Working On My Farmer's Tan (In Which I Watch Riders Who Travel Much Faster Than I)

October 8th 2011 was spent working on my farmer's tan watching 175-odd horses and riders set forth on the [winterized] Tevis Trail.
The 20 mile loop out of Foresthill was the make-or-break for many riders and the 1,800' jaunt down and up Gorman Ranch Road (not part of the usual Tevis Trail) was - as expected by locals - one of the toughest parts of the trail. Deceptively trottable, it nonetheless took a lot out of many horses. Regardless of position, how long it took to reach pulse criteria coming into this check would dictate when they would be allowed to leave, refreshed after the hour-long hold.

Jeremy Reynolds (the eventual winner of this year's ride) arrived moments before the others but also dropped to pulse criteria first, so he would be first out at 2:58 pm. I went over to take photos. Jeremy and Riverwatch were already waiting to go and I positioned myself just down from the out-timer to get a shot of them--me thinking they'd leave at a fast walk or maybe a trot. “Go” yells the out-timer and they shoot out of there at a fast canter, around the corner, down the hill – on pavement. Ack! Thank goodness for Glue-Ons.

Jeremy Reynolds and Riverwatch leaving Foresthill in first place

Jeremy Reynolds and Riverwatch.

Next up is Rachel Shackelford, only a minute behind on her veteran horse, BR Cody de Soi. Apparently last year Rachel was running in third place and slipped on the pavement riding through Foresthill. Cody went down and the scrapes he sustained forced them out of the race. I thought for sure such an incident would cause her to rethink Cody's footwear, but, nope, she’s still in steel shoes <squeak>.

Just before she leaves, she laughs with someone and says she won’t slip this time. She departs at a fast trot, Cody slithering slightly on the pavement. Ack, I think, crinching up my body in angst.
(OK, so maybe this is a personal paranoia, but I'm convinced that any horse in steel shoes will automatically fall over if it does more than amble on pavement. Cody, however, has completed over 4,000 competition-miles during which time he has likely developed some balance skills, eh, Lucy?).

Rachel Shackelford and BR Cody de Soi leaving Foresthill in second place

Rachel Shackelford and BR Cody de Soi.

Three minutes later, Dennis Summers and OMR Tsunami (Lola) get to leave and this time I can relax - Lola's in full Glue-Ons so no slippage for them at an extended trot. 

Dennis Summers and Lola leaving Foresthill in third place

Dennis Summers and Lola. Lola says "Let's get on with this!"

Because of the rerouting of this year's trail, riders had to deal with more paved sections than usual and I'm sure the booted riders were glad for both the cushioning and the extra traction.

At the very beginning of the ride, riders had to cross the paved Highway-49 after crossing No Hands bridge going the "wrong" direction. Word at the ride meeting the previous evening was that riders would be asked to dismount to cross this road. My thought was "well, that won't be necessary for horses in boots, bummer." Apparently ride management changed their minds, however, and dismounting wasn't required after all. 

So many of the front runners came through Foresthill at a canter, but luckily many of them were also wearing glue-ons.

Jennifer Nice and Jenni Smith coming through Foresthill the first time around

Glue-on-ed Jennifer Nice (Stella) and Jenni Smith (Bear) coming through Foresthill the first time.

Given my own personal paranoia, there's no other way to go where pavement is concerned.

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

An Adventure in Glue-Ons

I have made my Easyboot Epic love affair known. I have successfully infiltrated a southern Louisiana racehorse training center and sprinkled Epics throughout the grounds, from Barn D where they can be found in droves, all the way down to Barn M where a few people have heard of "that barn" that trains their horses barefoot, and that one horse in their barn (M) wore Epics to sooth his aching feet.

With a little encouragement, I decided that it was time to step away from the Epics and try my hand at something I'd never done before - Glue-Ons. Because I'm a virgin gluer, I invited my mentor, Marie Daniels, and her replacement apprentice to join me in my attempts to become more... sophisticated. After all, now that Garrett Ford has developed an EasyBoot Race prototype, this "practice run" would be the first step towards racing Louisiana thoroughbreds in glue-ons instead of metal shoes.


