Miles of Trails

Two more endurance rides have come and gone for Replika and myself. Our second ride of the season was the newly re-named Eagle Spring Fling. We have an advantage for this ride in that it's on our home turf. The disadvantage is having to go *through* home twice. I usually skip this ride for that reason alone, as our horses just can't understand why they can't go back to their pasture the first time through! 

Given the fact we know the trails, I know just how barefoot friendly they are. That said, I decided to use my Easyboot Gloves again on all four feet to keep up with all of our work we did desensitizing her to the gaiters. Much like our first ride of the year, she had no rubs or irritation throughout the entire 55-mile ride. Again, we were 5th place at almost the exact pace we did at the previous ride. If anything, we're consistent! This ride was definitely more difficult on boots than the first ride, as we dealt with slick mud, boggy bogs, sharp uphills and plenty of water crossings. I did experience my first hind boot loss on Replika, however, when she spooked hard and pulled her left hind boot off with her other foot. At that point in time she realized a giant badger had emerged from the ground and wrapped his grimy little hands around her fetlock, attempting to eat her as we were. She proceeded to kick the living snot out of him until the gaiter, er, I mean badger let go. It was impressive and the gaiter was completely obliterated. One of the greatest things about these boots is the fact that the gaiter can be replaced, or, the shell can be used as a Glue-On. Either way, it's win-win! 


Replika and I in the morning mist at Eagle Spring Fling. Steve Bradley Photography.

We felt like we were in the moorlands of Scotland with all the green and foggy mist. We are desert people and obviously not used to the humidity or green landscape! Most of this loop was extremely slick and boggy. Barefoot behind probably would have been a good idea, although she was very secure in her Gloves. 

I pulled her other boot and we continued on into camp where we completed the ride in excellent shape. I don't think any amount of athletic tape would have saved my lost boot given the way she stepped on herself. Thankfully, she was wearing rubber boots and not steel shoes that could have hurt her. After the ride I pulled her tack, pulled her Gloves and that was that. No muss, no fuss. 


After the Eagle Spring Fling, Replika was given her standard two weeks off where I was able to focus a bit on my geldings. But before I knew it, we were a week away from the Owyhee Fandango, where I had planned on doing a 100. What's the saying? The best laid plans? Well an outbreak of Equine Herpesvirus out West here put a big wrench in most everyone's travel plans regarding the Fandango ride, and for a while we weren't sure what was going to happen. A week before the ride we decided to continue on with our plans, only now the weather sucked! I decided to play it safe and enter the 80 mile ride which worked out well. 

Due to the fact I am still a paranoid freak of an endurance rider, I was concerned about the gaiters of the Gloves that haven't caused any problems all year to all the sudden cause us problems. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure they would have been just fine. Regardless, I decided to torture myself with the process of gluing, convincing myself it was worth it as a practice run for our next 100. I also told both geldings to expect their endurance careers to be almost exclusively done in Gloves and not expect any of the special treatment Replika gets. I think starting them now (while they are at the beginning stages of conditioning) in Gloves will prevent the problems we had transitioning Replika not only from shoes to boots but to the gaiters as well. 


Another Steve Bradley great. 30 miles into the 80 mile ride.

Gluing on was messy, which it usually is, but again I find the addition of Adhere at the top of the boot smothered in Goober Glue is just the ticket. Although the right hind boot twisted a bit before it set, we examined the break-over and watched her track straight and decided it should be ok for the ride. If there was any boot I expected to lose, it was that one, but it is still as stuck on today as all the others are. I was thankful for the full protection of not only the boots but also for the cushion of the Goober Glue down by the river where she trotted back and forth over the sharp volcanic rock on parts of the trail. We rode into camp at the finish at about 5:30PM where we completed the ride with an awesome CRI and excellent final exam. Given the fact I was the only entry in the 80, we were first, last, mid-pack and turtle. Our ride time was a bit over nine hours, which was a pretty quick *true* 80 mile ride! She looked great that night and the next day. I just love this mare. 


Running into Karen Bumgarner at Z Summer Thunder headed down into the canyon on the 100 mile ride. Unfortunately it just wasn't Thunder's day, but the upside of that is they weren't stuck out on the trail when the nasty storm blew in. Karen has done several long rides with Easyboot Gloves and no problems.


The petroglyphs that we ride through on this loop are amazing!



Another reason I was super glad to be finishing up at 80 miles! This storm hit pretty hard!

I have now ridden over 1,500 AERC miles in Easyboot Gloves and Glue-Ons. I can't even imagine the number of trail miles I have ridden in them, but I'm sure it's substantial. I could never even consider going back to steel shoes, or relinquishing the control I have over my horses' feet. There should be a disclaimer at the bottom of these blogs and on the package of boots in fine print warning people about the effects of knowing too much and learning more. Be warned, your life will never be the same, and neither will the life of your horse!

Good luck!
~Amanda Washington
SW Idaho

Back On Track

After a down period during the winter when we went in Florida for two rides:

- Goethe 75 using gloves(slightly off going out on the last loop but fine the very next day)
- Gator Run 50, put on the Gloves the night prior, Twist was uncomfortable in the morning, so I did not start the ride.

