Tevis Cup Easyboot Elite: Working Toward Common Goals

Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

“Team guts will always beat individual greatness.” −Bob Zuppke

My first Tevis Cup experience has me thinking about teamwork and camaraderie. Horses, riders, crews, volunteers, veterinarians, and farriers—all working together toward the common goal of completing a grueling course through the Sierra Nevada Wilderness, 100 miles in one day.

As a member of the Easyboot Elite Team—a group of farriers selected by EasyCare, Inc to glue shoes on Tevis competitors’ horses—my objective was to work hard, perform quality hoof care, support my team members and the horses that we worked on, and to absorb as much of my first Tevis experience as possible. 

We got a bit dirty on Day One.

Day one consisted of team training and days two and three were live glue days.  Our team of six farriers was divided into pairs.  I was paired with California farrier, Pete Van Rossum. The other teams consisted of New York farriers Ashley Gasky and Curtis Burns (who divides his time between NY and FL); and Derick Vaughn paired with Jeremy Ortega.  Derick resides in Kentucky and works for Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital as a farrier assistant, and Jeremy is a farrier who works out of California.  Garrett Ford, Kevin Myers, and Christoph Schork led the training, sharing their tips, advice, techniques, and experience from past Tevis Cup races.  Gluing techniques were meticulous and methodical.  Before wrapping up the training day we set up the layout of our stations and prepared our equipment for the following day.

Pete Van Rossum and I working hard and having fun.

Days two and three were game face days, time to work on live horses, preparing them for the most difficult ride of the year. Pete and I decided to switch off roles after each horse; so if he prepped the feet for glue and I prepped the shoes, we would swap for the next horse and I’d prep the feet while he prepped the shoes.  This method worked well and allowed us to recover between horses.  The work wasn’t difficult but the 100’F temperature kept us on our toes.

Work station set up.

Glue prep involved a step-by-step process that was thorough and consistent.  Tools required for glue prep include the following:

  • Wire brush and hoof pick 
  • Drill and buffy attachment with 60 grit sanding paper sleeve
  • Sharp rasp
  • Small table top trigger start propane torch
  • Rotary tool with a 9931 Dremel bit
  • Pair of Easyboot Zips 

Ashley Gasky ready to glue.

To begin prepping the feet for application of the Easyboot Glue-Ons we used our wire brush and pick to remove any loose debris from the sole side of the foot and brushed dirt from the outer hoof wall. Using fit shells, we sized the horse prior to prepping the foot. Hoof prep required the following steps:

  1. Buffy the outer hoof wall from heel to heel.
  2. Use side edge of the rasp to notch the entire hoof wall surface, creating ridges horizontally across the wall.
  3. Torch the outer wall then wire brush.  Repeat.
  4. Dremel the entire sole side of the foot.
  5. Torch the sole side of the foot then wire brush.  Repeat.
  6. Apply Easyboot Zip to prepped foot.
  7. Prepare Easyboot Glue-Ons for application.

Garrett Ford and Derick Vaughn work to prep the foot.

Clean shells, fresh out of the package, were applied to the foot. Using Sikaflex for hoof packing, we created a bead of product along the bottom inner edge of the shell and built a frog along the foot side of the shell to fill any concavity in the hoof.  Then we applied Vettec Adhere to inside of the shell before application.

Easyboot Glue-Ons, completed and ready for Tevis Cup.

Pete and I worked like a well-oiled machine, communicating our needs, preparing tools and product for each other, cleaning up tools tossed aside after use, reminding each other to breathe, hydrate, and refuel.  We were confident in our skills and eagerly used our new techniques learned from Garrett, Kevin, and Christoph.

Kevin Myers and I prepping the foot with a rotary tool.

After three days of working together, sharing meals, and spending time exploring Auburn and the local swimming holes, it was clear to me that I had been a part of a unique group of professionals. Each of us had complimentary skills and our personalities meshed as if we had known each other for a long time. We had just enough comic relief to make the experience fun while maintaining professionalism and focusing on the importance of our task.  All of us stayed for the race after gluing was completed and participated in portions of the event.

Team members met at Robie Park to watch vet checks and aid in preparations for the race. On race day Curtis, Jeremy, and Derrick crewed, and Ashley volunteered.

