes on horses. If you talk to ten different farriers, you'll get ten different techniques. While this blog cannot explain all the nuances of all the different techniques, I can share with you what I use day to day. Click here for a previous blog that shows my composite nailing technique. Here are the tools I like to use:

When you're ready to start driving nails, I'd definitely recommend you start with something inanimate. I’ve taught a lot of people how to nail, and one of the best ways to get practice is either on cadaver hooves or a piece of 2' x 4' x 3/4" plywood. Plywood is great because you can drive a lot of nails to get the feel for swinging the hammer, how the nail turns, and the force needed. Try drawing dots on the top and side of the board as shown here and aim for those dots when nailing to help with accuracy. Some find placing their middle or ring finger where you want the nail to go helps with accuracy as well due to the propioception. Just don't prick your finger when the nail comes through.

A few last tips:

  • When driving nails; the harder you hit the nail, the faster it turns, coming out lower compared to a nail set at the same pitch hit more softly.
  • When gluing with nails, keep a map in your head where you want your nails before the shoe is glued on. That way, when the shoe is applied, and the glue covers the white line, you still know where you want your nails to go.
  • Your nails only need to be as high as they need to be. A good guideline is 3/4"-1" above the bottom of the wall, especially when gluing.
  • When you feel ready to nail on a live horse, choose a horse with more angle to their wall. Straighter-walled horses are harder to nail.

If you decide to use nails in your shoeing work, I hope the above tips and tricks will prove helpful. With the right tools, some practice, and a coach to keep you safe in the beginning, you'll find nailing adds versatility to your work in helping the horse. 

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.DHFSchool.com