2016 Didn't Suck!

We are still here after 46 years! 23 years under the direction of Dr. Neel Glass and 23 years under my direction. 

96% of businesses fail in the first ten years! EasyCare has been making hoof boots and hoof protection for 46 years! It's been a great year but has come with some learning experiences.  The death of Kevin Myers has helped the entire EasyCare staff put things into perspective and look at things a bit differently. EasyCare continues to make an impact in the equine industry, help horses and have some fun in the process. It's been a great year!

Here is a quick summary of how 2016 looked: We lost Kevin Myers; farriers now stop at our booth while at the Hoof Care Summit; our hoof protection products dominate at the toughest 100 mile race in the world; we successfully launched many new unique products and we have some great products in the works for 2017. EasyCare and our urethane hoof protection products were once on the fringe of the equine industry. Our products are now carried by most equine retailers, mail order companies, farriers and veterinarians. In short the Easyboot and EasyShoe products continue to develop and improve the lives of our equine partners.  

1.  In February EasyCare returned to the International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati Ohio. EasyCare and Polyflex share a booth at the Summit and display alternative urethane hoof care solutions. The booth is often packed with farriers looking at our non traditional hoof protection solutions. Non traditional seems to be turning traditional.  

Curtis Burns and Garrett Ford demonstrate application methods.

2.  California Chrome relaxes in Easyboot Clouds. The Easyboot Cloud created a big challenge for EasyCare as it's sales were much better than anticipated. The Cloud caused us a couple grey hairs and put us in catch up mode after release. It's taken some work and forecasting but our inventory levels are much stronger for 2017.   

California Chrome chilling in Easyboot Clouds.

3.  The Easyboot Mini makes an impact on the smaller breeds and foals. The mini boot has made a massive impact with the small breeds and horses.  These smaller feet are often very hard to protect and the Easyboot Mini has provided an economical solution.  

Easyboot Mini's and Easyboot Epics in competition.

Easyboot Mini fits a hoof only 44mm in width.

4.  Easyboot Elite storms the 2016 Tevis Cup. Nine total team members booted 50 of the horses starting the most difficult 100 mile race in the world. No reported boots were lost during the race and completion statistics were impressive. 30.3% of all starting horses were in Easyboots. 41.3% of all finishing horses were in Easyboots. This is the most difficult 100 miles in equine sport, not only do Easyboots work, they dominate.  

-1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 4th place and 6th place finishers at the 2016 100 mile Tevis Cup were in Easyboots on all four feet.

-Ten of the top 20 finishers were in Easyboots.

-Easyboot completion rate: 72%  (50 Easyboot riders started, 36 Easyboot riders finished).  Historical finish rate at the event is less than 50%.

-Non-Easybooted completion rate: 44.35%  (115 Non-Easybooted riders started, 51 Non-Easybooted finished). 

2016 Easyboot Elite from left to right.  

Pete Van Rossum, Daisy Bicking, Christoph Schork, Garrett Ford, Deanna Stoppler, Steve Foxworth, Derick Vaughn, Jeremy Ortega and Josh Bowles.

5.  Karen Donley and Royal Patron win the 2016 Tevis Cup. Easyboots have now won the Tevis Cup in years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

7.  Lisa Ford wins the 2016 Haggin Cup. Easyboots have now won the Haggin Cup in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

8.  Easyboots excel in many equine disciplines. From dressage, flat track, endurance, to trotters. Easyboot products do more than the other brands! 

New models are hard to detect!

Easyboot Glue-On shells in a fawn color.  Hard to tell they are even there.  

Easyboot Gloves trotting fast!

EasyShoe Competes can be seen on many of the racetracks around the world.

9. The Easyboot Flip Flop also makes a huge impact. Easy to apply, stays in place very well and allows the back half of the hoof protection and complete hoof mechanism. Most said it would not work but it's winning endurance races and helping save foundered horses.  

Easyboot Flip Flop application.

10.  EasyCare said goodbye to one of our own. "I've had some difficult moments in my life but Kevin's passing has ripped my heart out. Kevin had amazing friends and was loved by everyone he touched. It's ironic that Kevin took his life because he didn't want to go forward lonely. Those close to Kevin have been through a bunch of emotions since Wednesday June 29th, 2016. Disbelief, sorrow, guilt, hours of tears, anger and numbness. I've personally had a very difficult time trying to accept his passing and know we will never be able to replace him." Rest in peace my friend. I plan to go forward in 2017 with more smiles, laughs, will practice more patience, will listen more, will give better hugs/hand shakes and be more generous.

Rest in peace Kevin Myers!

To 2017 we go. Expect a new EasyShoe model, the Easyboot Slipper, the Easyboot Sneaker, a boot shell that accepts two or three gaiter solutions and the Old Mac's G2 will come back. EasyCare and the Easyboot/EasyShoe lines will continue to help many different breeds in numerous disciplines. Thanks for your business and continued support.   

 

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.

And Then I Tried EasyShoes

Submitted by Jo Harder, EasyCare Customer

Thoroughbreds are well known for their less-than-stellar hooves, and a great solution for endurance riding has been outfitting my two Off-the-Track Thoroughbreds with EasyShoes, including a 22-year-old mare that still loves to do limited distance rides.