Jeremy Ortega helping a rider while they register at the check-in tent.

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines teamwork as “the work done by people who work together as a team to do something” and camaraderie as “a feeling of good friendship among the people in a group”. Teamwork, when done well, creates camaraderie and successful team leaders create a lasting sense of accomplishment that spans time and space.

After our Tevis Cup experience, each of us returned to our farrier businesses, families, and regular lives and with us we carried the “feeling of good friendship”, a sense of accomplishment for achieving our goal, and new knowledge to share with our clients and horses.

 

References

Department of Employee Services. A Well-Oiled Machine? https://www.lakecountyfl.gov/documents/employee_services/training/team_building.pdf

Merriam Webster (2015). Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary.

 

Rookies Go Gluing: Two Week Update

Everybody knows that we tend to learn more from our mistakes and failures than from when everything goes right. Yet we spend most of our lives making sure we look perfect from the outside, presenting our good side and leaving the not so great parts in the shadows, hidden away from our Facebook walls, Instagram posts, and EasyCare blogs. I want to buck the trend and share with you one of my bungles. I learned from it and hope that by sharing it you can too, perhaps the easier, less expensive way.

Remember my blog about applying EasyShoe Performances to my horse? Two weeks out from application and my worst suspicions are confirmed. Left shoe looks great but the right shoe not so much. I knew it when I applied the shoe and saw (and felt) the Adhere was setting up before I could even get it smeared all the way around the shoe.

At the time I thought about putting my Adhere and a fresh shoe back on ice and letting them cool down before starting over but opted instead to roll with it. I knew that my hoof prep was bulletproof and was curious how much effect the partly cured glue would really have. Turns out, it had a lot of effect. Check out two days after I noticed the heel popped, the toe has come undone, the cuff has sheared in two, and while technically the shoe is still on the foot, it's obvious that this glue job is not long for this world.

But look at the left side. Exact same protocol followed to a T. The only difference is that I did the left side first when the glue was straight out of my cooler. Having the Adhere a little cooler than the ambient 90 degrees bought me that 30 seconds so critical to the success of the application. That's it. That's the only difference. A couple of degrees and just a few seconds was all it took to throw a wrench in my glue job.

The moral of the story here is that with the EasyShoe Application, one little thing can have big consequences on the outcome and longevity of application. Truthfully, I was bummed with my mistake but had already predicted it. As it turns out, pulling that shoe was still a bear! I wonder how many more days it would have made it on its own. We will never know as I had to get those shoes off to take Rosie to the Durango Pete Ramey clinic the following day. I guess if you are going to screw a gluing up, it may as well time perfectly with a long awaited clinic!

 

Rebecca Balboni
easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.

Protect Glue Prep with a Zip

Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

The unveiling of EasyCare’s Easyboot Zip makes glue prep efficient and effective. The Zip is easy to apply and remove. The Zip's features include breathable nylon material; Velcro straps, to keep the boot in place; a leather pad for the sole side of the foot, to absorb moisture; traction on the bottom of the boot; and various sizes, from sizes 0-4.

This horse is wearing two sizes of Zips.  The right foot is in a size 3 and the left foot, size 2.  The size 2 is too small; the size 3 is a better fit.

Velcro straps make application quick and easy and ensure that if the horse moves the boot will remain in place.

The Zip has padding placed behind the heel bulbs and in the front of the foot, near the coronary band, to protect these sensitive areas, particularly if the boot is used for temporary protection when medicating the foot.

The leather insert, used to absorb moisture and prevent "sweating" (important in the case of glue prep), can be removed and the boot can be machine washed. 

The tread on the bottom of the boot adds a bit of grip for less than ideal conditions, where traction might be a concern. 

I ordered my first pairs of Zips as soon as soon they were on the market and have been using them for glue prep since.  Gone are the days of improvisation, of using paper towel or plastic bags, my attempt at keeping the foot clean before applying a glue on shoe.  When my foot is prepped, clean, dry, and ready for a glue-on shoe, it stays that way thanks to the Easyboot Zip

Set yourself up for success when gluing on shoes—invest in some Easyboot Zips. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.  

4 EasyShoes, 3 Weeks, 2 CTRs

Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2015 Member
 

In the middle of July I took on the task of applying EasyShoe Performance to my Competitive Trail mare for our upcoming CTR's. 

