By Curtis Burns, AFP - I
To truly understand the significance of the Easyshoe Flex you should become familiar first with the origin of its roots. As is the way with all of Easycare’s products, this one has its own interesting backstory.
Not many years ago, a trip to Mexico and Columbia with the IFA (International Farrier Academy) revealed the harsh reality of horse taxis across South America. Garrett Ford and I saw how these horses are exposed to elements on a daily basis that the majority of our horses will never set foot against. With very little farrier education to be had, both the horses and their families whose livelihoods depend on them were suffering.
I believe the purpose of possessing knowledge is to share it. Because of this mutual belief, Garrett and I were inspired to seek out and develop a shoe to help. We felt we had the knowledge to offer these horses, their families and many in similar situations a feasible solution. That solution turned out to become the EasyShoe Flex.
To be candid, the expectations Garrett and I had for this shoe were (for lack of a better descriptive word) exceptional. Our goal was to create a composite shoe with nail on capabilities that would require minimal training or finances to utilize successfully. This goal resulted in a long list of high expectations. To start, we needed the Flex to effectively absorb concussion and withstand daily exposure to formidable surfaces. We needed the Flex to be as simple as possible to apply while also having the capacity for multiple resets. In addition to offering the structural support of a metal shoe, we also wanted the Flex to provide the forgiving therapeutics of composite material. All of these requirements were essential - and to add to the list of non-negotiables, we needed to create it in such a way that we could offer them at an affordable price.
For anyone less inspired than Garrett and me, this project might have been deemed impossible from the start and ultimately abandoned. But, Garret’s perseverance and drive to provide the best product possible helped us to face each trial as a valuable opportunity to go back to the drawing table. The insights we gained from taking the time to get it right ultimately allowed us to create a better product than we imagined. Three years after we started, the EasyShoe Flex was ready for distribution.
With this in mind, it’s easier to understand that there’s more to the shoe than meets the eye. Below you’ll find an outline of what I refer to as four core “Flex Features” that I hope will leave you more educated and more capable of using the shoe to its full potential. Speaking from experience, the knowledge you’ll acquire from the utilization of this shoe will not only broaden your horizons as an effective farrier but as a horseman.
4 Core EasyShoe Flex Features
- Smooth Transitions: The EasyShoe Flex Open Heel most closely resembles a traditional metal shoe and has a become a natural transitional shoe for farriers to gravitate towards as they begin into the world of alternative shoeing. Not only is it transitional from the viewpoint of user education, but the EasyShoe Flex also serves as a transitional shoe in a physical sense for the horse. We’ve seen this shoe used successfully in a broad spectrum of cases where the horse has needed a crossover shoe as an interim between traditional shoeing and therapeutics.
- They’re Hybrids: The EasyShoe Flex is a marriage between a traditional metal nail on shoe and a glue on composite shoe. Most notably, if you were to compare the EasyShoe Flex to previous products and designs the first thing you would notice is the availability of an open heel version. The majority of shoes of similar design were only able to be offered as heart bars. Because the EasyShoe Flex offers a spring steel core, we are able to offer the shoe in a traditional open heel that makes it more compatible for many horses. This option works phenomenally for horses who benefit from natural frog pressure and hoof capsule function. If you examine the design, other hybrid features you’ll notice are its wide web, clear nail slots for easy visualization and distinct tread for traction.
- Word of the Day - Diversity: When it comes to selecting a diverse shoe - this hits the nail on the head in its most literal sense. Open heel, heart bar, full heart bar, light, toe clip, side clip…the options list is a long one. While not shaped with a hammer, the EasyShoe Flex has been used successfully amongst a variety of English and Western disciplines, endurance horses, mounted units and trail horses. With as much success as the shoe has had in the performance arena, another point worth noting is the positive impact the Flex has had among horses requiring therapeutics - such as recovering laminitic cases. You can really be creative with the application of these shoes because you have so many styles to choose from to meet the needs of the horse. One of the features that I particularly enjoy having are the toe or side clips. When done properly, clips are highly effective at alleviating pressure on the nails by stabilizing the shoe. If I feel the horse needs them, I can use them, if not they are easy to remove. This one small feature, combined with all of the design benefits of the EasyShoe Flex technology can be a game changer for a horse.
- Reset, Reuse, Repeat: Depending on the horse, the EasyShoe Flex can have as many as three resets in its life span. To save its integrity, a tip I like to share is using a punch to back out your nails during resets. This avoids any unnecessary damage to the shoe and& helps to maintain healthy nail holes.
As you begin to explore the possibilities the EasyShoe Flex provides, keep in mind these four core features. While every case is different, the EasyShoe Flex is a product that truly opens doors for the horse.
With the shoe complete, Garrett and I are making plans to revisit the drivers and families we met in Mexico and South America. It will be great to come full circle and share the Flex with the people who inspired our innovation.
- Curtis Burns