Post Glue-On Diagnostics: The Solution for Glue-On Success

Submitted by Tennesee Mahoney, Team Easyboot 2011 Member

My husband and I started gluing on our own boots years ago; we have been very successful overall with the process, encountering only a few problems other than just getting the hang of it. We very rarely loose a Glue-On boot, but if we do it is almost always a result of improper use of glue. The way you diagnose this failure and find a solution to the problem is to study the boot and hoof and check your glue pattern, after
losing or removing your Glue-On. Here are some examples.

Removing a glue on, looks like the right amount of glue was used since there is some on the hoof and some on the boot.

Removing a glue on, looks like the right amount of glue was used since there is some on the hoof and some on the boot.

If you can see the shape/pattern of the tube of glue that you squeezed into the boot initially, then the boot failed to stay on because the glue was already set-up to some degree by the time it got on the hoof. This happens for two reasons that I have noted: either you were too slow in getting the boot on the hoof after putting the Adhere in it, or you got a bad tube of Adhere. 

The temperature that you are working in affects the rate at which the Adhere sets up. On a hot day, you will have to work very quickly. Try putting the glue in the fridge for a few minutes to slow the reaction and give yourself some extra time. On a cool day you can take your time, but make sure your horse stands still an extra couple of minutes because it will take a little longer to set up. On rare occasions, we have used Adhere that gets so hot and sets up so fast that the two of us working as a team in cool whether cannot work quickly enough to succeed. I can tell if the glue has set up too soon when I try to slip the shell on the hoof; I know that I can normally twist the shell back and forth to smear the glue around on the hoofwall before finally centering it. If it’s already setting up and it is too firm for me to twist the shell around a little, then it will not adhere to the hoof wall properly. So I pull the boot off right then and there and start over.

I have also lost a Glue-On as a result of bad glue. It was very apparent because there was still liquidy glue in the toe and the hardened glue had a blood-orange tint. So at least by diagnosing this problem, I was able to whine about the bad glue instead of blaming myself and the process! If the glue looks or feels abnormal in any way, chuck it, especially if you are gluing on for an important event.

If you can see bald spots where there was either no glue or an extremely thin layer of glue between the hoof and the shell, then you didn’t put enough Adhere in the boot. The boot then failed to stay on because there was not enough contact. Just use more Adhere next time.

This boot actually stayed on 4 weeks, but it was removed VERY easily, so I was bound to loose it soon.  Lesson learned: not enough glue!  There was ZERO glue on the shell and only a smear of it on the hoof...guess we were feeling frugal with the Adhere that day...

This boot actually stayed on 4 weeks, but it was removed very easily, so I was bound to loose it soon. Lesson learned: not enough glue. There was zero glue on the shell and only a smear of it on the hoof. I guess we were feeling frugal with the Adhere that day.

Another problem that we encountered in the beginning was lameness caused by one of two things: either a small blob of adhere had gotten under the hoof during the glue-on process (and it setup under the sole or wall and acted like a rock in your shoe that never moved), or sand had gotten in to the boot over time and had built up in the bottom between the frog/sole and the bottom of the boot, causing undue pressure on the frog and sole. Both of these problems resulted from improper use of Goober Glue (or CS or any other hoof pack). With both of these problems, the horse will regain soundness immediately upon removal of the pressure.

If you remove the shell and feel or look where the hoof rested on the floor of the shell, you may encounter a hard bump of Adhere that was causing your horse pain. Adhere, once setup, is like hard plastic, whereas Goober Glue is soft and cushioning. When you slip the hoof into the shell, it is possible for the hoof to catch a dab of adhere as you force it on. That dab of glue can cause pressure and then possible lameness. This is why when we pack the frog and sole with Goober Glue, it is also important to put a bead of Goober Glue all along the edge of the shell’s internal wall. We have not encountered this problem since we started putting that bead around the edge. Regardless, if you study the boot after removal, is all the adhere on the wall and is the Goober Glue bead intact around the edge? Or can you see or feel an Adhere bump on the floor of the shell or still glued to the bottom of the hoof? By studying the shell and hoof you will know if it was a gluing mistake, and if so, you can focus on preventing it from happening the next time.

Goober glue remaining in the hoof that just had a glue on removed, a small amount of sand got in but not enough to cause any problems.

Goober Glue remaining in the hoof that just had a Glue-On removed. A small amount of sand got in but not enough to cause any problems.

If you pick up your horse’s hoof and the Glue-On shell is actually bulging out in the center, you probably didn’t use enough Goober Glue to pack the frog and sole, leaving room for debris/sand to enter, but not escape.  Remove the shell, and check to see if the Goober Glue completely filled the entire concavity and grooves of the frog.  It’s better to have excess packing than not enough, since excess will just squeeze out the heels.The Glue On on the left was just removed, notice the goober glue still in and on the hoof, completely filling the frog and concavity and wrapping all around the outside edge.  It's all soft goober glue, none of it is hard adhere.

A glue on was just removed from the left hoof, notice the goober glue, still on the hoof, fills the frog and concavity entirely, and forms a rim around the outer edge of the hoof, and fills all the way up the heel bulbs so nothing can seep in back there.

A Glue-On was just removed from the left hoof. Notice the Goober Glue, still on the hoof, fills the frog and concavity entirely. It forms a rim around the outer edge of the hoof, and fills all the way up the heel bulbs so nothing can seep in back there.

As you can see, these problems are all the result of mistakes made during the glue-on process, not the failure of the boots. I recommend that you not only study the shells that you loose on trail but also those you remove that stayed on and worked successfully. From simple observations, you will learn a lot about how to do it better next time. You will start to see patterns of what works, and what doesn’t.

Tennesee Mahoney

Our Shahzada Story

By Susan Gill and Jenny Moncur

I'd been doing endurance for a few years before I even became aware of the iconic Shahzada ride. It sounded quite interesting, but a ride for other people not me - the distance away, the marathon riding - not something easily achievable for me so I put it out of my mind. Then less than three months before this year's event my friend Jenny Moncur sent me an email - "hey, I'm going to the Shahzada to do the mini marathon, want to come?"

"Ummmmmmmm" stuttered through my mind - all the old objections plus lots of new ones surfaced but after checking and getting the go-ahead from family and work, I gave a cautious "yes OK", which soon metamorphosed into "heck, yes!"

The weeks flew past and it was time to be leaving. A journey of two days and 1,100km saw us arrive at the ride base Sunday evening - a short statement for a long road trip full of its own adventures. We unpacked, settled the horses in, and had an early night to be ready for pre-ride vetting the next day.

Joby in blue Glove boots, her big sister Promise behind the banner

The horses were entered and vetted through early Monday morning. Then we glued their Easyboot Glove shells on straight afterward to allow a good time lapse for the glue to set before our 6:30am start the next day. After our previous ride at Kilmore we were fussier with our preparation. Each hoof wall and sole was thoroughly cleaned firstly with a dry wire brush, secondly with a wet scrubbing brush, towel-dried, then roughed up with the rasp for maximum cleanliness and adhesion between shell and hoof.

a thorough rasping of a very clean hoof  everything assembled, brightly painted shells with gaitors to be removed after sikaflex has set.