Last year I had an experienced gluer apply the Performance to her front hooves for CTRs and it was a great learning experience being able to watch the process in person. I'm a very visual learner and even though I can read about it all day and watch the videos provided by Easycare, being able to see it all first hand made all the difference to me. 

This time I was on my own but I was confident we could get it done. I started with her back hooves with the theory that if I was struggling with my Adhere and technique, hopefully by the time I get to the front hooves I would know better what I was doing and at least the front ones will stay on. I needn't have worried. Everything went as planned and I followed the directions provided by Easycare and remembering everything I had watched in the online videos and what Lane had shown me, I successfully applied 4 EasyShoes to my freshly trimmed mare. True, I had glue everywhere, including her rump where I gave her an appreciative "good girl" pat (oops) and being that we don't have a barn there was grass in my adhesive. It all cleaned up well with a quick rasp of her hooves (no more grass!) and proper grooming to remove adhesive from all furry areas of my equine. 
 
Still nervous of my novice skills I was thrilled to see all 4 EasyShoes still firmly adhered to her hooves after a day of rowdy turnout. She was ready to hit the CTR trail.
We headed south in a cold, wet storm toward the Montana border to Milk River for the Hills of Home CTR. It rained hard all day Friday and we didn't even get to vet in until Saturday morning before the ride because of the weather. The trails through the coulees were very slick due to all the moisture but we were still able to complete our first loop of 17 miles in 2 hours (a blazing time for us). Cleared through the vet check we completed the final 8 miles of our 25 total at the required pace and finished with a sound, energetic, happy horse. At the awards ceremony that night it was announced that we had won our Intermediate Lightweight Division by quite a few points. Woohoo red ribbon for us.

We headed home on the Sunday and Marina enjoyed 2 weeks pasture time interspersed with moderate workouts. 
I was really impressed how the EasyShoes made her feel as we conditioned those few weeks between CTRs on our regular gravel roads. My mare moved freely and with confidence and once we were home there wasn't even a single rock to be picked out of her shoes. 

August 1st had us a little up north at the Wild Timber Ranch competitive trail ride. It was hot and dry and the trail had many miles of the familiar gravel roads we knew we could rocket along on. We climbed grassy hills and splashed through many (MANY) mud puddles as well, all the time feeling great about our choice of hoof protection. At this ride my mare was feeling so good she willingly took the lead about 2/3 of the time in our little group powering down the trail - this was a huge personal accomplishment for us as she would regularly prefer to be tucked in behind and has earned herself the nickname "Little Chicken". We finished this ride with a horse feeling great, 4 EasyShoes in place right where we left them and a 4th place ribbon against tough competition. 

Another week in the pasture and I finally had time to reassess her footwear and decided to pull the shoes and give her a little barefoot break. It was really interesting to look at my handy work all these miles and weeks later - you could certainly tell which order the shoes went on by how well adhered they still were (or in spots weren't) after these few weeks. The ease in which the shoes came off was also in accordance to the order in which they were applied. Shoe #1 came off "rather easy" compared to shoe #4 which had me sweating and swearing. Practice certainly makes perfect when it comes to gluing the EasyShoes on and I expect my next attempt to have me blue in the face trying to remove shoes #5-8.

We'll be conditioning the next few weeks barefoot and in our Easyboot Gloves in preparation for our planned back to back Intermediate 25 mile CTR's at the Battle River CTR the weekend of September 4th which we'll compete in the EasyShoes once more.  

Rookies Go Gluing

When Durango EasyCare customer service reps Devan and Rebecca (that's me) decided to go gluing it was a bit like the hot dog leading the bun. Never you mind that we STILL have yet to decide who is the hot dog and who is the bun in this dynamic duo. We got curious about what it might be like for our gung-ho customers out there who buy the supplies, watch the videos, and tackle a DIY EasyShoe application in the "real world" so we did it ourselves. With a lot of things up in the air, one thing was certain: what we lacked in experience we more than made up for in enthusiasm!

The set up. Do we really have everything we need? Guess we are about to find out!

Ever wonder what's in the EasyCare break room fridge? No? Well now you know. It's horse shoes, adhesive, and jam.