We had two horses lined up for this little project: My star, Lil' Rick's Gal, who was scheduled to race in just over a week from that day, and Banfish, the two-year-old who was in light work at the track.

We began with Banfish. Right from the beginning we had some real challenges. His feet, still in the early rehabilitation phase of natural hoof care, did not fit any of the Glue-On shells as well as we would have liked. We finally settled on one 0.5 wide and a regular 1, however there was some bulging at the quarters that was definitely not ideal.


We fitted the shell and cleaned the top of the hoof.

Goober Glue

Goober glue was applied to the inside of the shell and Adhere was lathered on the hoof wall.


After waiting about five minutes for the shells to set, Banny was allowed to go back in his stall.

He was walked, trotted, and cantered each morning for about half an hour over a 7 day period. He was worked in straight lines, circles, and serpentines. The rider said that Banfish was working very well in his "slippers", and that he hadn't even noticed the first few days that the horse had the glue-ons on his feet.


However, Banfish had already lost one of his shells after only 7 days of light work. Would these shells have stayed on the characteristic 10 to 14 days if the fit had been better, or if we had prepared the hoof better before application? Possibly we did not brush the top of the hoof enough. We didn't put rubbing alcohol on the hooves at the time of application; maybe this extra step would have made the difference. Or maybe the shell fit was just not good enough. We will never know exactly how he went about losing that first shell. Nonetheless, 7 days seems like a terribly short time when you consider how many horses keep these shells on for weeks, all the while going through sticky mud and knee-deep rivers.

Riding Feet

Someday, I would like to be a Glue-On guru like so many of you. Today, however, I'd love to hear what you think. Should Banfish's boots have stayed on longer than 7 days? Is there something that I could have done better, or did Banny just not fit well enough in those shells? After all, he did have the worst feet in the barn!

Next time, I'll let you in on how well Ricky faired in her Glue-On "slippers"!

Natural Hoof Care in Europe

Dresden, a pearl a the river Elbe in Germany, was the first stop of a 4 week Hoof Care Tour last month conducted by me, The Bootmeister from Global Endurance Training Center.

I have been going to Europe now for the last two years, sharing some gained hoof care and hoof protection Knowledge with riders, horse owners and farriers. The demand for more knowledge is high, people are eager to learn about Natural Hoof Care and the newest  Hoof Protection products on the market. EasyCare is the undisputed leader in the world with research and development of hoof boots of all kinds. R&D is of utmost importance to the EasyCare staff. Horse owners worldwide know that. Hence, it is only logical, that EasyCare boots stood in the lime light of my presentations.


View from the Frauenkirche over the Castle and the Elbe.

After an indoor anatomy session and PowerPoint presentation, the 20 participants had ample opportunity to train their eyes during conformation analysis sessions and study first hand how conformation affects hoof growth. Afterward, the riders who brought their own horses, in total over 10, could practice mapping out the sole and rasping the hooves of their horses. I placed a lot of emphasis on developing the skill of reading the sole. Aspiring hoof trimmers generally fare well when following the principle of trimming a hoof no further than to the live sole. It is a safe approach and everybody can learn it quickly.

The second day was devoted to Hoof boot selection and application. I explained and demonstrated the usage of Easyboot Edge, Trail, Glove and Glue-On and afterwards everybody could practice. It is important to actually do things. We humans all learn most by doing, we easily forget when just watching and listening.


Demonstrating the use of Vettec Glue gun and application of Adhere to the Glue on shells.

Glue on

Finished gluing job.

Coaches in downtown

These coaches in downtown Dresden provide visitors a feeling of stepping back in time. After looking at the hoof protection of these carriage horses, we all agreed that they would travel  much more comfortably with Easyboots.


Next stop was Hannover. Well known for the Hanoverian breed, this city has a long horse tradition.

The on-site organizing committee had invited over 45 Hoof Trimmers, farriers and veterinarians. After my initial presentation about the different Natural Hoof Care schools and philosophies in the USA and Europe, we discussed NHC and trimming techniques as well as hoof pathologies and remedies. I presented the thesis and studies of Dr. Brian Hampson of Australia, who did the most thorough studies on the hooves of wild horses so far.

