February 2012: Easyboot SA

Based just outside Mooi River in kwaZulu Natal, South Africa, Easyboot SA is run by Ben, Helga and Peter Ward. Ben has an MSc. in Agriculture and worked in the Seed and Agro Chemical industry for many years. He got involved in saddle making through a friend and in 2006, he and Helga took over the running and ownership of Franco C Saddlery.

Ben and Helga

Ben and Helga.
Their main market is endurance and they compete in the sport with two of their three sons.
Helga grew up on a farm and has been riding since she can remember. After school she studied dietetics and worked in hospitals until she married Ben. She now runs the offices of Franco C Saddlery, Easyboot SA and their local Endurance Club.

Peter Ward & Buddy

Peter and Buddy
Peter is a dairy farmer and breeds American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. After leaving school he studied for a Bachelor degree in Business Management and went on to complete his MBA. He worked in computers, marketing, sales and general management before going to farming a few years ago. He has been riding and horse-mad for over 50 years. 

Easyboot SA identified three boots as their best-sellers: Easyboot Glove, Easyboot Glue-On and Easyboot Trail. "We felt that these would cover the vast majority of needs in our market," said Peter when asked about their inventory. "We have invested in a full range of sizes as well as accessories for these boots. The best seller so far has been the Easyboot Glove.

Peter does his own trimming and occasionally that of a boot prospect, but he never charges for it. "I enjoy trimming as it increases the bond between you and your horse. When you have a successful endurance event it is nice to know that you set up the hooves."

In July 2011 Peter took a little horse called Buddy to Fauresmith to do the ultimate South African Endurance race: over 200 km. It was the first time for both horse and rider - and the horse only made the age cut by a few weeks. "We finished and Buddy became the first horse in the thirty year history of the race to do it wearing Glue-Ons. We have no doubt that Glue-Ons will be used in every Fauresmith from now on." Peter chronicled his experience in the Team Easyboot blog.

Easyboot SA believes the hoof boot industry is moving steadily upwards. "Horsemen are becoming better informed and more caring for their horses at a very fast rate, thanks to the availability of information via the internet.  Hoof care is an obvious place for many horsemen to improve their animal husbandry as hoof boots such as the Easycare range offer real alternatives to any nail-on shoes, be they metal or plastic," said Ben when asked about what he sees for the future.

When asked about their favorite events, Fauresmith is the consistent answer across all three owners. Peter adds that Tevis is on his bucket list.

Come In From the Cold

Where did you spend last night? On or in the truck, trailer, the tack room where the heater went out?


Will the boots stay on in snow and mud if you use cold or frozen glue?


As the competition season for many riders gets slowly going, some riders are considering gluing Easyboots on their horse's hooves.  With frigid temperatures still prevailing in many parts of the country, successful gluing will depend on thorough preparation of Glue-On Horse Shoes and hoof glue.

After  many mistakes made by myself and after trying many different gluing methods, what proved to be the most successful method is a combination of VETTEC ADHERE or SOLE-GUARD for the sidewall of the boots and Goober Glue (or similar glue) for the bottom or sole area.

All these glues work best when used at room temperature. Goober Glue will get stiffer at cold temperatures and might not come out of the tube. Same with all the VETTEC glues.

When Vettec glues are exposed to sub freezing temperatures, it will not destroy them, but one should refrain from heating them up too quickly. Best to slowly warm them up to room temperature. ADHERE will thicken a lot below 60 F. Best temperature for Adhere is between F 65 and 85 degrees. Sole-Guard is generally thinner. At cooler temperatures it might be better to use Sole-Guard. Its gluing characteristics are similar to the Adhere but it runs thinner. The cooler the glue, the slower the setting times.

During the winter months we need to take special care to thoroughly dry the hooves before gluing.

If the boots are cold, warming them up will make them more pliable and easier to slide onto the hooves. The glue will also stick a lot better to them.


After applying the Goober Glue to the bottom of the boot, we evenly spread the Vettec Glue to the side of the boot, but only to the top half. When sliding the boot then onto the hoof, the glue will then spread evenly over the whole side wall. Applying too much glue to the walls or too low towards the bottom and you run the risk of pushing some Vettec Glue to the sole area, which in turn could cause pressure on thin soled and tender  hooves.


