Oh, You Still Ride Endurance?

I sure do! This year has been one of shifted priorities and welcome breaks. In past years, I would have been hundreds of miles into my endurance season by now, while this year it has just begun. Luckily my break has been voluntary and now that we're settled in to our new home and routine, I can throw my renewed energy into the sport of endurance, which I truly love. 

Last weekend we packed up and headed out to my favorite endurance ride in Idaho. Old Selam is one of the longest standing rides in the Northwest as well as one with the richest history. The ride began in 70's at the old Idaho Penitentiary, following the legend of Bob Meeks, a member of the Butch Cassidy gang, who escaped from the prison in 1901 using Old Selam, an aged cart horse used at the prison. On Christmas Eve old Mr. Meeks unhitched Selam and headed out! Unfortunately for him, he was captured the next day, when both he and Selam were returned to the prison. The second escape occurred a week later when prison guards noticed Selam was missing along with a saddle, bridle and prisoner Sam Bruner. The pair was never caught and was one of the very few successful escapes from the old pen. This ride has changed locations throughout the years as land was developed and closed, but it's been housed at the Idaho City location for many years. Old Selam is challenging in that it is not only a mountain ride, but there are numerous water crossing as the trail winds in and out of the old mine tailings from the gold rush days. Following many creek crossings are steep climbs and descents. 

Headed through the "Scary Forest" on my favorite loop.

This year, my goal was to focus on my up and coming gelding, Belesemo Enchanter. I purchased Chant as a late three year old, who knew nothing but living out on large acreage with his buddies. Chant is now 7, and finally maturing mentally and physically as I knew he would, someday. I've had a tough time with this guy as he is somewhat aloof and a very confident individual who is not at all demanding or insecure and needy as some of my others. Unfortunately this has made bonding with Chant somewhat difficult. While he's always been a great ride (can we say awesome canter?), I just haven't been drawn to him. This year, I was bound and determined to change that. As such, Chantly has been my #1 guy this summer and because of it, is super fit! I knew he was ready to rock and we headed up to ride camp excited for the weekend ahead. 

Because I was only riding one 50 and Chant hasn't ever had any issues with boots, I made the easy choice of using my Easyboot Gloves for this event. Chant's wide little feet use 0 Wide Gloves up front and fancy-schmancy BLUE 00.5's behind. As he has historically twisted his right front boot, I use Mueller Athletic Tape for training and good old 2" Elastikon for endurance rides. Because I knew we would be in and out of the creek all day, I used an extra wrap for good measure and pounded those suckers on for a problem-free boot day for the next 50 miles. Slap 'em on the morning and off you go. Take 'em off after the ride. Easy-peasy. 

And we rode every, single, mile - no short ride here, folks. The first loop was a lovely (and long!) 27 miles before getting back to camp for our only hold of the day. Unfortunately my out-of-practice self did a crummy job of taking care of me, and ended up paying for the oversight in the end. No worries, we won't make that mistake again. After an hour hold we headed out on what may have been the longest, hottest, hardest 20-ish miles of my life. Yeah, it was the true meaning of endurance. While I was lucky to have two awesome riding partners, a few times I considered accidentally pushing the SOS button on my SPOT Tracker and then utilizing the emergency services so their efforts didn't go unappreciated or wasted. Dramatic? Maybe. But I was pretty much there. Like I said, lesson learned and I will not neglect myself in the future! A sick rider makes a crummy partner for an awesome horse.

Little Chant cruised through the ups and the downs, the single track, the cross-country and the creek crossings without missing a beat. My boots stayed put like I've grown to expect and the temperatures soared. Finally, FINALLY, we were finished. Chant vetted out great and I was psyched about his performance on his second ever endurance ride. This poor guy will know nothing but true 50's and looooooong loops as his first ride was a two-loop 55 and his second ride was one of the hardest I've ever done. 

Finally. DONE. (Check out those Gloves, y'all).
Photos by Jessica Anderson of JRA Photography.

