Reporting on the Cooley Ranch Endurance Ride

Submitted by Christina Kramlich

Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend the Cooley Ranch Ride in Sonoma County, California.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a must-do event. The beautiful setting on a private ranch, the people, the food, the wine, great prizes, and most of all, incredible trails make this one of my very favorite rides.  Last year, Forrest Tancer and Cynthia Ariosta took over the management of the ride from Ruth Waltenspiel, and they had big shoes to fill because Ruth put on a fabulous ride for many years.  But Forrest and Cynthia made it a 2-day 100, added their own unique flavor (how many rides serve lunch, delicious catered dinners, and offer wine tasting?), and did an outstanding job the first year out. This year they continued to improve it. It was so well organized that there were rarely any lines for the vet, despite 150 or so riders! 

As I mentioned earlier, this is a great ride to attend, even when not riding! This week I’m going into my eighth month of pregnancy, so for the moment I’m relegated to “crew” but I didn’t even do that this weekend, as I was busy toddler wrangling my already-horse-crazy-2-year-old. Somehow my trailer got packed on Thursday and my horses were in the trailer when we drove out of the driveway Friday morning, thanks to my friends Pascale Soumoy, Melanie Lourme, and Joanna Proctor. Pascale and Melanie did a fabulous job of completing both days on Czeale SF and Billy the Sid.  Czeale was coming off of not doing much for the last few months, and Billy is fit but fat, so the goal was just to get through both days with both horses feeling good – and they did! Both of these horses have been barefoot for about a year and a half, and I have been thrilled with the progress their feet have made and how it has affected their movement.

The weather was pleasantly cool on Friday, heated up on Saturday, and was blistering hot on Sunday.  The Cooley Ranch is located in an extremely hilly part of northern Sonoma County.  The hills are relentless, and while it’s usually hot in June, Sunday’s temperatures went into the 100s in spots and made all those hills even more challenging for horses and riders.  Fortunately there were lots of creek crossings during the ride, so riders did have opportunities to cool their horses off.  Needless to say, ride times were longer on Sunday by about two hours, with the front runners finishing around 2:30 after a 6am start. Tough ride. Back in camp, my little girl Larkin was thrilled to be there with some of her favorite people, tons of dogs and horses, and lots to explore in the creek.

Booting Challenges
I try to look at every ride (and therefore every gluing session) as an opportunity to try something new that I didn’t do the previous time, or correct mistakes I made previously. My hands are not very big, and I find that they lack the strength needed to get enough Adhere out of the gun before it starts hardening up inside the shell. I have had much better luck with Goober Glue (especially in the dry months), and more recently, good luck with the new Goober Glue, so I was planning to use that for both of my horses.  Thursday was booting day. A friend of a friend, Joan, cam over because she had never glued on boots before and wanted to watch and get some advice.  She had done a lot of reading and came prepared with Adhere and Goober Hoof Pack. She brought her horse and we got started. Pascale, Melanie, and Joanna were there to help too. We got started on Czeale and worked our way from the back feet to the fronts. A drawback to Goober Glue is that it takes a bit longer to cure than Adhere, so you have to hold up a hoof for a while after gluing each one, which gets tedious. Sometimes one or the other front boot gets twisted in the curing process, and if I catch it in time I try to correct it. If I have Adhere on hand, sometimes I can get just enough in place inside the boot, pop the boot on again in the correct position, and smear some Adhere around the top to seal it while the rest of the glue is setting inside. It’s not pretty but it has worked in the past and we did it on one of Czeale’s feet this time. Yes, I did read that post on Thursday morning about the Adhere “lock”, which I thought was a great idea, but I just don’t think I have enough hand strength, especially these days with pregnancy carpal tunnel, to put enough of it in the quarters to stay on.  Plus I was willing to give the new Goober Glue another chance since it worked well on my mare a few weeks ago when Pascale took her to a ride.  Anyway, Melanie has helped and observed several gluing sessions and when Czeale’s boots were on and I realized I needed to sit down for a while, she helped Joan with her horse. I was nearby, making sure they didn’t miss any steps. 19 and strong, Melanie does not have the same issues that I have with Adhere, and she likes that fact that it sets so fast.  Joan’s horse’s feet were done about 45 minutes later, and then Mel moved on to put Billy’s boots on, also using Adhere. His boots went on, stayed on overnight in the pasture, and off we went in the morning to the ride.

My takeaway was that I am happy with the new Goober Glue and will still plan to have Adhere on hand for last minute saves. 

It is stunning and as you can see, the ups and downs are endless! I should line up babysitting now so I can actually ride it next year!

Christina Kramlich

Solutions for Tender-Footed Horse Hooves

We've all seen it: the horse with sensitive sole, the tender footed horse that gives, sometimes almost collapses when stepping on a rock. There can be a variety of causes for sensitive soles.

- Excess moisture in the hoof. An average hoof sole should have about a 33% moisture content. With lots of rain and on soft or wet ground this percentage can increase substantially, which then softens the sole and increases sensitivity.
- Knife-happy trimming. Excess paring of the sole beyond removing flaky dead sole can increase sole sensitivity.
- Dropped soles and flat soles. Soles with little concavity will be more sensitive to rocks.
- Bruised soles are sensitive. Horses exposed to too many rocks without proper toughening of the soles.
- Genetic. Often flat soles and thin soles are inherited. Examine the hooves of dam and sire before breeding.

Be that as it may, there are steps we can take to mitigate tender soles.