I was very disappointed and not feel very positive for the future; very doubtful of my horse, of her feet, of the boots. When everything goes right you don't analyze too much (hmm, I guess I do). But when everything goes bad, you start to look at every little detail.

Anyway, I measured her feet and suprise! Her feet had grown one size since last year, so voila for the "Did Not Start" at Gator, could you imagine spending the night in shoes that are one size smaller than your feet and then go for a run? Ouch! So new boots arrived, the weather finally let us do some conditioning but not a whole lot.

I had entered Twist in The Rabbit Run 50 in March but decided to back down to the 30, it's only her 2nd season, and I had planned to enter the Old Dominion No Frills 55 two weeks later.

So my plan was to use Rabbit Run to tune up Twist (in Glue-Ons) for the OD No Frills. Keeping our pace and ride with negative splits (last loop faster than the 1st one). My plan worked since we finished 1st (granted a few riders got lost, but hey, it's part of the game) and she looked like she was ready for more at the end.

So this weekend we went to OD No frills, and the least I can say is we had thrills! My mare was great, the Glue-Ons rocked the very muddy, slippery, rocky trails!

We finished 9th in 5 hours and 11 minutes: very fast ride. My mare was on top of her game, wanted to canter the whole thing, even through the rocks. I did not let her as I thought we were going to die! But I let her pick her pace on the stretches with nice footing as long as she was relaxed, not pulling and slowed down when I asked her.

What a fun day it was, the boots stayed on perfectly! I have yet to put them on myself, it's my trimmer who really is a farrier with an open mind who glued them on for me.

So we are back on track! I think doubting, questioning yourself and your horse is a sane part of our sport and glitches humbled us (riders). But keep your spirits up as there is always another ride, take care of your issues as there is only one horse.

Photo credit: Dawn Engle (who I tied with and whose horse, Wirtual Dreams, got BC and high Vet Score!)

Name: Sandra Fretelliere
City: Brooklyn, New York
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove

Meeting Team Easyboot 2011 Members: Natalie Herman

So, you think boots are nothing for a real trail rider or packer? You think your kind of riding is impossible in anything but steel shoes? Think again!

Clyde in his boots after the ride... he got a little banged up in the brush and needed wrapping...

Clyde Ready to go in his boots.

Out here in the Wild Wild West of the Northern California mountains (shaped by tectonic and volcanic forces, and the addition of coastal weather erosion, these are "Man from Snowy River" style mountains), we do more than trail riding...we do EMT...Extreme Mountain Trails. If you make mistakes out here, you will likely need an EMT of another sort.


The dogs even get tuckered out in this terrain... drink and cool off at the same time, smart pup!

This means your horse and yourself better be in good shape, and be well trained, and your equipment better work right and hold up. There is no room for error out here, and the only way our for humans is maybe life-flight (nearest hospital is almost 3 hours by car, same for the nearest vet), and horses...well, let's just say there's no vet that will get to you in time, if you make a mistake.


Here I tried to capture the view of the mountains in the distance. Not easy while standing on a slope I was sliding off of with every step.

I get to come to this wonderful part of the world at least once a month, since I just started doing 'rounds' up here (in the vicinity of Ruth Lake, off Hwy 36, to give you a general idea on Google Earth) to trim horses. To make it worth my drive, I stay a weekend and get to ride with my friend (and 'home base' out here while trimming and riding, and my mountain trail guide) Willi, who has explored many hidden areas of these mountains. After a day of work, we then get to go play :) And it is a mighty big playground!


Up front, Willi on his Kentucky Mountain mare Little, in boots. Then Julie on her mule, who is waiting for his boots to arrive (but did fine bare on this easy trail...not much gravel here). One of our many creek crossings...

One of the days we went on a fairly easy, single track trail named "Hell Gate". Hmmm...I thought it was lovely, and can't figure why it got that name. It mostly follows a river (the Eel I think?) and you cross lots of creeks that flow into the river (with slippery rock bottoms, beautiful little waterfalls, and neat foot bridges) and meanders through both open timber stands and tighter oak/scrub brush areas.

Willi and Little in another clear you can see her boots :) But cooolllld water!

This was the coolest bridge we had to cross over! The horses marched on over with no issues.


Clyde and me in the lead, Julie and Marge Mule behind...

We had lunch on the river bank, near the site of an old stone bridge. The trail was an old supply and mail trail that had serviced the area during the gold mining age and part of the lumber boom days. Nothing remained of the old home sites and the many ppl that must have been spread out in this river canyon, but the few scattered stones of home foundations, or clearings that had held buildings. Once in a while we saw an old orchard or even some wooden shacks of a little newer ranching history. This was a fun and historic trail ride.


Lunch on the dressage saddle is a bit out of place in this line-up, LOL :)

The old bridge pylon...all that is left of the bridge...


Some of the trail terrain...

Then on another trip up, Willi decided to take me exploring. He said that we were going to go looking for some trails and roads we might be able to use for a future endurance ride we fantasized about holding in the area. While we were out there, he talked about how all the old timers said there was an old Native hunting trail in that area, that connected the valley we were riding out of, to the next few over. But no one had a real answer for where it was, except off one of the forest service roads we were riding that day. The newer maps only had the roads and newer trails on them, and it was hard getting your hands on old maps of the area that still had the old trails.


This was the trail we found... shooting back towards where we came from...

