The Art of the EasyShoe Sport, A Few Tips From a Pro

Submitted by Tennessee Lane, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

This past weekend I had the pleasure of having my EasyShoe Sports applied by Derick Vaughn. I just want to share some pics I took during the process and make note of some tricks that I, personally, had not yet picked up on, although it was pointed out to me that "it's all in the pamphlet," LOL.  These pictures were taken at this past weekend's Antelope Island Endurance Ride. The horse (Bluff,) did the 100-miler there wearing these EasyShoe Sports and finished strong and sound.  He encountered everything from steep to flat and extremely rocky terrain (like REALLY rocky,) to hard packed roads, to perfectly shallow sand, to deep sand, to firm dirt. He covered the 100 miles of diverse terrain at all gaits, steady slow climbs and descents, galloping climbs, long cantering sessions, long trotting sessions, even some sideways running through boulder fields and sagebrush (because he's still learning, and we might have had some disagreements on pace, and so briefly lost brakes and power steering on a few occasions until we came to an understanding.)

I have glued this product on several times before with great success using only adhere and a rasp, they have protected my horses' feet through several multidays and 100's that way. That's easy and awesome but Derick did an AMAZING job so here are the main differences... (Pictures will follow with corresponding #s.)  If you haven't already been through this process then you should consider watching the application videos for this product, because I'm not going through it all here, I'm just noting a few things that definitely got my attention while watching a pro turn my simple trim into a work of art. I thought I would share since some of you might want to raise the bar on your process.

My observations:  #1 He used Adhere (fast set up) on the bottom and Bond (slower set up) on the wings.  #2 He used a "Buffy" power tool that greatly reduces work/time while improving everything from functionality to aesthetics. I've been thinking that I could live with out one, but I was wrong, it's official, I can't live without one.  #3   He used a hoof nail, driven into the toe of the EasyShoe, to prevent the hoof from slipping forward when it was first set down after the bottom was glued. He was sure to place that nail in such a way that the breakover was exactly where he wanted it. (This was the most important trick I picked up on, I'm not sure how I missed that on the first go'round.) #4 Did I mention the Buffy?  #5 He sealed the edges with super glue to prevent "the beginning of the end," and keep all the bond-to-hoof edges sealed tight. Beautiful overkill and much appreciated by Bluff and I. Thank you, Derick, for your attention to detail and for enlightening me! You're an artist!

#1 The white glue used on the wings is the Bond (finished product shown)

#2   Using the Buffy as an extra step in the hoof prep routine, it was later used to clean up the glue job once everything had setup. 

#3  The nail keeps the hoof from sliding forward for that brief second when it's still wet and they put weight on it, where you place it allows you to adjust breakover.

#4 The Buffy beautifies...

#5 Super Glue polish job

Absolutely beautiful! 

AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER 100 MILES...still fabulous!

The "Sports" are an awesome product, I've been testing them for a year or so now and I plan to use them them again, and often. I did feel a bit naked on the rocks, with his little frogs and soles unprotected and unsupported, when they usually are protected and supported in products like Gloves, Glue-Ons and the EasyShoe Performance.  Regardless, they protected my horse's hooves in extremely rocky conditions very successfully so I STILL have no complaints to think of. I would especially consider them at rides where, instead of worrying about rocks, I'm worried about traction on turf, or in mud, snow or sand. They're also great to leave on for a full trim cycle. Love them!

 

Tevis 2015: Meet Easyboot Elite Team Member Deanna Stoppler

Submitted by Ashley Gasky, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

Deanna Stoppler AF is a member of the 2015 Easyboot Elite team. She is among 5 other elite professionals charged with the task of gluing on boot shells to equine competitors at the 2015 Tevis Endurance race.

Deanna began her hoof care career in 2011, riding with a local farrier, then completing a semester at Mission Farrier School(MFS) in May of 2012. After MFS, Deanna began coursework with Daisy Haven Farm: School of Integrative Hoofcare and has 137 hours in coursework to her credit. Currently she maintains a busy schedule; trimming, shoeing in metal and plastic, glues on shoes, and sizing for EasyCare boots. An average month will have her working on upwards of 160 horses. 

Deanna lives and works in Fairfax, Vermont with her husband, Dave, three dogs, and two horses. Growing up in Alberta, Canada she has an affinity for the cooler northern climates, and actually complains about the hot summers of Vermont, though she appreciates having four solid seasons and the awesome autumn landscape. 