The gaiters will be unscrewed after the boots have been in place for a few hours. The duct tape on the inside was also removed - it was used to help prevent any sikaflex (you use Goober Glue in North America) oozing up and adhering to the gaiters.

Many people have written lots of things about The Shahzada - its reputation as a ride has grown to mythical proportions - the funny thing is that most of it is true!

We came with the attitude of having fun no matter what happened, without any pressure on ourselves because it was only three training rides. But to drive so far next time would require the much worthier purpose of the full five day/400km marathon. How we viewed the mini-marathon was unintentionally arrogant, and our opinions were revised before Day One ended, to become quite respectful of the track, the distance, and the achievement earned by riding and vetting through successfully.

While still out on track on our first day we were already planning next year, what horses we'd bring, who we would entice to come along and share our pleasure in the riding. Having booted horses made it all that little bit easier - no worries about trotting down the hard roads, or whether we'd slip on the rocky mountain goat tracks or lose a shoe in the boggy sections.

trotting out at the start of our ride

Joby sporting blue boots, Promise in green boots, moving along very comfortably with their sikaflex cushion inner-soles. Photo credit Keiron Power

Back at base, we strapped the horses and presented for post-ride vetting Jenny's horse Promise vetted through with flying colours.  My horse Joby had a distinctly sore back and I was told that if I rode her in the same saddle for Day Two, then she would most likely vet out. I was given the advice of changing saddles, easier said then done when I didn't have a spare saddle to use. It was suggested that I ask at the pre-ride briefing about borrowing someone else's saddle - the vets were confident that I would get plenty of offers - they told me this is what the Shahzada spirit is about. Then an adjacent camper whose horse had vetted out pre-ride stepped forward offering the use of his saddle. It proved a good fit, resulting in Joby vetting through at the end of Day Two with a marginally improved back, so I was delighted to plan for Day Three which included The Steps!

Not having a head for heights I was anticipating The Steps to be very challenging. The funny thing was that I was concentrating so hard on getting Joby down that I didn't feel frightened at all. It was only when I arrived at the bottom that I realized that I had been completely terrified all along. Not that anyone would guess to see the picture of me in the last few yards, skidding down on my backside with a mad grin plastered over my face. Jenny managed much more decorously by tailing Promise down, although Prom did have her own ideas of which direction to go at one stage, possibly trying to tell Jenny she was being silly to think that it was a real path she was expecting her to take.

The Steps

It's much steeper than it looks and maybe I would have been better with Easyboot Gloves on my feet too!
Photo credit Keiron Power

Jenny and I arrived as first-time mini-marathoners from interstate, and were made welcome. We felt quite distinctive, with our look-alike horses and our look-alike grins, and our state's honor unofficially resting on our shoulders.  We left as Shahzadians, already looking forward to next year's special week in August when we're allowed to come back and ride again.

the river crossing

Photo credit Keiron Power

The Northern Convict Trail; Boyd's Track; The Steps  - they were all memorable parts of the ride. But the nightly pre/post-ride briefings where the camaraderie of the group showed, where as one big family each rider was celebrated even as they vetted out, where the slowest rider/s were given as much kudos as the faster ones - no jealously or pettiness or bad sportsmanship, each rider taking responsibility for riding to the conditions, the hazards, their horse: that is what shined through.

The Shahzada banner

We discovered as our adventure evolved, while riding was a huge part of the whole deal, we actually got to experience the very essence of Australia and learned that The Shahzada spirit is far more than just about riding.

Virginia City 100 2011

This year the 44th Annual Virginia City 100 was held on September 17th. Sadly, because of Uno's leg injury I wasn't able to ride but did the next best thing - crewing. The temperatures were very mild - lows in the 50s overnight, with highs in the 80s with a light breeze - a welcome respite from the continuous Nevada wind that so often accompanies this event. NV rides are always very laid-back affairs and VC100 is no different. There's great cameraderie amongst the volunteers, many of whom have been helping out at (or riding) the ride for decades. Riders come back time and again because this is one of the very best 100-mile rides in the west region.

Virginia City itself is an old silver mining town perched at 6,200' on the side of a steep pink hillside. The main street is at the top with the side streets step-cut progressively lower into the slope below. The start of the ride at 5 am is on the boardwalked C Street outside the Delta Saloon (1875), home of the "Suicide Table" - one of the more peculiar starts to an endurance ride. From there riders wend their way north through town, past the old cemetery (the finish line) and out into the surrounding sagebrush-dotted mountains towards Lousetown (really).

This is a course that has a bit of everything to offer riders and their horses. After 20 miles of up and down rocky foothills, you negotiate the old Toll Road four-miles down Geiger Grade - a 1,700' drop - to the first vet check at the "Market" located right on the outskirts of surburban Reno.

Looking down on Washoe Lake

Looking down on Washoe Lake, around 45 miles into the ride

From there, you undergo an hour-long test of your horse's sure-footedness through what is effectively a rocky creek bed: the remote and seldom-used Bailey Canyon. After a climb over Jumbo Grade and a trot-by to check the horses for soundness at Washoe Lake, riders climb the first of many typical NV ascents - gradual, yet brutal in their neverendingness. But the views from the top overlooking Washoe Lake are stupendous. This section contains the infamous "SOBs" - three short but ridiculously steep V-shaped drops in the trail that many riders negotiate on foot, tailing the uphills. Once you make it over the ridge, you then drop down Ophir Grade back into Virginia City for the 51 mile check.

The next 26 mile loop takes you back out into the Virginia Range, skirting the remains of old mining buildings which appear eerily as if they came from an apolcalypse movie. You climb again to the backside of Mt Davidson and follow the ridge up to 7,600' before dropping once again down into Virginia City for the 77 mile vet check.

The final 23 mile loop, usually starting around 11 pm unless the rider is a front-runner, takes you along the relatively flat "Long Valley", past herds of wild horses to the Chalk Hills, which glow in the moonlight, through another "out check" at the Cottonwoods (an old corral) and back up the final rocky clamber to the cemetery outside Virginia City.

This year's winner, Rachel Shackelford riding Ray of Hope, arrived at 11 pm, with best condition winner Lori Stewart on LA Bandit arriving just 17 minutes behind them. But this is a 100 mile ride where it's common for riders to take almost the full 24 hours to finish: the final 8 riders all came in after 3 am.

One of the things NV rides are known for is rocks. Although VC100 isn't easy, it is very doable. While the elevation gains are over 20,000', very little of the trail is super-technical provided you can take your time and pick your way through the footing. Racing it is another matter and many riders are defeated by the rocks. Good hoof protection is a must regardless as to where you hope to place.

May stylin' in her new rear Wides

May stylin' in her new rear Glue-on Wides

This year I was aware of seven riders who were using hoof-boots in one form or another, five of whom completed the ride. There were 25 overall starters - a much lower number than usual due to the proximity to the rescheduled Tevis (three weeks later) - with 18 finishers.