Well, we only had three branches of roads to explore that were public access, and all three ended in dead end turnarounds. But the last one we tried, had what looked like an ATV trail that was not oft used going up the ridge off of it. We hit the dead end and on the way back, decided to follow the ATV trail, as Willi said crossing the ridge would be heading in the right direction towards the valley we were wanting to connect to. The atv track wound it's way in the timber, up the side of the ridge, first gradually, then steep and straight up towards the spine. It became less and less distinct as it wound its way up, and finally became a single track trail as it crested over the other side. Here, it slithered its way out into more of an open hillside, clinging onto the shale and dirt in the vain hope of still pulling off the image of being anything but a faint goat track on the side of a big mountain.


No... this horse does not have uneven knees...


And neither do I! :)

I was riding behind Willi, and had no clue where we were going, or what he was actually still following, and seriously questioning my sanity (whilst thouroughly enjoying the adrenaline rush of clinging to the side of a mountain, on a great horse, like an overgrown goat). Now we emerged into EMT country :) And it sure is fun riding rough country like this...provided you are on a sure footed and level headed mount. And have the tack to do it in!


This is a 15.2hd horse... I am standing right next to him...I am 5'4"... he is not putting his head down either... LOL....

Shooting downslope... I had to sit down after a few minutes, as I kept slipping and my ankles were tired of holding me in the loose slope...

I had pulled the shoes on Willi's horses maybe 6 months ago at best, and trimmed them up and fitted him in some Easyboot Gloves. We also slapped some powerstraps on, knowing all he does is rough terrain riding and there is hardly a flat trail out in his neck of the woods. Both his horses have done marvelously bare and in the boots, both EMT riding at home and going to endurance rides as well. And today, I saw how he puts them to the test... No matter the footing (up or down hill, through water, mud, dirt, rock, or whatever) and cutting through bushes and over deadfall to track a trail, and yes...clinging to the side of a mountain for dear life, the Gloves stayed on, provided comfortable and grippy footwear for the horses, and never gave us a hesitation or misstep out there, which in this kind of riding could prove disastrous. I already had used the Gloves for endurance riding a lot, or Glue Ons for multi-day rides. Now I knew that they would work for ANY kind of riding....if they withstood this test, then everything from the arena to the trail wouldn't stand a chance. :)


Clyde was clawed into the slope like a goat... and even then, his boots were not finding enough trail to hold onto. Luckily they hold onto that little bit of trail really well!


Little had one of the few flat(ish) spots on the trail...she managed to turn around here. The downed tree is pretty much behind her, and we had to get her backed into it, to get Clyde halfway onto her spot, so he could turn around too...

These are all pics of us on the side of the mountain, where we had to turn around (yes, right THERE...don't ask me how the horses did it, but both of them got turned around and facing the right way without incidence) due to a large tree that needs to be cut out of the hillside. The neat thing is, is that Willi went exploring past the tree (while I took these pics) and said the trail looked like it kept going. And then at home on the map, we saw that the service road we had come off of, and a service road from the valley we were trying to get into, were less than a mile apart..and the atv track and this trail was at least a 1/2 mile long to the tree point... so that meant we were SO CLOSE to our goal! Willi promised to get up and hike it with some trail clearing tools and then next time I come up, we'd ride the whole way... YES! That will be an adventure for another write up....maybe I'll take some video next time. We'll send it in to those 'Extreme Trail Race' groups and see what they think... My horses may or may not go through a tarp tunnel, but will their horse cling to the side of a mountain in hoofboots like mountain goat? The invite is there...anyone that wants to can come join us for the next EMT ride in the Trinity Mountains of Northern California :)

After the ride, Clyde says "That was fun...all in a good day's work... no problem!"

The Bootmeister Invites You to an Upcoming Hoof Care Clinic

A one day hoof care clinic will be organized and conducted by Global Endurance Training Center and the Bootmeister. This event will be in timely proximity to the Owyhee Fandango Pioneer Ride, a 3 day ride, a first class endurance event in Oreana, Idaho, on May 27th, 28th and 29th. A long time favorite for riders from all over the world, this is an event you do not want to miss. Besides the 3 Day Pioneer ride, the event will also feature a 80 and 100 mile ride.

Hoof Care Clinic Germany

Christoph Schork at a recent Huf Coach Clinic in Germany. 

The Hoof Care Clinic will take place Wednesday, May 25th, in Eagle, Idaho, very close to the Fandango ride and this presents an unique opportunity to attend both events in the same trip, a big consideration during this time of ever rising fuel prices.

This clinic will cover in detail the anatomy of the horses lower limbs and discuss various hoof trimming techniques. 