Thanks to Devan, hoof prep went off without a hitch. She was on top of being ready with the next tool, picking up opposite feet, slipping boots on, cracking jokes,etc. I'm pretty sure this experiment would have gone quite differently as a solo mission. We took plenty of time and double checked every step. The Hoof Buffy outfitted with a 60 grit sleeve and my cordless Dremel with 9931 bit made cleaning and roughing hoof surfaces a breeze. The new Easyboot Zip made keeping feet clean and ready for glue a snap. Shoe sizing, the size 5 with 16mm spacer couldn't fit better. Nice and tight on the foot, good contact with the hoof wall around the whole cuff, and nothing hanging off the back. Truly a glass slipper!

Size 5 Performance Shoe with a 16mm spacer-it doesn't get any bigger than this!

There is a special kind of adrenaline rush that comes with using Adhere on a hot day. Despite knowing I had allowed myself some extra time by storing the glue and shoes in the fridge all day and then transporting them in a cooler on ice, it was still readily apparent that time waits for no man. Or EasyShoe.

Giant feet=lots of glue. I was liberal in my application and it took almost a full tube of Adhere to do just the front feet. Next time I'm getting a horse with smaller feet. At least my mare is an easy keeper and gets fat just looking at hay. Less feed, more glue-I guess it all comes out in the wash! For all you lucky ones dealing with normal size feet you can expect 4 shoes out of a 180cc cartridge.

There was only one trouble spot and it was the result of the glue getting warm on such a hot afternoon. The warmer the materials, the less time you have. I noticed the Adhere setting up before I had applied it to the outside third of the shoe (I worked outside to inside). It was harder to pump through the tip and looked a little pasty and dull. Remember the adrenaline rush thing? Yeah-at this point I was feeling like I could relate to the gazelle trying to outrun the lion. I got the shoe glued to the foot and it looked good enough, but deep down I knew it spelled trouble. My suspicion is that the outside heel (where the glue was pasty) will pop off early. Stay tuned for the ending of that cliff hanger.

The only other hiccup was blowing a buffy sleeve off when the bladder heated up and expanded. Fortunately Rosie wasn't nearly as amped on adrenaline as I was and didn't tear the barn down spooking at the very loud bang. Good horse.

The Buffy is totally addictive. I love this thing!

The finished product. Good but next time will be even better!

The takeaway from the whole experience for us was really the temperature thing. The Glue, the Shoe, and ideally the hoof all need to be around the same temps. The only thing we would have done differently was to cool the glue before tackling the second shoe. I can only imagine how important that would be if we had glued all four! Everything else went smoothly and we were talking about when we could glue Devan's horse before Rosie was even done. This EasyShoe thing is actually really fun! We will keep you posted on how our little experiment turns out.

 

Rebecca Balboni
easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.

Riding the Tevis and Big Horn 100s in EasyShoes

Peter Hommertzheim started using the EasyShoe Performance N/G because he liked the open bottom and frog support, as well as the surface area to absorb impact and spread out the weight. He has previously used the Easyboot Glue-On shells with his mule, Miles, and has never had any trouble with them. When the EasyShoe models were launched in 2014, he just wanted to give them a try. He also liked the flexibility of the shoe compared to traditional steel shoes. 

When it comes to EasyShoe model choice, Peter prefers the Performance N/G because of the option to apply it with nails. He always glues them on and sometimes puts two nails in the rear just for extra security and peace of mind. He originally chose this model because of the nailing option: when he first began using them, he would use more nails because the gluing process was unfamiliar to him. He has since become more confident his gluing process, sometimes using two nails, and sometimes going without. 

Pete has been using EasyShoes for well over a year now, and his advice for anyone considering using the product is to anticipate a learning curve. He suggests watching the application videos, and not to be afraid to change things slightly to do what works for the specific case. 

Jessi's upper leg injury in October 2014.

His mare, Classy Investment (Jessi), was severely injured in October 20, 2014. She got caught in some barbed wire and tore her leg up when she got out of the wire. Her upper right limb was torn to the bone and he didn't know if she would live or die. Obviously, he had serious doubts that she'd ever do endurance again even if she did live. He was using EasyShoes before the injury, but when it came time to try riding again, he went back to the EasyShoe as he wanted her to have the best protection possible against impact for the whole leg, which he feels the EasyShoe N/G offers.