Living in a rural community has provided Deanna with a sense of small town loyalty and camaraderie."You can find good coffee almost anywhere in the state; small general stores that have been around for over 100 years, where owners know their customers by name and it's easy to find fresh baked cinnamon buns if you stop first thing in the morning", she claims.

From the small family farms, bounty of horses, and rugged scenery to look at as she drives from barn to barn, or to explore on days off, she enjoys the sweet offerings of Vermont life. Maple syrup is a Vermont tradition, and one that Deanna and family are happy to support.   

When asked to choose three of the greatest influences to her hoof care practice Deanna names Mark Plumlee, Daisy Bicking, and Esco Buff. Mark Plumlee, owner and instructor of Mission Farrier School, taught Deanna everything she needed to know to get out in the workplace and start a farriery business. "He taught me confidence, how to speak to clients, and how to manage a successful farrier business." she notes. 

Daisy Bicking, owner of Daisy Haven Farm, "advanced my trimming skill set and helped me approach founder in a new way" says Deanna. "She taught me more about gluing on plastic shoes and how to approach my trim using radiographs as a tool".  Deanna and Daisy traveled to Lagos, Nigeria in 2013 to shoe polo ponies and educate the local farriers. 

Deanna credits Esco Buff with continuing her radiography skill set and helping her think about trimming and shoeing in regard to whole horse balance.

While the challenges of being a farrier, and running a hoof care business are many, Deanna lists three she perceives to be the most influential:

1. Horse obesity and founder as a result. If I can teach the owners to be proactive before their horse has a problem, that’s most of the battle, often though I find that horses that are obese are not necessarily viewed by the owner as obese. It’s difficult to change that owner mind set.

2. Moisture. We live in a very wet environment in Vermont. The feet take a beating with humidity and wet conditions. I look forward to working on CA feet at the Tevis Cup. Dry hooves=heaven!

3.Trying to help the horse while navigating through different theoretical approaches about hoof care with veterinarians. Not all approaches are the same and it can be tricky meeting on common ground."

In the excitement building up to Tevis 2015 Deanna is most excited to experience the camaraderie of the elite team. Stating "I’m very excited to spend the days working side by side with professionals as passionate as myself. To focus on a common goal with a group of talented farriers. To feeling the excitement as prepare horses' feet for the grueling 100-mile race. Team memories being made. Can't wait!"

The proudest moment of Deanna's hoof care career came as a result of her trip to Nigeria. 

"After I returned home, one of the farriers that I had worked with, Bello Gali, sent me an email with a photo of a foot that he had mapped and shod. I was very proud that he was reflecting on his work and felt it was important to share with me. From the photo is was obvious that he had retained the information I taught him. I will never forget the happiness of seeing that photo and how proud I felt."

You may have met Deanna, perhaps more than once, or even had her work on your horses, but did you know she HITCHHIKED from Maine, USA to Alberta, Canada during a college break? It was an exciting, frightening, and unforgettable journey. Be sure to ask her why this is her favorite song.

 

It's Getting Hot

No, not discussing politics. Sorry to disappoint you if you expect a juicy commentary. Not talking about the upcoming summer temperatures. Actually talking about a killer heat. And no, not discussing global warming either.

Rather a heat that will kill bacteria, spores and fungi so EasyShoes and Easyboot Glue-Ons can be safely applied. 

Before applying any glue, for example Vettec Adhere, to any hooves, these have to be dry and clean from soil and dust. Otherwise the adhesion will be compromised and the shoes and boots might not stay on. Adhesion is only one of our concerns, of equal importance is that the harmful bacteria. Spores and fungi are not getting any chance of doing harm inside the boot once it is glued on the hoof. To achieve this goal, we have some tools available to thoroughly sanitize the hooves and literally burn off any of the damaging parasites. I would encourage you to revisit some of the Glue on Educational Videos produced by EasyCare. Also helpful might be to revisit my blog from two years ago about gluing Easyboots.

To achieve our goal, we have a few options available.

1. Heat Guns. 

With these tools, available at just about any hardware store, we can get the temperatures high enough to kill any harmful bacteria and thoroughly dry the hoof wall and sole. When using them a couple of times a week, they typically last one year. It seems they build in such a short life span in all brands, so that we all have to buy a new one on a yearly basis. A more expensive heat gun will not last longer, just might produce a little more heat.

This model has a variable temperature setting, nice to have especially when temps are cold. It is important to keep the heat gun very close to the horses hoof, otherwise the desired effect of burning off harmful bacteria cannot get achieved. Hold it as close to the hoof as half an inch. You might want to feel, hear and observe a little burning  of hoof material.