Global Endurance Training Center Presents:

Hoof care options for the competitive endurance horse

 Presentation, Discussion & Demonstration
When: Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
9 am – 5 pm
2880 N Eagle Rd
Eagle, Id 83616
(Eagle Exit on I-84, 2 miles north of Eagle at corner of Eagle Rd and Beacon Light Rd)
Tel: 208 939 0785
Participation Fee: $ 200.00 if paid before May 18th ( $ 225.00 after deadline)
9 am – 10 am: Functional Anatomy of the  Equine limb
10 am -11 am: Limb and Hoof Biomechanics

11 am – 12 am: Conformation and Hoof capsule distortion
12 am – 1 pm: Lunch ( lunch will be provided) During lunch, opportunity for Q&A
1 pm – 3 pm: Practical session with live horses: Conformation analysis, hoof care and trimming
3 pm – 5 pm: Choices of hoof protection and application


Christoph Schork, Hoof Care Provider, Farrier and rider; Global Endurance Training Center, Moab Utah
 20 year experience as farrier, hoof care specialist, bare foot trimmer
10 year experience as clinician in hoof care and horse training in the Americas, Australia and Europe 
25 year experience as horse trainer, endurance rider, national and international competitor(1st place in 2007 Quilty Gold Cup, PANAM, WEG rider)
With partner Dian Woodward: combined completion mileage of over 35,000 miles and combined 1st place finishes of over 230

Olin Balch, DVM, MS, PhD, North Fork Veterinary Service, Cascade, Idaho
Participant in endurance riding (vetting/judging, riding) and ride-in-tie events since 1980
Resident farrier for the Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine from 1976 to 1980 and from 1986 –1991
PhD. Degree in Equine Locomotion and Biomechanics; PhD. Dissertation: Effects of alterations in hoof angle, mediolateral balance, and toe length on kinetic and temporal parameters of horses walking, trotting, and cantering on a high-speed treadmill
One of 38 veterinarians selected world-wide since 1997 to the International Equine Veterinarian Hall of Fame that recognizes veterinarians who have contributed to the knowledge and recognition of proper hoof care for horses
51 national and international presentations and 34 refereed scientific papers and proceedings on shoeing, hoof balance, and lameness issues

Sign up at:
Global Endurance Training Center
4381 Heather Lane
Moab, Ut. 84532

Tel: 435 719 4033
Cell: 435 260 1494

Discussion on Conformation

Conformation and hoof growth, how do they relate to each other? Just one of the topics we will cover during this educational opportunity.

During this clinic, we will also discuss and demonstrate natural hoof trimming, barefoot trimming, natural hoof care, horse shoes, protective horse boot application and other hoof care products. 

Participants are welcome to bring their own horses for hoof evaluation and trimming suggestions.

Vettec, Inc has been a long time sponsor and contributor to GETC hoof care clinics and the Fandango rides. Without the Vettec Glue on Products, many new hoof protection products and protective horse boots could not even get applied. Vettec is sponsoring a Wine and Cheese party on Friday evening at the Fandango ride. All clinic participants are invited to join us there.

wine and cheese

Vettec also donated some raffle items, which will be given away to clinic participants. These include  Vettec products like Adhere, Equipak and an application gun. We appreciate Vettec's support for continuous education and the welfare of our equine friends.

Following the educational clinic in Eagle, Christoph will be available during the Fandango ride in Oreana for a free Q&A session each day of the event from 4 pm to 5 pm. You may bring your horse for a hoof evaluation and suggestions for hoof care.

This is a great opportunity to learn, ride and have fun with like-minded riders, trainers, farriers and hoof care practitioners. Don't be left out!


See you in Eagle.

Your Bootmeister

Charm School

A few weeks ago I loaded up the new pony, Charmy-Schmarmy, and took him to kindergarten. Not only is this a huge step for him, it's a huge step for myself- an obsessive-compulsive, worrying control-freak of a person. Was he ready? Was the trainer really that good? What if he didn't recognize a potential little sign of not-quite-rightness and a horrible injury ensues? What if they don't notice he isn't eating well and he colics? What is he ties-up after a few days off? And my main concern- what if Charm's bare feet can't handle training on the trails without the protection that horse trainers in this area seem to be completely adverse to using (unless, of course, the protection is nailed-on steel). Clearly I am a freak, but we already knew this.  

Of course I'm being a bit dramatic here. But, as this was to be the first time I've ever sent a horse off to training, I was understandably a bit worried. However, I checked out this trainer thoroughly including riding three horses that he had put thirty days on and was very pleased. The owner of the facility happens to be Charm's breeder, which is why I felt confident leaving him there. I was, however, not kidding when I say I was concerned about the potential for Charm getting sore feet. After three rides in the round pen, my baby pony was ready for the trails. One of the other main reasons I decided to send him to this trainer was due to the fact he does most of his riding on the trails from the facility, which are mostly good footing but can be pretty hard with some rock. I didn't want to pay for someone to ride the kid in the arena, I wanted him out on the trails so he's ready to go when I got him home!! Woo-hoo! This training thing is a pretty sweet deal!


After two weeks, we went to see Charm being ridden and check out his feet. He went so well in the round pen that I just HAD to get on him. No, I didn't have my helmet, and yes, I know how risky it is to ride without one, but did it anyway. What a cool little horse this is going to be! I made my ride short and sweet, just getting on, walking around each direction along with a few halts and some moving off the leg. He's going great and from what I understand keeps getting better and better. So far his feet are doing well, although I will be going back out tomorrow and checking them further. We have had a ton of rain and he is in a bedded stall so the ground is soft and wet and his feet are staying dry. As he only has four weeks left (trainer takes six weeks to put on thirty days) I would be safe to glue-on boots if necessary, although I don't think it will be a problem. 