I’m a rider that’s just out to have fun at endurance rides. I’ve come in first, last, and everything in between at endurance rides, and my goal is always to complete a ride with a happy, healthy horse. I live and train in an area about 200 miles south of where most Florida endurance rides are held, and my local terrain is clay and sand, with very few rocks, so my horses can train barefoot. 

After one of my mares sustained a painful stone bruise several years ago at a ride that had significant areas of rocks, I vowed to provide protection for my horses’ feet. As I searched for the right solution, a key criteria was no metal, i.e., no nails and no steel/aluminum. After watching numerous videos about Glue-Ons, I tried them. 

At first, there were some failures, largely because I didn’t follow the directions. Initially, I didn’t understand the importance of thoroughly drying the hooves, especially in a humid climate, and avoiding all sources of oils (yes, that includes fly spray). But, I learned from my mistakes and made positive strides. 

For me, Glue-Ons were good but not the best solution. I struggled with getting some glue under the hoof, the moisture that built up in the hoof after a few days due to the humid climate, and then getting them off.

And then I tried EasyShoes... 

...And then I loved EasyShoes.

With the exception of one experiment wherein I didn’t put the toe bead of Adhere, I haven’t lost an EasyShoe at a ride (moral of the story: always, always do the toe bead!). My EasyShoes may not look pretty, but they are functional.

I put on my EasyShoes a bit different than the videos show. Rather than use the 180cc tube of Adhere and glue gun, I use one 50cc tube and the small glue gun from Vettec. It fits in my hand much better, requires much less hand effort, and is more precise. 

Plastic knives are for more than just camping!

In addition, I fit the EasyShoe on the hoof with popsicle sticks or plastic knives and then glue them in place. I pull out the lip of the EasyShoe just a little and insert the Adhere tip and squeeze. It drips down plenty and never goes under the sole. No hoof to hold up, no twisting. My horses seem to love getting their EasyShoes glued on because they stand perfectly still. I’m by no means a pro, but I can glue on a front set of EasyShoes in about 30 minutes total.

One of my horses is a high/low, and sometimes I feel it best to insert a very short wedge in her left EasyShoe to keep her balanced. No problem!  A Castle wedge cut to shape the EasyShoe, a little SuperGlue, and the same gluing process works perfectly.

A wedge in an EasyShoe?  Yes!

I have been trimming my own horses’ hooves for about six years now, and my horses go no more than three to four weeks between trims. Trimming with the Electric Hoof Knife makes the trim much easier, as well as scuffing up the hoof wall in preparation for the glue. It also makes it easy to pretty up your glue job as much or little as desired.

I’m not in a hurry to take off EasyShoes after the ride because the hoof has plenty of exposure and stays healthy.  When I am ready to take them off, that’s much easier too.  I purchased a Tekton upholstery tack lifter, and removal takes all of five minutes with a rubber mallet.  

Easily removing EasyShoes with an upholstery tack lifter.

My horses are in much better shape after completing a ride with EasyShoes.  No more stone bruises, and more confident trot outs at rides.  Because EasyShoes are so easy to put on and take off, my back feels great when starting a ride, so I am able to ride looser and my horse subsequently feels better.  Win/win for all!

 

Retracted Soles: A Broader Perspective

In 2012 I wrote a blog about retracted soles, describing an appearance of the sole with seemingly "good concavity and sole callus" that in reality can be quite dysfunctional, and lead to lameness:

"Retracted soles are when the sole retracts, or 'sucks up' into the arch of the coffin bone. Usually this happens to horses when they are in a wet or muddy environment. The external appearance of the foot will have good concavity (usually excessively good), and even sole/toe callusing. However the horse is often footsore with low grade pulses, sensitive to hoof testers and even manual palpation. These horses often get diagnosed with low grade laminitis and/or sub solar abscesses."

 

Since then, we've learned a lot about retracted soles: 

  • Not all horses with retracted soles are lame
  • Retracted soles can be observed on horses in wet and also dry environments
  • With horses of similar type, breeding, and management in the same living situation some individuals develop retracted soles and some don't.  

It's interesting to see retracted soles all over the world.  I've observed retracted soles in all environments and many different continents: North America, Europe, Africa and Australia.  Here is an example of a foundered pony whose rehabilitation was complicated by a retracted sole in Melbourne Australia under the care of farrier Sarah Kuyken of Innovative Hoof Care Australia:

We still have more questions than answers about retracted soles: Why are some horses sore with retracted soles and some aren't?  Maybe something to do with the quality or the density of the sole, as we see that in non-retracted soles as well: a thin sole doesn't necessarily mean a sore horse!  So even if the sole is retracted if it is dense or hard enough the horse may be able to resist getting tender.  

Also, why some animals in the same herd develop retracted soles and not others, even when variables for breed, type, discipline, nutrition and management are controlled?  Could retracted soles have an immune component where the affected horses have a compromised immune system for some reason?  Could there be underlying inflammatory illness in these animals?  

We'll just have to keep gathering data and making observations!    