Apply the Vettec glue just to the top half of the boots side wall. In the sole (frog) area the Goober Glue is already added. Like we stated many times, success in gluing comes from proper preparation of hooves, boots and glue.

Cleanliness and dryness are the secret to success. Then the boots will stay on for weeks without doing any harm to your horses hooves and without falling off in the middle of a ride or race. During the winter months, we add the third ingredient, which is warmth.

At the Global Endurance Training Center we are gluing on EasyCare Glue ons and Glue-On horse shoes all year long. And we are using hoof glues in all kinds of weather and temperatures. It is taking a some effort to pry them off after wards. That is how it is supposed to be. Clean, dry and warm are the magic words.


This boot will stay on no matter what the elements are.

Good luck with gluing.

Your Bootmeister

A Reply to New Tracks - What Will They Think

Submitted by Joanne Pavlis, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Back in the December 2011 Newsletter, Garrett Ford wrote to us about the concept of “New Tracks”, and asked us the question “Have you ever thought about what tracks you leave”?

New tracks

As a licensed race track trainer, riding instructor, endurance competitor, and equine wellness foundation founder, I think about this all the time. Whenever I contemplate the vision of “New Tracks”, I recall the remarkable journey I embarked upon with this new EasyCare concept and product. MileMakers has played, and continues to play, a small part in the overall EasyCare evolution of change, as we all move ahead with our new found knowledge and product development. When I think of what Milemakers does on a daily basis, it seems relevant as an answer to the proposed question.

MileMakers began seriously promoting EasyCare products and educating our local horse community about the benefits of equine hoof boot protection in 2011. It has been the best transformation we could have made for our horses health, while giving us the added benefit of exposure to the latest science and technology to better educate those owners who had been sitting on the fence between old school & new school thinking.  EasyCare is constantly improving their product to better the wellness of horses, and they do it by using sound research while listening to the horse’s response.

Time and again, I lay witness to the fact that people will not change unless they fully understand the reasons behind the need for change. That is why, at MileMakers, we believe in promoting the education behind the EasyCare concept as we develop one knowledgeable customer at a time. Each newly educated owner/equestrian represents a “new track”. And each “new track” represents a seed of knowledge that has been planted and will continue to grow.

When the new EasyBoot Racing Shoe concept came onto the horizon, there was a lot of head scratching, questions, and a whole lot of “what if” scenarios. Some race track officials and commissioners didn’t know how to react to this new product because it was a divergence from their zone of comfortable knowledge. Other racing officials embraced the new concept, and were able to easily see the benefits for the future of horse racing, and overall equine foot health. No evolutionary journey is without its setbacks. The key is to remain confident with your concept despite those who want to drag you back down to “what has always been” and “we’ve been doing it this way for the last 200 years”.

In 2012, MileMakers will walk our talk. We plan to take our 3 year old colt, Defying Magic, (a.k.a. Indy) to the race track.

Defying Magic

He has been barefoot his entire life, and will only wear the new EasyBoot Race Glue-Ons, while running races, due to a Colorado Racing Commission ruling which calls for all race horses to wear hoof protection. He is the first foal we ever bred, and we will not trust his feet to any other type of hoof care product or ideology.  

The journey one must take when laying down “new tracks” will never be an easy one. But by using education and proven results we can progress one step at a time. That’s why at MileMakers our motto is “Not just a destination, but a journey taken one hoofbeat at a time.”  With “New Tracks” I am excited about what I do as a Team Easyboot member, and we plan to leave a lot of “New Tracks” in 2012.

“Sometimes you’ve got to run away and see if they follow” - Manfield Park.


EasyCare will accept applications for Team Easyboot 2012 until midnight on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Visit the Team Easyboot section of the EasyCare website for more details and to complete the application form.

January 2012: Epona's Natural Hoofcare Services

If you've ever met Natalie Herman, you will know her to be dependably positive and honest. Since she started her business in 2005, she believes there has been an explosion of booting options, both in the growth of new boot brands and within EasyCare itself.

Natalie hard at work.