If someone were to conduct a study, for example, on the hooves of one herd of wild horses  in Nevada or Utah, the two driest states within the USA, where horses have to travel many miles over rocks and sand to find water and food and then propose to use that feral hoof as a benchmark model for healthy hooves for all domestic horses in the world, would that be a realistic and fair conclusion?

Hampson studied and examined hooves from various areas in Australia,  wild horses living in arid areas and others in wet areas with lush vegetation. The hooves of the wild horses living in the wetter areas looked a lot like the average domestic hooves. Does that mean the hooves adapt to the environment or are the hooves shaped by the substrate the horse travels over?

An answer to this question might be obtained by looking at the following photos, provided by Brian Hampson.



The left hoof has the appearance of a typical domestic hoof. Recessed frog, under-run heels, flares. Yet, it is a wild horse hoof. After moving several horses with these hooves to a different (drier) area, the hooves were remodeled by the ground the horses traveled over. The hoof on the left is void of any mustang roll. Does it not need it? Within 16 weeks the rocks and dry ground reshaped that very same hoof. The mustang roll is clearly visible now. The question might be asked, how important is the mustang roll then, when we as natural hoof care trimmers applying it to all horses, yet only a small segment of wild horses worldwide even display one in the wild?

The study also showed that only three hooves out of 100 assessed were free of abnormalities. In fact, he found a 67% incidence of chronic laminitis within the horses living in the dry climate and the hard substrate. When the majority of the wild horses display this pathology, is it still a pathology or is it physiologically normal now? Who makes these decisions?

Not everything wild is necessarily good solely because it is wild and natural. The wild horse paradigm model of desert horses' hooves may not be applicable across the board to all horses worldwide.

The discussions were very interesting and we were only scratching the surface of all the ramifications of the Hampson study.


Discussions of Natural Hoof Care in Hannover.

On I went to Kassel, stop for the next seminar. 

Similar to the USA, Germany experiences also a shortage of farriers who are willing to offer services beyond the traditional iron shoes. Many do not know about bare hoof trimming and alternate hoof protection like plastic shoes and hoof boots. Therefore, more and more riders and horse owners want to learn to trim their horses' hooves themselves.

I set up several stations, where people could work on their horses hooves simultaneously. That way, everybody had ample time to practice and learn.


Working at stations.

Onwards to Belgium. near Brussels, I conducted the last clinic. My French is very rusty, to say the least, so everything was translated by Leonard Liesens, a famous and successful Belgian endurance rider.
I learned to speak slowly and to include only essential information in my sentences. And I got my message across as well, without lengthy and repetitive wording. An exercise in disciplining speech.


The historic Market Place in Brussels.


Leonard Liesens checking the fit of the Easyboot Glove he had just applied.

At all the seminars, I also showed slides of the Tevis ride. With all the Europeans now coming to the Tevis next year, we better all put our entries in early to avoid being placed on the waiting list.

The Europeans were all very eager to learn and try new trimming techniques. They are pragmatic and want to use the trimming and hoof protection that works best for their horses. They do not believe that Natural Hoof Care and Bare Hoof Trimming is an ideology or a mantra. For them, it is not an absolute, rather a better and healthier way to take care of their horses' hooves. They do not want to listen to self righteous statements of cult-like organizations. The welfare of their horses is important. That is a reason why Pete Ramey stands in such high esteem in Europe, his open mindedness, his tolerance, his knowledge and non judgmental approach to hoof care puts him in a class of his own and a big step above everybody else.

I did stress the importance of looking at each horse as an individual. The trimming procedure that works for one horse, might not be the best approach for the horse right next to it.

Europe has many more horses than the USA. Per capita, Germany has 70% more horses than the USA. Horse owners and riders want to learn and improve and use modern and better hoof protection methods.
Already now, I have booked several more clinics for next spring, this time in addition to Germany also in France and Switzerland. Natural Hoof Care, Barefoot Trimming and Easyboots are on a roll and gaining ground and popularity throughout the whole equestrian world.