My Gloves performed flawlessly, which is always a relief when riding with people who's horses are shod. If anything bad is going to happen with boots, it will be in front of people who don't use them! My one riding partner, Max Merlich, did the big XP a few years back and rode lots of miles with one of Easyboot's finest, Dave Rabe. Dave hooked Max's mule up with Gloves after a few lost shoes and the mules did great. I was glad my boots didn't mess up his perception. Ironically, along the trail I saw two lost shoes and the bottom of another brand of boot, ripped off from its glue-on shell. Chant looked great after the ride, with no rubs. Unfortunately, the next day he broke out in scratches, which could have been from the heat and water but most likely was due to the clover take-over in the pastures which has caused scratches for everyone, as well as drool and stocking up in Topper. Leave it to Topper to re-direct the focus to HIM. 

I am looking forward to lots more miles on this gelding. His scratches cleared up in a couple days and his post-ride vacation is over as of this weekend. Oh, and the clover is getting sprayed very soon. Although the endurance season is winding down, we'll be ready to rock next year. Bring it on! 

Never Say Never - Alternative Methods for Rehab Success

At Daisy Haven Farm: Hoof and Soft Tissue Rehabilitation, we work on approximately 350 horses per month between two full time and three part time farriers. Out of all of those horses, only 10% are in shoes, approximately 35 horses at any given time. We are very selective of how and why we put horses in shoes. By all means we prefer our horses barefoot. However, there are definitely situations where a shoe can be a great tool to help the horse.   

Some of the determining factors for us in deciding when to apply shoes are:

  1. When a horse needs a boot 24/7 to be comfortable long term we believe they should be in a shoe.
  2. When the environment or living situation prohibits a boot from being used. For example a boarding barn where the staff won't apply boots as needed.
  3. When we cannot correct distortion in the hoof capsule with our trim alone.  

Here is an example of a situation where the trim alone would not have been enough to help this animal. This filly was four months old when we were called in by the attending veterinarian. The filly had been born with contracted tendons, and surgery was performed. Unfortunately, the barn farrier became injured and therefore unavailable while she still needed special care - proper hoof care was not provided and she grew quite long.  

 This is what her her feet looked like when I was called in, specifically this is her right front foot pictured here:

The filly is walking on her heel bulbs with her sole completely up off the ground. This means the position of the coffin bone is negatively rotated in relation to the ground, the bottom of the bone should be at a 3-8 degree angle in a healthy foot. With the help of the radiographs provided by the veterinarian, we applied a corrective trim to re-establish a 3-8 degree palmar P3 angle (the bottom of the coffin bone in relation to the ground).  

This is how she stood on her right front foot after her trim on the same day:

Not good enough! Even though I had the hoof capsule and coffin bone trimmed to the best alignment possible, if she wouldn't stand on her toe, I wasn't achieving my goals. Keep in mind that trimming is a subtractive process. Through our trim we can only work on what we can remove in order to improve the horse's foot at that moment in time. Over time, as the foot grows, we can effect a positive change. This filly didn't have time to wait for things to grow in their current alignment. We needed to get her realigned now while she was young and still growing to attempt a permanent functional change for her.

This is where a shoe can be an excellent tool.  Adding a prosthetic support is an additive process. It gives us the ability to add material where we need it to create a positive change. In this case we added some height to her heels and enabled her to stand flat on her sole by using a glue-on composite shoe and some dental impression material around her frog.

This is the same day as the initial trim:

After two consecutive shoeings we were able to take her back barefoot!  

Then just about a year and a half later I had the pleasure of seeing this filly again, this time as I was called in to help another horse in the barn. I was glad to see that while the filly was in need of a trim, the work we had done when she was younger had created the permanent change we were looking for. 

Working on horses like this one has taught me to "never say never".  I am grateful that when we need a prosthetic support device we have several tools to chose from in our practice: hoof boots, composite shoes that can be glued and/or nailed, hoof casts and more.  

To see more case studies of our work please see:  www.DaisyHavenFarm.com .