Until we have more definitive information, retracted soles are important to recognize because it is a reason to think cautiously about the trim you are applying to the horse's foot.  When you see the characteristic concavity, with large toe callus, where the concavity meets the callus at a sharp almost 90 degree turn, recognize that the horse's sole is thin and may become quite sore with an aggressive trim.  

In order to minimize the risk of lameness from the trim, consider leaving more vertical height in the foot, as well as not rolling the toe back too far into the callus.  And if the horse is lame, and you suspect from a retracted sole, please consider hoof protection, either a boot with a soft pad, like the Easyboot Cloud, or a glue on shoe with frog support, like the EasyShoe Performance or NG for these horses as well. 

For more information about Daisy Haven Farm please see:
www.DaisyHavenFarm.com
www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

Frog Talk - Part I

What do frogs and bars have in common?  Answer: they are both most controversial among hoof professionals.

Bars and frogs of the equine hoof are the most discussed tissues and there are about as many opinions out there as there are hoof care professionals. Bars and frogs are always a hot discussion topic. (I had written a blog about bar trimming a couple of years ago.)

Personally, when trimming the frogs, I am a minimalist. I remove as little as possible from any frog, unless special considerations require it. But more on that later.

The frogs of the equine hoof have many functions, one of them being shock absorption. Generally speaking, a large, wide and thick frog is better suited for that task. A frog that contacts the ground upon landing of the hoof is a healthier frog compared to a recessed frog or one that is not able to contact the ground because the hoof is shod with a horse shoe that loads the hoof wall only peripherally. 

Not sure what it is, but many hoof trimmers just have an urge to trim something of the frog. Even if it just a tiny little piece. I mean, what good is a hoof knife when one cannot use it. And frogs just cut so nicely and soft, quite contrary to most soles and bars. They just cannot help it, something has to be cut of the frog, even if it is not necessary.

During my recent hoof care clinics in Europe, one of my group of hoof care professionals discussed trimming and preparing hooves for gluing various hoof protections like the EasyCare Glue-Ons, Flip FlopsEasyShoes and Equiflex horse shoes. Every year for the last ten years I have been traveling to Europe to conduct these clinics and workshops. Most of the time by myself, but occasionally also with EasyCare Staff and Garrett Ford. 

A participant had asked me a question and just in that moment I had turned around to answer, one of the others who held up the hoof could not resist the urge to slice a little piece of a very healthy and nicely callused frog. Nothing needed to be taken off here, but it is just so typical of us trimmers. Something needs to be cut, even if only a tiny little bit.

Now, this will not do much harm, however, that little piece taken off robbed unnecessarily the sensitive frog tip from its callused skin.

The calluses are a front line shield and defense against fungi, bacteria and parasites. Remove it and the frog is weakened and harmed. Before cutting any tissue off a horses hoof, I always ask myself the two questions:

- Is the removal of that tissue helpful to the horse or will it be harmful? 

- Will the horse travel better or worse afterwards?

These are two quite different questions, the second question building upon the first.  What decision I ultimately make in terms of hoof trimming depends a lot on whether or not the horse is being ridden, over what terrain, for how long,  and is it bare footed or with hoof protection

For me, the ultimate test is riding a horse over varied terrain bare footed. Below I am sharing a few photos of different frogs and my trimming thoughts on them.

Let's start with an easy one: This Tinker frog is perfect for its job of landing and shock absorption. I think we can all agree that any trimming of this frog would harm the horse.

Another healthy frog that should not encounter a hoof knife at all.

A desert hoof: thick sole and thick frog. Hardened by the elements and terrain. The outer layers are showing signs of cracks and shedding. I won't help that process, but leave it alone and let nature do its job. There is no thrush anywhere, so I do not see any reason to start cutting anything off.

Thick callus with a deep central sulcus. Thrush? Unlikely, no smell, no sensitivity, just a deep sulcus because of summer dryness. I am leaving it as is.

Looks like the outer callused layer of the frog was just shed. Whether by terrain or with help of a trimmer, I do not know. Obviously the hoof trimmer followed the principle of trimming the heels to the widest part of the frog. That hoof now is compromised and probably not a good candidate to be ridden without hoof protection, frog and sole will be sensitive for a while now.

Good one above. Analysis: thick sole, probably a double sole. Frog tip connected to sole. Frog flaps with thick callus. Horse travels sound over rocks without any hoof protection for many many miles. Admittedly, that frog does not look "nice". But it certainly is functional, tough and thick. Cutting anything off that frog would compromise his bare footed travel. I leave it as it is, even that connection with the sole on the tip is not harming the hoof, but protecting it even further.

That hoof needs some trimming, some of the overgrown bars already were shortened. But let us just look at the frog now: cracked, thick callused frog with dry central sulcus. I do not trim anything off here. At red arrow tip: flap material is growing laterally to hold soil and to increase heel support area. These flaps are useful, I will leave them in place as they have been growing.

Frog tip is starting the renewal process and peeling. Do I help and cut it off or let nature do its job? Obviously it is not quite ready to peel itself, if I cut it, the frog tip will be sensitive and I will have potentially harmed the hoof. 