Natalie attributes her success to her burning desire to learn. She finds she can learn something from everyone. Even if she does not agree, there is always something that might cause her to approach a problem from a different angle. She credits her reputuation to the power of word of mouth and her conscientious approach to customer service. "I do some marketing, but it is a fairly tight community around here. If you want to be successful, you need to have people talking about you in a good way."

Natalie says Easycare makes working with their dealer networks and boot users a pleasurable process. "They have a friendly, helpful, knowledgeable staff; they have favorable return policies, and when a product is shown to need improvement, they modify the product instead of sticking with the same old thing."

She uses the same philosophy in her own business: "I am very helpful and giving with my knowledge. If a client has a question, they never hesitate to call or email me with it, and I try and help them. A good trim is just the tip of a large iceberg." She studied horseshoeing first, and credits that time with learning the principles of anatomy and a balanced trim. She feels strongly that evolution is just as important in hoofcare as it is in the boots that protect those hooves.

Natalie is quick to compliment EasyCare: "I love how inovative Easycare is, always trying to come up with new solutions to existing boots, or totally new boots when the need arises. Instead of insisting that the user is at fault, or the trims are incorrect, EasyCare tries to find a solution to boot failures by either modifying the boot design, or coming up with a design that fits the activity of that user. She says she's still waiting to see a sliding plate boot, though. "It just amazes me how fast things are changing in the industry," says Natalie, "and I am loving it."
Natalie currently owns three horses: a 13 year-old Morgan/Quarter Horse mare that was her first horse and, she says, her best horse. "I tried about everything with her, and she is currently being leased to a friend's daughter. Together they won the state championship for CSHA Trail Trials in their division this year, bare and sometimes booted with Gloves. She was also her experimental horse for getting into barefooting. She always needed shoes with pads in the front, having long toe/low heel issues, and wore the outside branches of her hind shoes to nothing in six weeks. Natalie was skeptical of taking her barefoot. "Her feet became so much better that I decided to completely convert my farrier business to natural hoofcare." She has never looked back.

Natalie & Storm.

Natalie and Storm.

She bred the mare to the top AERC mileage and Hall of Fame stallion, DR Thunder Bask, and this year her six year-old daughter completed her first endurance season. She has been bare her entire life, and performed wonderfully in Gloves, Epics, and Glue-ons at rides throughout 2011. "She is also my 'thinking outside the box' booting horse. I have had to modify boots and how to apply them to the hoof with her, as she tends to have a lot of torque on the hind end." Having a challenging horse in booting has helped her help others.

Natalie also has a 13 year-old Kentucky Mountain stallion. "He is my 'soul horse' and I love everything about him."

Natalie and E.

Natalie & Eowyn.

As a small business owner, Natalie keeps a minimum stock for clients, and appreciates the fact that Easycare does not have a minimum order policy amount. Her best-seller is still the Easyboot Glove and Glove Wides. "Most of my cients love them as they are so simple to use. The next best-selling models are the Epic and Easyboot Trail, as both allow a greater range of fitting for clients unable or unwilling to keep the hooves trimmed as frequently as the Gloves require.

Her most rewarding experience as a trimmer was treating her first founder case. "I knew the theory, and had trimmed a few mildly laminitic horses, but not a really bad case. When I called the vet for a consult and to go in and see the radiographs, the vet had basically written the horse off and told me to expect to see the coffin bone coming through the sole." She never did get sole penetration on that horse, but there were months of abscessing. Today the horse has textbook hooves. "This case got me started on the path to working on laminitic horses and it boosted my confidence in the barefoot method."

Natalie's most memorable hoof boot success story is the 2011 XP 2,000 mile ride. "There were a good number of barefoot and booted riders already, but there were also many shod horses competing." The barefoot horses proved to be most of the highest mileage horses on this ride, with over 1,000 miles each during the two-month span. Riders with shod horses discovered the benefits of barefoot/booted protocols, and many of them solved lameness issues during the race by pulling shoes and applying boots. "So much for an extended transition from shoes," said Natalie ironically.

Natalie's Calling Card

Natalie's calling card.

Natalie's prediction for the future? That a barefoot and booted lifestyle will become the norm instead of a fad. "More and more vets and long-time farriers are becoming interested in it. As boots become easy to use and effective as hoof protection, more people see barefoot and booting as a viable option for their horse's hoofcare.

