Uno Does Virginia City 100

Walking along in the pitch dark at 3:30 a.m., trying to focus on something - anything - I actually dropped off to sleep in the saddle for a nanosecond and hallucinated a huge flock of black birds against the mountains on the horizon. That woke me up and I called up to Tami ahead: "Talk to me - about anything - I'm falling asleep here!". Not that Tami was in any better shape, and our fellow rider, Sally, had gone quiet half an hour earlier. We were 95 miles into the Virginia City 100 and the moon had set an hour or so ago.

It was around this point that I decided maybe I'd rather just be a 75 mile rider. When we'd come in off the 76 mile loop at 10 p.m. I'd been happy and bouncing. Uno had been happy and bouncing. We'd survived the 2000'+ climb up to the top of the ridge and the subsequent descent in the dark - thanking the endurance gods who guided us wrong two weeks previously during our pre-riding, causing us to cover more miles than intended. At the time it was a bit sad, but now as soon as we hit trail he recognised, Uno perked up and off we went.
 
Loop 1, Part 1
VC100 wasn't like Tevis - I actually got to sleep the night before and didn't feel totally nauseous all night. When the alarm went off at 3:15 a.m. I was relatively relaxed and didn't feel like killing myself. We had to be on the horses by 4:30 a.m. to walk the couple of miles from camp to the 5 a.m. start in front of the Delta Saloon. It's one of the more bizarre starts to an endurance ride I've ever done.


The Delta Saloon in the center of Virginia City, Sunday afternoon.

Once past the cemetery on the outskirts of town and onto the trail, I realised just how dark it was. It's one thing to be out there as dusk drops onto you, to be gradually immersed in it - but it didn't work that way. As soon as we left the lights of Virginia City behind us, bam, dark. Luckily fellow rider Tami Rougeau had a headlight on, so she and Fancy guided us through the first few miles of turns.


The sun starting to peek up over the mountains.

Asking Tami before the ride what she thought the hardest thing about VC100 was, she replied with very little hesitation: "the rocks". They are a fact of life and something you have to learn to work around. Obviously, foot protection is super-important under these conditions.

35 riders started VC100 and of those I counted eleven horses that were wearing either
Glue-Ons (7), Gloves (1), or Original Easy Boots over shoes (3). At the end of the ride, 26 horses completed - including ten of our booted horses. The only booted horse who got pulled (that I know about) made it 92 miles. Not bad.

The first 20 miles were among the fastest I've ever done - we got it done in 3 hours - needing to move out where we could and this was trail you could trot. ...Actually you can trot most of the VC100 trail - so long as you only want to trot for 10 ft before slowing to prance through rocks.

When Uno gets going, he trots BIG. I seldom allow him to do it (just because he can, doesn't mean he should), but this time around I let him have some fun and he trotted so big that the SPOT GPS locator clipped to my pommel pack went flying off (can you say "BIG action"?) and had to be retrieved by Dave (thanks Dave!). It got firmly tied on at the next stop.


At the road crossing, Uno had to stop to poop (he's still learning) and got left behind when we couldn't get across in time with the others - this explains his rather wide-eyed expression in this picture.
Quite by chance, we ended up riding the first 30 miles or so with fellow booters: AERC Hall of Famer Dave Rabe on White Cloud in Gloves; Carolyn Meier on Rushcreek Okay (great big feet - he wears a 3 on the front and 2.5s on the backs); and Tami and I, all in Glue-Ons.

My booting experience hadn't gone quite as planned the previous week (so what else is new?) and I was enviously watching Fancy's tidy little compact feet in her tidy little compact Glue-Ons, comparing them to Uno's dinner plates.

Having struggled at Bridgeport last month to get Uno's rear feet fitting nicely, this time around it only took me about 20 minutes to tidy up his back toes and glue. Ta-da! By contrast, I spent about an hour and half poking and rasping and squinting at his fronts and still wasn't happy with the fit. <sigh>

Hindsight being everything, I've concluded that perhaps Uno's feet have expanded enough that instead of trying to squoosh him into a 1.5 Glove, he probably needs a 2. Post-VC, he gets a month off and I'm going to leave his feet alone, then tidy them up, and refit him and see where we're at.

Anyway - I was less than happy about the gluing job on the fronts, but you have to obsess about something, right? :)


After the road crossing, we dropped down the Old Geiger Grade - the old Toll Road - to the outskirts of Reno. I'd like to say I ran the whole 2.5 miles, but cimcumstances being what they were, I wasn't in as good shape as I'd promised myself I would be (why are we not surprised by this?), so had to content myself with walking as fast as I could, interspersed with running for as long as my bad ankle would allow. But I took pictures! And I fed Uno some hay that mysteriously appeared by the side of the road mid-way down! Ambidextrous, I am.


Old Toll Road, looking down to Reno.

On the way down the grade, Tami and I picked up our third rider - Sally Hugdal - who's riding partner had unfortunately pulled at the highway crossing. We were happy to have her and her mare, Ellie, who were going for their fifth consecutive VC100 completion.

Fancy led us in the last section through residential streets likity-split and we got to the first 24-mile vet check in 3 hours 40 minutes for our 45 minute break. My friends Renee and Russell Robinson had come all the way down from Eureka to crew for me, and they, together with local friend Crysta Turnage did a most excellent job catering to our every need - hand-feeding Uno slop and pretending to enjoy it when he covered them and everything within a few feet (including Crysta's dog, Molly) with mush.

Please form an orderly line to sign up to crew for Uno in the future.


Dave Rabe coming into the 24-mile vet check.
 

Leaving the 24-mile vet check - Uno is replete.
Loop 1, Part 2
The next 15 mile section included the four mile foray through Bailey Canyon. I'd been hearing about this canyon for years - tales of woe about the awfulness of it, and indeed it was pretty gnarly - but, gah, it was fun. There is a sort of trail to follow... ish. We put Fancy in front, Ellie next, Okay, White Cloud and then Uno bringing up the rear, and blitzed through it - too much fun. I love this kind of trail - it's a bit like a snow-boarders' half-pipe, only with lots and lots and lots of rocks to clamber over before you scoot up the opposite side, duck under a bunch of tree branches, and then drop back down, clambering back over the creek bed rocks and up the other side.



At one point, all the riders got bunched up together and there were 14 of us going down the trail. A parade! Considering that 35 riders started, we had about half the field there for a while. Too funny.

After an hour of rock clambering, we finally hit Jumbo Grade and Fancy took off, with Uno in hot pursuit - they were wound a little tight from the slow pace in Bailey Canyon - so we flew down, Tami cursing Fancy for yanking on her bad knee (lots of surgeries in those knees) and trying to explain to her that having a bit of horse left later in the ride would be desirable. We stopped a couple of times to try and persuade them to drink and I even managed to sponge Uno in an inch deep creek. He was miffed - wanting to run after all the horses passing on by.