Golden statue of August Der Starke (August The Strong), former King of Saxonia, in Dresden.

A special Thank You goes out to my liasons and support persons who organized the events on site. Without them, it would have been very difficult to impossible to conduct the seminars:

Dresden:     Veit Koppe

Hannover:   Patricia Nastoll and Kathrin Ewen

Kassel:        Martin Boesel

Brussel:       Leonard Liesens

The Bootmeister, reporting from Europe

Making New Tracks - What Will They Think?

I had the opportunity to put first ever tracks on earth over the Thanksgiving weekend. Two new hoof protection inventions were used in soft soil conditions that may potentially leave fossil tracks for the next inhabitants of the earth. 

EasyCare Glue-On Shoe

New low profile, lightweight prototype glue-on shoe. First tracks hit the earth over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Have you ever wondered how they will react to the tracks we leave on earth? Will the next inhabitants look at booted horse tracks and wonder what the heck?  Will the hoof tracks covered with hoof boots and iron shoes confuse them or will they even care? 

I personally always look at tracks when I'm out and about.  "Is that an Easyboot track?" "Wow that's a great looking barefoot track."  "Is that an Easyboot Glove track?" "Mountain Lion or bear?"  "Montrails or New Balance?".  Kind of fun to see who's making tracks.

Dinosaur Tracks

Fossil dinosaur tracks give our generation more clues about the pa
Probably something many of you haven't put much thought into?  I personally find it fun to be involved with making new tracks on the earth!

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.

December 2011: Jenkins Hoof Care

Matt Jenkins is a relative newcomer to the hoof care industry. He was burnt-out from long hours working at the feedlot and ready for a change in careers. His father called him one day and said he was having trouble with a farrier and unfortunately this wasn't the first time. Instead of dealing with the frustration of finding yet another farrier, he suggested Matt attend shoeing school and at least learn how to trim and shoe their horses. Matt signed up for school and after the first week, he knew he had found his new career. 

EasyCare Dealers at the American Hoof Association Conference in 2011

American Hoof Association Conference 2011: Ida Hammer, Matt Jenkins, Mark Rudenborg, Ada Uphoff.

Four years later, Matt had a client horse he could not keep sound, nor could he keep shoes on it. Fellow farriers came to the barn to assist him, but to no avail.

The horse's owner was in his late seventies and rode every day. On one of Matt's visits to the barn, he handed him one of Pete Ramey's books. Matt was not impressed at first and told him it wouldn't work. The owner was very persistent but a full year passed before Matt took the leap of faith and pulled this horse's shoes. In six months, the horse had recovered completely. "I was amazed and confused," said Matt. "This mentality was so different from my schooling and how I was taught to raise horses."

Matt secretly started to transition his own horses and could not believe the changes in them. He ordered his own copy of Pete Ramey's book and started reading everything he wrote. Soon he started asking his clients to allow him to pull the shoes to rehabilitate their horses. Today, Matt has a client base of more than 450 horses.

He gets excited when he talks about the many advancements in the hoof boot industry. "There have been tremendous improvements in the quality, fit, and ease of application in the past few years. I have to admit I put down the boots in the beginning and would tell people it's okay for a spare tire but nothing will replace the steel shoe."

Easyboot Dealer Matt Jenkins

Returning from 22 miles in the rugged Shawnee National Forrest on the River to River trail (all barefoot horses). Matt is in the black hat.

Matt comes from a modest family farm south of Marion, Illinois, where they raised cattle, vegetables, rabbits and horses. He has a bachelor's degree in Beef Nutrition from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale. He paid his way through college by training horses and driving trucks in the summer.

Today, Matt lives with his wife, Rachel, in Vienna, IL. As an owner of ten Quarter Horses and one Missouri Fox Trotter, Matt attributes his success to patience with people and genuine care for the well-being of horses. All of Matt's horses are booted: "We use Epics and Gloves. My favorite is the Glove but I still have a special place in my heart for the Epic."