On the opposing hoof of the same horse, the tip has shed itself of already, next part is also trying to come off. I do nothing and leave it alone.

Now to an interesting question: 

What to do about flaps and fold overs that are often observable on the frog? Generally these flaps are there to hold dirt which in turn again stimulates the tissue. Often they grow there where the hoof considers them most useful. I am always amazed on how nature takes care of the areas in need. Building materials are expediently sent there.

 Lets have a look at these frog flaps:

Same hoof with slightly different photo angles for better understanding. That hoof shows very low heels, in fact the heel bulbs are so low that they are running the risk of getting bruised and injured when encountering rocks. These flaps grew at the right place to protect the bulbs. In the second frame the red arrow shows a slight abrasion from the movement of the flap against the heel bulb. Possibly also from soil or sand rubbing against the skin. Removal of these flaps would endanger the bulbs. These frog flap extensions also increase the load bearing surface area of the whole foot. 

But, these flaps also can harbor bacteria and fungi, one might object. True enough. How to safeguard against this and more about frog pathology, crooked frogs, recessed ones and how to deal with them and correct them all I will cover in next months blog, Frog Talk - Part II

 

From The Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

 

It's Never Too Late To Go Barefoot

First Place Story Winner

Submitted by Shannon Bossung, EasyCare Customer

Manni, my dressage horse has overcome many obstacles. He came into my life 12 years ago, after he had been rescued from mental and physical abuse.  He was 11 years old at the time.

I had been told by vets and farriers that he would always need shoes.  Over the next ten years, he made a good recovery mentally, (he will always have a few issues) but his feet were another story.  I tried different varieties of shoes, heart bar shoes, shims, but his hooves were never "good".  I had shown him through Grand Prix dressage, but this had taken its toll on him.  By the time he was 21, shoes were no longer able to keep him sound. My vet and farrier had no further suggestions as to what I could do; they never felt barefoot would be an option for him, but Manni had come so far, and he was telling me that he was not ready to retire.  I felt he deserved every chance I could give him. 

I learned about the different EasyCare hoof boot varieties at a barefoot trimming clinic and decided it was worth a try to transition Manni to barefoot in stages. I began by pulling Manni's shoes and using the EasyShoe Performance N/G for eight weeks. After that, for six months I used the Easyboot Glove with pad inserts while he was turned out and for short rides, and stalled him barefoot.  Now, about a year and a half later, he is barefoot and sound!  I use the Easyboot Glove for trail riding on rocky soils, he is barefoot for arena schooling, field turnout and stall.  I use the EasyCare Glue-Ons on the front hooves only, for the occasional competition.  Today, his hooves are beautiful and still improving. This would not have been possible without the variety of EasyCare boots and shoes used to transition him in stages.  

We recently celebrated another success story with Manni.  This past summer he took a student of mine, a young dressage rider (Sammi Burke) to the CBLM Championships. He also helped Sammi earn her USDF bronze medal and got her halfway to her USDF silver medal (Silver Medal scores in both Fourth Level and FEI Prix St Georges)!  Mannie turned 23 years old this year. He is sound and happy, and currently enjoys scenic trail rides along the Potomac river. He is slowly retiring but still enjoys tormenting the occasional student. He is a special horse. He has taught many students about perseverance; he's not flashy but he tries hard, and he expects the same of them. He has his quirks, and teaches his students to have a sense of humor.  He will spook at himself spooking!  He doesn't tolerate bad riding from an experienced rider, but is infinitely patient with a green rider. Myself, my students, and many friends that know Manni is "family". We are all so pleased that Easyboots helped Manni not only recover but thrive, when others told us he was "done". We hope that you can share his story and possibly help other horses get another chance to be happy and sound, no matter what their age. 

Easyboots Changed My Life

First Place Honorable Mention Story Winner

Submitted by Jesse Caswell, EasyCare Customer

I was raised on a cattle ranch. Steel shoes on horses was a way of life. My Grandad would say “I can’t ride that horse until get I get shoes on him.”

In 1960, I became interested in endurance riding. Steel shoes were all we had. All of my friends were riding the Tevis. It became my dream and goal, but due to my occupation, there was never time to condition my horse properly. No time, no money. But I dreamed of retirement. 

By the time retirement age came, my health was so bad I could not ride. I had rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The more doctors I went to, the more medicine they gave me. At my worst, I was finally bedridden. I was in excruciating pain. I decided to go with all natural care and threw out all the medicine.

Nine months later I was back riding horses and pursuing my dream. I soon found out that endurance riding was no fun. I kept getting pulled for lameness. I had five horses, no matter which one I rode, I would get pulled. I went through a dozen different farriers. The horses would get hoof abscesses and were always fighting thrush. The worst part of steel shoes was when I would lose one and the nails would tear out half of the hoof wall. 

I went to 29 races and got pulled 19 times for lameness. The last race I did with steel shoes was the 2013 Tevis. I went 85 miles, only to get pulled.  That was it.  I quit, came home and pulled the shoes off all my horses and said, no more. I did not race for the next two years. I spent all my time getting my horses healed from the ground up.