The last section crossed Washoe Lake State Rec Area to the 15-minute hold and a trot-by at 39 miles. This is every local rider's favorite trail - a twisty singletrack that winds its way through the sagebrush. Fancy did her wide trot (she squats and goes wide in the back in order to lengthen her stride) and Uno cantered, and poor Sally and Ellie hung on in the back, as the tail of the dog. I know we were supposed to make time where we could, but this was ridiculous.

Excellent Crew were again at this stop, waiting to have slop dropped on them, to be itched on, and generally abused. Trot-bys completed, we scuttled around getting everything done - 15-minute holds are never long enough. Endurance riding being the glamorous sport it is, I dropped my tights to re-butter the insides of my knees and calves that were developing some hot-spots.

Loop 1, Part 3
After Washoe Lake State Rec, there is a loooonnnggg, hoooootttt, climb. All the previous enthusiasm waned and we trudged to the top. Some of this lack of enthusiasm from Fancy might have been because she knew that the SOBs were coming up - Tami and Fancy completed VC100 in 2007, so she certainly knew the trail. Uno had done this trail section before during Washoe Valley in the spring but in the reverse direction, so I'm not sure he remembered what was approaching.


Looking down on Washoe Lake at where we've come from.


Nevada is the land of long climbs.


Still climbing. The rabbit brush was all in bloom.

And here we are, at the top of the first of three, worst, steep V-shaped canyons, fondly known as the SOBs. They aren't long, but they are wickedly steep (I think I worked out they are a 25% grade) and go up about 200 ft - and worst, have really loose, shaley footing which means it's very hard to stay upright.

As we approached, I was weighing up:

Ride them = Use up too much horse (it's Uno's first 100 <bite nails>)
Walk them = Use up too much rider

But who's doing most of the work, we ask? So I got off, and Tami and I slithered and slipped our way down. Tami took the lead on the way up the other side and I was grateful for every break that Fancy took (she was snacking all the way up), as I clung to Uno's tail, watching his back feet about level with my thighs as we went up, wondering if I was going to get a rock flicked in my face.

There are few things more educational in order to learn about boot fit than tailing your horse up a steep climb. I was able to notice how the backs of Uno's front boots were separating from his feet, but that the rears seemed relatively snug still. If your horse is wearing Gloves, you can watch how he digs his toes in, and what that does to the boots as he pushes off. It gives you an idea of how good your fit is.

Hyperventilating, we made it to the top and trudged on to the next descent - SOB #2. They get gradually less steep as they progress, so when we reached the bottom of this one, I scrambled back on and Uno felt pretty good from his short break - a lot better than I felt, at least, which was the desired effect.


Sally and Ellie trudging up SOB # 2.

We made SOB #3 with no difficulty and could finally enjoy the lovely view looking down on the lake and the mountains beyond.

Hands up who can guess what happened next? Remember me whining about the front boot fit? Yup, the right front came off. Sally noticed, so I hopped off and replaced it with a Glove from my pack (I always carry a full set of boots, just in case). Uno still had a lot of Glue left on his foot, so I had to use one of those handy NV rocks to give the Glove a couple of whacks to seat it back in place, and off we went again.

Finally, after more than two hours climbing, we reached the water stop at the cross roads at the top of Jumbo Grade, manned by volunteers Dave and Judy Jewkes. Let's see? 24 miles in 3 hours 40 mins at the beginning of the ride when it was cool, while in the heat of the afternoon: 8 miles in 2 hours and 10 mins... I see how this goes.

The Jewkeses offered lemonade (that hit the spot!) and cookies, but we only stayed a few minutes before setting off down Ophir Grade for the 4 miles or so into Virginia City.

A quarter mile down, Uno's left front flew off and hit the underside of my right foot (that was confusing) <grrr>. This wasn't what I wanted, but oh well. Off I hopped again with my second sparsie Glove and on it went with the help of yet another handy rock (who knew they would be so helpful?) and off we went again.

40 minutes later we were back at camp in Virginia City, hot, tired, and crumpled - but half-way through.

For me this was probably the lowest point of the ride. I'd made the classic mistake of consciously thinking "Ack, we're only 52 miles in and we still have another 48 to go - and I'm already at the pooped-out stage... not good". This is a BIG no-no for 100-mile riding. How does the old saying about "How do you eat an elephant?" go? One bite at a time. I should have been focusing on my hour hold, instead of the next 12 hours.

My friend Ann Blankenship took one look at me and started trying to get me to eat something. I am hopeless at eating on rides - and the tireder and hotter I get, the worse I get. However, Ann was in charge of Lucy-Intake during Tevis, so is familiar with my habits. She fetched me some baby wipes (ah, bliss), some lotion ("Age Defying" - perfect!), and a bowl of canteloupe melon.
 

While Uno scoffed slop next to me, I got to play queen - listing all the stuff I wanted done as I sat there like a wet rag.

Renee rasped off the excess glue on Uno's fronts, so we'd get a closer fit for his Gloves; we replenished my sparsie Gloves on the saddle; Uno's front pasterns were snugged into neoprene wraps (made from a weight-loss belt, of all things) to prevent any under-gaiter rubs; Crysta inspected a new loin rub* and got out the baby powder ready for saddling up; it was decided which clothing would be needed for the next leg - we'd be starting at 4:20 in the warm afternoon sunshine - and coming off the trail at 10 pm in the dark; more snacks (which I wouldn't eat) were added to the pommel bag; the rump rug was rolled tightly and clipped on ready for action; and of course, I retired to the privacy of my trailer to re-butter those delicate areas that needed attention.

* I had opted to ride in Patrick's treeless Sensation saddle for this ride. It is almost exactly the same as mine except for having a longer seat. Although I'd ridden 70 miles in it over the previous three weeks, apparently it wasn't enough to show up this problem. Thankfully, Uno wasn't sore from the rub during the ride, but I'm not sure bald, pink loins is a look I'm thrilled with. Back to my saddle from now on.
 
Loop 2
None of the three of us were thrilled to get going again on the 52-76 mile section. All our muscles had seized up and everything felt lumpy and stiff, so we walked for the first mile or so. Tami was a little concerned about Fancy, so she hand-walked her for a while to make sure everything was well. Fancy snacked the whole way, and was absolutely fine, so she needn't have worried.

This trail was the portion I knew least about, so it was hard to aim for that "bite-sized" piece. Luckily it was beginning to cool off and as we got going again and began to trot, everything fell back into place again and we were off again.