What have you done with your barefoot horses while sending them to training? Of course when I mentioned I could leave his boots with him, the trainer wanted to know why I was "opposed" to nail-on shoes. I can understand why a trainer wouldn't want to mess with a bunch of booted horses, but felt a little backed into a corner. 

Turns out Charm's feet did get sore, about five weeks into his training. It worked out in my favor that during his weekend off, it rained so the ground got wet again, but I did end up bringing him home a few days early. I think the ideal situation would have been to glue on boots for the last two weeks, but of course that is all hindsight. 

What I brought home was a well-started horse who enjoyed a few weeks off while I was riding the others. I pulled him out for the first time on Sunday, which was three weeks after he came home. I hadn't done much with him since bringing him home, so was pleasantly surprised when I got on (and he stood still!!) and then left the ranch with a forward, ground-covering walk. He was comfortable barefoot, and I plan to ride him primarily barefoot this summer as we'll be taking it super slow. I snapped a few pictures of his feet when we got back from our five mile jaunt. He is in need of a trim now, which is good because he was pretty dang short when I brought him home. Can you believe the difference in these feet?!?!

Remember these pictures from his pre-purchase exam? YIKES!

left hind

Both hind feet

right hind

left front

Front feet shots, mid-trim.

right front before

And now we have some nice feet!! His front feet are in serious need of a trim, but I am pleased with the way they are growing. He appears to wear fairly evenly, despite breaking over a bit to the outside. His back feet are self-trimming and wearing well. What a change in those back feet, eh? 

hind now

Hind foot #1

hind now

Hind foot #2. Much better!

Front feet-


And check out the nutrition line..


All in all I am pretty pleased with the new addition. Hope to be out on the trail with him in full force very soon! 


Until next time!
~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho

Dealer of the Month: Randy Hensley

Randy grew up with horses: he used to team rope and was a rodeo pickup man. He now lives with his wife and two sons on a farm in small-town Iowa. They like to trail ride when time permits: he enjoys the time spent with family and being outdoors. He works full-time trimming, rehabilitating hooves and conducting clinics. He and his wife boot their horses if needed when riding in an environment they are not used to.

When someone calls him for the first time, he asks a lot of questions. “I want to get some history on the horse if possible: what the living conditions are; what the diet is; what the horse is, or was used for; how much it is ridden, and in what situation. I explain my thoughts on hoof care and what is involved to get a healthier hoof. A change in diet, living conditions (environment), and hoof protection will all be looked at.”

Randy Trimming

Like many of his peers, Randy believes the hoof boot industry has changed tremendously. “When I first started in the farrier business,” he says, “a hoof boot was a spare tire in case you broke down. As boots have evolved, they now are a very good option for hoof protection. Even the changes since I switched from shoeing to barefoot have been quite a lot in a few years.” When he made the switch, he did a lot of rehabilitations with Epics that still had teeth. “I modified this in most every boot that I fit so that it would not get into the hoof wall. The pad selection was not where it is today either: I did a lot of making pads out of what ever I thought would work. Then came comfort pads and now there is a wide selection.”

Randy attributes his success to the many people he has met in the time he has been a farrier and now a hoof care practitioner. “There are far too many to people to mention, but I want to thank them all. I would not be where I am today if it were not for the help and education that those individuals have given me.”

He has been carrying EasyCare products since 2006. He stocks Epics, Old Macs, Rx, Gloves, Glue-Ons and pads in his vehicle. The boots he uses the most and his favorite EasyCare boots are the Gloves and Glue-Ons. He uses the RX boots for his rehab cases.

Randy was a traditional farrier for several years. He made the switch to barefoot after a couple of clients began working on him to start trimming their horses that way. “I was very skeptical at first. I began to realize I had a lot to learn; I changed my style of trimming and way of thinking. I began applying natural hoof care to the problem feet that I had. The improvements were amazing; the founder and navicular cases I had been struggling with were improving. As time went on, I changed my business to trimming and rehabilitation, no longer using steel shoes for hoof protection.”

Randy Clinic

When asked what he sees in the future of barefoot, he says “My hope is that I will see the day when barefoot is normal for all horses.”

For more information on Randy Hensley visit his website at

Glove Love

Well we all know that I have been blogging (blabbing??) on and on for the past couple months about my plans to be a slave-no-more to gluing on boots. I love Easyboot Glue On's with Goober Glue and Adhere. I think the performance of the Glue-Ons is absolutely the best form of hoof protection for us. If applied correctly, there is very little failure and the peace of mind during the long miles or several days in a row is completely worth it. However, having done several one-day 50's in Gloves before, I knew there was another way! Like I have written, my mare has shown a propensity to be sensitive to EVERYTHING, and as such, had a difficult time with the gaiters on boots causing irritation. That said, I did my homework starting in January. I decided to to all of our longer training rides in a full set of Gloves, and went barefoot during our shorter mid-week rides. The longest ride we did was only 17 or so miles, but after several weeks of riding consistently in all four Gloves with no irritation, they were ready for the test!


Replika sporting her Gloves complete with pink Power Straps. Photo beautifully taken by Steve Bradley.