- Keep the horse in dry corrals with sand or small pebbles.
- Apply daily iodine or turpentine solutions to the soles.
- Pack the soles with Venice Turpentine or Hoof Sole Pack, then glue the boots on.
- Follow the steps for transitioning to barefoot as outlined in the blogs of Kevin Myers, "Bootlegging".

This horse had sheared the bars off. He was extremely sensitive, the sole was very thin.

I applied a layer of Sole Pack and glued a Glue-On EasyCare boot. He was immediately more comfortable.

At last week's Strawberry Fields endurance event we all encountered a lot of rocks. In spite of having Glue-on boots and Easyboot Gloves on all our horses, after the first day, one of the horses with already sensitive soles was really sore when stepping on rocks. The horse was otherwise sound and in good shape. What to do?

We wanted to start the horse, but had to come up with a solution. That's when the Bootmeister put on his creative hat and started thinking. What if we double boot this horse, would that work? With nothing to lose, I gave it a try.

First, I rasped off the front of the existing glue-on boot and beveled the bottom edges around the existing boot.

With the help of a Hoof Jack, I took the dorsal wall of the existing boot all the way down to the hoof wall. The sandals are not mine, in case you are wondering whether I work with sandals around horses. Another rider was watching my work.

I then selected a pair of Glue-on boots one full size bigger than the old one, the horse had a #1, I selected a #2. A #2.5 would have worked even better. After cutting the walls of the new glue ons flush with the bottom, I fitted it so both boots were even in the heels.

After roughening up the existing boots outer layer and cleaning it with a wire brush, I applied Vettec Adhere to the second pair of boots inside walls and glued them on.

One boot on top of the other

The heels of both boots are flush: this is really important for heel support. The second pair of boot should not be shorter than the original one, it could be a bit longer for better heel support. This photo was taken after the 50 mile ride.

Before the second boot was applied, the horse was very tender on the pre ride trot out. We could not have started her. With the double boot system, she traveled comfortably over the whole 50 miles, part of which was a 12 mile gravel downhill road and lots of rocks over the climb and descent to over 10,000 ft. The horse finished 2nd, never missed a beat and showed sound for the BC judging.

This is not an ideal situation, the horse is elevated in front by about an inch, but it can save the bacon if needed. Another trick up your sleeve. One Glue on boot weighs half as much as a steel shoe. So with two glue ons, the horse still only carries the same weight as with a steel shoe. Not bad at all.

With all the different EasyCare boots available, we can really solve problems when we put our heads together. Let's face it, there is nothing out there on the hoof protection market worldwide, that comes even close to the wide variety of boots and hoof protection products made available to the riders by EasyCare, Inc. A big Thanks to Garrett Ford and all the EasyCare staff for providing so much education and such great products for horse and rider in all equestrian disciplines.

Success through Learning, that motto was proven true again last week.

As a parting shot, Double Zell at 10,300 ft on day 3 of Strawberry ride. Double Zell won on day two and three, back to back, wearing the same Glue-on Boots. He was not foot sore.

For more detail on the results of the 2010 Strawberry Fields four-day endurance event day ride, visit our blog at

So long,

Your Bootmeister

Easyboots Clean Up From Coast to Coast

Easyboots had a strong presence at competitions across the US last weekend and the results were very positive.

Early morning in the beautful Virginia countryside.

Located just east of San Diego, California, Descanso is probably one of the most beautiful rides of the west. Terry Woolley-Howe always puts on a first class event and this year was no exception. Three Easyboot riders finished in the top ten: EasyCare's Miriam Rezine was on site and glued boots on seven horses while she was there. One of the people she glued for was Clydea Hastie: she would go on to take 11th place on Ash, the horse she is planning to take to the Big Horn 100 next month. Clydea sent us a note today and called the Easyboot Glue-Ons "miraculous". Thanks Clydea! Miriam got 15th place on her horse.

Cheree Hollis and Diane ride through the mist at the Descanso 50.

EasyCare also had presence at the revered Fort Howes FEI event in Montana: Tennessee Mahoney finished top five at the 75-mile event. In true Fort Howes tradition, the weather added an additional layer of challenge. For anyone who thinks hoofboots don't work in mud, Fort Howes would change your mind.

Tennesse Mahoney at the Fort Howes FEI 75-Mile Event. Photo courtesy of Merri Melde Endurance.Net

Then there was the EasyCare East Coast contingent. I flew in to crew for Kevin Waters in the 100 at the Old Dominion and glued on boots for some of our dedicated northeast riders. Carol Federighi, Ashley Kemmerer and Sandra Fretelliere all completed the 55-mile race in Easyboot Glue-Ons. Sandra's horse, Twist, even won the Best Condition award.

Sandra Fretelliere wins the Old Dominion 55-mile Best Condition Award.
Libby Llop and Fly So Free came into the first vet check missing a steel shoe on the left front foot. The vets wanted to pull her: when the shoe came off, some of the hoof wall came off with it. So we pulled the other front shoe and glued a pair of Easyboot Glue-Ons on the front. Libby went on to finish the 100 and is our definitely our latest Glue-On convert.

Kevin Waters and DE Golden Ali would place in ninth position in the 100 at the Old Dominion. Kevin won the southwest regional high mileage award last year in Easyboots, completing a staggering 1,990 competition miles.

Kevin had a good day: it was challenging for a Colorado-based horse and rider team to take on the humid conditions of Virginia on a hot June day. But Kevin always rides smart, and we clipped Ali's neck and shoulders to help him cool off. I stocked up on lots of bags of ice and met Kevin at every vet check. As soon as he would be in sight, I'd pour ice into the water buckets I had waiting; we'd pull the tack completely and cool the horse down with the ice water. Even at the heat of the day, Ali only took a few minutes to pulse down.