We crossed the V&T railroad tracks a few times (Uno has decided that perhaps a troll doesn't live under them, after all); passed a peculiar derelict set of buildings out in the middle of the desert - they looked like something out of a set for an "apocalypse film" - kind of creepy. Tami spotted someone's lost vest on the ground, so scored big in being able to wear it for the rest of the leg and keep warm.

And after a few miles, we began to climb again. This would be our last major climb of the day - but it was a doozy - climbing for 7.5 miles, past the Jewkes at the Jumbo Grade water stop (stopped to snack and water the horses), continuing up to the very top at ~7,500 ft where you could look out across Washoe Valley as the sun finally set behind the mountains.


As we dropped down the other side, the twinkling lights of Reno came into view and Uno began to pick it up again. For the first time that day, he had shown signs of actually being tired towards the top of the climb - at about 65 miles - and I was a little worried about him. But now he was on trail he recognised and by chance we once again caught up with Dave and Carolyn so Uno was back with his main Herd du Jour and happy to have the company of familiar buddies. Instead of the trudging we'd been doing for the past hour, we were popping along, trotting the flats, jogging some of the downhills, and in no time came to the road crossing at Geiger Summit.

Excellent Crew were ready - they had buckets and pans and everything a horse could want - and Uno wanted it all, including the next door neighbour's leftovers. It's amazing how much stuff a horse can suck down in seven minutes before we were off again - we had a little more than 6 miles to go before getting back to camp for the next hour hold.

Back at camp at 76 miles, I almost felt like celebrating - Uno's vet scores were far better than they had been at 52 miles - owing much to the fact that he was at last eating and drinking like an endurance horse should. He was cheerful and I was cheerful. Renee got me a pot-noodle which went down well, although the peanuts I attempted triggered the gag reflex, big time.

The hour hold flew by and in no time we were off again on our final loop, fitted with headlights, sweaters, wind-breakers and with the rump rug down.
 
Loop 3
The horses were quite cheerful leaving camp, which surprised me. I expected maybe a little baulking at having to repeat-in-reverse the route we'd just come in on through town. The two miles went without incident until we got to the cemetery at the outskirts and Uno suddenly realised what was going on. I think he thought maybe we'd go that far (as we had on our little pre-ride jaunt the day before) and then turn and head back to camp, so he seemed a little shocked that, no, we were actually going out on the trail again.

Even though we were all good to go leaving on the final leg, once we'd passed through town and started down on the trail, we all got a case of the paranoias. Having made it this far we really didn't want to trip on a rock and have one of the horses go lame, so we turned into ninnies ultra-cautious riders - opting to walk almost everything. We had 24 miles to go and six hours to get it done in. How hard could this be?

Tami and Sally, having both been in this position before, explained to me that once the horses got out there on the dirt road leading down the valley, they'd go into Power Walk mode and we'd just motor on through the loop.

This news was met with some sadness on my part. Uno doesn't have a Power Walk. He has a shuffle. He has a trudge. But his idea of keeping up involves jogging. So I concluded that they'd Power Walk and we'd jog along behind.

To begin with, I was all enthusiastic. My knees were feeling a little crunchy from the walking, so I asked Tami if she would be happy trotting the odd section just to loosen them up. What we managed in the "trotting" department was pretty pathetic - we'd make it maybe 20 ft before walking again. But after a bit, that seemed just fine.

We had a bright, almost-full moon. The mountains rose up either side of us along the valley and we saw a small herd of wild mustang grazing quietly in the moonlight. It was quite magical. Sally had some glowsticks attached to her breast collar and a dim headlight, but they weren't needed and Tami and I went with no lights (even though we carried headlights with us just in case).

This section of trail is an "out-n-back" with a lollipop at the far end with a vet-check. This is where we'd gotten chronically lost two weeks before, missing a turn, so even in the dark on a marked trail, we were vigilantly looking for that left turn.

There's a section that crosses a chalk outcropping for a short distance and the chalk was so bright in the moonlight it looked like snow. At the back end of the lollipop we dropped into the rockiest part of that trail - and of course the moon was hidden behind the thick juniper trees. Soon enough we were back out in the moonlight, but sadly it was starting to set behind the mountains, so we were either plunged into pitch black, or had it shining directly in our eyes when it would peek out the last few times.

Just before the Cottonwoods vet check, there's a peculiar spring where the water overflows onto the rutted road and we had to wade through it in one place. I remember worrying that Uno's Gloves would get wet and pop off in the dark and that I was too far gone to be able to do anything about it. But of course they didn't. At 2:20 a.m. when you're reaching the last of your reserves, your brain does its best to cover all bases.

At Cottonwoods they greeted us with soup and hot drinks. Uno was ravenous and just wanted to eat and eat. Once again, there was one of those annoyingly useless 15 minute holds - no time to do anything except try to slurp down that soup - which made me queasy. There was a roaring fire and all *I* wanted to do was curl up in front of it. Instead, I was stuck holding the ravenous horse, blearily trying to scrutinise him to see if I could spot anything amiss. We were joined by a fourth rider at this point and I was last to vet through, so as soon as we were done, it was time to leave again. <sob>

My visions of spending ten minutes - that's all I wanted - curled in front of the fire while someone else held Uno evaporated in a cold blast as I sadly climbed up the step-stool thoughtfully provided for the purpose of pathetic-rider mounting.

Uno wasn't thrilled to be leaving behind the bucket of carrots that he'd wolfed his way through, or the piles of hay, but I finally got him going after his buddies and we set off for the final 8 miles. That's all! And four of those would be trail that Uno had already done three times that day, so knew like the back of his hoof.

And here was the lowest point of the day - the four mile trudge back along the dirt road. The moon was gone. Any earlier energy and desire of "Let's TROT!" was gone. And I was left with the uneasy feeling that I get driving home after a long day - that I was going to fall asleep at the wheel and there was nothing I could do about it.

But here was the surprise: Fancy and Ellie, now headed for home, got into their Power Walk and there was Uno, keeping up with them. ??Uno?? He does have a Power Walk, he just only uses it for very special occasions.

Uno even led us in the last few miles through the canyon like a grown-up. I couldn't really see what the trail was doing and would find myself peering at a dark bush thinking it was a shaded tree tunnel we were going to go into, only to have Uno sweep us by - me teetering on top doing my best to stay with him.

Climbing the last short grade to the cemetery finish line, there was my Patrick waiting to greet us - and then we were done - it was 4:30 a.m.. We'd finished!!

Renee and Russell were there with more pone food and water and we allowed the horses a short snack before making the last pass back through town to camp and the final nail-biting vet check (which, thankfully, all three horses passed without incident).

Uno did so good he made me cry through much of that last journey through town. He had kept bopping along all day, staying cheerful almost the entire 100 miles. Itchy face and drooling aside, he had been the mellowest, easiest partner to share the day with and took my breath away with how strong he had felt throughout the ride.