Saturday was the annual Owyhee Tough Sucker Endurance Ride. It's the first ride of the season for Idaho, and only the second for the Northwest. The weather usually SUCKS and I was looking forward to not having to deal with gluing on boots mid-week during a raging blizzard/rain/thunder/lightning storm like I have in years past. Nope, this time I sat twiddling my thumbs Thursday night when I normally would have been covered in glue. I got a lot of stuff done and we had a stress-free departure early Friday afternoon. We got to ridecamp and set up in about five minutes with the use of Replika's HiTie. Going off-topic for a moment, I have to say we just love our HiTie. There is no easier camp set-up than just swinging out the arm, plopping in the pin and attaching the bungee. Done. Clean-up is just as fast and we will be soon putting two additional HiTies on the trailer and doing away with the portable pen. Nice! 


Picture by Merri Melde

We vetted in leisurely after I slapped on a brand-new pair of Gloves in the front because I know the trot-out area has some rocks. After I was done vetting, one the local riders needed some help with her horse who would be competing the next day in his first booted ride. He and his rider had been having some trouble with their Gloves staying on, so we set them up in proper sizes which were reinforced when I needed a screwdriver to pry them off! Unfortunately he was a bit sore so his owner opted not to start, which is always a difficult call to make, emotionally, even though most people know what the right decision should be. There will be more rides and now his rider has even more time to work out their booting issues and be well-prepared for the next ride! 

During the ride meeting, Steph Teeter and I decided to start the day off together and see how things went. Replika and Steph's gelding, Rhett, had gone out together a few weeks ago and seemed to tolerate each other, as much as such independent horses can, and it ended up working very well! Steph and I had an absolute blast, flying along the trails on two great horses, chatting up a storm and marveling at the scenery and amazingly perfect weather. No hardships at this ride, we were oh-so-lucky, and equally appreciative! 


Replika at the vetcheck in her Gloves. No issues here!


Steph began the barefoot transition for her herd last year while wintering in Scottsdale. She and her horse, Rhett, are a new decade team, and at 20 years old, Rhett has over 5000 miles including nine 100's and Tevis just last year! This guy is amazing. While he didn't have much trouble with his transition, Steph noticed a substantial improvement in his metabolic recoveries after switching to boots. Staying consistent, he was awesome on Saturday and both horses completed our fast ride (exactly five hours) with heart rates in the 50's. The kicker of this is that Rhett was completely barefoot behind!! Funny thing is, despite just being trimmed on Wednesday, Steph couldn't fit him into his boots (size 2.5 hind boots!!) the morning of the ride so she decided to do it barefoot and see how he did. That horse never missed a step. Awesome. 


Steph and Rhett's sexy butt and bare feet at the vetcheck. 


Rhett's hind foot after 50 miles completely barefoot. 

We rode pretty fast all day, staying at a consistent 10mph. My boots didn't budge the entire first loop, which was 25 miles. At the vetcheck, I pulled back the gaiters but didn't even have any debris to brush out. I had applied Replika's boots first thing in the morning, using a few wraps of athletic tape and Powerstraps on her front feet. Her hind boots fit beautifully so we just put them on as is. About halfway through the second loop I noticed Rep's right front boot was a bit twisted. She is technically an 0 on that foot but seems to move better on 0.5 as she doesn't like any heel pressure. Now keep in mind that I take the risk of putting her in a larger boot on that foot based on trial and error. These are the things that you learn after really putting in the time with that particular horse. It pays to put some time into this stuff! At the next water stop, I popped off the twisted boot, shook out some sand that had gotten into the toe and slapped it back on. We cantered the most of the next eight or so miles into camp and had no more twisting. I won't change anything for the next ride besides adding another wrap of tape and spending more time making sure the foot is really set in the boot. 


Replika's pastern's immediately after the ride. The line on the inside of the left pastern rubbed out with a brush. There was no swelling or stocking up later that day or the next morning. 


Hind ankles look great!

Replika felt strong and even all day. It was one of our best rides and I am beyond happy to have the option of using Gloves instead of Glue-Ons for single day rides. If I can stress anything at this time, it is to know what a good barefoot trim looks like and how proper hoof form will not only prevent most, if not all, boot-retention problems, but is also best for the horse in regards to mechanics, structure and soft-tissue. A horse with long toes, misshapen hoof walls, high/low heels or flares will not usually hold boots. A competition is not the time or place to experiment or try something new. And honestly, there is no shame in keeping shoes applied until you have enough time to give to a proper transition and the learning curve of using hoof boots. We definitely want everyone to share the same success with natural hoof care and boots that we have, but at the same time, it isn't usually instant gratification. That said, it's completely worth it!

'Till Next Time,
Amanda Washington
SW Idaho

The Gaiter Experiment

A few months ago, I decided that I was going to go about a few things differently this year than I have in the past. Given the fact I own the most sensitive, red-headed mare that ever existed, I know I have to plan things a bit differently than I have in the past with my other horses. The main area I wanted to change was my boot situation for the upcoming endurance ride season. Because Replika has shown herself to be incredibly thin-skinned and prone to irritation and scratches on her lower legs. She doesn't handle things like a simple scrape or laceration like most horses and has shown irritation with the gaiters. 


Booted up to go for a ride. This was our first long ride of the season with Gloves.

Last winter I worked on riding her completely barefoot. She came to me in the fall in shoes and we spent a lot of time rehabbing her feet by riding barefoot. By the time ride season came around, I tried using Gloves for a few long hard rides, and while she did ok in them, I didn't feel comfortable using them on an endurance ride. Because of that, I opted to glue on boots for every ride last year. Of course the Glue-Ons work beautifully, but it always felt a little overboard gluing on boots for a one-day 50. 