Here the hoof rasp shavings are just getting brown and cinched. A good sign that you achieved the right heat to dry and sanitize the hoof wall and sole.

2.Hardware Store Torch

Torches are hotter compared to a heat gun. You do not need a power supply, so they are great in the field. The torch also has a pointed flame, ideal to get into the collateral grooves. Because of the higher heat setting, you only need a few seconds to dry and sanitize the hoof.

This model is fairly inexpensive. Works great if there is no wind. With any wind higher than 10 mph, the flame will extinguish.

3. Bonjour Torch

This torch you can get from kitchen supply stores or Amazon. It is commonly used for flambeaus and Creme Brulees. A little bigger compared to the Bernzomatic above, it produces a slightly higher temp and can withstand higher winds. 15 mph are about the limit on this one.

For both models listed above, you need a refill bottle, easily available at hardware stores. To refill the torches, turn them upside down, push the filler cap into the fill opening and push down.

4. AD Kitchen Firebird Torch

This torch is even hotter. Available also at Amazon. A gas bottle attaches directly to the burner. Easy to use, it can handle even higher winds, up to 20 mph.

The Firebird torch is a nice handy tool, easy to use. A disadvantage is the fact that it needs about a 2 minute warm up period. Otherwise flaring will occur when you tilt the torch more than 15 degrees from the vertical, which you will have to do when using it on the hoof. Just let it stand for two minutes to warm up, then you can angle it whichever way you like.

Don't burn yourself or your horse, just kill the bacteria. Select the model and type that will fit your needs the best.

From The Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

www.globalendurance.com

 

Tevis 2015: Meet Easyboot Elite Team Member Ashley Gasky

Ashley Gasky began trimming horses in the summer of 2010 when she asked a visiting farrier to remove her horse's shoes. By the fall of 2010, she had been introduced to Dr. Judith Shoemaker's work and attended a hoof care clinic hosted at her facility in Nottingham, PA. Following this clinic on hoof distortion, she volunteered at various postural rehabilitation clinics with Doctors Shoemaker and Gellman who were frequently assisted by Elizabeth Reese, Daisy Bicking and Lee Follett. Her immersion into the postural rehabilitation paradigm was life-changing. It enabled her to correct her horse's feet and the rest of her horse's body. By 2012, Ashley's knowledge and reputation as a hoof care practitioner had evolved. She flew to California to attend the Epona Shoe Institute and began taking her career in hoof care very seriously. In 2013, she joined the American Association of Professional Farriers, an organization dedicated to continued education.

Barefoot trimming in a perfect barn environment with the help of a trusty Hoofjack.

A large percentage of Ashley's practice is dedicated to barefoot horses. She is able to fit them for boots or shoe them as necessary. She considers shoeing in composite materials (non-metal shoes) to be her niche. In working with Curtis Burns, she feels she has learned a highly effective gluing technique. The technique does not require special treatment of the horse while the glue-on shoes are being applied. Ashley works with a client base of 75 - 100 horses on a regular basis and about a dozen other emergency cases per year.

Ashley is based in rural Saratoga County, New York. There are approximately 11,000 horses in Saratoga county, making it a great place to be in the horse business. She lives 15 minutes from the town where she was raised, so technically she knows somebody who knows somebody on every street corner, for miles. When asked what she values most about her home base, she credits the land, the flora and fauna, the pure dichotomy of the sophisticated Saratoga Springs in the summer with the rough and ready agriculture-based communities that surround it. 

Working at an anvil.

We asked Ashley about the greatest influences on her work. She acknowledges Dr. Judith Shoemaker because without her, postural rehabilitation would not be a teachable practice. She names Esco Buff because of his insurmountable presence and patience. He has also helped Ashley develop her business skills and build an efficient, effective whole-horse approach to farriery. Esco, she says, is a walking, talking search engine of information on the equine hoof. Ashley's final nominee is Curtis Burns, who helped remodel her gluing techniques to be highly effective under all circumstances.

When identifying the three greatest challenges in her hoof care practice today, Ashley lists time, money, and environmental stressors. Time, she says, is the greatest limiting factor for us all. Money is a necessary evil. Environmental stressors are not nearly so cut and dry for her: they can be anything from terrain that is too wet or too dry for proper hoof health. It can be a barn environment that is not conducive to hoof and horse care, or it can be a rich green pasture that leads a susceptible horse down a painful path to laminitis. 