At 5 a.m. we finally climbed down off the horses for the last time that day and set to work getting them ready for bed. Well, Excellent Crew did. I just sat there in a chair, looking pathetic.

And so goes the final chapter in the story of how Uno and Fancy won joint 5th place in the NASTR Triple Crown 2010 - by completing NV Derby 50 in April, NASTR 75 in June, and VC100 in September. We weren't fast, but we were consistent. After the first 50, there were 20 horses signed up. By virtue of attrition, that number was down to 8 by the time we started VC100.

And Sally and Ellie got their fifth consecutive finish! Ellie gets a new halter and Sally gets to be as proud as a proud thing.


Christoph Schork's World Record

Christoph Schork is the world record holder for the number of first place finishes at endurance events. Christoph won his 200th race on Saturday, September 18, 2010, at the Las Cienega 100 mile event. More than 25% of those wins were achieved since December 2008 using Easyboot Glue-Ons.
 

The ride awards at the 2010 Las Cienega 100: belt buckles. Photo by Tarnia Kittel.

Christoph boasts an astonishing 92% completion rate across more than 21,000 competition miles with more than 80 Best Condition awards and beats the next most-winning rider by more than 50 wins.

Born in Germany in 1953, Christoph was raised on a dairy farm and rode his first horse at the age of three as part of the annual town parade. Each year the horses in the parade would wind their way through town to a spring in the woods where the Catholic Priest would bless the horses before the riders set off into the countryside to ride. What an image.

To say that Christoph is competitive would be an understatement. Growing up as a gymnast from the age of six, he also took up running, track and field (3,000 – 5,000 meters), cross country skiing, triathlon, archery, biathlon, rowing, mountain bike racing and downhill ski racing. He also participated in other extreme sports such rock climbing, white-water kayaking and mountaineering. He has climbed to the 24,590-foot summit of Peak Somoni (formerly Peak Communism) in the Pamir mountains in northwest Tajikistan.
   
His interest in horses has never waned. He competed in some dressage as a juvenile: he enjoyed the discipline, the precision, being one with the horse and the need to pay attention to detail. But he did not particularly like to be confined – something he says he dislikes to this day. Even when he was competing as a gymnast, he was envious of his friends who were cross-country running because they were outdoors.

Christoph was in his 30s when he first heard about endurance riding through Ride & Tie events in the Salt Lake City area. He particularly enjoyed working in partnership with the horse: the combination of riding and running.

His first endurance race was in 1986 as a non-AERC member. His first official recorded start was in 1988 with a horse named Dahn Hallany. “My knowledge of horses was very limited back then. I knew a little bit about breeding, but Bob and Arlene Morris were of great help as early mentors.”  He still keeps in touch with them today. “You should take time to learn,” he says, “because if you don’t learn, you stay stagnant which is akin to going backwards.”


Christoph and Double Zell at the 2010 Tevis 100-mile race. They would go on to win 12th place. Photo by Gabriel Luethje.

Christoph’s strategy has always been to dedicate a great deal of time to training a horse for an event. “I am not a fan of using races as a way to train or condition a horse: I can do that at home.” When asked if he ever grows tired of riding, he laughs, “I just get tired physically, but I will never tire of the ride.”

He would compete for more than ten years before enduring his first pull in 1998. His horse, Mr. Triumph, rode the entire course of the 100-mile race at Big Horn near Shell, Wyoming, but he had sore feet and did not get a completion.


Christoph on DWA Powerball at the 2009 Moab Canyons Pioneer event. They would go on to win the 55-mile race that day. Photo by Gabriel Luethje.

Today, Christoph has more time to devote to riding than he did in the 80s and 90s when he was running a business and a ski school. He and his partner, Dian Woodward, run the Global Endurance Training Center. Together they spend a great deal of time assessing breeding and conformation. “The most important element is the spirit of the horse – he or she has to have fire and to love the job at hand – to enjoy competition and to have the will to exceed. As for the rider, you have to believe in yourself and believe you can succeed.” As he looks back at the winning horses, Christoph observes that it is often the mind of the horse more than the conformation that seems to assure success. “Spend some time looking at the eye of the horse – is there a brightness? Does the horse want to show off?” he asks.

Christoph remains a passionate runner: on a mountainous ride like Tevis or Big Horn, he might tail as much as 15 miles. “I obviously never tail on the flat or going downhill."

His current favorite mounts are Stars Aflame, Double Zell and DWA Powerball. “Mandy is just coming into the sport, but I have a lot of confidence in her.” His horses come from a wide variety of sources: about half of them are from the track. Others are from the GETC breeding program, which favors Polish lines. He and Dian like the Polish lines for their good minds: they are easy to be around and they are very competitive and strong.


Christoph is a
lso a barefoot hoof care practitioner. Here, he discusses trimming strategy with A.D. Williams. Photo by Tarnia Kittel.

Dian and Christoph both ride exclusively in Easyboot products. He believes them to be a revolutionary new product in the hoof care market. “This is the first time we can truly use hoof protection without nails. It is a reliable way to keep them on the horse’s hoof. They are lightweight – they are half the weight of a steel shoe, they are easy to apply, healthy for the hoof and give unprecedented protection from trail hazards. I applaud Garrett Ford and EasyCare for their futuristic vision on the hoof boot market to finally come out with a product that is more in line with 21st century thinking. We have been using shoes on horses for 2,000 years – the same technology. Horse shoeing really has not changed much since the Romans.” He doesn’t like talk of fads: “What about computers, new pick-up trucks and hi-tech footwear? Are they fads, too?” he asks.

He used his first Easyboot in the early 80s as a spare tire and always had his horses barefoot in the winter for several months. He competed in some of the early endurance rides in foamed on Easyboots.  He used Easyboot Glue-Ons for the first time in 2008 at a three-day ride in Sonoita, Arizona. He got a first place and a Best Condition award and was ready to pull the steel shoes on all his horses right then and there.

Christoph believes that in the future, the traditional farrier's job will turn into a hoof care consultant and practitioner, and that horse owners will take more and more responsibility for their own horses.

If you have ever met Christoph, you will know him to be a gifted teacher and communicator. You will also know him to be a most generous human being. When asked for some parting thoughts, Christoph shared the following: “Focus on your situational awareness – not just your own competitiveness. Never leave anything to chance. Always be aware of what is going on around you, your horse’s limitations and your horse’s potential. If you perceive a problem building, take remedial action right away. I don’t do a lot of small talk while I am riding – my focus is on the horse and on my body position. How does the horse feel, what do I need to do? Listen to your instinct: does it feel right or does it not feel right? Don’t fall victim to wishful thinking.”