Pete's first 100-mile event in EasyShoes was the Big Horn 100 mile event in Wyoming in July 2015. Known as one of the most challenging and remote events in the country, Pete says he was very pleased with the durability of the EasyShoe over such abrasive terrain. The EasyShoes held up extremely well on both Big Horn, and subsequently on the Tevis 100 on August 1, 2015. 

Jessi's EasyShoes, removed after completing the 2015 Tevis 100. There are plenty of miles of tread left on them, even after completing 100 miles.

Cindy's horse's EasyShoe N/Gs after completing the Big Horn 100 in 2015. The N/Gs were applied using nails.

When asked if there is one thing he would want people to know, Pete says it is the difference in the way his horse moves, especially across rocky terrain. "They have just made an incredible difference in the way my mares move as compared to steel shoes." 

Cindy Collins and AUR Sierra Wind competing in EasyShoe N/Gs.

Pete and his mare are the first horse and rider team to complete the Tevis 100 in EasyShoes, but he is not the first endurance rider to take on the most challenging of endurance events using EasyShoes. Cindy Collins completed the 2014 Big Horn 100 with EasyShoes glued on, and the Big Horn 100 in 2015 with EasyShoes nailed on. "I just love them", says Cindy of her dedication to the product.

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.

Tevis in Easyboots = Confidence

Submitted by Jenni Smith

I rode Tevis for the first time in 2002 on a horse in steel shoes with no pads.  I went over Cougar Rock like that.  Makes me marvel, looking back.  For my next six attempts it was all steel shoes, the later ones did have pads that lasted, oh, maybe half the ride.  I distinctly remember watching the sparks shoot off of my riding buddies’ horses in front of me as we careened through the darkness.

2011 was the first year I rode a horse in Easyboot Glue-Ons.  It was BA Bearcat, a horse belonging to Barry and Jennifer Waitte.  Jenn had fairly recently switched all of her horses to boots and the most dramatic change was seen in Bear.  He’d been a terrific tripper in steel shoes, really kind of scary to ride and petrifying to contemplate as a Tevis mount.

Bear and me on Cougar Rock. Photo credit: Bill Gore.

In boots Bear was a new horse, confident and comfortable on his feet.  I rode him in 2011 and 2012, finishing 16th both times, and other than having my arms pulled out of their sockets (also a puller that Bear) both rides went very well.  He finished sound and we never fell down.

For these last five Tevis rides I have ridden fairly fast horses, placing top 20 or better, all of them in Glue-Ons.  I firmly believe there is a connection.  If you go into that ride, knowing that you are going to ask your horse to move out at speed, you need to think long and hard about the footwear you plan to put on.  And I was able to ride fast on those fit-for-the-speed horses because their footwear allowed me to.

Tevis 2015.  Photo credit: Lynne Glazer

My experience, on top-notch Tevis horses as well as my own backyard pony, is that Easyboots give both rider and horse confidence through better performance.  Better traction (admitted, in some circumstances that isn’t the case but you don’t see wet, green grass during Tevis), better protection for the sensitive portions of the hoof and better cushioning and concussion absorption over distance.

My own little mare is clearly more confident on pavement and rocky trails in her gloves.  The added bonus that she spends 98% of her time barefoot - the way she was meant to be - is not insignificant. 

Receiving the 2015 Haggin Cup Award with Far's owner, Kevin Myers.  Photo credit: Ron Osborn

Far was no exception for the 2015 Tevis.  It was his sixth Tevis attempt and his sixth completion.  Once the Glue-Ons were on, I never spared another thought for his feet.  I’m that confident.  It frees me up to worry (because of course I’m going to worry) about everything else.

 

Play Them Again?

Horses are pricey if you want to do them justice, and hoof care is just one part of the horse budget. If you are using EasyCare products for your riding like Easyboot Gloves, Trail or Back Country Gloves, you know when the thread is gone and you need to replace them. Not quite as straight forward with Glue-Ons and EasyShoes. Besides the profile and wear of the boots, you also have to consider the removal of the residual glue in the shells. Not always an easy task to get that job done. But with the right tools, it can save you some $$.

Not enough profile left on this boot to reuse. Discard or use as a traveling dog bowl.

These two specimen could be converted to Easyboot Gloves, judging from the sole profile. Plenty of tread left.