Fire Mtn Destiny

Fire Mt Destiny at 40 miles - with this completion he reached 5,000 miles (AERC)

Gina Hall, completing her 12th VC100, finished in 6th place on her outstanding big chestnut Fire Mt Destiny, who himself was completing his 7th VC100 (his 14th 100 mile completion). They also completed the Triple Crown this year (NV Derby 50, NASTR 75 and VC100 with same horse and rider).  His completion earned Destiny his 5,000 mile AERC milestone - 86 rides with no pulls.  He wears Original Easyboots over shoes.

Golden Knight - Vet Check #1

Nicole Chappell and Golden Knight getting ready to leave the first vet check

Nicole Chappell was riding her striking buckskin friesian/arabian cross, Golden Knight, with size 2.5 Glue-Ons on the front. Completing the Triple Crown (including winning and being awarded Best Condition at the first phase - NV Derby 50 - in the spring), they placed 8th overall at VC100 and won the "Pioneer Division" (riding the entire ride with no outside help), securing Nicole her 19th VC100 completion - she promised herself as an 11 yr old that she would finish the ride 20 times by the time she was 30. She didn't quite make it but is close. This was Golden Knight's second VC100 completion.

Golden Knight - Trot-by at Washoe Lake

Nicole Chappell and Golden Knight arriving at Washoe Lake "trot-by"

Okay gawping at shadows

Rushcreek Okay gawping at a flapping flag shadow,
raising his heart rate during the 51 mile vet check

Another horse who always competes in boots and is hard to miss is Rushcreek Okay - a huge grey arabian who eats like... well, a horse, and sports size 3 Glue-Ons on the front. This was Okay's second VC100 finish with rider Carolyn Meier and this year they also completed the Triple Crown. After a warm-up performance last year (Okay tends to be a nosy thing - gawping at everything around him), Carolyn was thrilled with how well he looked after himself this year - getting progressively better and better at each vet check.

Okay - the following morning - no stiffness there...

Okay showing off his flexibility and range of motion
the morning after completing his second VC100

Okay's massive front foot

Okay's great big size 3 feet

Tami and May getting ready to leave VC#1

Tami and May prepare to leave vet check #1

A fourth Triple Crown booted finisher with a 13th place at VC100 was Tami Rougeau's Amatzing Grace - and she'll no doubt tell you more about their exploits in a separate post. Suffice to say May has been a challenge to fit but her Glue-Ons held up beautifully for this ride.

Nina and Gryphen at the water tank at the first road crossing

Nina Cooke and Gryphen at the road-crossing water trough at about 20 miles

Rounding out the "booters", Nina Cooke and Gryphen finished their first 100 mile ride in glue-ons.

Pat Chappell resetting her horse's rear shoes

Pat Chappell resetting her horse's shoes at 51 miles

Two of the riders in the Pioneer Division had shoeing problems during the ride. One was sadly pulled at 77 miles after having to abandon her Pioneer status by using the services of the ride farrier - to no avail: the horse was still lame. The other, Nicole's mother, Pat Chappell pulled out her shoeing tools and reset both back shoes on her horse at 51 miles. Remembering how tired I was last year at 51 miles, I can only imagine the toll it would take on a rider to have to do this. Last year at that point in the ride I'd lost both front glue-ons (a product of trying to stuff too small a size boot on Uno's expanding feet) but it was a very simple remedy to just pop on my spare 
Gloves. My biggest "problem" was removing the gobs of glue from the hoofwall (I admit, I wimped out and asked my crew, Renee Robinson, to do it for me).

During another memorable 100 mile ride, Roo did an impressive side-spook, tweaking a back shoe in such a way that it stuck out sideways by half an inch but wasn't going to come off without serious tools. Luckily for me the incident happened when my regular farrier was also riding the 100 miler and he was just ahead of us and able to reset the shoe at the vet check - but that was the last time I wanted to be at the mercy of a shoer (or the hope that a shoer would be available) during a ride. You put so much into a 100-miler that to have it all go down the drain because of lack of control over your horse's footwear is heartbreaking. Yes, sometimes I lose boots, but I can still fix the problem.

This was my 7th year either volunteering, crewing, or riding Virginia City 100 and it has become a highlight of my year. The ride has changed little over the years - it started in 1968 (two years after I was born) and the fact that it is still going is a testament to just how special it is. It should be a must-do ride for any 100-mile rider - and preferably many times over. 

(p.s. my husband Patrick points out that the Ferrari Club of America holds the annual Virginia City Hill Climb - spectator-able from the ride camp - the same weekend as the endurance ride. Just saying.)

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

Have Boots, Will Travel or What I Learned (The Hard Way) On My Summer Vacation

Submitted by Debbie BoscoeTeam Easyboot 2011 Member

About mid-October last year I stood next to my barn watching my best-in-the-world farrier hammer shoes on my horses.  I was signed up (read: had paid through the nose) for the upcoming XP2011 endurance ride – 2040 miles from St. Joseph, MS to Virginia City NV over 8 weeks.  Lots scared me about this trip, and finding good shoers en route headed the list.
“I’m going barefoot with boots.” I announced to Mo and he chuckled around the nails in his mouth. Six weeks later we pulled shoes and I began my crash course in barefoot trimming and boot fitting. Now I’d used Easyboots for many years, over shoes and in emergencies. How hard could this be already?

There are two parts to that question: how hard could learning to trim be, and then how hard could it be to keep boots on 12 feet for 2,000 miles in every kind of weather and terrain? I can hear some of you smirking, but here’s what I found:
-    First, not only was the task doable, it was well worth the effort. 
-    Second, the effort never ceases – that is, the learning goes on and on. So do the rewards.

The hardest part of learning to trim on the fly was all the contradictory advice I got in the beginning, and not knowing what was correct.  I stuck with less is more until you see how it works, and followed the basics  my farrier was showing me (he does a fine balanced foot). The temptation was to shape the hoof to fit the boots but a good verbal cuffing from Mo kept me in line. He also advised patience as hoofs need time to adjust and my timeframe wasn’t necessarily theirs. Soaking the hooves before I worked on them and good, sharp tools helped tremendously; a good  knife sharpener was a great investment. I also found I could only do a couple of feet at a time before my back and my judgement gave out, so I set aside time every day to do a little. To my surprise, I learned that I actually enjoyed the process.

The first endurance ride I did with barefoot horses I used Gloves (3 days, 3 horses, all booted). The temps were in the low single digits and I had to warm the Goober Glue over a fire in a garbage can, but with enough tape, Goober Glue and some Gorrilla Glue I actually kept all the boots on all three horses for all 3 days (maybe they just froze in place!).

The next two rides were much less successful as Gloves flew off.  Each time there was a barefoot trimmer/booter nearby, and amazingly, each time they gave me different advice, right down to the size boot I should be using. Did I mention that these early stages can be expensive? But the best advice was to use Glue-Ons. So off to Missouri I went, loaded down with shells and glues and guns and tips and hand gloves and tools.