If you haven't met him yet, just look for his red trailer at an endurance event and pay him a visit. He'll be glad you did. If you'd like to invite Christoph to give a hoof trimming, boot fitting and boot gluing seminar at your event, drop us a line at marketing@easycareinc.com.

Keep up the bootlegging!

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.


Bryce Canyon XP - Hooves Define a New Paradigm

The horse's hooves spoke clearly at the recently completed Bryce Canyon 5 day XP ride. Many lessons were learned thanks to Garrett Ford and Duncan McLaughlin thermo-imaging before and during the event. What an interesting eye-opener. Read that latest blog and findings at EasyCare's Main Blog Central.

Base Camp at Bryce.

But equally as defining were the results at Bryce Canyon: all Best Condition awards were won by horses with Easyboot Gloves and Glue-On boots:
  • Garrett Ford and The Fury with Gloves
  • Kevin Myers and Stoner with Gloves
  • Dian Woodward and Stavire with Glue-Ons
  • Dian Woodward and Halyva Night with Glue-Ons
  • Christoph Schork and Mandy with Glue-Ons

All first places were won by Easyboot Glue-On booted horses as well. Furthermore, most of the days, there were 5 or more booted horses  among the top 10. Day 2 saw even placings one through six in Easyboot Glue-Ons and Gloves.

Although most riders still using traditional steel shoes, we are seeing again and again horses with protective horse boots in the winner's circle of top ten placings and BC winnings.
What are the reasons for the continuing success story?

First, it is the research and design placed in the boot by the EasyCare Staff. The new Glue-Ons and Gloves are half the weight of traditional steel shoes, facilitating the work of our horses tremendously. They provide unprecedented cushioning and sole protection. They are easy to apply. They are healthy for the hooves.

Dian Woodward and Tania Kittel riding under the Pink Cliffs on day 4.

The Pink Cliffs.

Because of excessive July and August rains, this year's trails were rockier than usual. Horses without good hoof protection were risking bruising of the soles. None of our booted horses  had any issues with that. The horses moved effortlessly and easily through the often rough trails.

Loosing a boot, however, could have put a damper on your day. As we approach fall and cooler and wetter conditions in many locations, this is a good time for some reminders in application of your boots.

To have success with your Glue-Ons, it is of great importance to apply utmost diligence in your gluing process:
  • Select the proper size boot
  • Trim away any flares in the hoof wall
  • Eliminate any forging by facilitating quick breakover of the front hooves. (Long toes on  front and hind hooves could cause forging and potentially pull off front boots)
  • Structure the hoof wall with the rasp
  • Wire brush hoof wall and sole thoroughly
  • Dry the hoof wall with a heat gun or hair dryer
  • Avoid touching the inside of the boots with your bare hands (hands are always somewhat moist or oily and will prevent the glue from adhering properly to the boot)
  • Always carry a spare Easyboot Glove with you.
When using Easyboot Gloves, check the 3 screws that hold the cuffs in place frequently. Through vibration these screws can loosen and can fall out. You may also use some lock tite to keep them in place at all times.


Double Zell, Van Helsing and Halyva Night enjoying their feed during the Vet check on Powell Point, Day 4 at Bryce Canyon XP.

It is easy to get complacent and sometimes take shortcuts in your application of the boots. I hope these reminders will let you get the most out of your boots and enjoy your partnership with your horse.

Your Bootmeister


Barefoot Transition at 31

Barefoot horse, Timothy, at 31 years of age can attest that one is never too old to go barefoot and booted.

Timothy wore horseshoes all his life until last year. Diana Thompson tried taking him barefoot several times, but he became sore and she was forced to re-shoe him. In horse shoes, he had significant reverse palmer angles on his hinds; his soles were flat and walls were thin.

Last year Diana asked Linda Cowles to pull his shoes. Because his paddock terrain is extremely abrasive and his hind end was very sensitive (a result of the imbalance caused by his reverse palmer angles), they tried an assortment of protective hoof boots (Easyboot Rx, Old Macs and Easyboot Gloves) to keep him comfortable in his paddock. He was frequently barefoot in pasture. His walls and soles thickened up and grew dense in his first 3 months barefoot, and they were able to rebalanced the negative palmer angles so they are normal now for the first time in 20+ years).

This spring, while Diana erected her new covered arena over Tim’s usual day-time turn-out area, and he was restricted to his abrasive turnout paddock full time. He moved best in the Easyboot Gloves, but using them full time chaffed his heels, so Linda and Diana decided to try using Goober Glue to apply the Easyboot Glue-Ons to all four feet. He wore these glue-Ons almost non-stop for the 3+ month period of arena construction. Linda felt casting would have perhaps been best, but Diana was so impressed with how he moved in the Gloves, that they agreed to try full time Glue-On booting. It worked beautifully.

Timothy isn’t a typical 31 year old horse; he was notoriously athletic in his prime, and he still looks like a champion ready for the track or three day event course when he has a major frolic. He rips around the pasture at top speed, throwing in a bucking spree or roll-back on the fence for emphasis. In spite of his buoyant attitude, Tim’s Easyboot Glue-Ons stayed tight for 4 to 5 weeks at a time. Using Goober Glue they were able to easily clean up his shells and re-use them for the whole period. Needless to say the Glue-Ons are worn out at this point.

When the shells were pulled for a re-trim, his hoof condition was great. The wall and sole was a bit softer than normal until it dried out (3 or 4 hours), so occasionally the horse's boots were left off for a few days before re-gluing them. There were no problems resulting from having full time Glue-On boots on. His wall growth continued to be dense and thick, as it had been since pulling his shoes, and we never had a problem with thrush. When the shells came off, his frogs and sole were covered by a thick film of shedding keratin. Linda used a wire brush, hoof knife and pick to clean up the frog and sole, and he was ready for rebooting. There was no need to use any sole pack or thrush treatment and had great results.

Linda doesn't encourage this sort of long term booting with Glue-Ons under normal conditions, but for this sort of rehab situation, she was delighted with the results. This was a great temporary solution that was economical, and easy to apply.

Linda Cowles is a natural hoof care provider and EasyCare dealer in Santa Rosa, CA.  Linda was also recently featured as EasyCare' dealer of the month for August. Thank you Linda for the feedback and this great story!

EasyCare recommends that Easyboot Glue-Ons used for a time period greater than 10 consecutive days be done at your own discretion or the discretion of your natural hoof care provider. 

Watch 31 year old, barefoot horse Timothy show us what's he's got.

Debbie Schwiebert

easycare-vet-hcp-deaaler-accounts-manager-debbie-schwiebert

Vet Dealer & Hoof Care Practitioner Accounts

I manage the hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts at EasyCare. An integral part of my job is to stay current in all areas of barefoot hoof care, which enables me to serve this vital group of EasyCare dealers at the next level.