Matt has been an EasyCare dealer for about 15 months. He carries Epics, Gloves, Glue-Ons, EasySoakers, Rx and recently added the Trails. His bestseller is the Easyboot Glove.

He graduated from the Kentucky Horse Shoeing school in 2003. He also attended any certification clinic or educational class that he could find. "While transitioning my own thought process to barefoot, I worked at the Agronomy Research Center in Carbondale, IL."

The most rewarding experience Matt has as a trimmer is seeing the look on people's faces and the hugs and tears shed when a horse has been successfully rehabilitated. Most of these clients thought they had done everything and as a last resort they reluctantly tried barefoot. "Yep, their lame horse with no hope walks again."

He can remember standing in a barn with a sad family, a vet and another farrier. The prognosis for the horse was grim: nothing more could be done. He remembers the vet saying to the owners "say your goodbyes, we need to put him down right away." As the farrier and the vet left the barn they looked at Matt and asked if he could fix the situation. 

Matt wasn't practicing barefoot hoof care at the time and this would be his first founder rehabilitation using barefoot methods. "The coffin bone had penetrated both front feet. His frogs were almost non-existent, destroyed by thrush. What was I thinking?" He drove an hour one way every week for several months, then went every three weeks, then every four. Eventually, the horse was doing much better and he moved him to a six week trim cycle. "I am proud to say that the horse is alive and well and guiding trail rides at a local camp. Later I ran into the original farrier. He just shook his head and told me I just got lucky."

When discussing the key to success as a trimmer, Matt's first response is the ability to admit when he has made a mistake. "It goes along way in retaining clients as well as picking up new ones. Obstacles are forever present throughout life and someone is always watching to see how you overcome them."

Matt's leading mentor is Ida Hammer. He also gives credit and an honorable mention to Eric Knapp, Randy Hensley, Jeanie Wright and Debbie Schwiebert from EasyCare.

In his opinion, the barefoot industry is moving forward at a rapid rate. "Everywhere I go, people are showing more interest in barefoot hoofcare. As rule books change in the competitive arena and barefoot horses start out performing shod, change will happen. I also believe barefoot success is parallel to boot success."

Why You Should Buy Easyboots Instead of Crack

Why, you might ask? Well let me count the ways...

1) Crack kills - Easyboots don't. It's pretty much that simple.

2) Crack is really expensive (I think, anyway) and is pretty much instant gratification. Easyboots last for miles and miles and miles! You can't beat that!

3) Crack is illegal and being in jail would suck. Easyboots are now legal in lots of different sanctioned horse sports including CTR. Glue-Ons are appropriate for many types of competition and hopefully the new Easyboot Race Plate will be allowed at race meets across the country very soon! 

4) Crack makes your teeth fall out and your skin fall off <ewwww!!!!> . Easyboots allow horses to live a more natural lifestyle the other 90% of the time they aren't being ridden. It's really a win-win. 

5) Crack must be purchased by specialized dealers across the land. While Easyboots are also purchased from specialized dealers across the land, you most likely won't get shot or robbed or have to wear wires to purchase them. It's a much safer situation overall. 


A different kind of crack, but also bad. 

While I could go on and on, I think the above provides adequate reasoning why NOT to purchase illegal controlled substances, when you could be buying Easyboots for your horse instead. Of course for those who would never consider buying crack, we could substitute other frivolous (hopefully legal) things many of us chose to spend money on... a few lunches out a week, some Starbucks, manicures, fancy shoes, I could also go on and on about spending money on non-necessary things such as purses and luxurious make-up but not because *I* ever do such a thing!


A worth-it purchase. Same as those cute red shoes (but don't tell the ponies).

When recently polled, the number one reason that people cited as keeping them from purchasing boots for their horses was cost. While I get the sucky economy deal, I also consider horses to be a hobby. An EXPENSIVE hobby.. one of the "you gotta pay to play" kinda deals. I also think about how much money the average crack user (who is usually unemployed and drowning in legal fees for past and present criminal charges) probably spends a week. The thought of spending $120.00 on a pair of Easyboot Gloves that will last my horse months and months of riding doesn't seem so bad. 