Horse and rider were bright and eager at the 19 mile check, but I would not see them again until the 51-mile mark. They were both hot and bothered by then - and it was 3:30 PM so the humidy was at it's worst. Kevin said there were more rocks on this ride than he has ever seen.

John Crandell III and Heraldic at the 50-mile mark of 100 miles at the Old Dominion. The team would go on to win and get the Best Condition award. Also in the photo: John Crandell Senior and Matthew Macay-Smith.

I saw Kevin again at 75 miles: the temperature had cooled down a little but the himidity remained high. Horse and rider were both fresher, and Ali ate and ate and ate. We saw him again eight miles later and they were both feeling the draw of the finish line. At 94 miles, the vets gave him all A's. Kevin crossed the finish line with a ride time of 17 hours and 49 minutes: about four hours and 20 minutes behind John Crandell's winning time.

Looking ahead, EasyCare will have presence at the following events over the next week:

 - Strawberry Fields four-day Pioneer event: 6/17 - 6/20 near Heber City, UT
 - Valles Caldera three-day Pioneer event: 6/17 - 6/19 near Los Alamos, NM
 - Tevis Educational Ride, Foresthill, CA

If you'd like help in fitting or gluing boots, please drop us a line or notify us in the comments section of this blog.

Keep up the bootlegging!

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.

Photo of the Week

This week's photo comes form the 2009 Western States Trail Ride, also known as the Tevis Cup. Garrett Ford and Duncan McLaughlin are preparing a horse's hooves to be fitted with the EasyBoot Glue-On hoof boots prior to the race.

Last year, EasyCare brought a team to Tevis with the aim if showing the world that Easyboots and natural hoof care were not some soon to be forgotten fad, but a real alternative to iron shoeing.

We believed that if our boots could perform well in the Tevis Cup, widely regarded as the most difficult and most prestigious horse endurance race in the world, people would see what we already knew: Easyboots can handle just about anything a horse and rider can throw at them.

We brought boxes of Glue-On and Glove boots and offered to help riders competing in the race properly fit the boots to their horses. The success of riders wearing Easyboots was amazing, with over 70% of horses wearing Easyboots finishing the race. With an average finish rate of a little over 50% over several decades it's hard to argue that Easyboots shined at the 2009 Tevis Cup.

Since then hoof boot success in endurance racing has steadily grown. Check out these incredible statistics from 2009, and then consider that 2010 is shaping up to be even bigger.

Our momentum continues to grow with new programs like our Ride Tevis for Free promotion, the EasyCare Gives Back to AERC campaign. It's going to be an exciting summer!

Success Through Learning - A Success Story

The Hoof Care Clinic held in Oreana last weekend by your Bootmeister and sponsored by EasyCare, Global Endurance and Vettec was huge success. In spite of inclement weather, the turnout was impressive. There was live a demonstration on trimming, tool usage and Easyboot Glue-on procedure and there were lots of great questions.

Global Endurance Center provided drinks and refreshments for all the clinic participants. There were lots of power drinks and electrolyte supplements available for everybody.

Christoph explained the Glue-On boot. He emphasized the light weight of the new hoof protection on the market and how it is affecting horses' performance. A scale was set up so everybody could weigh steel shoes, plastic shoes and EasyCare boots and compare them. A Glue-On Boot weighs half that of a steel shoe of the same size. That is the equivalent of a horse shod with steel carrying 50 lbs more on it's back.

He went on to explain why flares need to get removed and how laid over bars can cause sole bruising. Notice the red bruise in the heel area in the photo below.

During the trimming section of the clinic Christoph introduced the Merlin, an innovative trimming power tool that makes hoof trimming a piece of cake.

The Merlin in action.

After trimming several hooves using traditional methods, it was time to glue on boots.  Christoph likes to set the selected boots out and apply Goober Glue first in all boots. He has found that it is sufficient to add Goober Glue in the shape of the frog into the sole of the boot. That provides good support for the frog and seals the heel part of the boot so no debris or water can enter. Any excess glue will get pushed out the heel and frog area and can be removed.

Now the boots are ready for the application of Vettec Adhere on the shell wall.
The boot is quickly placed onto the hoof. Vettec Adhere sets within a minute, so expediancy is required in putting the boot onto the hoof. A quick couple of taps with the rubber mallet, put the hoof down and seal the top edge of the hoof with Adhere or Soleguard.

Christoph explained that Adhere and Soleguard have the same adhesive strength for gluing on boots. He has tested them and can tell no difference in bonding to the hoof. However, if the outside humidity is high and/or the hoof has some residual moisture retained, he suggests Soleguard because it is more forgiving to a little moisture than Adhere. With Adhere, the boot and hoof have to be absolutely dry. A heat gun or similar drying device is a must if any moisture is present. Never take any short cuts, though: a clean and dry hoof is a must for success.

After the clinic, Christoph glued on a few more boots for some riders. Doug Swingley from Montana supported him. A big "Thank You" goes out to him. 

At the end of the clinic, there was a prize drawing for all the participants. Prizes were donated by EasyCare, Vettec, Equiflex and Global Endurance Training Center included logbooks, saddle bags, hoof picks, Glue-On boots and Gloves, Vettec Adhere, Soleguard and Equi-Pak Sore No More products and insulated water bottles for the saddles.

After vetting in for the next day's ride, it was time for some R&R and socializing. Vettec sponsored the Wine and Cheese Party and it was enjoyed by all the riders.