My first gluing experience was much like some other ‘firsts’ I remember – not as satisfying as and much messier than I expected. Amazingly 3 out of 4 boots stayed on the first day, first horse. But the 4th came off at the start when the horse was so hyper I couldn’t even get a Glove on for 10 miles. That Glove came off again as we left lunch in the rain and just as the stallions broke out of their paddock and the tornado siren went off. The ensuing scene was the ultimate reality show: 4 riders driving the stallions away from my mare as I slide around in the mud trying to retape and reboot. That finally done, I find I can’t get back in the saddle because my foot is too full of mud to get purchase in the stirrup. Another intrepid rider climbs down and throws me up in the saddle. Now we huddle to see what we know about tornados: short huddle – we know nothing. So we just concentrated on keeping the stallions at bay and riding west. 

Dave Rabe the Great helped me glue the boot on that evening – showing me how to prep correctly. And that was the most important lesson of all. He is a great teacher and a real overachiever when it comes to getting a hoof ready for a Glue-On. No matter how much time I spent trimming and prepping, he always rasped the hoofs just a bit more before we glued. Here was the process:

-    I’d trim (with advice/correction from our resident barefoot trimmer) and then test each hoof by putting a shell on it and having the horse walk. If it stayed on, there were no bulges, and the heel sat down (eg. the toe was short enough); it was a good fit. 
-    Next I’d clean the hoof bottom again and begin digging grooves in the hoof wall with my rasp edge until I thought it perfectly groovy. 
-    Dave would then come over and clean the bottom again and dig more grooves and check that the shell was clean. 
-    One of us would put the Goober Glue in the bottom, in a V where the frog grooves would lay and at the back of the boot to keep dirt out. 
-    I’d hold up the hoof and he’d put the Adhere in the shell, then put it on, pound it in place, and I’d lift another leg to get all the horse’s weight on the one we were working on, holding it for 30 seconds or so and until Dave was ready with the next boot. 
-    Repeat.

The first part took me hours as the hoofs were growing fast with all that work and I had lots to trim each time. The gluing itself would take 5 minutes and Dave could/can do four boots with one tip and ¾ of a tube of Adhere. Something to work towards.

Here’s my take away on Glue-Ons: put on over a good trim and with the right prep, they will stay on in rain, mud, cold, heat, and over any terrain. The glue fails before the boots do, and that takes between 250 and 400 miles. If you find the boots and they have tread on them you can grind out the old glue and reuse them – again correct prep of both boots and hooves is the key. The Australian team with their 5 booted horses lost, well, manure loads of boots in the beginning. They too were new to this form of entertainment and we learned about properly prepping together. Our first non-riding day we sat with a drill with grinder, a vice, and a big stack of used boots, cleaning off the glue. That wasn’t very difficult and all the boots were re-usable.

Debbie Schellbourne
Boots will stay on in just about any conditions with the right preparation. This was taken at about 200 miles on this set of boots.

I left my mares barefoot for as long as possible in between new boots, but that was just a day or two because I was riding so much and alternating them. I thought I was getting away with it, but in fact one mare came home with bad thrush and a hard compacted sole; ‘nother lesson learned: 8 weeks in boots is too long.

Speaking of lessons, it worked out better gluing in the cold and wet than it did in the extreme heat. Adhere sets up in a minute or less when it is 98 degrees and those boots didn’t stay on for even 75 miles. They looked like they had goiters as the glue clumped between the hoof and boot. Of course in a perfect world you glue in moderate dry conditions, but who had perfect?

Some anecdotal information: only one rider rode all 2040 miles, and did every mile in glue-on boots. Of the five of us who rode more than 1,600 miles, only one used metal shoes for the whole ride. Of the horses that started in metal shoes, about one third moved to barefoot/boots during the ride.

Dave Rabe
Dave Rabe on the right, riding Red the Mule. Red is in shoes here, but makes the switch. Max and Tracy also begin booting part way through.

The reasons for riders switching to boots varied: 
-    Metal shoes didn’t hold up well to the hard packed roads during the first three weeks. The gaited horses went through metal shoes every few days.
-    Concussion lameness was our single biggest problem and the booted horses had far fewer than the shod horses (I had none over 1,660 miles). 
-    Shoers were hard to find and riders had to wait for a day off to have them come out.  At least one of the shoers lamed several horses, and those horses went directly to boots.
-    Natalie Herman was available to trim; Dave Rabe was available to boot; several of us had boots to spare; EasyCare was great about getting more boots shipped to where we were.

Concrete Roads
Roads softened a bit after a rain, then returned to their cement-like texture.

I’ve been home for over a month now. I’ve cured the thrush problems, got my hands on the Pete Ramey DVD collection, and found a good barefoot trimmer in my area to keep me on track. I’ve done a pretty tough 75 mile ride since returning and again lost Gloves.  What did I learn from that? 10 wraps of tape is better than 2 wraps, and those old boots really do stretch. More work for me, but dang that mare’s feet look good.

Sage & Debbie
Sage and I at the highest point of the ride. She is wearing Gloves, has leftover clay from her post-ride wraps, has vet wrap covering a bout of scratches, shows her old and healed torn flexor tendon, and is sound as a dollar bill, after over 600 miles.

First Project: Lil' Rick's Gal

With the success of the pony horse, 91, and visual signs of improvement in several horses who were brought to their farm for me to work on, Lisa nonchalantly suggested that she would like me to meet her at the training center ("the track") to look at a few horses currently racing. I like to believe that she just got tired of trailering horse after horse from the track to the farm. Whatever the reason, Yippee! 

Track Barn
Victor and Lisa's Barn at the Training Center

You'd think this would be an easy thing to do. Just show up at the training center, drive to the designated barn, and that's it. Oh, no. Not the case at all. Just as Garrett Ford suggested in his blog,, the racing industry is FULL of red tape. After about a week of running around from place to place, I finally acquired my "Plater's" license (not an easy feat since I had no proof that I had any ability or intention to put racing plates on horse's feet), and was allowed to enter the training center property.

Mug Shot
A mug shot would have turned out better than this

As if rewarded for a job well done, I was presented upon my arrival to the training center with my first project: Lil' Rick's Gal.

Lil' Rick's Gal

Ricky is a 5-year old mare who arrived at the training center with sore feet. For months, Lisa and Victor worked with the track farriers to find something that made Ricky more comfortable. Metal shoes did not help.  Lisa and Victor knew that something different had to be done; this horse could barely walk, let alone hold a rider on her back.

Poor Rick

During the time that Lisa and Victor were struggling with Lil' Rick at the track, I had one rehab race horse out of his boots and on the road to recovery at the farm. Lisa, feeling more confident in the natural hoof care technique, decided to do something that most likely had never been done in the entire state of Louisiana: She brought those boots to the track! For 60 days, 20 hours out of the day, Lil' Rick stayed in her hoof boots. She was hand walked each day, several times a day, for gentle exercise until she was comfortable enough to go on the walker.