Curtis Burns (also on the Easyboot Elite team) and Ashley Gasky.

When Ashley contemplates the 2015 Tevis gluing activities, she is most excited to see the horses she's worked on go out and compete in the toughest endurance race in the world. She will be feeling the struggle and the triumph of each horse. When you see Ashley in Auburn at the Tevis Easyboot Elite gluing event in July 2015, be sure to ask her personally about her passion for dancing. She dances swing, salsa, and even blues. Anyone up for a dance?

The Easyboot Elite team is a group of six gluing professionals from around the country who will spend the week before the 2015 edition of the Western States Endurance Ride gluing Easyboot Glue-Ons onto horses entered to compete in the ride. Together, they form the most accomplished and sophisticated team of gluing professionals in the world.

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.

Cinderella’s Easyboot Glue-On?

Submitted by Sally Tarbet, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

I was out checking fence yesterday on our 160 acre ranch outside of Eagle, Idaho and came across an Easyboot Glue-on that had failed a ‘minimal glue’ test. It was almost like Cinderella’s glass slipper…there it sat perfectly in the middle of one of the many horse-made trails that lead back to the barn. I cannot believe I did not find it sooner.

Part of the herd running in for breakfast.

Cinderella's Easyboot Glue-on?

The Easyboot Glue-on shell looks almost brand new...except for Cinderella’s mice must of gotten bored waiting for Prince Charming to find the “slipper” and started to chew on it. Other than the decorative scalloped edges, thanks to the little critters, the Glove Glue-on looks perfect (although not recommended for use), even after spending three summers in the intense Idaho sun. Amazing.

Since then we have perfected our Glove Glue-on process and now apply Glue-ons without any worries. Typically we have to work at getting them off, even two weeks later.

At the end of last season, I applied a pair of EasyShoe Performance N/G with the help of a farrier (the nailing part) on my bay Arab, Hawk. He loved his Performance N/G’s so much I had to use the brakes more than ever! I have never seen my boy move so nicely.  

We only used four nails per EasyShoe and the shoe was one size too big (I should of used a size 1). They still stayed on solid for over eight weeks. I took them off because he needed a trim, not because they were loose. It took a lot to get them off.  

My first attempt at applying a Performance N/G on Hawk.

Hawk and I cruising down the trail at Tough Sucker II, sporting his EasyShoe Performance N/G's with frog support which gives extra protection over the rocky part of the trail. Photo by Steve Bradley.

I am looking forward to the 2015 riding season with my boys in EasyShoe Performance N/G’s and Easyboot Gloves. I will let you know how it goes. Keep in touch!

 

 

Forgetting Something?

Relax! Don't worry too much, it is not age related and it is nobody's fault. It is just a fact. And it is not a surprise, either. Research has shown our average retention rate as follows:

- 15% what we hear

- 30% what we see

- 70% what we actually do and practice

Yes, these numbers vary depending on what kind of learner we are, but for the most part are about right as an average. So, the old style lecture without visual aid is of very limited learning value. 

Many of us have read blogs and watched videos of how to apply Glue-on Easyboots, for example. But, I hear if over and over again during my travels, many still do not feel comfortable doing it. Because our learning is incomplete when only reading and watching. We need the actual hands-on experience to get a good sense and feeling confident to do it. Then we need the practice. Practice itself does not make perfect, only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.

That is where the Bootmeister's Clinics come in handy. During these Clinics, participants will have ample opportunities to practice, make mistakes, correct them and do it better the next time around.

Two Clinic participants practicing as a team, applying Easyboot Glue-ons.

With more participants, a station approach works very well. Three to four stations with teams of 2 working together and everybody gets to practice. 

For the 2015 horse competition year, I have scheduled quite a few learning and practicing opportunities for everybody. Yes, because of my personal involvement in endurance events, most of these clinics will either take place in conjunction with endurance races or will be conducted at Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, Utah. That does not mean that these clinics are only open for endurance riders. EVERYBODY interested is invited to join in, no matter what your favorite equestrian discipline happens to be. The following list of scheduled educational seminars and workshops is in chronological order, by clicking on the highlighted name link, you get all the necessary details for the event.

Antelope Island, Utah. 

April 10th, 5 pm. At Base Camp of Endurance Ride. Duration: 1 hr. Lots of visual aids and short demonstrations. Because of time restraint, no actual practice will be possible. 