 Good stuff!

If you missed the clinic, check back regularly with the EasyCare Blog or event schedule. We'll have more fun events planned throughout the riding season.

If you would like more information on trimming techniques and the Merlin, please contact me using the comments section of this blog. More detailed information on trimming and the Merlin power trimming tool is available on the latest post on the Global Endurance Center blog at

So long,

Your Bootmeister

I Get It

For the first time in my endurance career, I finally have what I've been looking for all along, in the form of a little red mare. Funny enough, I didn't buy this horse, I didn't spend months and months searching, I didn't comb the classifieds, didn't travel far and wide, and certainly didn't want a mare. She was merely placed in my lap, and I was smart enough to say "thank you." I didn't expect the partnership, the team-work, the bond. I didn't expect to love her as my own, and didn't think it would be she that I dream of riding when the lights go out. Nonetheless, all of the above happened, and on her, last weekend, I completed my first real long-distance ride. 

Photo courtesy of Steve Bradley

In last week's post, I explained that we were to be heading the the Owyhee Fandango Three-Day Endurance ride, where I had planned to ride the 80 mile ride, while my husband would be vetting the weekend away. I took off, as planned, Thursday morning. As it had rained all morning, I wasn't in a huge rush to get to camp, and took the time to get some work done and do some last minute packing. Unfortunately in my leisure, I missed The Bootmeister's mini-clinic on barefoot trimming and Easycare hoof care products such as the different options in boots and glues. I understand he then proceeded to glue on several sets of boots for the next three days of riding. I made it to camp, set up my horse and headed over to the wine and cheese social where I got to meet up with old friends and talk over plans for the weekend. 

I headed back over to my camp where I proceeded to attempt to do a good job applying my glue-on shells using the new Goober Glue, which sets up quicker and has a stronger bond. Things didn't go beautifully, and I decided that I won't try gluing on at ridecamp ever again. I was disorganized and messy, on top of being flustered and trying to make a good impression on my anti-boot-using-friends, who were watching. Despite a less than perfect application, boots were glued and we were off to bed. As I had two full days to make adjustments before my ride, I figured I could reapply anything that didn't look quite right in the morning and still be good to go by Sunday. 

Even though I was generously offered a horse to ride on Friday, I decided not to go because it was COLD and looked RAINY! Yes, I realize this makes me look like a wimp, but after the first couple rides this year I decided I was DONE riding in the crappy weather! I chose to sleep 'till nine, play with my pups and hang out with friends for the two days before my ride. By Saturday afternoon, I was bored and ready to go!! I took Replika on a quick leg-stretcher that afternoon and decided we were good to go. Boots looked great and she was fresh and spunky. 

Saturday morning dawned after a restful nights sleep and off we were at 6AM. My first 80, I was ready to burst!! A very good friend and I started off happily down the road. Our first loop was to be about 15 miles, and took us to my most favorite vet check in that area- an old working ranch along the Oregon Trail. It's gorgeous and oh-so-hospitable!

Here is Layne and Taz as we enter the alfalfa fields of the ranch. Taz and Replika were in heaven! 

We cruised through our 50 minute hold, the horses happily grazing in the shade of old growth hard-wood trees, in the lush alfalfa field generously opened up by the ranchers. We were soon off up the Oregon Trail and eventually down the the Snake River. I must stop for a moment and explain the extreme wagon-driving that had to have occurred to get the wagons UP the Oregon Trail leaving the ranch. Oh.My.Goodness. We couldn't even fathom the amount of blood, sweat and tears it had to have taken to get those wagons up the steep, rocky trail to the top. Wow. We were lucky enough to ride through wagon ruts deeply embedded into the soil. How many people get that opportunity, and do to it atop a good horse? 

Aren't those ruts amazing? I wish I had pictures of the climb up the trail to this point. 

We rode along the flats up to of the Snake River Canyon before eventually coming to the rim and heading down. We were then fortunate enough to be able to ride the trail from the Owyhee Spring 60 AGAIN! We are so lucky!! 

Replika and I up on top of the Snake River Canyon prior to heading down to the river. The gnats can be REALLY bad down there, hence the fly mask!

We rode along the river at the bottom for miles and miles, trotting, cantering, walking and talking. It really doesn't get much better than this.
The trail all day was mostly one big 80-mile buffet. No excuse for poor gut sounds out here!

We eventually came to a narrowing of the trail, which turned into a little goat trail navigating a path of sharp rocks and boulders, the horses often scrambling to get up and over them. Replika had spooked herself after spotting a boat tucked in under the rocks and thought FOR SURE the man fishing on the deck of the boat was really looking for a little red mare to put on the barbecue for lunch. Unfortunately we had some trouble with the rocks and she ended up catching a foot and cutting up her lips. I felt awful, but was extremely thankful for the Easyboot Glue-Ons and the strong-holding Goober Glue. My friend's horse slipped and slid over the rocks in regular steel shoes. Unfortunately he ended up getting pulled at the vet check shortly after the rocky path which landed us on our own for the rest of the ride. 

Replika at the second vet-check, chowing down, like normal. Easyboot Glue-Ons holding STRONG!

This is completely un-related but take a look at the spread that was ready for us when we got in!! Hot damn talk about setting some high expectations for the next one!