Rick in Epics

By the time I was finally brought into the excitement, Lil' Rick was not only walking on the walker, but had actually begun exercising on the track with her size 0 EasyBoot Epics!

And so the EasyBoot Epic made its way into Lisa's heart and onto a Louisiana training track.

At first, the exercise riders were skeptical of these contraptions on her feet, and agreed only to pony Lil' Rick in her boots. That is to say, the riders were afraid that the boots would come off at high speeds, and so they agreed at first only to ride a pony horse while leading Lil' Rick on her exercise routine. They did not want to be on her back when those boots came off.

Rick on Track with Epics

And it is true, the boot did require some tweaking. With a little sports tape, the boots now stay on throughout her morning exercise routine. The downward buckles do pop up and so we may swap out the current buckles with up-buckles, instead.

Sports Tape
Sports Tape Post Morning Work Out

Today, Lil' Rick can not only trot down the aisle barefoot, but she is currently running BAREFOOT (not even boots) with a rider on her morning exercise routines!

With the background on Lil' Rick set, we now come to the speed bump in the road that defines the racing industry. Ricky has run and WON one race since she began her rehab with the EasyBoot Epics. However, just before the race, the track farriers glued aluminum shoes on her fronts, and nailed aluminum racing plates on her back feet. Lisa did make sure that those farriers took nothing off of her feet when applying the shoes. At the time of that race, Lisa did not know of any better options.

Lisa and Victor are still concerned about traction and the need for something on a race horse's foot as she leans into the curves and navigates around other horses. However, with Garret Ford's Race boots that he has been working on, the Arceneaux barn (and their kooky natural hoof care trimmer) have hope that we may have a number of great options coming our way.

In future posts, I will provide the nitty-gritty on attempting to fit EasyBoot Gloves and Glue-Ons onto Lil' Rick's tiny feet, provide feedback on exercising in these two products, and hopefully, make some headway with the racing secretary in approving an EasyBoot Race for official races!

Dave Rabe and Red the Mule at XP 2011-NF

Dave Rabe was gracious enough to share some pictures and a story with me about his travels and booting success with Red the mule at this year's XP 2011 ride.

Dave and Red

Dave writes:

The mule I rode belongs to Les Carr. His name is Red. Red started eighteen of the forty 50 mile AERC rides and completed seventeen of them. I tried to put #00 Easyboots over his shoes, but since his shoes didn't go past the heel at all, they wouldn't stay on over the shoes. So, I rode him in shoes the first seven 50 mile rides. On the seventh day, he came up lame in both front hooves due to the hard rocky roads. I let Red rest for a week so he could get sound at a trot and he did just that!

Then I decided to glue on boots and what a change it made!!! We glued on #00 Easyboot Glue-On boots on all four hooves. Natalie Herman was my mule trimmer. She did an excellent job with Red.


We did the next eleven 50 mile rides with no lameness issues at all. The boots stayed on and fit great. We had no problems with them except a little wearing out which is to be expected. Of the 550 miles Red did in the Easyboot Glue-Ons, we used two sets of #00 boots.

  boot                boot

I think the Glue-Ons worked excellent on the mule. The second set I glued on were on for 2 weeks and when I got home, I left Red in a wet pasture for those two weeks and then took him to a 50 mile ride with the same boots on and completed the ride with the boots staying on and looking great. I actually had a tough time getting them off two days later. I would recommend Easyboot Glue-Ons for mules any time.


I also rode my mare, Midnight Melody Marie, on thirteen 50 mile AERC rides on the XP ride. She also had on Easyboot Glue-Ons and did excellent in the boots.

I ended up doing 38 of the 40 AERC rides with two pulls, both due to lameness issues. I rode five other horses on the ride.

The ride totaled 2040 miles. I ended up doing 1990 miles and 1590 of my miles were in Easyboot Glue-Ons and Easyboot Gloves. The other 400 miles were in regular iron shoes on Red and then other peoples horses.

I wanted to thank Garrett and all of you at EasyCare for all your help and support with your wonderful products. I could not have done this ride without EasyCare.

Thank you,

Dave and Red

Nancy Fredrick


EasyCare Office Manager

As the office manager, I make sure the general operations of the organization run smoothly and seamlessly from A to Z. I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001 and have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot and booted.

Why Is The Horse Industry One Of the Slowest To Change?

Look at the other sporting goods industries and see how fast they are changing. Mountain bikes change every year and we are now seeing carbon frames, carbon wheels and complete bikes that weigh less than 20 lbs.

Specialized Carbon Epic
The 2011Specialized Carbon Epic. Carbon frame, carbon wheels and now 29 inch wheels. All not available four years back. The $9,900.00 price tag is a result.

1982 Specialized Stumpjumper

1982 Specialized Stumpjumper. Even the non bike people can easily see an industry that thrives on change.

Look at downhill skiing and the technology in shaped skis, boots and bindings. They get better and better every year. Look at something very gear free like swimming and the advancements in low drag swim suits changes yearly. Look at golf. Golf club technology is new and improved every year. You blink in these industries and you get left behind. Compare these industries to the equine industry and the fact that the majority of our equine partners are still competing in iron shoes and saddles that haven't changed in decades.

The slow rate of change and acceptance in the horse industry has been personally highlighted by a recent entry into the flat track racing industry. I've written about our journey trying to enter the world of flat track racing and it's a perfect example of why the horse industry is slow to change. Take a peek at the story here "The Horse That Wasn't Allowed to Race"

Clunk Racing at Arapahoe

Clunk racing at Araphoe Park in aluminum plates. Clunk was scratched twice because he was not allowed to race in a glue-on urethane shoe.

Most other industries are changing at a rapid pace, so why is the equine industry so slow to change? Look at the racing industry as just one example. Life on the race track presents challenges to the equine hoof. Many track horses have challenges with brittle walls, tender feet, lack of support, and contracted heels from continuous shoeing. Track horses that rip off a shoe and lose hoof wall also have a difficult time holding shoes and as a result miss conditioning and races. Track horses are subjected to pounding workouts and as a result are prone to injury. Is the aluminum race plate the end solution? Is an aluminum racing plate the end game? We don't believe it is and for the reasons above EasyCare believes the sport could benefit from a more supportive shoe.

The technology is available to make a lightweight race shoe for the equine track athlete. EasyCare has developed a shoe that offers the following.
  1. The Easyboot Race will allow the hoof to expand and contract as nature intended.
  2. The Easyboot Race will provide support and comfort for quarter cracks.
  3. The Easyboot Race will allow farriers and trainers another tool for problem feet that will not hold nails.
  4. The Easyboot Race will allow farriers and trainers an option that flexes and absorbs concussion to extend the horse's health and longevity.
  5. The Easyboot Race can be trimmed and modified to suit a specific horse, track or surface.
  6. The Easyboot Race will be less likely to hurt horses, jockeys or spectators if they do come off.
  7. The Easyboot Race will allow trainers to train the horses harder and on less than perfect surface conditions.
  8. The Easyboot Race will bring the track an affordable glue-on solution.