If anything, gluing on boots for every single ride last year perfected my application. 

I decided that I didn't want to be glued to gluing on boots for every ride this year! I also knew that because of her skin issues we would have to work up to doing a ride in Gloves with a long period of training rides in Gloves. You know the old adage, don't change anything before a ride! I wanted to start long before a ride. 

I started in January, choosing the longer of the week's conditioning rides to use boots on. It's a fine line, because it's so dang important to ride these horses enough barefoot to develop those beautiful bare feet, but I also needed to toughen up her skin to be able to tolerate gaiters for 50 miles. So from then on, we have done all of our longer weekend conditioning rides in Gloves, and I am happy to report that things are going really well! While she had a little irritation the first few rides, the last few have been wonderful! No rubs, no scratches and no more "squishy heel syndrome" despite a few wet and muddy rides. We'll knock on wood that we don't develop anymore of the above anytime soon! 


The reason for the squishy heels... 15 miles in mud and muck. Easyboot Gloves are the mud tire of the hoof boot world.

Although I have been using the Gloves for the past couple of years, I always continue to learn more and more about fit, application and other adjustments. I don't think I can stress enough how important it is to have a good fit as well as utilizing Power Straps and athletic tape to improve upon success. 

Another important area to examine is the bottom of the boot. While the newest model Gloves sport the shortened factory break-over, some horses need a little extra help. I have had horses wear their own break-over in their Gloves after a few short miles, while others take longer to adjust. After a few training rides in her Gloves, Replika was still forging pretty significantly. I also noticed that she was collecting sand in the toe of the boot, which prevented the boot from properly fitting around her foot and even further changing the natural break-over! I had to further look at the entire picture. 


Rasping in an exaggerated break-over.

I first took my rasp and exaggerated the break-over of the boot. Hard. I didn't so much rasp into the top of the toe, but I really focused on the bottom of the boot and the edges of the tread at the toe. I then decided that I was going to *really* seat the boot on the foot. I wrapped her front feet with athletic tape and picked up my trusty mallet. I swear this boot thing has me using tools that I never even knew existed! Usually I twist the boot on the foot with my bare hands, but decided that the foot must not have been fully seated in the boot due to the sand building up in the toe. So after I twisted on the boot like normal, I used the mallet to make sure there was no space in the front of the boot. Well DUH! All the sudden the Glove looked like the second skin of her natural foot, and we had no more forging!! 


New and improved break-over. You can see the rough area in the below photo, which is where I focused on rasping. 

We have the first ride of the season next weekend. I am confident in using the Gloves for her back feet, and am working towards feeling comfortable using them on her front feet. Because I have spent so much time treating scratches, I am obviously worried they will crop up before the ride and force me to use glue, but so far, so good! 

Have you found anything that improves the fit or function of your Gloves? I would love to hear your ideas!!

Until next time,

~Amanda Washington
SW Idaho

Dealer of the Month: Eric Knapp

When Eric Knapp gets a new client, he starts by evaluating the needs of horse and rider alike.  He enjoys passing on knowledge and ideas to help the horse. He assesses environment, diet, hooves and physical needs.

Eric believes the hoof care industry is in great flux and that as boot technology evolves, therapy horses, pleasure horses and working horses are all able to live their lives more comfortably without shoes. "People are learning that boots can do the job of traditional shoes and that they last longer," says Eric. "My clients are often surprised to find that the boots of today are much easier to use than prior models."

Eric lives in central Illinois with his wife and two children, but his trimming business takes him from Chicago to Missouri and from Indiana to Iowa. After 20 years of driving a semi, he turned his dream job into a reality four years ago and started trimming horses full-time. He is now a member of the American Hoof Association and specializes in the natural trim.

The Knapp family currently owns five horses that they taking out camping and riding throughout the Midwest. When asked about his favorite event, Eric doesn't even hesitate: "Each year I ride with a group of people to the Fort Madison Rodeo in Iowa: the trip is about 115 miles. The first year I went barefoot, but the second year I used Easyboot Glue-Ons with Goober Glue. The boots gave my horse added protection and comfort. In fact all 17 horses on the ride were booted, barefoot and happy."

17 Happy Ones

If you ask Eric what he attributes his success to, he'll tell you it that much of it comes from a good product that is user friendly. "Your boots are easy to put on and simple to modify so it makes my job easier." As an EasyCare dealer, Eric likes to carry Glue-Ons, Gloves, Epics, and Easyboot Rx. He also keeps a supply of comfort pads in all densities and sizes, power straps and spare boot parts. "By far my best selling product is the Easyboot Glove: people like how simple, easy to put on, and durable it is." He prefers the Rx boot for therapy and the Glove as riding boot. For people transitioning their horses from steel to boots, he usually recommends the Epic.

Crossing The Mississippi

Eric's great success story was a Cushing's horse that had foundered and had a rotated coffin bone when he first met it. He gave him a natural trim and put him in Rx boots with a pair of comfort pads. He cut a hole in the pads where the tip of the Coffin bone was and it gave the horse instant relief. "When I drove up, the horse could barely walk: it was in obvious pain.  But by the time I left he was walking considerably better.  That's a good feeling to know that you brought some comfort to a horse in pain."