For more information on Epona's Natural Hoofcare Services, visit Natalie's new Facebook page. For more information on becoming a dealer, visit the Dealer's Corner on the EasyCare website.

What I Learned in 2011

Wow, what a year it's been.  I can hardly believe 2011 is gone: I have still been writing 2010 on my checks!! While I can't say it's been the best year of our lives in all areas, I can say that I finally felt that I had my boot situation locked down and didn't have a single loss all year. Of course I can say that knowing things are going to change for 2012, with THREE new horses in the mix, there are bound to be a few problems along the way, but that's what makes life exciting!

Three of the goofiest geldings one could ever ask for. Yay me..

The #1 lesson that was reiterated for me in 2011 is proper fit = success. Don't try to ride with ill-fitting boots. Just don't. Not only will you end up frustrated and discouraged, it's not necessary. With 1000lbs of torque twisting and turning inside a pair of rubber boots, there are bound to be occasional losses, it's no different than nail on shoes, but don't make it harder on yourself by riding in boots that don't fit! Put in a little effort and utilize Easycare's awesome Fit Kit and, if lucky, a Team Easyboot member to help you out! 

fit kit

Utilize the fit kit- it's brilliant. 

Lesson #2 is proper trim - This ranks right up there with Lesson #1: while I think fit is the most important aspect of boot success, you can't achieve a good fit without a proper trim. Get educated, folks! Even if you can't get down there and trim yourself, there is no excuse for not learning more about it. Learn the anatomy of the hoof and about the internal structures. Learn how they work together and why balance is so important. A properly trimmed and balanced foot will be free of flares and stretched white line, will have naturally low heels and short toes. While there are certainly conformational issues that can be worked with, a proper trim really allows for a good fit and will only increase your success. 


Nicely trimmed feet- learn about it! 

Lesson #3 - Go with the flow! Make do with what you've got and change things as necessary. I tend to be a Type A person who gets rigid and fixated on certain things. More than once this year I had to change boot sizes last minute, abort a gluing session and make due with what was there. Gluing boots with The Pickett Creek Girls prior to Owyhee Canyonlands was a memorable event which reminded me of the importance of having the necessary supplies prior to starting an important project- such as gluing boots on six horses for a five-day ride. Are you reading this Steph?!?! ;-) 


Complete chaos before a ride never hurt anyone! 

Lesson #4 - Riding 100 miles in a day makes for a long one. If you're me, that is. If your super-speed racer riding a horse like Monk you can finish in the time it takes for most people to ride 50 miles. The Monk-Man wears his Easyboot Glue-On's proudly, and a repeat of Mr. Garrett-Easyboot-Ford's performance last year, the winner of Tevis as well as the Haggin Cup was again outfitted in Easyboot Glue-Ons. There really isn't anything these boots can't do, and I think this was again reiterated be some pretty impressive stats this year.  


Although he is playing the part of a gentle babysitter here, Monk recently won a 100 mile ride in 6:53. Crazy fast! I hope 2012 includes the general acceptance of the Easyboot Race Plates in the flat track industry. Pretty soon, there will truly be nothing these boots can't handle! 

Lesson #5 - Listen to your horse. I made the very, very difficult decision to retire my mare after the 2011 season. She retires with 2155 miles, and will make some incredible babies when the time comes. The decision was one with which I wrestled for months. Ultimately we decided she was telling us she was done competing at the level she had been previously, and there is no shame in that. It's hard to put selfishness aside for "just one more completion," or "one more 100," or "one more multiday," but it was so important for me to end her on a high, after an incredible season and, most importantly, while she was still sound and usable. She'll be used for trail riding and I cannot wait to see her babies. Hopefully it will be possible to bring one of them up behind their mother. They have some pretty big boots to fill. 


Replika and I headed out for a quick spin the day before our 100 miles at Bandit Springs. She was the first horse I ever truly felt part of a partnership, and for that I'll be forever grateful. 

What have you learned in 2011? What lessons would you rather not be repeated? What are your goals for 2012? 

I hope lots of riding is high up on everyone's list! 

~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho

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."