2013 Tevis Top Ten Riders Series: Beverly Gray and Jolly Sickle

Bev Gray has completed 45 100-mile events and has 18,200 career AERC endurance competition miles, of which 2,400 are with Jolly Sickle. This was Bev's fourth Tevis completion and Jolly Sickles' second Tevis completion. Bev and Jolly Sickle completed the course in ninth place.
Jolly Sickle (the ice-sickle in his name) was born on a snowy day in Dallas in 2004. His sire, Jolly By Golly, is a champion stallion at Mandolynn Hill Farm. He was bred to race on the track; his pedigree is Polish with a splash of Tunisian and Egyptian. Even with all the impeccable track training, he was not very enthusiastic for the race track.  
I received a call from Mandolynn that they had a very special, tough endurance prospect for me. When I first saw him, he reminded me of my, 9,000 race mile, Breyer model and Hall of Fame champion, AA Omner Indeed, so I took him home to Utah.
Jolly Sickle, otherwise known as Ice, started his endurance training, and at six years old we entered several endurance races. We stayed away from the front runners as he still had a race track mentality, and 50 miles is a lot longer than six furlongs. This was his foundation training for two years, until I started to enter him in 100-mile events. Ahh, finally he could focus and understand that endurance was endurance and not the track!
Last Spring, Jolly Sickle was trimmed way too short: he was lame for two months. How can I help Jolly? I spoke with EasyCare and they suggested trying the Easyboot Glue-Ons. I ordered all the essentials and watched every EasyCare gluing video, read and the blogs to train myself for the application process. It was definitely a learning curve: too much glue, not enough glue, glue sets up too fast, horse would not stand still (needed an assistant). And I looked like the Disney absent-minded professor with plastic gloves glued together: plastic apron and black glue-spattered running shoes.
Jolly Sickle recovered and came sound with his Glue-Ons. He won his homecoming race and got the Best Condition award. It was a very good year for Jolly Sickle, with 14 races, nine firsts and 11 BCs. He even won the AERC's National Champion Best Condition!
I learned the most crucial lesson of Glue-Ons was the trim. I am not a farrier, but my new understanding of hoof dynamics through my EasyCare lessons helps me to prepare for the best performance package. I’m still not overly confident in my own installation and rely on the EasyCare master professionals.
When I decided to ride the Tevis, there was no question that boots would be the best protection for the rugged, rocky, technical Tevis terrain: no question whatsoever. We came to Tevis barefoot knowing the EasyCare professionals would trim and fit Jolly Sickle perfectly. Since I have ridden Jolly in numerous races in Glue-Ons and Easyboot Gloves, I was confident. Jolly moved efficiently and flawlessly all day. At the vet checks I was told “he looks fantastic,” “we wish all the horses were presented this incredibly,” “good work,” etc, etc. We were smiling all day. With a fantastic crew, our entire pace and goal was finish top ten and show for Haggin Cup. Goal Achieved.
My Jolly Sickle moves so comfortably in Easyboot Glue-Ons that it reverberates in my confidence riding him and knowing I have prepared him with the best hoof protection on the market. I believe it is very important to understand the application process and I will be attending an Easyboot clinic. It is really quite simple.
Thank you, thank you, thank you EasyCare Inc.
Submitted by Beverly Gray
All photos courtesy of Vicki Gaebe parkcityphotography.com

EasyShoe Gluing Clinic Coming To Your Area?

EasyCare had the opportunity to present the new prototype EasyShoe and the associated gluing methods for the American Hoof Association on Sunday July 28th via an online web platform.  Although technology foiled the day and internet speeds didn't allow for an efficient presentation, we have received a great deal of interest regarding clinics for the EasyShoe and gluing methods for Easyboot Glue-On hoof boots and EasyShoe application. 

Heel expansion in the EasyShoe during an application cycle.

Based on the large amount of interest we are considering doing two or three clinics in October, November and December of 2013.  The clinics would cover the details of successful gluing, gluing in different climates, using different types of adhesives, hoof prep for gluing and basic hoof trimming techniques for successful hoof boot use.  The goal would be to give each participant the opportunity to prep and apply during the clinic - hands on, small and one on one.  The $150.00 cost of the clinic will cover supplies. 

Curtis Burns explaining proper hoof prep techniques.

Clinic #1 - Colorado.  Either in the Denver or Durango area.  October 12th.  Limited to the first 30 participants!  Click here to secure your spot today.  We will do a second clinic on the east coast of the USA if the Colorado clinic quickly fills and we have interest in a second venue. 

Clinic #2 - East Coast.  Looking for locations and a practitioner to help us host.  November 16th.  Click here if you have interest in attending or hosting an East Coast clinic.  We will move forward and schedule an amazing clinic based on the interest level. 

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.