Trimming Tools and the Art of Maintenance

There are many reasons for that development, but the fact is that more and more riders and horse owners are now trimming their horses hooves without the help of professional hoof technicians and farriers. Protective horse boots are replacing traditional horse shoes in ever increasing numbers. The Glue-On horse hoof boots and Easyboot Gloves are being used more and more in all equestrian disciplines.

Besides acquiring the necessary knowledge and training for hoof trimming, the horse owner also needs to know what tools to get for starters. Looking through tool catalogs, a newcomer might get quickly overwhelmed.

Out of all the available tools, I've selected five that I consider essential for successful hoof trimming:



These five are a must. Without having all five available, do not even start trimming your horses hooves.

Hoof rasps come in a range of prices from $5.00 to $25.00; hoof knives from $3.00 to $75.00; nippers from $35.00 to $225.00. Like in many areas of the tool market, you get what you pay for. Do not buy any cheap tools: you are wasting your money. They will not work well, make life hard and sooner or later you will throw them out to get something that works. Believe me, I have been there and learned the hard, or I might say, the expensive way.

Get some good tools, GE nippers are arguably the best, depending on your hand size, get nippers between 12 and 14 in. 15 in are also available, but I would only recommend them if you have very large hands and long arms. SaveEdge rasps are a good value. Get a handle with it. Purchase a hoof knife that fits your hand: middle to upper price range will suffice here; there are a lot of good knives around. Before buying a hoof knife, spend several minutes holding it, feeling it. Carry it around the store for a while, mimic trimming movements to get a feel for it. It has to feel right in your hand.

The hoof jack is a one time investment, yes, somewhat pricey, but you have to have a hoof stand. The hoof jack is one of the best. It comes with a cradle as well, so it saves your back. You would be wise to get one right away, not after you suffered already for a year and your back is out. By then, you already will have spent more money than the hoof jack costs on body work, massage and chiropractic. The big advantage the Hoof Jack has over other hoof stands is the stability. It won't tip over if you have an unruly horse or one that constantly tries to pull the hoof away from you. Furthermore, you can stabilize it even more by placing your feet over the base. It is really solid then, no other hoof stand lets you do that.


These five tools are necessary to do good and effective hoof trimming. At the Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, we have been using and testing these tools for years and found them to be very useful and also sufficient for most hoof trims. They all have quality and they all last well. Let's say you invested $400 to $500. Now you need to take care of them to increase their life expectancy and usefulness.

Below are some maintenance tools that are inexpensive to acquire but will save you lots in the long run.


We have sharpening tools for your hoof knives, the Swissistor tool works the easiest. Chainsaw sharpening files are also popular, work really well to sharpen the curve of the hoof knife. Stones and metal files do not work as well for the curved tip.

Your rasp should always get stored in a piece of cloth or a protective sleeve. I like to use piece of irrigation pipe. It works great and doesn't cost more than a dime at the most.


A new rasp should last you for about 20 horses; let's say about 80 to 100 hooves. Provided you are following a few tips and tricks to extend the life of a rasp:

1. Always clean the hoof before rasping. The hoof below is in no shape to put your expensive rasp to work.


First use your hoof pick to clean as much as possible, then the wire brush to remove all sand and grit.


Now the hoof is ready for using the nippers or the rasp.


2. Use your nippers more than your rasp. It is easier and time saving.

3. Use the whole rasp. Too many people have a tendency making short strokes, make long and smooth strokes.

4. Use the rasp in a singe direction. No back and forth scrubbing, but instead in the forward cutting way, the way the rasp pattern is designed to cut. Look at the rasp so you understand the way it cuts.

5.When switching from using the nippers to the rasps, don't just toss your tools around on the ground. Place them carefully on a soft towel or board. You can also use the magnets of your hoof jack to lean the tools against when not using them.

6. After finishing your trim, brush your rasp clean with a non metal brush. Wire brushes will dull the rasp. Then store them in a dry environment. Rust will shorten their life.

7. Have all your tools protected when in transport. Don't let them bounce around in a box.


A word on the nippers: good nippers can last you many years. The same rules apply for protection as with the rasps. Don't use them on a dirty hoof, treat them with great care and use some oil or WD 40 to keep them protected from moisture. Rasps should not be oiled, however, it compromises the cutting and makes them collect dirt. Even when you take good care of your nippers, eventually they will dull. You can send it in to have it refurbished. Do not attempt to sharpen the nippers yourself. You will end up ruining them. Guaranteed. It takes great skill and knowledge to sharpen nippers. There are also mail-to services available to sharpen your rasp, but to make it cost effective with shipping, you should mail in several rasps together.

After you are done with your trim, wrap your nippers in a sleeve or protective cloth piece.


Hope these tips will help you getting most out of your investment.

Till the next time,

Your Bootmeister


Carry a Spare Easyboot

Carry an Easyboot or get a sense of humor! 
Does this sound familiar? This was one of EasyCare's first catch phrases, back when the only hoof boot product available was the Easyboot and most horses were shod. People would carry an Easyboot in their saddlepacks in case they lost a shoe, in fact many people still do.
 

 
 
Times are changing
More and more people are moving their equine partners toward natural horse care, transitioning their horse to barefoot and using some of the newer protective horse hoof protection such as the Epic, Easyboot Glove, and Glue-On. But the notion of carrying a spare applies more now than ever: if you are going on a multi-day ride, a pack trip or a riding vacation, make sure you are prepared in case of an emergency. 

Plan ahead
You carry a spare tire when you go on a road trip even though most of the time you never have to use it. Why not carry an extra boot when going on a trip with your horse? Planning ahead for unforseen situations can really make or break the trip you have been planning with your horse.

Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail
You can go to our on-line store or your local dealer to order your extra boot or boot accessories and while you are at it, order an EasyCare Hoof Boot Stowaway Bag to carry them in.

Shari Murray

easycare-customer-service-shari-murray

Customer Service

If you call the customer service help desk, you’ll probably get me on the phone! I process repairs, returns, credits and exchanges that come into EasyCare.

The Barefoot Horse and Hoof Boots Take a Huge Step Forward with Haggin Cup Win!

It was a day for all barefoot horses.  A day that will help the practice of keeping horses barefoot be less challenged in the future.  It was a day that Dr. Neel Glass (the inventor of the Easyboot) would have been proud. 

There are countless equestrian sports available to horse enthusiasts and different types of competitions within each discipline.  From dressage to eventing, to cutting, to reining, to jumping, to driving and endurance to name a few.  Each sport is exciting, competitive and invariably has its own event of significance within the discipline: like the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event for eventing, The Kentucky Derby for Thoroughbred racing and the Tevis Cup for endurance racing.  These historical events define the sport segment.  It’s where horsemen and horsewomen take their horses to measure them against the best.