Looking forward, Eric believes the barefoot trim is the healthiest option for a horse.  "I believe horse hoof boots are the horseshoe of the 21st century.  You can do about anything with a boot that you can do with a horseshoe.  The new Glue-Ons and Gloves provide endless options for horse owners."

The Big Picture

Big picture

The year 2010 was sure remarkable in many ways within the horse industry and the hoof care market. Never before have we seen such a revolutionary development occuring.

The Background
For over 2,000 years now, horses have had iron horse shoes applied to their hooves. Yes, the form and shape changed from something more crude to more modern shaped keg shoes. But basically horse shoeing stayed the same for 2,000 years.

mongolian shoeing

Here, horse shoeing the old way, in Mongolia.

For every shoeing, the blacksmith or farrier needed to be called. No rider or horse owner dared to trim their horses hooves, not to mention nail iron shoes on. Suddenly, after 2,000 years, what changed?
  • Blacksmithing and farrier work is hard, fewer farrier enter the profession.
  • Horse owners having an ever more difficult time scheduling shoeing.
  • Farriers are often late for their appointment or do not show up at all.
  • Costs for shoeing are ever increasing.
  • Horse owners and riders are getting more educated and question traditional methods.
I have traveled all over the world, Europe, Asia, all of the Americas, and the issues are the same everywhere.

As a logical consequence, barefoot riding is becoming more and more the norm. Don't get me wrong, horses have been ridden barefoot for thousands of years. But then it was out of necessity, because either there was too much snow or no farriers were available. One might say it was a necessary evil to ride bare. Only during the last few years have notable pioneers like Pete Ramey (there are many others, of course) studied and researched bare foot trimming. I mention Pete Ramey, because he comes from a farrier background and researched the horses hooves like no other. Furthermore, he is closest to my trimming philosophy, he is non judgmental and open minded like no other person in the hoof care market that I know of.

This is the first time ever, that hoof care is now possible for every horse owner and rider.  Available hoof trimming clinics, bare foot trimming seminars, natural hoof care clinics are becoming ever more popular.

So, where do the boots come in, what does EasyCare have to do with it?

One might say, EasyCare was at the right place at the right time when the hoof care revolution began. But that would not be the whole truth. Real leaders are shaping history. And EasyCare truly shaped the history of hoof care and hoof protection. Leading the way with research and development, endless testing and studying bare hoof mechanics and methods of protecting hooves without the invasive nailing has been of utmost importance for EasyCare and its staff.

From the original 'spare tire', where the old style easyboots were used for, EasyCare boots like the Epics, the Bares, the Grip, the Edge, the Gloves and Glue ons shaped the future of the hoof protection market like no other. In my opinion, EasyCare will lead the way for years to come.

Easyboot samples

Traditional Easyboot, Epic, Glove and Glue-On.

On 5-12-2008, Pete Ramey wrote:


I have no doubt that Pete is right on with his conviction. I share his belief, as Bootmeister and as avid endurance rider. And the numbers prove it:

In 2010, new records were broken all over the world:
  • Horses with Easyboots completed over 41.000 miles just in the Easyboot contest during AERC endurance rides. Total numbers are likely to be twice that high. These numbers are only for the USA and Canada.
  • Hoof trimming clinics all over the world are at an all time high with participants. In Germany, Bernd Jung with Hufcheck conducts innovative clinics and has record high sales in protective horse boots. His clinics are exemplary and future oriented.
  • Global Endurance Training Center horses completed a total of 5510 endurance competition miles and won 21 BCs.
  • Dian Woodward had more completions than ever before, placed in the weight division and won 7 BCs
  • I myself set a new world record by winning the 200th endurance win. I had a total of 34 wins, 10 BCs during 50 starts and 50 completions. Stars Aflame won the national War Mare Award, Double Zell and Stars Aflame were first and second overall in the Mt Region Region Championship. All GETC horses were ridden exclusively with EasyCare Gloves and Glue-Ons.
All new records. Is that a coincidence? I think not. A big, if not decisive factor in this success are the new hoof boots from EasyCare.

Endurance riders are at the fore front in hoof care. In no other sport is proper hoof care, trimming and hoof protection of such a critical importance. Endurance horses are being tested to the limit and when EasyCare Hoof Boots are being used in ever higher numbers by endurance riders, I think it is save to say, they passed the test with flying colors and should and can be successfully used and applied by all other equestrian disciplines. Trail riders, Backcountry horsemen, Trail rider community organized in ACTHA, mounted police, parade and rodeo riders, all these millions of riders and horses out there will benefit from using the product line of EasyCare.

The trend is set, the revolution continues. For the first time ever, the horse owner can easily take care of their own horses hooves by learning how to trim and apply protective boots.

coltMongol shoe          

This young colt from GETC won't ever experience this kind of shoe.

The future is here. Thanks to EasyCare leading the way. Horses hooves are improving, we are trimming for soundness, protecting with EasyCare boots for protection.

Let's charge ahead, continuing the hoof care revolution and make 2011 an even better year for all our horses worldwide.

Express charging

Charging Ahead: DWA Express

I wish you a successful 2011.

Your Bootmeister