I did go back to endurance racing.  It was with Easyboot Glue-Ons. I could not believe how my horses performed. They trotted so smooth. Just seemed to float. They just naturally went in to extended trotting. 

I did two day rides, 50 mile races, and each day on the same horse. I never tried to win, just stay up in front all the way.  I was in the top five in most of my races.  I did 21 races, all 50 miles and had seven Best Conditions.  The biggest success was at Chalk Rock. This was a two day, 50 mile ride each day. Saturday placed 2nd and got Best Condition, and Sunday, on the same horse,I placed 1st and Best Condition! 

I knew I was Tevis ready. Tevis 2016 I finished 6th place!

I tell everyone that EasyCare changed my life.  Easyboots are the secret to my success. Only took me 75 years to get on the right track.

Thanks EasyCare!

It's Been an Amazing 10 Years

CHANGE is a big word. Change can be exciting and change can be unsettling. Whether we like it or not we all know change is inevitable. Perhaps a necessary evil. It seems most of us have a love-hate relationship with change; we hate it yet crave it at the same time. EasyCare and its owner Garrett Ford have never been afraid of change. As a team we pursue it and as a company we thrive on it. As the leaders in hoof boot technology, the dust never settles.

As my career at EasyCare draws to a close, I can't help but reflect on the past 10 years and all that has changed. When I joined the EasyCare team in 2006, there wasn't a hoof care and veterinarian dealer representative. It didn’t exist. No one person truly specialized in handling this diverse group’s needs. Garrett believed I could fill that void and I leapt at the chance to become that person. Back then it was all about the Epic, Bare, Boa and Old Mac's. The Epic and Bare were the performance boots of choice.

The early years! At home in the Tucson office. 

This was also the year EasyCare hosted a five day clinic in Tucson, AZ.  It was my big debut. People not only came from across the US but from around the world. Pete Ramey and Dr. Bowker presented lectures and EasyCare had a booting day. It was a sell out at over 150 people and despite the SNOW, I think everyone had a great experience. Many of those attending I have not seen since but many of the relationships I built during that time remain strong to this day.

2007 saw the launch of our unprecedented Fill Your Truck program. The brainchild of Pete Ramey and Garrett Ford. This generous program continues to be tremendously popular and an incredible benefit to hoof care professionals.

Big changes came in 2009 with the launch of the Easyboot Glove and Glue-On. These products speak for themselves and forever changed the way the world looked at barefoot horses and booting. Proving grounds from the likes of Tevis, to the rigors of the highest caliber dressage and virtually everything in between. These products proved they could help a horse perform at the highest of levels or help a horse out of it’s lowest of lows. Today these boots along with many of our other products are utilized by some of the best and brightest hoof care professionals, veterinarians and trainers in the word.

Helping out at Tevis!

2014 brought on one of the most controversial changes in EasyCare history. The launch of the EasyShoe. Although hotly contested by some, EasyCare's owner Garrett Ford's persistence and hard work produced a product that changed the way many viewed shoes and how they could actually allow full hoof function. The EasyShoe has won over the critics and from my side of the fence it is the one product that delivers the most dynamic feedback. Farriers, trimmers, veterinarians and most importantly horses love EasyShoes.

This same year we decided to roll the dice and attend the International Hoof Care Summit. This is a tough crowd of professionals and we joked that Kevlar helmets and vests may be in order. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Our timing couldn’t have been better to bring our “change” to the Summit. The response was overwhelming. In fact at times it looked as if we stole the show!

Garrett demos the application process at the International Hoof Care Summit. 

Change came swift and hard in 2016 as new boots were introduced and some received new looks and improved features. None of this compared to the changes and challenges we faced as a company in losing one of our own. Kevin Myers you are missed and continue to live in our hearts.

The gang and I at Strawberry Fields. Two days of 50s. It was rough on the body but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Yes, as I reflect on my time at EasyCare it has been full of change. Keeping a barefoot horse is no longer an oddity. You rarely hear a comment like “Wow, what’s on your horses feet?” They know. It is not uncommon for me to speak to just as many vets and farriers in a day as barefoot trimmers. Big change. The past decade has has brought enormous changes and with it an enormous acceptance of alternative hoof care. I am proud to have played a small role in helping professionals help horses.

Pacific Hoof Care Practitioner's annual conference. Mario Gargiulo and I send a high five to Garrett. 

 I was very honored and excited to be included in several of EasyCare's catalog shoots.

There is nothing like seeing the beauty of Durango horseback. I definitely had a permagrin going! 

This was amazing! I had never ridden in the snow before that day. 

As I say goodbye and my time at EasyCare comes to a close, I encourage you in EasyCare fashion to be fearless and embrace change. Follow that small voice in your heart and live like somebody left the gate open. Thank you all for an amazing 10 years. It’s been an honor and a privilege to know and and work with each of you.

So long my friends.

"How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

Quoted from none other than Mr. Winnie the Poo.