UK Laws On Hoof Trimming Under Review

In the United Kingdom, owners of barefoot horses are facing an uncertain time as it has come to light that the FRC (farriers registration council) are seeking to regulate hoof care in its entirety and are proposing a change to the current law. Currently, the FRC regulates farriers (the definition of farrier in the UK being a person trained and qualified to trim and fit a metal shoe) but currently anyone can trim their own or someone else's horse or pony. Everyone that trims is governed by the animal welfare laws within the UK, and hoof care professionals must also demonstrate they are in line with the NOS (national occupational standard) which ensures that anyone working with horses feet has a duty of care and can be prosecuted if negligent. The proposed changes appear to challenge the right of horse owners to trim or maintain their horses hooves, and seeks to regulate any professional trimmer no matter where they learned their skill. 

However, the National Farrier Training Agency has lost its funding from the Skills Funding Agency after an appalling Ofsted report in June this year, and the NFTA is not currently taking on new apprentices (http://www.farrierytraining.co.uk/news-and-publications/publications/joint-press-release-on-the-future-of-the-delivery-of-farriery/). It should also be noted that there is currently no module in the course to cover the trim and importantly the diet and management of barefoot horses. This obviously raises the concern as to how qualified the FRC are to regulate non-farriers. 

We also have great concern that they wish to control the types of hoof protection we are allowed to use, they already deem an Easyboot Glue-On hoof boot to be a 'shoe' and hoof casts have also recently been added to the list of prohibited footwear (http://www.farrier-reg.gov.uk/information-and-resources/farriery-and-modern-materials). At present, removable hoof boots are allowed but with all the exciting developments in the world of hoof protection we feel it is important to maintain the freedom to protect our horses as we see fit. Sadly, the EasyShoe is one such new development that only a registered farrier is allowed to fit in the UK, yet the trim ideally suited to its use is clearly different from that required to fit a metal shoe!

In order to keep people informed, and form a case if required to defend our right to choose how we manage our barefoot horses, we have created a Facebook group and invite anyone from any country that has an interest in barefoot in the UK or feels they could help with our cause to join The Right to Trim:  www.facebook.com/groups/TheRightToTrim.

Lucy Nicholas
Easycare's UK distributor and owner/ trimmer of five happy barefoot horses

Winning the Haggin Cup at Tevis 2012

Submitted by Rusty Toth

“To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." - Anatole France

I remember when I first entered this sport hearing about a ride called Tevis. It had the respect and reputation of an Olympic level challenge and in recent years, Time Magazine had given it the prestigious award to be one of the top ten toughest endurance events in the world. I had not yet dreamed, or, more importantly, believed, that I would one day be able to conquer this majestic 100-mile one-day event.

The winning duo cresting the bluff into Foresthill. Photo by Lynne Glazer.

The dream was born to embark upon Tevis in the spring of 2010. I asked Kevin Myers if I could ride his horse, Farrabba, aka Stoner. Stoner was an interesting case: he had competed in endurance in steel shoes in 2007 and 2008 but he would invariably come up very footsore at about 25 miles into any 50-mile event he entered. It was for this reason we hesitated over pulling his shoes until later in 2009. His hoof health improved dramatically over the next 12 months, but it was still a bold move to enter him into what is arguably the most challenging 100-mile event in the country.

2010 was our first summer training at the Easyboot R&D location in the mountains near Durango, Colorado, and I spent much of my training time with Kevin and Garrett Ford getting the horses ready. I believe it wise and wonderful to train with excellent horsemen: there is always so much to learn. We went on to complete the 2010 Tevis in 19th place, faster than we expected and hoped for. It was Stoner’s first 100-mile ride and my first Tevis ride. It was a dream come true, and we would return to complete the modified Tevis trail in 2011 in the top 20.

Rusty Toth with Stoner, who seems to appreciate the grain inside the cup,
accept the 2012 Haggin Cup from ride director Chuck Stalley.

2012 Tevis season was soon upon us, and a new Tevis dream was formed. With encouragement from the people at EasyCare, we set a goal of completing in the top ten. As the dream became an aspiration, we set out to learn and absorb as much as we could. I would need to increase the skill and intensity of our training and nutrition program. I kept an open mind, I asked questions and I applied what worked for our horses.