Mt Carmel, Utah

April 28th 10 am. At Base Camp. This will be a 5 hour hands on practicing opportunity. Bring your own horse and you can learn applying any kind of Easyboots or EasyShoes. Preregistration required by contacting the Bootmeister or GETC by phone or email. 

Hells Kitchen, Utah

May 15th, 2pm. At Base Camp. Preregistration required for hands on practice. 3 hour practice possible. 

City of Rocks, Idaho

June 3rd, 2 pm. At Base Camp. Preregistration required for hands on practice. 3 hours allocated.

-Strawberry Fields, Utah

June 18th, 2pm. At Base Camp. Preregistration required. 2 hours allocated.

There is no fee charged for any of the above listed opportunities. 

Later in the year, you will have the chance to watch the Elite Tevis Gluing Team work on gluing Easyboots at Auburn, California. This is a watch only session, but a great opportunity to see the best in the country gluing Easyboots on up to 50 horses. The dates are in the week prior to the Tevis Cup. For details you may visit the EasyCare website in June/July this year

If demands requires it, I will consider additional clinics in the fall at various rides, with details then forthcoming at an appropriate time. 

In November, GETC is organizing another F Balance Trimming Clinic in Moab, Utah. We did conduct a similar clinic last year and you can read up on it again on last years blog, What In The World Is The F-Balance?

Full class room of F Balance students in Germany.

F Balance Certification Courses are now held all over the world. In April, Daniel Anz, the Founder of the F Balance concept and Stephan Stich, his partner,  are  conducting the first clinic in China. The pair is truly conquering the trimming world with their concept.

The GETC Seminar will be a combination Trimming/Gluing clinic with lots of hands on practice time. We are working on combining it with an Acupressure Treatment Clinic, so I am very excited about this. During last years clinic, I was the first Hoof Trimmer of the USA to certify as an F Balance Professional. Also visit the F-Balance website to learn more about F Balance. If interested in this kind of clinic, please contact me soon or leave a comment under this blog.

For our European Blog readers, two workshops are being held in Europe end of October.  Details forthcoming on FB and EasyCare and GETC websites. 

 

From the desk of the Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

6 Takeaways from the IHCS Glue Competition

EasyCare and No Anvil, LLC had a very interactive booth at the International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati this year. A big crowd is always expected to witness the latest and greatest hoof care products and demonstrations. For the first time, the 2015 IHCS EasyCare/No Anvil booth invited the crowd to jump in. Several practitioners were able to get a hands-on education and try out the gluing protocol for themselves. The top three black smith buddy hooves with the most meticulous application and smoothest appearance were awarded with cash prizes for both the PolyFlex model and EasyShoe model competitors.


Although several of the black smith buddy hoof entries were sent home with the participants, a few made it back to EasyCare's Research and Development office in Durango, Colorado. Garrett Ford, inventor of the EasyShoe, sat down with me and compared the hoof submissions to one another. His conclusions are demonstrated below.

 

1. Breakover

The heels are lined up evenly on this hoof. The shoe on the bottom has been rasped for a more aggressive breakover, whereas the top shoe is barely touched with a rasp.

 

 

2. Copper Sulfate Amount

The hoof on the left shows glue that is diluted by too many CS crystals. Only 1/4 teaspoon is needed per 2 ounces of glue.

 

 

3. Glue Height

The hoof on the right shows glue applied over an inch above the cuff of the shoe, while the shoe on the left only a 1/4 of an inch. The drawback in having glue to high on the hoof wall is that the glue smothers the hoof in areas where the hoof should be allowed to breathe.

 

 

4. Attention to Heels

It's important for the heel application of the shoe to be seamless from hoof to glue to shoe. The shoe below is a great demonstration of how the heel should appear after application.

 

 

 

5. Set-up Time

You'll find parts of the finished product appearing like this if the glue sets before it's on the hoof.

 

 

6.Super Glue

It not only provides a pretty, shiny finish, it seals the deal of the bond between shoe, glue and hoof. You can purchase the Super Glue product of recommendation by visiting the Polyflex Horseshoes site here.

 

 

Check out a side-by-side shot of Garrett's Blacksmith Buddy hoof from the 2014 International Hoof Care Summit and his beauty from this year.

 

 

Leaves the mind wondering what exciting things the year ahead may gift the horse community with. Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding the EasyShoe, it's application, and how to customize it for your horse's particular needs.

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I promote holistic methods of equine care and will assist you with finding the perfect fit for horse and rider.

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!