 

Take a Chance and Flippin Run With It

Submitted by Devan Mills, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

One of the great things about working for EasyCare is that I have the opportunity to use and experiment with all of the products. By doing this, it allows me to give better guidance to anyone who may call-in looking to use EasyCare products in a nontraditional way. With all of our products we do hours, months, even years of testing to perfect them, however, as anyone involved with horses knows there are countless disciplines. As much as we would like to test every one of our products for every discipline it just cannot happen, and that is where a little commonsense and my experimentation comes in. By just looking at some of our boots and shoes you can tell they will not work. This is where the commonsense part happens. For example, using the EasySoaker on a trail ride, it’s not going to work. Unless you are taking it to use as a bucket or cup. Then go for it, it will work for that! Or trying to use the Easyboot Trail to condition a Race Horse. If you are conditioning that race horse by trail riding, this is absolutely an option. However, if you are conditioning him at Churchill Downs in Trails you may need your noggin checked.

All of us at EasyCare have come from different horse backgrounds which allows for us to bounce ideas back and forth or even ask what certain terminology means. I was lucky enough to grow up around horses and have had the opportunity to dabble in quite a few different areas. The majority of that, has been Western or stock type horses, cow horses, barrel racing, roping, ranch horses and the list goes on. The western world, while wide-ranging, I believe tends to be very traditional. Many things have been done the same exact way for hundreds of years. I love tradition and treasure it, but I also believe there has to be progression. At least one person will jump out of the box and try something new. It may work or it may not, but at least someone tried. Whether that progression is in nutrition, training, rehabilitation, health, or hoof care, I believe taking chances in moderation, can most certainly be worth it.

We have had quite a few people curious if you can barrel race in any of our products, especially with the release of the Flip Flop and the increased popularity of the EasyShoes. That curiosity is sparked by many different reasons but I believe the top three are: 1. Owners looking for another option, 2. Referral from a friend or farrier and/or 3. The horse will not hold a traditional steel shoe. Since I barrel race, these inquiries are passed my way and I truly enjoy helping to find a solution. This also sparks my interest in trying different things on my horse. Just so this is known: I am not a farrier, trimmer or hoof care professional. I do have access to great resources that allow me to confidently try these products on my horses. Acknowledge I know my horses well, I know the products well and I do my research by reading different articles, blogs and listening to feed back. I am also not a professional barrel racer, horse trainer or anything like that, nor do I claim to be. I am a weekend warrior barrel racer at best. I do not venture far from home, typically compete in open 4D barrel races as well as open rodeo’s that are within a short driving distance. My horse on the other hand is nicer than I deserve, when everything is clicking she will make a 1D run and when I am being a terrible jockey she clocks in the 2 or 3D. If this whole “D” business is making absolutely no sense click here to better understand the D system that is used in barrel racing.

Ok enough of my banter, I am sure the suspense is killing everyone as to what I took a chance on. There were two items or procedures I ended up testing out. I had toyed with the idea most of the summer to run my horse in the Flip Flop and finally took that chance. I applied Flip Flops on her hind feet and modified Glue-On shells on her fronts along with modifying the gluing process for the front Glue-On's. I followed all of the gluing protocol for gluing the Flip Flops but did not add the optional pour-in pad. I had used the Equipak Soft when previously using the Flip Flops but wanted to see how my mare would do without the pad. The reason I did not use the Flip Flop all the way around is because I did not have the size she needed on hand for her fronts. I can without a doubt say that the Flip Flop can be used for barrel racing. She had plenty of traction and worked awesome which told me she was feeling good. We also were a 10th of a second faster than our previous run, made in the same arena on the same pattern. I know a 10th does not seem like much, but in any speed event it is. I also believe that she was just as comfortable without a pour in pad as she would have been with a pour in pad. The need of a pad really depends on the individual horse. I would not hesitate at all to make a run with the Flip Flops on her fronts as well. Next spring with out a doubt that is what she will have on all four. I can understand potential users concern as to the horse over reaching and possible pulling of the Flip Flop or tripping them self, it is always a possibility that a horse can over reach with a boot, a steel shoe, Glue on shoe, and yes even a bare foot horse. The Flip Flop is no different, since it is trimmed to fit it actually might be a better option for those horses that over reach since you can trim it to the exact length needed. If you are on the fence about using the Flip Flop for any event, I say go for it! This product is much more versatile than users first tend to believe and in my opinion can be used in just about any situation. It is also a great choice for someone that wants to try gluing for the first time because of how easy and successful the application process is.

The modification I made to the Glue-On was cutting holes out of the sole. I elected to use the modified Glue-On shells on her fronts for added traction. This modification would make the Glue-On similar to a rim shoe. I used a past blog as guidance for putting a hole in the Glue-on written by Christoph Schork. The major risk I took was gluing the shells on with only Sikaflex, I have talked to quite a few people that were wondering if it was indeed possible. I had success on two different occasions gluing the shells with the sole cut out with only Sikaflex. I did prep the hoof the same as I would if I were going to use Vettec Adhere. I did use more Sikaflex then I would if using Adhere as well, making sure to completely cover the base of the boot that was still intact and then also adding Sikaflex up the wall of the Glue-On. When applying the Glue-On to her hoof, I made sure to have my rubber mallet handy and was diligent in making sure the hoof was seated well in the boot. I then put her foot into the plastic sack that the shell came in and put an Rx boot on, this was to insure that the shell would say in place until the Sikaflex was somewhat set.