Our entire ride season building up to Tevis was a testing ground for what we were learning. We used a new electrolyte protocol developed by Heather and Jeremy Reynolds and tweaked it to fit our own personal horses. We did some excellent reading (4th Gear, by Dennis Summers) and followed sound advice from experts around us. We built a training program that involved greater speed over shorter distances. All this new knowledge is useless unless you truly believe in your horse and yourself. With Garrett and Kevin’s unquestionable support, I started to believe the dream was achievable.

Dream big; set a goal; do everything you can to achieve it. Surround yourself with people you respect and admire. Ask for help and accept it, take what you find works for you and apply it. Most importantly, believe. Believe that it can be done, that you and your horse are capable.

At the Haggin Cup judging. Photo by Merri Melde.

Letting go of my own fear and doubt, and trusting in all the preparation gave us one of those rides when it all comes together. The day was pure magical bliss. Stoner moved along with little need for anything but the freedom to do as he had worked so hard for. He was present in every moment of time.

I can still hear Dr. Fellers explain the esteem of the Haggin Cup at the awards ceremony the next day. I remember turning to Stoner and suddenly believing it could happen and saying “you know, you could win this”. And then it came, I heard Farrabba’s name announced. The feeling was unexplainable: euphoria and disbelief. We aimed for the moon and reached the stars.

Kevin Myers leading Far (left) and Rusty Toth leading Stoner (right) up Bath Road to the
Foresthill Veterinary Checkpoint are greeted by an enthusiastic crowd. Photo by Lynne Glazer.

None of this would have been possible without the help of many. Our crew was nothing less than spectacular: Kandace French, Cathy Peterson, Leslie Spitzer and Linda Taxera. Huge thanks must go out to Easyboot for the Easyboot Glue-On and to Duncan McLaughlin for equine bodywork and training and nutrition strategies in the weeks leading up to the event. I am also profoundly grateful to the Ford’s crew, Rodger and Amy Ford, Gene Limlaw, Dale Gurney and Cole Ford. They are all most excellent people and I am grateful for their generosity and encouragement.

Thank you to Garrett and Lisa Ford for believing we could reach this goal and helping give me the confidence to attain it. Thank you to Kevin Myers for your support and guidance. Last but not least, to Stoner. You, my friend, are the true star and you shine brightly. I love you buddy: thank you for the ride of a lifetime. Thank you for turning a dream into a reality.

Dream big, and most importantly, believe you can do it.

Rusty Toth

Tiki the Lionheart - A Transition Success Story

This is a success story about my husband's horse, Tiki. Barry purchased MV Mac Tiki when he was 18 months old and already over 15 hands. He matured to a nice, solid 16 hands. Tiki has a few conformation faults, including a hammer head. Tiki’s motto on his Facebook page is “Heart of a lion; head of a wrecking ball.”  Unfortunately, he is also somewhat base narrow in his front legs and has short, upright pasterns. These two faults in combination have caused various lameness issues over the years. When Barry started riding him as a 3-year-old, Jeremy Reynolds was his farrier, and so Tiki had the best hoof care available. When Jeremy moved East and Barry to Napa, Tiki lost his farrier. At the hands of a new farrier, Tiki slowly developed heel pain and reoccurring stress rings around his front hooves. He walked on his toes, his stride became shorter and he could not tolerate trotting on hard ground. My farrier tried different shoeing techniques but the heel pain worsened. I can't solely blame the new farrier. The demise of Tiki's soundness was the result of a combination of things -- shoeing, conformation, carrying a heavyweight rider and training and racing on hard ground.

Add to all this, a comprehensive lameness evaluation at UC Davis indicated inflammation of the digital flexor tendons of both front legs. I had UC Davis’ resident farrier shoe him (twice) and then laid him up until he got the green light to go back to work again. As soon as Tiki went back to work, the problem returned. This time the inflammation in his front heels was visible in his heel bulbs. As it worsened,  he developed a nasty corn. I had a heated conversation with my farrier about Tiki and then, in a moment of sheer exasperation, I instructed him to just pull Tiki’s shoes off and leave him barefoot. My argument was that nothing we were doing was working. Tiki was barely rideable. If Barry couldn’t ride him, then there was no point in shoeing him.

This image was taken January 12, 2011. The inflamed heel bulbs and stress rings are apparent.
The frog is dark, recessed and unhealty. This was the day we pulled his shoes.