Most of the time the boots or shoes will outlast the shoeing cycle and the decision has to be made whether  to clean them up and reuse them or forget about it and use new products.

Let's look at the Glue-On boots first. After removal, they probably look something like this:

For reasons unknown to me, with colored shells the Sikaflex often stays with the hoof sole and does not stay inside the boot.

If the gluing job was done according to the gluing protocol, chances are that the glue connected seamlessly with the shell. The only way to remove excess glue is by mechanical means. No solvents will dissolve that bond from polyurethane to polyurethane.

Removal of the Sikaflex is easily accomplished by using a nipper and pulling it off.

Next comes the more difficult removal of the wall glue inside the boot.Most effective device for that purpose is a bench press with a wire wheel attachment.

The shell should get firmly held with two hands to avoid catching the border and flying off. Can happen easily.

Lacking a bench press, a hand held drill device will do the job as well, but it is a little more tricky with having to hold the shell as well as the drill. Very easy to catch an edge and fling the boot.

After successfully removing as much of the old glue as possible, the boot can now be converted to a Glove.

EasyShoes are not as easy to remove the glue from. I typically discard them. Too much time will be spend on glue removal and the fit will never be like with new ones.  When they had been nailed, then it is again simply a judgment call if there is enough tread left. 

After 6 weeks of riding over mixed footing, these EasyShoes Performance N/G have plenty of tread left to be easily reset and nailed again.

Looking good overall. Even the spacers are still intact and well attached to the shoe.

 The clips did not suffer through the reset either.

It can pay to reset, re-nail or convert to Gloves. In the long run it will save you some money. I might add that I always use new boots and shoes for any competition, but for training purposes the "played again" hoof protection will often work great.

From the Bootmeister, Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little POP Quiz

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner   

There are some basic hoof care principles that I often take for granted that people know. Yet I get surprised and find out that people really don’t know. So here is a little quiz just for fun and savage amusement as you test your basic knowledge.

 Q: What is the varnish-like layer of the hoof called?

 A: Periople, an often shiny protective covering for the area of newly formed hoof wall just below the coronary band.

This photo shows the periople outer layer of the hoof wall

Q: How much does a healthy hoof grow per month?

A: 1/4 to 1/2 inch, this can be influenced by many things with the most common factors being that of age, exercise, seasons and quality of feed.

I trimmed off a ¼ inch of hoof and it had been 4 weeks since the last trim.

Q: Approximately how often should a horse's foot be trimmed?

A: 4-8 weeks depending upon growth, although I think us endurance riders, especially those who use Gloves and or Glue On’s tend to trim at least every 4 weeks. I have a few customers who go 8 weeks and sometimes the hoof is really too long. I suggest to most owners to do a light maintenance rasping after 4 weeks if they prefer to have me out every 8 weeks.

 

Q: Why should you pick out your horse’s hoof regularly?

A: Check for injuries or bruises, check for loose shoes (if you shoe), check for rocks, check for thrush. This task takes less than 5 minutes a day. In fact it takes me longer to find the hoof pick and halter the horse than it does to pick out their hooves. Yet I know riders and horse owners who do not pick out hooves on a regular basis. How do I know? Because their horses are not well behaved when it comes to hoof handling. Yeah – a tattle tale!

Picking the hoof out should be a part of daily hoof care. This hoof is 4 weeks since the last trim.

Q: How do you pick up a front foot safely?

A: Stand beside shoulder, facing rear. Run your hand down the back of the leg to just above fetlock, many people grasp fetlock area and pick up the foot (you can lightly pinch tendon or push shoulder away to help). I find a lot of horses do not like it when you grasp the leg and they want to pull away. You can pinch or turn that horse chestnut slightly and as they pick up their leg just cradle the hoof in your hand. Few horses feel threatened by this manner.

This is your horse’s “chestnut”, give it a mild squeeze and he will quickly pick up his foot.

Q: How do you pick up a hind foot safely?

A: Stand to the side facing tail. Stand well out of kicking range. Lean forward and put hand on hindquarters and run down the leg to the fetlock. Ask horse to pick up foot (can pinch tendon/fetlock to help). Some horses are quite compliant and just a tap on the hock and they lift up the hoof. Again I prefer to cradle it in my hand, I find some horses feel threatened if you grasp the fetlock or pastern. 