After the hold, I set out on my own back to the ranch that was the first vet check. I thankfully caught up to Karen and her riding buddy. Karen was riding her chestnut with chrome boy, Z Summer Thunder. I was lucky enough to ride her other gelding, Z Blue Lightning, the last time we were on this stretch of river so it was fun doing it again! Karen and Thunder were on the 100 with their trusty Easyboot Gloves. Thunder navigated his way back through the rocks without a problem in his Gloves. Replika, much calmer this go around, did much better and I appreciated the grip the glue-ons offered. If there was going to be a boot problem on this ride this is where it would have been. We were so pleased with the performance of the boots all day! 

We came back into the ranch vet check together, and after another 50 minute hold Replika and I were off like a rocket! As we would be done when we got back into camp, I knew I could let her out a notch. We rode the trail this morning and knew exactly what to camp. I can't even describe the feeling I felt, being out there just the two of us, flying down the trail *this close* to completing an 80 mile ride. The miles ticked away and we were soon trotting into camp. Did we really just do that loop faster than we did this morning? We DID and it was FUN! Replika vetted in perfectly after coming down to 60 immediately after crossing the finish line at a trot.
Replika the next morning, after I pulled her boots. They were on from Thursday night to Monday morning. Within the hour her feet looked like they had been bare all along.

After coming off from my runner's (rider's?) high, I headed to bed. Before getting there, however, I slipped in to Replika's pen to find her bedded down for the night. I sat down with her, and she placed her nose on my knee. It was all I could do not to cry, for after all this time of searching, I finally get it. I get that special relationship one has with only a handful of horses in their life, and get that special bond that only comes with time and miles together. I can only hope for more, and in turn, can only offer her the best. I feel like keeping her in protective hoof boots for rides, and barefoot the rest of the time, is the best option for footcare, for us anyway. I can't wait for the next time, but for now Replika will get a well-deserved break before the next ride. 

'Till then, she'll be barefoot and happy, with plenty of food...

NEATO Ride Report

Submitted by Gene Limlaw

This past weekend I went to the NEATO Ride in Escoheag, Rhode Island. They offered a 30 and 50 mile ride with the Region 16 distance championship. Last year this ride was a two day ride in August. It was in the 90s with very high humidity.

Little did I know that Rhode Island has a lot of rocks. But guess what: they do. The trails, though lacking in elevation, are very technical: lots of signal track ditches and washed out roadways. Earlier in the season they had 16 inches of rain in two days.
Base camp is a nice series of meadows surrounded by trees. There is plenty of room for rigs and paddocks and lots of nice grass. The NEATO club is a real nice group of people that are working hard to put on a nice ride.  They had a welcome barbecue the night before as well as one the night after the ride.

This year the trails were changed some from last year to make it a more friendly course to navigate. It wasn't an easy ride but a lot less difficult than before. I took my Arab mare Grace and planned to ride this ride with a bit more speed than last year if trails allowed.
I glued her boots on Thursday afternoon as I  had to leave earlier on Friday. I've been mainly riding only in boots in front but decided to use four as I knew it would be rocky. This was also my first time reusing boots that I had ground the glue out of. I used a wire brush on a power drill and that worked very well, as I don't have a drill press. People have been asking if you can reuse the boots and I say you can, but I haven't. Now I have and it worked real well.

We had a 7:30 ride start as it is Turkey season and the park people asked we start later. That was super: I got to sleep in a little. Our first loop was 20 miles. I spent the day riding with friends from Vermont knowing they would be riding at a good pace. We were averaging ten miles an hour all day on the rocky loose footing. I was very pleased with Grace's performance in her four boots. She seemed to have good traction and I didn't worry about stone bruises or rocks getting stuck in shoes, which happened to my friends horse last year and we had to have it beaten out with another rock.
The first loop was a lollipop and when we got back to the stick we took a wrong turn and got a little lost for a mile or and had to turn around and get back on track. We got in and pulsed down and went back to the trailer for everyone to eat. The next to loops were each 15 miles and we had gotten back in the pack and worked on covering ground where we could.

We came in from the second loop and vetted right through to make a up a little "line time"  waiting in the vetting line. We went out on our last loop in about 16th place, and away we went.

It was getting warmer from the afternoon sun. About five miles into our last loop we came to a brook crossing and Grace wanted a drink and my riding companions went on. I figured I would let her drink her fill and catch up. Ha, she did and we went right along and never caught back up.

This is the time is a endurance ride when things can get interesting. We went along, Grace wanted to catch up with her friends. We passed several horses and she just kept going, she felt just great!  We finally caught up to her buddies at the finish, go figure they were a couple minutes ahead and in tenth place. We were 11th.  The finish line was not at camp so I had to go up to the finish from 11 on. I jogged in the last half mile pulled her tack put some water on her and went in and got my completion. What a great day!

I had entered Grace in the AHA division so we were able to go back up for BC. Her metabolics were great and she looked wonderful and got 9 for her gait. Even though we missed BC by a point and a half I was just thrilled and had a wonderful ride. I was so lucky to find this nice mare. I also really enjoy watching her develop into a true athlete.

So all in all the NEATO ride was a nice ride and worth trying if you would like to see some new trails and meet some great people.
Gene Limlaw
Weathersfield, Vermont

Natural Hoofcare or Barefoot Hoofcare

There are generic terms being used to describe the care and use of barefooted horses in all disciplines known as "natural hoofcare" or "barefoot hoofcare." They are not only a horse hoof trimming method/barefoot trimming method designed specifically for barefoot horses, but include a daily care system that allow a horse to remain barefoot throughout its entire working life. The same system can be used to rehabilitate horses from lameness eliminating horse hoof problems.

From a blending of Jaime Jackson, pioneer of barefoot hoofcare in America basing his studies of the wild horse hoof, and German Veterinarian, Dr. Hildred Strasser, who researched causes and cures of lameness and developed the first holistic hoofcare clinic, came very different approaches that have created the barefoot hoofcare movement as we know it today.