The red mark on his frog is a corn. It took a long time to heal.
You can see how unhealthy the hoof wall is.

This is Tiki's left front foot a year later, April 2012. The hoof wall and sole is much healthier
and the frog is improved (still a ways to go). His heels are about 30% wider.

This is Tiki's right front foot. It has increased in size from a 0.5 to a 1.5 in one year.

The Results:

Well, if Tiki could talk, he would have emitted a vocal “It’s about time!” The difference was immediate. He was tender-soled initially, but his sand-based paddock protected him from any bruising. What I noticed right away was that he began to walk around with his head held in a natural position, rather than holding it up to “protect” his front feet. His shoulders relaxed and his walking stride increased. Gradually, the "swing" in his neck returned.

His first set of Easyboot Gloves included a size 1 on the left front and a size 0.5 on the other three feet. He now wears 1.5s on the front and 1s on the back.  His soles, hoof walls and frogs are healthy. Although he still has short, upright pasterns, they have dropped some and his hoof/pastern angle is more closely aligned than it had been. Most importantly, he was completely sound and Barry could ride him again.

Tiki back in action with Easyboot Glue-Ons.

Tiki’s a great horse. He has a lot of personality. He’s fun to take to endurance rides and he’s an awesome trail horse that anyone can ride. He’s 12 years old now and has a long, sound life ahead of him.

Footnote: Incidentally, Tiki was not the first horse I have transitioned. Bearcat was the first. I had pulled his front shoes in 2010 in hope of curing his tripping, which worked. But it was this experience with Tiki that led to all my horses going barefoot now.

Here Comes (B)ridezilla

My girlfriend is getting married this summer. She’s met a great guy and I’m very happy for her. However, since her engagement, whenever I talk to her, the conversation is focused on her upcoming wedding. If I ask how the plans are coming along I get an earful. If I try to dodge the subject, I still get an earful. As the date draws closer, the planning has reached a fever pitch. There is no life; only "The Wedding."  Yesterday, I made my first of what will be many “Tevis-planning” comments to my husband. He rolled his eyes and with a strained smile replied, “Here we go again.” At that moment, it occurred to me that planning a wedding is just like planning Tevis. And now that Tevis is within what I call the countdown phase, I am behaving exactly like my friend the bride-to-be. I've become a ridezilla.

You don't believe me? Read this twice, the first time ignoring the text in the parentheses. Read it the second time and substitute the test in the parentheses for the underlined text. Then I dare you to tell me I'm wrong.

In the beginning, riding Tevis (getting married) is a far off dream that most every endurance rider (young woman) aspires to. But she knows that she must first find the right horse (man), and not just any horse (man), but one that can really go the distance. Finally, she meets the horse (man) of her dreams. Their training (relationship) progresses and she realizes that he’s THE ONE.  She decides she’s ready to commit to riding the Tevis (getting married).



The date is set. She selects her crew (maid of honor and bridesmaids) and gives them their initial list of duties and tasks, which will be revised over and over and over as the BIG DAY draws near. There is much to be planned, from outfits and menus to transportation and logistics.

Ridezilla crew.

Bridezilla crew (aka maid of honor and bridesmaids).

All this time, the unsuspecting horse (groom) has no idea what is in store for him. He just goes along like he’s supposed to and does what he’s told.

Months pass quickly, and the date of the BIG DAY is close enough for the countdown phase to begin. The closer the BIG DAY gets, the more all-encompassing it becomes, until every minute of every waking day is about Tevis (the wedding). The crew (bridesmaids) is (are) now smiling at the rider (bride) through clenched teeth; they are secretly ready for the BIG DAY to be over because the rider (bride) has turned into ridezilla (bridezilla).

The night before the ride (wedding), there’s no sleeping. And when the rider (bride) finally falls asleep, morning comes quickly and she bolts upright in her bed and exclaims, “Today I’m riding the Tevis (getting married)!”

The day goes as planned. Everyone fulfills their assigned duties. The ride (bride) is beautiful. The party lasts into the wee hours of the morning. When she finally lays her head on her pillow with her Tevis Buckle in her hand (wedding ring on her finger) and her horse (husband) by her side, she realizes she is the happiest rider (bride) in the world.