She hung out with all of this on her feet for most of the day either tied up or in a small turn out. One could also leave the Gaiter attached overnight and then remove the Gaiter once the Sikaflex is set, one of our team EasyBoot members shared how to use Sikaflex with the Gloves and then remove the gaiter. Gluing with only Sikaflex is not something you would want to do if you are going out on a long ride, unless you were to have an extra boot handy. Since my trailer was right there and I have everything I would need to reapply a Glue-On or just put one of my Gloves on I was not concerned with the possibility of losing a Glue-On. When I went to remove the Glue-On's that I only had used Sikaflex they were very secure on the hoof, very similar to when I apply them with Vettec Adhere. The first time I used Sikaflex only to glue, I left the shells on for 3 days, the second application I left them on for over 6 days (secretly hoping they would fall off), they did not fall off I ended up have to pull them, and they were undeniably glued well and not going to be falling off anytime soon.

I would love to be able to run my horse barefoot but after attempting to last summer and seeing what I was up against with the conditions outside of the arena I came to the conclusion she is not a great candidate to be left bare all the time and needs protection when we are coming in and out of the arena where I am likely to be on anything from grass to asphalt. Being able to experiment with our different products has been and will be a way for me to better help anyone looking for that other option with their horse. Keep in mind I have a lot of great resources at my fingertips along with the products, this allows me to take a chance with much less risk involved than if our customers were to try the same things. If you are in doubt about doing something off the beaten path with one of our products give us a call, we will do our best to answer any questions, tell you it won’t work or get you in contact with someone that will have answers you are looking for. For success with any EasyCare product we always recommend to follow our application guidelines. We have a plethora of detailed, videos, print outs and blogs to help guide users through the application of each product that we are constantly updating. If you are wanting to try a product in a situation that you are not positive it will work contact us we are more than happy to speak with you about it. I would only recommend to experiment and modify if you have time, resources and an open mind. The first time I experiment or modify anything it is always with a used item that I am not concerned about losing or ruining, this is a great second life for my pile of stinky, torn up, worn out boots.

EasyShoes Lead To Success: Newest Certified Farrier Glue Practitioners

We live in an era where we have options on how we treat the horse's foot.  No one option is right or wrong, good or bad.  It is up to the horse's TEAM of Owner, Farrier, Veterinarian, Trainer, etc. to determine what is the best solution to help the horse. We have more choices than ever before.  Until recently the only Certification opportunities available to the hoof care provider were in metal or barefoot methods.  However recently the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (ELPO) has developed a certification for farriers to demonstrate proficiency in glue and composite shoeing.

ELPO offers Certification in: 

  • Level 1: Live Sole Hoof Mapping
  • Level 2: Certified Barefoot Trimming 
  • Level 3: Certified Farrier Practitioner/Certified Farrier Glue Practitioner

The Level 3 Shoeing Exam is offered in Metal (CFP) or Composite/Glue (CFGP).  The testing criteria for both exams are identical, except when it directly applies to the material being used.  The test taker must demonstrate a thorough understanding of gait analysis and conformation assessment, recognizing hoof distortions, hoof mapping to identify external landmarks and how they relate to internal anatomy, trimming the hoof to address existing distortions and applying a prosthetic device in balance to the internal structures, on all four feet.  

Additionally for the glue/composite shoeing exam, showing a thorough understating of the material in use is scored, including preparing the foot for glue, understanding of glue handling, and composite shoe selection, fit and final placement.  Any composite shoe and glue that meets the ELPO protocol is acceptable to use on the exam.  

The criteria for accurate foot preparation for the exam was largely based on the standard of excellence created by EasyCare, Inc. for successful application of the EasyShoe as it is the most detailed, systematic method for glue and composite shoeing available.  Additionally, EasyCare has been a huge supporter of this educational process by donating shoes for Glue Skills Courses as well as Certification opportunities.  

This past week examiners from the ELPO traveled to Pennsylvania to conduct a certification exam weekend.   Levels 1, 2, and 3 were offered with many examining for the Glue/Composite Shoeing Exam, CFGP.  Congratulations to farriers Michael Glenn, Jennifer Farley, Madeline O'Connor, Heather Colket, Jeremiah Kemp, and Annie Commons on earning the CFGP, Steve King for earning the CFP (metal), and Nickie Jantz for earning her CBT (trimming).   

‚ÄčI greatly appreciate ELPO Instructor/Examiners: Steve Foxworth, Jen Reid, Carrey Gunderman, and Chase Rutledge for making the trip to Pennsylvania and assisting with our certification. 

Huge thanks to EasyCare and Garrett Ford for supporting the efforts of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization in providing education and certification opportunities to help people help horses.  