Alunimum plate

Aluminum Racing plate used today.

Aluminum Plate

An aluminum racing plate used in the 1980s. Yes it's the same shoe. Nothing has changed.

The track seems very hesitant to change. Although we have tried everything to learn the rules and participate at Arapahoe Park with new hoof protection that gives the industry options, we have so far not been able to compete because the stewards and race director have determined the Easyboot Race shoe violates rule 7.608.

Easyboot Race

An aluminum plate next to an Easyboot Race shoe. The ability to change and make new products is here.

"7.608 - Bar plates may be used only with the consent of the Division Veterinarian. The commission may limit the height of toe grabs for any breed at a live race meet. Toe grabs with a height greater than the maximum set by the commission, bends, jar caulks, stickers and any other traction device worn on the front hooves of horses while racing or training on all surfaces, are prohibited. The horse shall be scratched and the trainer may be subject to fine for any violation of this rule."

As I ride my Specialized Carbon Epic down the mountain trails my mind wonders. Why is the equine industry slow to change? Are saddle designs, metal shoes and bits the best we can do? Have we come to a limit in the industry where we can't improve? Why do many of the organizations that govern the equine sports have rules that prevent change?

As we participate in other sports and see the advances in technology the lack of advancement in the equine industry become more and more obvious. Does your sport have a rule that prohibits new saddles, new hoof protection or new helmets? Do you believe the rules prevent you and your horse from competing at your highest ability? Challenge the rules. Ask why! Help the equine sports catch up with the rest of the sporting industries.

Garrett Ford


President & CEO

I have been President and CEO of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

Five Basics to Successful Booting: #1

#1: Choosing the Right Boot

Have you looked at the running shoe choices at your local sports store lately? The choices are overwhelming.

Easyboot Choices?

Some of the running shoe choices at our local outdoor store.

At EasyCare, we have 13 boot models to choose from, and knowing which boot is right for you and your horse can seem equally daunting. Much like buying a pair of running shoes, the first thing to do when making your boot choice is to decide what you and your horse are going to do in the boots.

New To Easyboots

What's Your Plan?
We've broken the choice of activities down into three categories: Trail Riding, Aggressive Distance Riding and Therapy. You can read about them in some detail on the New To Boots page on our website. So think first about what your planned booted activities will include.

Easyboot Trail RidingTrail Riding
If trail riding is your thing, your needs can almost certainly be accomodated with the Easyboot Trail, the Easyboot Epic or the Easyboot Glove. There are plenty of other boot choices you could experiment with, but in my opinion, these three boots are the best place to start.

The Easyboot Trail is the favorite boot of our backcountry rider customers. It is a good boot for people who ride up to 25 miles per week. We picked that weekly unscientific ceiling as a guidline for people to use, but since the horse and the terrain vary wildly from user to user, this really is only a guideline. The pros for using this boot are its affordable entry-level price point; the ease of putting the boot on and off; and the infinitely variable hoof shapes it can accomodate. So if your horse has long toe capsules, a high heel, lots of hoofwall flare, or you only see you trimmer once in a while, this boot will be very forgiving throughout the entire trim cycle.

The Easyboot Epic continues to be one of our most popular boots. Based on the Original Easyboot design, it comes with the double layer neoprene gaiter for additional staying-on power. The cable and buckle system allows for additional adjustments for a wide variety of hoof shapes and sizes, and the boot is available in sizes Pony through 7. Last year I fitted most of the big draft horses at Disney World in Florida in Epics.

The Easyboot Glove and Glove Wide are the frontrunners of any horse hoof boot across the world. Unlike other boots in our product line, this boot really cannot be used over steel shoes. Successful use of this boot also requires a regularly maintained hoof capsule with a short toe, short heels and little to no flare.

EnduranceAggressive Distance Riding
Most riders who compete in long distance wilderness rides use the Easyboot Glove or the Easyboot Glue-On (or their Wide counterparts). If the fit is correct and the hooves are regularly maintained, this is a tough boot model to turn down. This boot is also very popular with riders who compete in arena speed activities such as barrel racing, pole bending and mounted shooting.

Many of our customers still like to use the Easyboot Epic. The cable and buckle system affords additional adjustment tweaking, and 41 years of success are hard to beat.

TherapyTherapy (Not Riding)
There are two choices for therapy: the Easyboot Rx provides support and relief for horses with chronic hoof issues. Although the boot cannot be used for riding, it can be used for light turnout for horses with laminitis or founder, or for transitioning horses who need additional comfort to speed the process and aid in movement.

The EasySoaker is the answer to all your soaking needs, from thrush prevention and treatment to management of abscesses.

The Moral of the Story
You've got to choose the right boot for the job. I've distilled the choices to just a few, but there are several other models to choose from. We'd be happy to discuss your particular needs with you in person.

So whether you buy directly from us or from one of the thousands of EasyCare dealers across the world, please pick up the phone and call us during the decision-making process. We want you to have the most positive boot using experience possible. And we've got a few free tips and tricks up our sleeve: we can almost certainly lead you to a positive conclusion.

Give us a call at 800-447-8836 or 520-297-1900. We've got a small army of experts waiting to talk to you, so don't be shy.

Next week: Summarising the Five Basics to Successful Booting - a wholistic approach to connecting the pieces.

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.

The Horse That Wasn't Allowed To Race

A Horse Named Clunk
A Horse Named Clunk

Racetrack Intrigue 

I've always been a bit intrigued by the racetrack industry and the mystique that surrounds the horses, trainers, owners and conditioning process.  The stories of horses like Man O'War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Big Brown fueled my interest and the draw to someday own a racehorse. 

Shoe or Boot?
EasyCare hoof boots have been used in just about every equine sport, but have yet to make an impact in flat track racing.  Until recently, hoof boots have been much too heavy and bulky to allow a race horse to be competitive.  When the Easyboot Glue-On was developed, it started my curiosity about campaigning an Arabian track horse in a modified version of the Easyboot Glue-On shoe.

Why Bother?
Life on the race track presents challenges to the equine hoof.  Many track horses have challenges with brittle walls, tender feet, lack of support, and contracted heels from continuous shoeing.  Track horses that rip off a shoe and lose hoof wall also have a difficult time holding shoes and as a result miss conditioning and races.  Track horses are subjected to pounding workouts and as a result are prone to injury.  It is for these reasons I believe the sport could benefit from a more supportive shoe.

Imagine: The Easyboot Race
  1. The Easyboot Race will allow the hoof to expand and contract as nature intended.
  2. The Easyboot Race will provide support and comfort for quarter cracks. 
  3. The Easyboot Race will allow farriers and trainers another tool for problem feet that will not hold nails.
  4. The Easyboot Race will allow farriers and trainers an option that flexes and absorbs concussion to extend the horse's health and longevity. 
  5. The Easyboot Race can be trimmed and modified to suit a specific horse, track or surface.
  6. The Easyboot Race will be less likely to hurt horses, jockeys or spectators if they do come off. 
  7. The Easyboot Race will allow trainers to train the horses harder and on less than perfect surface conditions. 
  8. The Easyboot Race will bring the track an affordable glue-on solution. 