Footnote: As I write this, Tevis is seven weeks away. I’m in countdown phase. I need to select my crew and assign them duties, fine-tune my horse, organize my equipment and—perhaps most important—schedule the time for the EasyCare crew to glue my shoes on for me. However, having done this many times before (Tevis, not weddings) I’m much more relaxed about it. I’m still with the same horse (and husband), and both are very tolerant of me. I’m trying my best not to be a ridezilla, but it is Tevis.

Alternative Uses of a Horseshoe Nail

You might never have an interest in nailing a horse shoe on a hoof but if you are a natural hoof care provider, rider, or horse owner, the horseshoe nail can still serve you very well.

Here are five alternative uses for horseshoe nails:

1. Explore the depth and severity of white line separation.

Horseshoe nails are very pointed, no other nail or hoof pick is thin enough to be inserted into the white line to clean out decayed tissue, debris, small embedded pebbles and prepare it for treatment. Simply insert the nail and scrape the separated white line clean, then apply treatment solution. The same applies for cleaning out collateral grooves.


2. Explore the frog for thrush.

Not every crack in the frog means thrush. With a horseshoe nail it is easy to find out and check the frog for sensitivity, decay and bacterial invasion.


3. Estimate the thickness of the sole by measuring the depth of the collateral grooves. With the pointed end of the nail it is easy to get to the bottom of the groove. Unless you use a Precision Hoof pick, which has a pointed end and a reading scale, a horseshoe nail is second best. Lay your rasp over the level and flat trimmed heels, place the nail to the bottom of the groove and use your fingernail or a marker to fixate the spot where it hits the rasp. Then pull the nail out and measure the distance.

The distance below, marked by the fingernail, is 2 cm, about 3/4 of an inch.


4. Clear the channels in the Vettec Adhere tube. Sometimes, when tubes have already been used previously, little plugs can form and obstruct the openings. This is really bad news if a mixing tip is already attached and an uneven flow of glue comes out. A nail tip can clean it out quickly and easily.


5. Clear debris from a screw. Need to replace a gaiter on your Easyboot Glove? Tighten a screw on your gaiter or the power strap? ( I highly recommend doing this after each ride using Gloves). After a ride with Easyboot Gloves, most screw heads are filled with debris. Somehow the sand and grit forms such a hard fill that your phillips screwdriver cannot get a bite. A horseshoe nail allow you to clean the slots out with minimal effort.

This screw slot is filled tightly with debris.

Can you think of any additional usages of a horseshoe nail? Please share them with us.


Your Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

Get the Word Out

Four years ago, a professor at Colorado State University asked me if I would give a lecture about endurance riding in her Equine Exercise Physiology class. I gladly accepted the invitation and I have done it once per semester since. It's nice to have the opportunity to expose college students to the sport of endurance since many have never even heard of it.

The topics I discuss include:

  • the basic rules of AERC.
  • the horses that excel and training.
  • nutrition.
  • high performance and international level competition.
  • the finances.
  • the business and professional aspects.
  • physiology and metabolics.


During each of my lectures, I sneak in a slide about hoof care and I talk about all of the alternatives that are out there. I try to be unbiased and briefly talk about various alternatives but honestly, I go through the list of options quickly and spend extra time on my favorites; the Easyboot Glove and Easyboot Glue-On. I discuss how more and more horses are being booted rather than shod and that boots are successful in all fields, from track racing to dressage. The students always ask about the boots afterwards and I'm happy to have put the bug in their ear about it. Living near Fort Collins, I also train on a lot of very popular public trails and I'm always happy to talk to people who are interested in what's on my horse's feet. 

Equine enthusiasts are everywhere so I try to make a conscious effort to get the word out. I grew up with horses but did not know the sport of endurance riding existed until graduate school. The sport of endurance riding is what exposed me to the world of booting. Previously I never thought twice about horse shoes because I had never even seen hoof boots being used. I wish somebody had told me! We should all try to expose new groups of people to our equine sports and be sure to discuss hoof care and booting, because like many, they may not even know about hoof boots.   

Nobody is going to try something they don't even know exists. There are alternatives to steel shoes, lots of them. There is an Easyboot option to fit every horse's needs. Help get the word out! 

Tennessee Mahoney

PS: Join us May 11th & 12th at Remuda Run for a clinic on the Performance Barefoot Hoof with the Bootmeister.