So lay off the crack and buy some Easyboots. It's a good decision. 

~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho 

An Epic Fitting Solution

Submitted by Sabrina Liska, Team Easyboot 2011 Member

As many of us know, there is always that one horse that has beautiful tootsies, but is in that 'almost but not quite' fit zone. I have a such said horse. Trimmed and measured a few times by a professional trimmer but my beloved Epics were just a smidge too big.

What to do? My mare has a pair of size 3 Epics. She also has and wears successfully Gloves, size 2.5. On training rides and just trail rides, I like to use the Epics. Her feet are trimmed properly, and being of the gaited variety, I like her toes kept back for maximum breakover. The Epics fit with the athletic tape wrapped around twice, and the boots stay on, but I can hear a "space" in the toe area when we walk. It reminds me of someone wearing a clown shoe. That last statement is an over-exaggeration, but you get the point, and I'm not ready to give up my Epics.

A while back, I read the blog regarding an Goober Apron created by using Goober Glue around the edges of a boot prior to gluing the Glove on. The light bulb went off in the ol'e brain. What if I took some Goober Glue and did a bead of 10 to 2 in the toe of my Epics? The glue does not harden like plastic, its pliable, and once it dries, would stick nicely to the inside of the boot. 

My fingers showing 10 to 2 on the boot.

My fingers showing 10 to 2 on the boot.

Applying the bead of Goober Glue

I then put a bead of the Goober Glue inside the boot.

I only applied a small bead of Goober Glue as I could always add more if I wanted to. It is more complicated to take away, so better safe than sorry. I left my boots out in the sun for the afternoon to make sure the glue was dry. I then rode my mare with the Epics and the Goober Glue. I liked the results. How easy was that?

Epic after ride.

Here's a picture of one of the boots after the ride. Waddya think?

Sabrina Liska
Boot after ride.

The Worst Feet in the Barn

For several weeks, Lisa talked about the horse with the "worst feet in the barn". I couldn't work on him right away because the track farriers had just put shoes on his feet.  And so I waited patiently to see the worst feet in the barn.

Finally the day came when we could pull his shoes, and I could get started on my new project. Banfish, who is two now and is only doing light work at the track, had been sick when he was a foal. The sickness affected his entire body, including his feet. After months of love and attention, Banfish fully recovered from his illness. Except his feet were still a mess.


The track farriers put shoes on him as they always do, but in time he developed a quarter crack that spread all the way to the hairline. To correct the crack, glue was applied to the crack and the metal shoe was cut so that it stopped just in front of the crack. Yes, that's right. The shoe itself went from one heel, around the toe, and stopped just in front of the quarter on the other side of that foot. No shoe under the quarter or heel on that side of the foot.


Pancake foot with no heel
- September 13, 2011.

When I removed Banny's shoes, I quickly agreed that he had the worst feet in the barn. Unsurprisingly, his heels had been lopped off to accommodate the shoe. To my horror, however, I also found that his soles were in fact the very opposite of concave; the bottom of the foot was thin and bulging at the toe. Yikes!


I always air on the cautious side when I am presented with a long toe or long heels. In this case, Banfish had long toes with no real attachment of the hoof wall.

Side down

He still has quite a lamellar wedge when my first trim is complete, but I know that I'll be coming back soon for another go-round.


Amazingly, Banfish showed little discomfort as he walked on dirt or sand with bare feet. Nonetheless, he got his own pair of size 2 Epics to protect those unique feet.

Several days later, I met the vets at the track for x-rays of Banny's feet. Although I don't always get the luxury of seeing x-rays, boy do they help when I can get my hands on them. And so I removed another inch off of his toes and swapped out the size 2 boots for some 1's!

Banfish has been barefoot and using his Easyboot Epics for the past two months and has shown some good improvement during that time. Although he began by wearing his hoof boots on the track and on the walker, he was able to begin some barefoot work within just a few weeks of beginning his new "program". To keep the quarter crack from spreading, I gave him exaggerated pressure relief at the site of the crack.