I probably heard my college football coach utter the phrase "speed kills" a hundred times.  Size, strength and athletic ability nearly always fail when confronted with speed.  We often entered a game as the bigger and strong team, but left the field beaten badly by a team with more speed.

The term "speed kills" is very relevant to the horse, shoes and the hoof boot world.  Getting shoes and hoof boots to work for a leisurely trail ride at a walk is comparatively easy.  As speed is added, shoes and hoof boots are put under a great deal of stress and torque.  The race track is the ultimate equine speed sport and the next arena for Easycare product testing.  Participation in the race track industry will make our products lighter and sleeker, allowing us to perfect the product line for all equine disciplines. 

I've tried unsuccessfully to convince race track trainers and race track owners to use hoof boots for flat track training.  I wasn't convinced they were right. I thought a custom designed racing shoe/boot would give horses that run at speed a comfort advantage and extended longevity.  Rather than continue to wonder, I decided to purchase a racetrack Arabian.  My plan was to pull the aluminum racing plates, improve the trim on his feet, condition him a bit in the Colorado hills and then take him back and race him in the new Easyboot Race shoes. 


Clunk was purchased for the experiment.  He's a well breed Arab gelding that I knew I could later use for endurance.
I wanted a horse that was currently running and one that I could take back to the track in a short period with the change to Easyboot Race shoes.
Clunk's front feet

Clunk's front feet before pulling shoes.  Long in the toe, long hoof capsule. Contracted in the heel. 

Aluminum Plates

Front feet up close.
Aluminum plates removed

I removed the aluminum plates before I turned Clunk out.

Track Hoof Boots

Modifying the Easyboot tread to mimic an aluminum racing plate: first prototype. 

Weights of the aluminum race plates and the modified Easyboot Race shoe were taken after the Race shoes were modified. The average weight of the aluminum plate was 9.5 ounces. There were variances of + .1 ounces and - .1 ounces. These shoes had 1 race on them, on a soft racing surface, and exhibited little to no wear and tear. They were removed within three hours of finishing the race.
The average weight of the reconfigured EasyCare Race shoe was 6.5 ounces. After adding the appropriate amount of glue for proper adhesion, the final weight was 9.55 ounces. The variance was + or - .15 ounces. 

Clunk in endurance tack

Clunk in endurance tack and Easyboot Gloves.  I did roughly two weeks of conditioning with him in the Colorado mountains after we purchased the horse.

Clunk after hill repeats

Clunk after hill repeats carrying 225 lbs. 

During this process, we had been working with the stewards (race officials) at the Arapahoe Park Race Track in Aurora, Colorado. We discussed with them new Easyboot Race shoe and the prospect of racing Clunk in the new design on August 7th, 2011.  The stewards were initially very receptive to the design and thought it could be beneficial for many reasons.  They didn't see any problems with the shoe and asked to see Clunk do an official workout the week before the August 7th race.
Clunk's Easyboot Glue-On Race

Steve Kulinski and I fit Clunk with Easyboot Race shoes before the event.

Clunk's Easyboot Race shoes

Clunk's Easyboot Race shoes installed and ready to go.  A very thin upper flange is used to glue the shoes to the hoof. 

To Race, or Not To Race?
Clunk's race shoes were applied Tuesday August 2, 2011, in anticipation of the workout in front of stewards on Wednesday August 3rd.  Clunk did a flawless workout in front of the stewards, track vet and several jockeys.  The jockey was very impressed and said the horse felt more confident and stable.  The track vet had no objections and saw many benefits that could help track horses. 

The stewards, however, subsequently changed their opinion, informing us that Clunk would not be able to race on August 7th if he wore the Easyboot Glue-On Race Shoes.  They were unable to give a reason or cite a rule in support of their decision.

On Friday August 5th, we filed a formal appeal and asked the stewards and director for a reason and rule that would not allow Clunk to race in the new EasyCare hoof wear.  The director responded with a written response and that our new shoe went against rule number 7.608:
"7.608 - Bar plates may be used only with the consent of the Division Veterinarian. The commission may limit the height of toe grabs for any breed at a live race meet. Toe grabs with a height greater than the maximum set by the commission, bends, jar caulks, stickers and any other traction device worn on the front hooves of horses while racing or training on all surfaces, are prohibited. The horse shall be scratched and the trainer may be subject to fine for any violation of this rule. We thought about removing Clunk's Easyboot Race shoes and allowing him to race in aluminum plates but decided to scratch him and stick to what we set out to accomplish.  We quickly finished a new mold that was exactly the same shape of the aluminum plate removed from Clunk's hoof after he was purchased."

Easyboot Race Shoe

The Easyboot Race bottom surface mimics an aluminum plate but is made of urethane.  Patent applications are complete.  The photo above shows the finished Easyboot Race straight out of the mold: the exact pattern of the aluminum racing plate but molded in urethane.  

Barrier After Barrier
Although Clunk was not allowed to race on August 7th, he remained entered in the August 21st Milemaker's Classic race.  We believed that we could modify the Easyboot Race to be an exact copy of an aluminum plate and the stewards could not say it violated rule 7.608.  We continued to press forward and quickly finished a new Easyboot Race mold.  During the mold process we presented photos and drawings to the Arapahoe Park race director, Don Burmania, and the racing stewards. 

To our disbelief, Don and the stewards said the new racing plate still violated the 7.608 rule as it was a "Traction Device" and they would not allow Clunk to race in the new design despite the fact it was an exact copy of an aluminum plate.  On Wednesday August 17th, Don Burmania informed us via e-mail the following:

"please be aware that we will be unable to provide you with suggested changes to the product to get it to conform to Commission rules. No matter what changes you suggest, it will not change the fact that the device is a traction device prohibited under the Rule 7.608. "

Looking at Don's written response, I’m especially confused that he and the stewards are unable to provide guidance and suggestions that would allow our shoe device to conform to the Commission rules.  And in the next sentence, Don states that regardless of the changes we make, it will not change the fact that the device is a traction device prohibited under Rule 7.608.  Confusing and frustrating.  If Don is able to make that statement, there are obviously some areas of the shoe that Don believes are a traction device.   Until EasyCare knows the portions of our shoe that Don and stewards believe don’t conform to commission rules, Don is correct stating that we will be unable to make changes.  It will be difficult to make changes if we don’t know what to change and what elements of our shoe violate a rule.

We can make many changes: we just need to know what is allowed and what isn't.  Here are some examples.

Easyboot Race Sole

The Easyboot Race sole with center and glue-on walls removed next to an aluminum plate.  Does this design violate the traction rule?  Shoes can be made of urethane and colored black?