Jackson has emphasized a practical approach, allowing nature to help slowly improve hoof form, with gentle and gradual guidelines for natural hoof trimming. Strasser developed a powerful trimming technique, using surgically precise trimming to drastically alter hoof form for the pathological horses in her clinic. From Jackson, we have learned to appreciate the significance of the wild horse model and it application in the lives of domestic horses. From Strasser, we have learned the direct link between horse's living conditions and the health of their hoofs. Nearly all natural trimming and barefoot trimming techniques have originated from these two key figures, with the points they both agree on: 

1. Heels are kept low with bulbs nearly on the ground, hairline is straight, quarters are arched, bars are straight and tapered, hooves are wide and round in shape and the entire hoof expands slightly upon weight-bearing, also called hoof mechanism.

2. Horses with founder, navicular, ringbone and other chronic illnesses and lamenesses are finding improved health and genuine return to soundness with natural hoof care. With this new approach, it now extends to the complete lifestyle of the horse. The barefoot hooves become strong, healthy and fully functioning and the entire immune system of the horse is strengthened naturally. Diet plays a major role in rehabilitation so natural horse products should be used. This is all part of natural horse care.

3. Horses that were previously unable to perform barefooted using traditional trimming/shoeing methods are now able to fully function. When in need of protection on rough terrain or during rehabilitation, flexible, removable protective horse boots that compliment hoof form and function are appropriate, such as the Easyboot Glove or Glue on Boots using hoof glue. Hoof pads can be used inside some boots for added comfort. In high performance applications such as endurance racing, rocky trail riding, competitive driving, jumping, roping, barrel racing, dressage, polo and more, EasyCare offers a boot for every horse and every discipline.

Dee Hoime


Customer Service

When you call EasyCare, I’m one of the folks that will answer. I’m also one of the cowgirls in the group. (Heck no, I don’t show, I Rodeo!) When it comes to life’s adventures – never pull back on the reins, and remember: the world is best-viewed through the ears of a horse!

Horse B - When In Doubt, Use Glue

** Disclaimer: For those of you just showing up to this thread, this Blob Entry chronicles my experiences last year.
This is by no means a correct protocol as to how to successfully glue boots onto horses' feet.
Indeed, this demonstrates some of the things you probably would do better avoiding.**

If Roo was going to wear Easyboot Glue-ons for Tevis, we were going to have to try them out first. As previously mentioned, pre-Tevis mania had gripped me good and tight and everything had to be experimented with beforehand to avoid any nasty surprises on the day (I was pretty sure I was going to have enough nasty surprises foisted upon me without generating any of my own).

Luckily, I live quite close to the Western States Trail (WST) so know the type of terrain and can practice on it. Unluckily, this also means I know how tough that kind of footing can be on boots. In short - if they could come off, they would.

The second thing I wanted to do was try out glue-ons on a Proper Endurance Ride. We were due to go to the two-day Cooley Ranch Ride in Sonoma Co. in the coastal range of California in June. I'd ridden Cooley Ranch once before and knew that there was a lot of straight up and straight down trail so I figured it would be a good try out.

The weekend before the ride found me sitting picking bits of dremelled boot out of my eyes (safety glasses would have been a smart idea, eh?). Roo is slightly toe-in and tends to forge and I was worried that the normal breakover for the boots was in the wrong place for him. So in a fit of OCD, I dremelled more bevel into the front boots to speed up the breakover. This was probably a waste of time seeing as Roo'd wear the boots into the shape they needed to be as he went along, but like I say, pre-Tevis mania is strong.

In retrospect this really was OCD: although my extra bevelling was probably not detrimental, I never bothered with it again for future installations.


Patrick was enlisted as Chief Gluer, while I would be in charge of hoof prep and application. Later that afternoon armed with everything we could possibly need, we adjourned to the barn to commence gluing (note, it is always best to glue in the late afternoon, thereby guaranteeing that you will be finishing up in the dark).

Our glue of choice was Goober Glue, necessitating only a standard caulking gun. We also had some denatured alcohol, a box of latex gloves, paper towel, a Stanley knife, a rasp, and were sure not to wear our best clothes.

It didn't go quite as advertised on TV... I'm not even sure why I bother mentioning that at this stage, since we all knew it wouldn't. :)

Tip #1 is to forget anything you ever learned about preserving the Old Growth Latex Forest. Don't try and skimp when it comes to using the latex gloves. Put them on, apply the glue to the boot and then, before going anywhere near the horse, peel them off and put on a fresh pair. Do not go near the horse with gluey gloves on. Once you get clever and skilled and expert then you can be less wasteful, but for now, trust me, it will minimize how much glue you have to remove from said horse's legs afterwards.

The hardest thing to balance is how long to let the Goober Glue cure in relation to how thick a layer you have used. You need to let it sit long enough to get really tacky (when it's thick like that, it stays goobery forever), so instead of acting like glue it acts like a lubricant. Fun times. In addition, Goober Glue man, Chris Martin, always stresses the importance of giving the shells a good quarter turn twist and back once you've got the boot on. I think this serves to smear the layer of glue evenly and spread it better, ensuring better setting. Easier said than done, however, when you've finally achieved that elusive snug-fit.

Before we were done, Roo had twisted the front boots off-center a few times and completely stepped out of the right front boot. He also wanted to continually cock his back foot, so the heel-part of the shell kept sliding off. And when I pushed on his hip to make him stand square, he'd twist the front boots. <grrr>

<Click thumbnails to see larger photos>

Glue-on0.jpg (84492 bytes) Pretty prep-work.