Ban bottom side

November 7, 2011: some heel has grown, and his foot is slowly becoming more concave.

Ban front november

His lamellar wedge has been greatly reduced, and his foot is looking much less like a pancake. Although the bottoms of his feet are much flatter than I would like, he is totally sound barefoot on the barn's dirt floor and in the track sand. He is still too sore to walk at all on any hard surfaces such as concrete.

Ban side november

Banny side angle - November 2011.

The healthier hoof has grown to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches below the coronet band.

As you may know, I tell clients that I will only trim their horses if those horses are being fed a dry pelleted food. I cannot make such demands at the track, because (unfortunately) it has been shown that racing horses need the extra energy (sugar) in the sweet feed to perform at their best. And so it is particularly interesting to note that Banfish has made such improvements despite being kept on a sweet feed diet. Keep in mind that the sweet feed fed to racehorses is very different from the typical $5 sweet feed found at a backyard barn. Although racehorse feed is covered in molasses (the real problem), it is also composed predominantly of vegetable oil, beet pulp, and other ingredients found in a dry pellet.

Banfish has been feeling great. So great that he tried to run away with the rider! With this new attitude change, he's been sent back to kindergarten to learn his manners and his steering.


Can we grow a truly healthy foot while still feeding the racehorse sweet feed? The verdict is still out, but with the improvements I've seen so far, I'm willing to keep up this experiment in hoof health and nutrition. We'll look at his feet again in a few months to see if the Easyboot Epics have won out over the molasses.

My Solution for Grass Cracks

Submitted by Christina Kramlich Bowie, Team Easyboot 2011 member 

I was a little worried back in May when this nasty crack appeared on Czeale’s right front hoof. 

Czeale's RF in May
Czeale's RF (May)

Czeale's RF (May).

It seemed to pop up overnight and though he wasn’t lame on it, it appeared to go pretty deep into the hoof wall. My trimmer Rachel is pretty conservative, which I like, and we talked about the various alternatives.  I also consulted
Team EasyBoot 2011 and most people advised me to trim that hoof back aggressively. Rachel and I were both a bit wary of making Z sore with a really aggressive trim, so we tried a more gradual approach. She trimmed the area back to distribute the weight off the area of the crack and encourage more growth, and every week I also rasped off the area. After the first big trim I soaked his hoof in HoofTrax for 45 minutes to kill any nasty bacteria that might be trying to get up into the hoof wall. We kept watching the hoof all spring and summer and while it never got worse, the improvement was very gradual.

Some improvement (June)

Some improvement (June).

He never seemed uncomfortable on it however, so I wasn’t too worried.  I remembered what my farrier used to say – that cracks from the ground up (grass cracks) were not anything to worry about, but that cracks from the coronet band (sand cracks) were. 
This was definitely a grass crack, and probably caused by the crazy excessive moisture in the ground this year due to all the rain we had in the never-ending spring of 2011.

I still didn’t like it though and wanted it to go away. Back when my horses were shod in steel shoes, the shoe would conceivably hold the hoof wall together and prevent a crack from getting worse.  With Czeale barefoot, I was worried that the crack would spread as his hooves hit the ground as he ran about in the pasture every day. Riding him, he would at least have the support of the Glove, and during endurance competitions, I figured the Glue Ons would be great for the crack, as the glue would really hold that hoof wall together. I kept taking him to rides and he had no problems, but that crack was stubborn.  It was there when he was booted for Tevis, but then, less than a week later when I pulled the boots off, it was gone!  There was a tiny trace of it, but clearly the hoof wall grew a lot in response to all the pounding of the long ride. There is still a small trace of it on the underside of his hoof, but it doesn't penetrate the wall anymore and I'm betting that in one more trim cycle it will be completely gone.

Czeale's RF after Tevis

Czeale's RF after Tevis.

Underside of Czeale's RF

Underside of Czeale's RF.

So my solution to grass cracks is: trim as aggressively as you are comfortable doing, and keep riding. It will grow out, but it may take several months. As with so many things, patience and persistence are key.

Happy Trails!

Christina Kramlich Bowie

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