Easyboot Race with center pad

Easyboot Race with center pad next to an aluminum plate. Does this design violate the traction rule?
Shoes can be made of urethane, colored black and be used with pads?

Easyboot Race with cuff

Easyboot Race with glue-on cuff next to an aluminum plate. Does this design violate the traction rule?
Shoes can be made of urethane, colored black and glued-on with a cuff or clips?

Easyboot Race prefered

Easyboot Race with center pad and glue-on cuff next to an aluminum plate. Does this design violate the traction rule? Shoes can be made of urethane, colored black and glued-on with a cuff or clips?

Easyboot Race all options

All the options available with the Easyboot Race pictured next to an aluminum plate that conforms to the traction rule.

I have to say it's been a frustrating process.  It's hard to see horses being shipped off to slaughter when we are fighting to race a horse in a product that we believe will help prolong the racing careers of thousands of horses.  It's difficult to see state employees that are paid with tax dollars make arbitrary and capricious decisions.  Polyurethane glue-on racing shoes are already out there and being used by some of the best horses and trainers in the sport.  Big Brown ran to victory in the 134th Kentucky Derby wearing glued-on poly-flex shoes. 

I hope to pull some of the horses with foot issues off the slaughter wagons at various tracks and fit them in the new Easyboot Race shoes.  I would like nothing more than to show the racing public that a horse heading for a processing plant in Mexico was saved and winning races in Easyboot Race shoes. 

We believe in rules and intend to follow the rules.  On the other hand it's hard to follow rules when state officials can't explain what portion of a rule is being broken. We will continue to fight and believe the Arapahoe Park officials have made the wrong decisions. 

Do you believe the track industry could benefit from alternative hoof wear and more urethane shoe options?  Do you have a horse that would be a candidate for the new Easyboot Race shoe?  We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. 

Garrett Ford


President & CEO

I have been President and CEO of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

Cooley Ranch 2011

Submitted by Christina Kramlich Bowie, Team Easyboot 2011 Member 

The annual Cooley Ranch Ride was held the weekend of July 16-17 in Northern Sonoma County, California. As always, it was a gorgeous and fun filled weekend, with beautiful trails, perfect weather, great management, wonderful people, awesome prizes, and incredible food and wine! Who could ask for more?  This is the kind of ride that reminds me of why I am so hooked on endurance.

The Cooley Ranch is a private property that has been in the same family since the 1800s. As ride managers Cynthia Ariosta and Forrest Tancer pointed out, as funds for our public parks dwindle in the state of California, it will increasingly be up to us endurance riders to cultivate relationships with private ranchers to hold rides on their lands. Crawford Cooley is extremely generous with the land and we are grateful he lets us use it. The ranch has very steep hills and is a real challenge for horse and rider. Usually the weather is hotter than it was during the weekend, but no one was complaining about that. Forrest and Cynthia did an amazing job organizing the meals: a casserole competition for Friday night with a wine tasting, a delicious paella dinner on Saturday, and a lovely dinner of roast pork loin on Sunday evening. No one wanted to leave.

Christina at Cooley

As far as boots for the weekend, I decided to glue them on because of all the steep hills and water crossings, plus the fact that it’s a two day ride. I figured I had spare Gloves, but at least we’d start with Glue-Ons. I’ve been having good luck with the combination of Goober Glue on the frogs and on the walls, with Adhere in the quarters and along the top seam of the boot.  We booted on a very hot day, and we did the first two boots quickly, which was great. Then I opened another tube of Adhere that was either too old or just too hot and it set up before I could get the boot on. Then that happened again with another tube.  A few nasty words escaped my mouth, I admit - I hate wasting boots. Finally, the third tube was fine, and we booted a few more hooves and then ran out of time. Pascale and I popped the remaining two boots on in camp.

A few notes on using Adhere: 1. It has a shelf life of about a year, and it's possible that one or both of those tubes that went bad were too old, as someone had given them to me. 2. The ambient temperature is important to consider when applying boots using Adhere. On a very hot day, some find it works to keep the tube in the refrigerator before opening it so it doesn't set up too quickly. A cooler could also work, but just be sure that no moisture gets close to the glue.  In the winter months, many find it works to wrap the tubes in a heating pad for a while before applying the glue to the boots.

Briggs working up a hill

But back to the ride: The first day I rode with Pascale who was on my young horse, Brigadoon, and we had a blast. We took it pretty easy, enjoyed the views, and had no booting problems – YAY!  The next day my friend Bob Spoor, whose horse Logistic had BC’d the first day, dropped the gauntlet on me and urged me to ride with him. He rides a bit more aggressively than I do, and I made it clear that I might not stay with him, even though Czeale is a veteran and able to go plenty fast. It turned out Czeale and Logistic were great together! Their gaits are well matched (even though tiny-but-mighty Czeale is probably two hands smaller than Logistic!), they drink about the same, and they recovered about the same too.  

Riding with Bob is intense. He’s very competitive. We started a few minutes late so the first loop there was some question about where we were in the group. We passed a bunch of horses right off the bat. It was a lollypop shaped loop with some doubling back, and of course I didn’t have time to look at my map at any point. After awhile I noticed that we were seeing some trail for the second time and wasn’t sure if we were on the return trail or if we had missed a turn. I started to remember a time at another ride when Bob went an extra 25 miles on a 50 and we all teased him for winning the 75….! He wasn’t thinking that was so funny right then. Then we passed someone we had already gone by, who was pretty darn sure he was on trail.  Hm. Somewhere we had indeed missed a turn. Fortunately we saw the way back to the vetcheck and down we went. We had simply done the lollypop twice – an extra few miles.  Oh yeah and somewhere in there Czeale lost a back boot, but I taped his hoof, popped on a spare Glove and off we went – my only loss for the whole weekend.

Pascale and Briggs - I didn't have time to take pix on Sunday!

So we started loop 2 back a bit further back than we’d started, but no big deal. We just kept cruising and by the time we got to the next vet check we were back to #2 and 3.  Both horses ate well, peed, and rested at the vetcheck, and we pulled out just a few minutes after the number one horse. The trail had a long stretch of flat and we cantered most of it. Along there we passed the number one horse walking back towards the vetcheck – he had lost a shoe and his boot had fallen off.  I only had a 00.5 which wouldn’t work for his horse, so we kept moving. Then we went through a lovely long creek bed and sponged off the horses.  There was a huge hill and we walked up it, and got off and walked down the other side. I walked slowly down that hill as my knee was really starting to ache – and I know it pained Bob to wait! Just as I got to him and got on, a few riders came tearing down the hill after us and passed us cantering through the rocks. We let them go for the moment. When we got to the wide open road again we started a nice easy canter and just kept going, passing both of them. There was another huge climb going into the finish, and we let the number one horse have that, as we didn’t think it was worth it to sprint up it. We finished a minute after him and both our horses recovered and showed for best condition. Bob’s horse got overall best condition for the weekend! What a fun day! What an incredible, exciting weekend! When can I go again?
Christina and Czeale SF at Cooley Ranch.  Photo courtesy of Baylor Photography