I rasped him diligently beforehand, so he'd have a lovely trim job. Then I "dry fitted" the boot and drew around the top with a felt-tip to show which area I had to rough up.

At that point, I discovered he had too much flare to be able to rough the hoof, so I gave him an even more diligent touch up so he was perfect.

Knowing what I know now, I didn't rough up his hoof walls aggressively enough. I was thinking "rough up the hoof wall to create a clean surface onto which the glue will adhere", where I should have been thinking more along the lines of "rasp some grooves into the hoof wall for the glue to grab hold of".
Glue-on1.jpg (85303 bytes) Pretty prep on all four feet...
Glue-on2.jpg (124068 bytes) First we glooped the Goober Glue on all four boots. I wanted a really thick layer so it would fill in any gaps. Great idea, Lucy... note comment above about using too much glue and it not setting properly or quickly as a result. More is not always better.
Glue-on3.jpg (89403 bytes) We paid special attention to the heels, glopping in as much stuff as we could so it would seal any gap in the back.

In retrospect, it's probably easier to squirt glue into the gap once the boots are applied to the feet.
Glue-on4.jpg (41832 bytes) This one's a little blurry, but this is the bead we put all around the inside of the boot, then added more in the toe area.
Goober Glue is really sticky and hard to smear. When you try, all that happens is it sticks to your finger and you smear it all over the outside of the boot and yourself by mistake.
Glue-on5.jpg (86458 bytes) Three boots on. Lots of goop on Roo's leg from him stepping out of the boot and me having to dash in and do an emergency reapply.
Notice how he's got his rear foot cocked. He did this a lot and each time he did it, the not-yet-glued boot heel would slip off the the foot.

The main thing I've discovered while dealing with boots is that the right rear foot on a horse does all the work. The other three legs are really just there for show, to look attractive and to make the horse look more balanced. That right rear tromps about the countryside pushing up the hills, while the other three legs just trail along behind looking ornamental.

After we'd finished gluing, Roo's right rear boot would make air-slurping noises when he walked on it suggesting that he probably wasn't properly attached to it. This suggestion proved correct, but I didn't find that out for sure until the Ride.
Glue-on6.jpg (56380 bytes) Right front - this was the boot he stepped completely out of. There was an air space you could prod in the front of the boot, so I wasn't convinced this one was very well attached. Lots of glue was stuffed in the back since it was his smaller foot so there was more lip sticking out the back - and therefore more for his back foot to grab hold of and pull off.

Note - all of the above should have shown me blatantly obviously that this boot was too big.

But if something doesn't work first time, it's best to keep trying the same thing and being surprised that you get the identical result, no? <slap forehead>

Remember Roo's smaller right front? Yup, I was still trying to put the larger size shell on it with the same result - the boot still doesn't stay on.

Glue-on7.jpg (51773 bytes) Right rear boot. I had to twist it back to center after about 30 minutes.
The left one (that we let cure longer) seemed relatively solid.
Glue-on8.jpg (90421 bytes) Goopy front boots from the side. They weren't perfectly centered... but then again, neither are Roo's feet.
Glue-on9.jpg (81048 bytes) I tried to smear the top glue around to make a bead with mixed results.
Part of my clever plan was that by gluing the boots on the weekend before the ride, it meant that I'd have plenty of time to:

a) ride up Dead Truck Hill on Tuesday (my personal litmus test on boots - if they'll stay on for that, there's a good chance they'll stay on for anything)
b) if they didn't stay on, I still had a few more days to glue them back on again...

Monday Inspection

dry-glue-on-1.jpg (98469 bytes) From afar, you could barely see he had anything on his feet (which means there's no way you'll be able to tell if these things were still on or not while you're riding along). 

Hard to tell how much of the apparent toe-in of the boots in this picture is Roo's actual toed-in-ness and how much from twisted boots, but upon rechecking, his left front was nicely centered, while the right front was slightly off.

dry-glue-on-2.jpg (134481 bytes) His back feet actually looked pretty solid - more so than I thought they would. They are such a nice tight fit to start with, this probably helps. 

<fingers crossed> that these would work out, otherwise he'd be wearing shoes in the back for Tevis.

dry-glue-on-7.jpg (106693 bytes) Right rear - this was one of the ones I was concerned about, since we had difficulty keeping him seated in the boot (he kept wanting to cock his foot), but it actually seemed quite solid. Hah.
dry-glue-on-6.jpg (86056 bytes) The fit was really nice and snug around the back on his rear feet and the glue is rubbery enough that it wasn't causing any hard lump in the bulb area.
dry-glue-on-3.jpg (108808 bytes) Left front - this is his bigger foot and seemed good and solid also.
dry-glue-on-5.jpg (88580 bytes) Right front - this was the boot I was least happy with. 

Having taken off a bunch of flare just before fitting the boot, I'd made the hoof even smaller (nice trim job, though). 

dry-glue-on-4.jpg (106719 bytes) Ignoring any thoughts about how well the boot may or may not be attached, the boot was also slightly twisted.

After this inspection, I started to think that this one would have to come off and be re-glued before the weekend.


Tuesday Ride

Took Roo for a spin on Tuesday evening to try the boots out. As I was tacking him up, I noticed that he wasn't even wearing the left rear one any more. Initially thought he'd lost it in the trailer ride, but no, apparently it didn't make it out of the paddock.