The Tevis Cup 100-mile horse race is unquestionably one of the most difficult equine events in the world.  It has a deep tradition and its 55 year history defines the sport of endurance racing.  The challenging trail stretches from North Lake Tahoe in California to Auburn, California.  Riders and equines climb over Emigrant Pass at nearly 9,000 feet; traverse canyons with swinging bridges and ride in temperatures that often climb over 100 degrees.  Average completion rates run in the 50% range year after year after year.

Garrett and The Fury traverse the Granite Chief Wilderness

 

The winning horse and rider team is presented with the “ Tevis Cup”.  Winning ride times average 15 hours and the course record of 10:46 was set by Boyd Zontelli on Ruchcreek Hans.  The list of Tevis Cup winners reads like a legends of the sport list and is an award that most endurance riders can hardly imagine.

Although many look at the Tevis Cup as the ultimate achievement in endurance racing, others argue that the Haggin Cup is more prestigious.  Dr. Richard Barsaleau, a veterinarian who joined the race in 1961, was instrumental in creating this distinction, which he saw as an objective award that would recognize horsemanship, conditioning and respect for the health of the mounts.  But it would also honor great performance. Starting in 1964 the top ten horses would be judged for the Haggin Cup.  In her book, “The Tevis Cup: To Finish is to Win,” author Marnye Langer wrote: “Many people, especially noted horsemen, have come to regard the Haggin Cup as the most prestigious honor one can earn, and the award remains unique in both the sport of endurance and other equestrian pursuits as well.”

Garrett accepts the Haggin Cup Award at the Auburn Fairgrounds

 

Over the 55 year history of the Tevis Cup the majority of finishing and entering horses were fitted with steel iron horse shoes: horses required shoes to finish the grueling course.  In 1970 Dr. Neel Glass developed the Easyboot and rode the Tevis Cup five years later to show the world that his alternative hoof protection could complete the event.  Neel successfully completed the 1975 Tevis Cup and gave horse people everywhere an alternative means of hoof protection.  Neel’s Easyboot invention was quickly adopted as the “spare tire” for the horse.  Trail riders, endurance riders and equine owners across the world in all disciplines now carry a spare in case they ever lose a horseshoe.

Just as the Tevis Trail has changed over the years, so too has technology and the equipment used to compete at the event.  Saddles have become lighter and more flexible; feed and electrolytes have improved and hoof care has evolved dramatically.  Steel shoes are now seen next to urethane shoes and next to advanced versions of Dr Glass’ original Easyboot.

The Fords Junior at the Finish Line. Hand in hand after 100 miles.

 

Natural hoof care and booting the endurance horse for tough events is growing faster than any other type of hoof protection.  What was once thought to be impossible is now common practice for the barefoot horse fitted with Easyboots.  The 2010 event had at least 34 horses officially start in Easyboots and 20 horses finish: a 59% completion rate.  In 2009 the event had 20 horses start the event in Easyboots and 15 horses finish: a 75% completion rate.  Comparing the finish rates of the barefoot booted horse to the average overall finish rate of 50% suggests that barefoot booted horses are here to stay and that their numbers can only increase.

Garrett shows The Fury for the Haggin Cup.  Powerful and forward, a moment for the barefoot horse after a demanding 100 mile event.

 

The Haggin Cup has been won in the past by horses wearing Easyboots over iron shoes.  Sandy Brown and Ruby (The Wonder Mule) took home the Haggin Cup in 1998.  Heather Reynolds and Crystal’s Charm repeated with Easyboots in 1999.

The Haggin Cup, however, has eluded the barefoot horse until now.  The 2010 Haggin Cup makes history for the barefoot horse.  The Fury raced five 2010 endurance events leading up to the Tevis Cup in Easyboot Gloves, recording two Best Condition awards along the way.  Easyboot Glue-Ons were selected to protect Fury’s bare feet during the 2010 Tevis event and to help the barefoot horse make history.

An intimate look at the Haggin Cup Award: More Than the Cup

 

The 2010 awarding of the Haggin Cup to a barefoot horse marks a historic point in endurance racing and technological advancements.  One of the most difficult and demanding equine events in the world was just completed by 20 barefoot equines and the most prestigious award in endurance racing was just won by a barefoot horse.  It marks a significant change and proves that if an endurance horse can complete the toughest event in boots, so can most horse owners complete their back-country trails and equine pursuits successfully.

Congratulations to The Fury for making history and establishing change.  Thank you Dr. Neel Glass for inventing the Easyboot and giving horses and equestrians a choice!

Click here to see The Fury showing for the Haggin Cup.

 

How to Watch Our Webinars if You're Not On Facebook

If you don't like the idea of getting a Facebook account and you still want to watch the recordings of this week's EasyCare webinars, we have good news for you.
 
You can click on each of the video players below and watch them without logging into a Facebook account.
 
The webinars were fun to do and provided us with a wonderful opportunity to interact in real time with clients from across the country.

We got the following note from Lisa in Utah:

Please pass along my deepest thanks to Garrett, Kevin, Duncan and everyone who is making the webinars possible.

The shoe vs boot debate can get rabid at times! People are so passionate about it, wanting to do the right thing but knowing only ONE thing. You HAVE to play 'devils advocate' when making such a shift, leave no stone unturned, ask the right questions. You don't know what you don't know.

Shifting paradigms takes leadership, and great tact. You all do a fabulous job at answering questions, from newbies like me to critics everywhere.

"Forge" ahead!
 
 And we got this note from Gene in Vermont:

I have spent the last three days sitting at our computer between 7-8 EST glued to the Webinars. This live format is such a great idea! As when a question comes up in ones mind they can ask.
 
The first day was so nice seeing you all apply boots and discuss applications that your finding to work best. Being a visual learner makes all the difference when questions arise. And the fact that things happen, like when Kevin hit the boot on the footed he had taped and it popped off at first. Not a big deal, but for someone home alone trying to do they might freak out and say in wouldn't go on when they really need to be a little more forceful. Also seeing people writing their excitement over seeing the famous horses was fun. It was all educational and entertaining enough to make me get by the computer on Tuesday night.
 
The maintenance trim information was really good. Sometimes someone explains something you have heard a number of times and all of a sudden it becomes very clear what a number of others have been trying to say. So I thought this was great. Bring back the heel, then the toes then the quarters. I just seems to be systematic and make sense and I had not seen it or paid attention enough. I felt the overall delivery gave me more confidence working on my own horses.
 