Hold the hoof lightly with your hand rather than grasping the fetlock or pastern joint. Horses will just let their hoof cradle in your hand.

Q: Name an important point in the care of a horse's foot.

A: Keep it clean and not standing in manure and filth, prevent it from drying out, trim properly and regularly, trim to keep proper shape/length.

 

Q: Why might a horse’s hoof need protection?

A: To protect the hoof from excessive wear, protect from concussion and/or bruising, provide traction, help correct defects in stance or gait, help cure disease or defective hoof, ease pain of injured hoof. There are many choices available within Easy Care products to help with all of these.

 

Q: If the hoof is not trimmed & grows too long, what may happen?

A: Hoof wall cracks, quarter cracks, the hoof chips or breaks off, it may wear or grow unevenly causing stress to the joints and that’s just for starters.

 

Q: What do you know about a horse’s toe?

A: It is often the greatest point of wear, it usually has the thickest wall and on many horses it is the fastest growing part of the hoof.

 

Q: Two part question: When holding a horse for the trimmer, on which side should you stand & why?

A: Same side as your trimmer -- if horse acts up, you can pull his head toward you & horse's body will move away from your trimmer.

 

Q: What is the most elastic part of the hoof?

A: Frog, it should never be over trimmed as this can lead to bruising.

 

Q: What is the least elastic part of the hoof?

A: Wall, its toughness creates the horse’s base of strength.

 

I hope that you got them all correct. If not, go out and clean some hooves and marvel at the amazing structure of your horse’s hoof!

 

The Horse That Wasn't Allowed To Race Update - Progresses From 'Not Allowed' to Winning Races and Awards

In August 2011 EasyCare was tinkering with a glue-on race shoe and was running into road blocks.  We purchased a horse named Clunk and started the long process of racing an Arabian on the track in a shoe that we designed.  The idea was to race in a shoe that allowed the hoof to function more naturally and at the same time follow the hoof protection rules of the track.  What we thought would be a quick and easy process turned into a long project. 

EasyShoes at 6 weeks and the day after a win at Arapahoe Park in Denver, Colorado.

At that time I wrote two blogs about what we were going through and the road blocks we were facing.

The Horse That Wasn't allowed to Race

The Horse That Wasn't Allowed to Race Update.

Fast forward four years, and much has changed.  The EasyShoe Compete has been in production for roughly 18 months and in now carried by distributors in Europe, Canada and Australia, among others.  In the United States, the Compete has now raced on over 20 tracks in 15 states.  EasyCare owned horses wearing EasyShoes have won in Texas, Colorado and Delaware.  EasyShoes are now winning and accepted at Araphaoe Park and all tracks in the USA. 

Some of the more notable successes from the EasyCare horses are listed below.

  1. RB Rich named 4-Year-Old Colt of the year Arapahoe Meet 2014.
  2. RB So Rich named 3-Year-Old Colt of the year Arapahoe Meet 2014.
  3. RB So Rich nominated for a Darley Award in 2014. 

We are seeing horses stay sound, their digital cushions stay strong and improve,  and the quality of the horses' feet don't deteriorate during a race meet. 

RB Brilliant winning at Arapahoe Park on Saturday June 27th, 2015.

The EasyShoe project was the start of a relationship with Curtis and Diane Burns of Polyflex Horse Shoes and No Anvil.  The Polyflex horse shoe has been around for longer has raced on the bigger stages of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.  In 2013 the Breeder's Cup Classic Winner Mucho Macho Man came back to form with Polyflex horse shoes.  The EasyShoe and Polyflex share the same internal structure and the EasyShoe has a vertical cuff.  The collaboration between EasyCare/No Anvil has worked well and there are several new EasyCare/No Anvil products in the development stages.

In the end, it was all worth it.  Flat track horses now have another tool in the toolbox to leave the track sound and happy.  In addition to the flexible urethane hoof protection allows these young horses to develop their feet while at the track and help them leave with feet that can compete in other disciplines after life at the track. 

RB Rich in a fresh set of EasyShoes.  Ready to race in his flexible hoof protection. 

All that time and energy has paid off for the horse.  It was a long process but it's rewarding to see another option that can help these track horses enjoy a second career. 

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.