This was the boot we let sit and cure the longest, but when I found it and inspected it, it really didn't look like it had much glue in it which was puzzling, so I'm not sure what the problem was. It's hard to put the shell on the foot without wiping off a lot of the glue at the quarters and pushing the glue you have on the sides down into the bottom.

Slapped a Glove on the left rear for our ride and off we went. Dead Truck Hill didn't claim any of the remaining three Glue-ons, even the right front which felt loose and was a bit rotated.

Wednesday - Regluing

Got home from work at 8:30 pm and started re-gluing the left rear back on again, paying special attention to LOTS of glue application and careful cleaning of hoof with rasp, sand-paper and alcohol (which I hadn't done first time around, just rasped). Got the left rear seated nicely and decided "what the heck, if I was re-gluing, I might as well redo that right front since it was 'loose' and a tad twisted".

Started to prise it off. The back part of the boot came off relatively easily ...good that I opted to do this... but I couldn't get the front part off since it was welded to his foot. Lots of tugging and grunting and squeaking, finally got it off. That glue has a great seal and just because part of it may not be secure, it'll definitely hold the rest of the boot to foot very nicely. It was good to see how well it holds, even if I was pulling it off.

Re-glued the right front shell on, adding [post-curing and post-installation] some pumps of the schnozzle through the V in the front to fill the air void in the toe area...

(At this point it was about 10 pm and my brain had evidently stopped working so I didn't really think about the air void... or the blatant signs that this shell didn't fit... or about how I said I was going to glue on the next smaller size shell...? Repeat after me: "Roo's right front is his small foot".)

Went out at 11:30 pm to release Roo from his stall-prison and was confronted with a single front boot sitting lonely in the middle of the stall with Roo standing next to it. Apparently adding vast amounts of wet glue to the toe area isn't a great idea, along with gluing a boot on that is too big... twice...

Went to bed a bit sad, but glad I'd started the gluing process so early, so I could work through it and still have time for operator error [read: "stupidity"].

Thursday Regluing

In the morning I dug out the next size smaller Glove that I'd used earlier in the year on Roo's back feet (which were too big for his back feet) and removed the gaiter and accompanying hardware and dry fitted it to Roo's (smaller) right front foot and it looked like we had a winner!

Later Thursday Evening

Got home from work late Thursday and glued on the smaller shell. Success! It worked much better and he didn't move in it from the time I put it on, despite all the other horses escaping out of the paddock 20 minutes before the end of the curing process - meaning Roo had to jump up and down, paw the ground, shriek and generally make a fuss. Boot still in place and not twisted. It looked promising.

So, to recap, what did I learn?

  • Roo's right front foot is still smaller. Put a smaller shell on it, dummy
  • Use lots of latex gloves
  • More is not always better when it comes to Goober Glue
  • Do not let the boot cure too long before putting it on the foot
  • Roo is a Fidget Bottom and not a great candidate for basic GG application. In the future, I plan to experiment with leaving the gaiters on the Gloves and using the gaiters to hold the boot in place during the curing process. Once set, I can unscrew the gaiters, leaving the brass doodads inside the boot for later retrieval. I'll be sure to chronicle this when I get around to trying it.
Next Time: How we got on at the Cooley Ranch Ride

Being Realistic

Submitted by Gene Limlaw

My next horse to transition is a 14 year old Paint stallion we have named Amigos Summer Breeze, aka Clyde. I have done around 1,000 miles with him between CTR and endurance. By nature, or by my creation, he has gotten more foot sensitive in the last few years. I always pull his shoes in the fall and shoe him in the spring with just shoes and as the season goes on we add pads, and usually silicone shortly after. We tend to be very wet here in the spring and fall and summer can be dry and we ride on lots of dirt roads which mid summer can be like concrete.

I started our shoeless transition last fall with my mare Grace and it is working well for her and seemed to make sense to keep the rest of the horses barefoot as well. I have changed everyone's diet to low carbs which has seemed to help. And I have started to ride Clyde barefoot as much as possible. He is going well for the most part but certainly shows sensitivity on the real hard footing.
Last week I took him on a fifteen mile CTR clinic as a babysitter for a customer. I used Glue-Ons as I can't use gaiters on these rides and figured it would be good for people to see as it is not as common a site here in our area. I had my Adhere this time and packed his soles good with Goober Glue. I had ridden another horse the day before so I glued him on a few days in advance. I also figured it would be good to  let him wear them a few days. He liked them and had a nice spring in his step. Being spring and him a stallion, he does not always give me a true reading on how he is feeling. You know, when he sees a cute grey Arab mare he could have no legs and he would feel like a million bucks. It has been a bit dry here and the ride was all on roads that had been freshly graded. So they had plenty of little rocks to deal with.
We had a good ride although in some spots he would want to get to a different spot in the road as if the footing was bothering him. At the finish vetting they had him a little off but he seemed fine when we got home. I pulled his boots when we got home and interestingly enough almost all the adhere peeled right off. That doesn't normally happen for me with my other horse. I did use a sanding block on his feet instead of a rasp, and they smoothed out pretty well. I used the kind you get at a hardware store, they look like a sponge. I also made sure I really filled his heels with Goober Glue so nothing got in out in the field.
I was going to do a 25 this weekend with him but decided it was to early and I might make him real sore, so I will take someone else. He seems to be that much more sensitive to the hard footing and this coming up ride will be a rocky one. I figure I will give him the time he needs now and it will pay off later because it will be so much better for him in the long run. I will aim for a ride next month with him but will let him tell me when he is ready. In the meantime I can do lots of conditioning with him.

Gene Limlaw
Weathersfield, Vt