For more information on upcoming courses and certification opportunities, please see:  

http://www.lamenessprevention.org/event-list

Horse Strength, Speed, Torque and Hoof Boot Warranties

I'm often asked what type of torque is placed on a hoof boot by a horse.  I don't have the answer to that question but I marvel at the forces put on hoof protection products by a 1,000lb horse galloping around a pasture and changing direction at 30 miles per hour.  I have no idea what the exact answer is but it's a very big number.  When you consider the strength, speed and torque placed on all forms of equine hoof protection, it makes me proud to see what hoof boots have accomplished in the equine industry.  

The above photo shows the tremendous amount of strength and force that a horse can put on a both a horse shoe and a horse boot.  The Easyboot above was fitted on a horse over the top of freshly shod hoof.  The Easyboot was then glued into place with a product called EasyFoam (EasyCare doesn't sell EasyFoam now).  The foam was a pour in and would expand and fill all voids during the cure cycle.  Both the boot and the shoe were ripped from the horses foot.  All six nail clinches pulled through the hoof wall, the EasyFoam bond broke as the shoe and boot were pulled from the hoof.  The photos illustrate the forces applied to equine hoof protection.

The photos are a great example of why EasyCare has both a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and a 90 Day Warranty Policy. Regardless of hoof boot construction, boots can be damaged, materials can rip and boots can be pulled off. EasyCare has the best warranty in the business and plans to be the leader in hoof boot technology for another 45 years.  We have recently strengthened our warranty and empowered our team to take care of dealers and consumers more effectively.

With hoof protection it is not a matter of if but when.  Many times it is not the fault of the hoof protection product but the nature of the business and product line.  EasyCare has the best and most fair policy in the industry.  Our improved warranty procedure is outlined below.  

EASYCARE CUSTOMER RETURNS & WARRANTY

USA customers that have purchased directly from EasyCare.

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. 

We back all of our products with a money-back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with this product for any reason, EasyCare will gladly refund your purchase price (excluding shipping and handling) within 30 days of purchase. To qualify, all products must be returned to EasyCare and have a dated receipt. Offer not valid for EasyCare bargain bin or factory seconds. The customer will need to contact EasyCare Customer Service at 800-447-8836 to obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA). The customer is responsible for freight costs to and from EasyCare.  

90-Day Warranty. 

EasyCare Inc offers a 90 day repair or replacement warranty (from date of purchase) on quality and workmanship for all merchandise manufactured under the EasyCare label. The customer should return the product to EasyCare with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 90 day period.  Products will not be accepted without a dated proof of purchase. When the product is sent in for evaluation, the customer must call EasyCare Customer Service at 800.447.8836 to obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA).  Products that can be repaired will be quickly sent back to the customer.  Products that can’t be repaired will either be paid in the form of a store credit or replaced.  The customer is responsible for freight costs to EasyCare.  EasyCare will cover ground or parcel post shipping back to the customer.  Parts and labor are no charge under the 90 day warranty. 

EASYCARE DEALER RETURNS & WARRANTY

Customers that have purchased from an EasyCare dealer. 

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.  

Products purchased from an EasyCare dealer that are being returned under EasyCare’s 30-day money-back guarantee must be returned to EasyCare within 30 days of purchase. The EasyCare dealer will need to contact EasyCare for a Return Authorization Number (RMA). Once this number is obtained the product will be returned back to EasyCare along with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 30 day period. Once EasyCare has received the products a credit memo for the full purchase price of the item will be issued to the dealer (excluding freight charges).  All 30-Day Money-Back items will be paid in the form of a store credit. The 30 day money-back offer is not valid for EasyCare bargain bin or factory seconds. The consumer and/or dealer is responsible for freight costs.  

90 Day Warranty. 

If a customer has a warranty issue in the 90 Day Warranty period it can be handled two ways.  Through the EasyCare dealer where the product was purchased or through EasyCare

90 Day Warranty taken care of through the EasyCare Dealer.  The customer should return the product to the dealer with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 90 day period.  Products will not be accepted without a dated proof of purchase.  The dealer will then send the product to EasyCare to be replaced or repaired at EasyCare’s discretion. When the product is sent in for evaluation, the dealer must call for a Return Authorization Number (RMA). Products that can be repaired will be quickly sent back to the dealer.  Products that can’t be repaired will either be paid in the form of a store credit or replaced.  The dealer is responsible for freight costs to EasyCare.  EasyCare will cover ground or parcel post shipping back to the dealer.  Parts and labor are no charge under the 90 day warranty. 

90 Day Warranty through EasyCare.  EasyCare Inc offers a 90 day repair or replacement warranty (from date of purchase) on quality and workmanship for all merchandise manufactured under the EasyCare label. The customer should return the product to EasyCare with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 90 day period.  Products will not be accepted without a dated proof of purchase. The customer must call EasyCare for a Return Authorization Number (RMA) then the product shall be sent in for evaluation.  The customer is responsible for freight costs to EasyCare.  EasyCare will cover ground or parcel post shipping back to the customer.  Parts and labor are no charge under the 90 day warranty. 

EasyCare was the first company back in 1970 to make a production hoof boot.  The majority of new hoof boot products emulate our sizing charts, sizing methods, our boot designs, glue-on techniques, our fit kit concept and many of our procedures.  EasyCare's warranty program is the best and most generous in the industry and we plan to continue leading the way.  

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.