Last night I abandoned our truck at the garage for the second night to watch the conclusion on the trilogy. Nutrition is such a big part of our performance horses that a lot of us don't really understand. Duncan gave some great basic guidelines as well as some good resources learning more. A few breaks in-between allowed soaking time of the information. And gave Garrett a opportunity to discuss some new products in the works just to wet everyone's appetites, with improved products and cutting edge new technology. All in all it was very informative and a great format. 



Webinar # 1: Easyboot Glove Fit & Easyboot Glue-On Application - Part I of II


Webinar #1: Easyboot Glove Fit & Easyboot Glue-On Application - Part II of II
 

Webinar #2: Hoof Care Maintenance & Trimming for the Amateur
 

Webinar #3: Nutrition Basics for the Barefoot Horse

We plan to air a second series of webinars in September. Please let us know if there is a specific topic you would like us to address.

Keep up the bootlegging!

Kevin Myers
 

Thank You Easycare, Inc!

I have made the incredibly hard decision to move back home and leave Easycare Inc. These last two working weeks have made me reflect on this last year and what I have learned and experienced working with Easyboots!

Removing my first Glue On in Durango
Removing my first Glue On boot in Durango Colorado

Just 2 months out of college, I packed up all my stuff and moved to beautifull Durango Co last August where I was to start my journey. My horse Abe had shoes on all four hooves and I was eager to pull them and learn about hoof boots. I had seen Easyboots at endurance rides but had never used them myself. In Durango I learned about all the different models and helped Garrett condition his horses for endurance rides. I also got to compete at quite a few races and see the boots in action.

Riding a booted horse at the Bryce Canyon XP Ride
Testing boots at an endurance ride in beautiful Bryce Canyon

A month later I was sent to Global Endurance in Moab Utah, where I helped Christoph Schork and Dian Woodward condition their many horses for endurance rides. Both Christoph and Dian use the Easyboot Glove and Glue Ons, and I had the privilege of seeing first hand how they condition their horses to become some of the top endurance horses in the country.

Training ride in Moab UT with Dian and Christoph
One of the many training rides in Moab with Dian and Christoph
 
After a little over a month I traveled back to my final destination of Tucson AZ where I started working in the office and where I got to see and help out behind the scenes of Easycare. I met some very dedicated people who are very passionate about barefoot horses and the comfort that Easyboots can give them.

In Tucson I also got to help out with conditioning Garrett's horses and started helping customers at rides. I used the boots almost everyday and really got a feel for them. I saw the changes in my own horse and really made a commitment to keeping my horse barefoot. In the past I've told people that if I left my job tomorrow I would continue to keep my horse barefoot and use Easyboots and I plan to stand by that.

Glueing boots on at an Endurance Race
Debbie and I glue boots on at the Lost Padres ride.
 
You have to realize that when you talk to someone from Easycare that they are more then just sales people, they have barefoot horses too and they have witnessed the same changes that I have in my horse. They really want these boots to work for you and will do whatever they can to try and make the process as easy as possible.
 
I will continue to attend endurance rides and use boots on my horse. I really believe in what I've learned here at Easycare and if you see me at a ride and have questions, please don't hesitate to ask! My favorite part was helping at the races and I hope to keep a little part of that always.

I somehow managed to glue a mallet to myself at a ride!
Somehow gluing a mallet to myself in the dark!
 
To everyone at Easycare and all the people I have met along the way; thank you for making this past year an absolute blast! The memories and experience I have gained is priceless and I will miss working with you everyday!

See you out on the trail!


Miriam Rezine

easycare-customer-service-miriam-rezine

Customer Service

You will probably speak with me if you call the EasyCare office to make a purchase or if you need help with one of our products. I am proud to work for a company dedicated to the health and well being of our equine partners.

Ride Tevis for Free Contestants Announced

On Saturday, July 24, 2010, approximately 200 riders will cross the start line of the 54th edition of the Tevis Cup. 36 of them will be officially competing in the Ride Tevis for Free Contest, which means that if they cross the finish line at the Auburn Fairgrounds their ride entry and belt buckle will be provided to them courtesy of EasyCare.

Competing riders must start and finish the race wearing four Easyboots. Although most of the riders will be using Easyboot Glue-Ons on barefoot horses, some contestants are using Original Easyboots glued on over steel shoes.

“That’s not all,” said Julia Lynn-Elias of Dewey, AZ, who is one of the contestants. “EasyCare is providing the boots for the event; the tools and equipment needed to apply the boots and the EasyCare staff are applying the boots for the riders. I'm definitely feeling lucky!”
 
As soon as competing riders cross the finish line at the Auburn Fairgrounds on July 24 or 25, 2010, EasyCare will reimburse riders their entry fees. The stakes are without question in favor of riders in Easyboots: the completion rate of horses in Easyboot Glue-Ons at the 2009 Tevis was an impressive 70% compared to the 50% average overall completion rate of all horses entered in the competition.

Riders will descend 23,000 feet and climb 19,000 feet. They will have to trot and canter up and down hard-packed service roads, pick their way through boulder fields and bogs and canter through forest trails. They will wade through rivers, navigate steep canyons, climb the infamous Cougar Rock and stumble their way in the thick, soupy darkness of night along precipitous mountain trails no wider than a horse.

We're all set up for a gluing festival, splitting the appointments over three days in two locations. More than half of the competing horses will have their boots applied at Barn 2 at the Auburn Fairgrounds. We've got a couple of stalls set up that will keep the horses out of the direct sunlight. The appointments start on Wednesday and Thursday in Auburn and then move up to Robie Park in Truckee on Thursday afternoon and Friday.

Ride Tevis for Free Contestants
  1. Laurie Birch
  2. Nicole Chappell
  3. Crystal Costa
  4. Connie Creech
  5. Karen Deaver
  6. Karen Donley
  7. JJ Donley
  8. Kathie Ford
  9. Garrett Ford
  10. Lisa Ford
  11. Rodger Ford
  12. Julia Lynn
  13. Debra Karl
  14. Paschal Karl
  15. Tennessee Mahoney
  16. Leah McCombs
  17. Duncan McLaughlin
  18. Kathy Myers
  19. Dave Rabe
  20. Heather Reynolds
  21. Jeremy Reynolds
  22. Tim Reynolds
  23. Carla Richardson
  24. Vicki Saitta
  25. Robin Schadt
  26. Christoph Schork
  27. David Shefrin
  28. Kathy Sherman
  29. Pascale Soumoy
  30. Steph Teeter
  31. Rusty Toth
  32. Kevin Waters
  33. Dian Woodward
  34. Janet Worts
  35. Kris Wright
Please join me in wishing all of our riders the very best of luck in the most gruelling of competitions. I'll be at the vet checks cheering them on and assisting them in any way that I can. I can hardly wait!

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.