I had the honor of attending the Glu-Tech seminar on November 14 & 15, 2013 at the Ocala Breeder's Sales Center in Florida. The event was hosted by International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Curl, who has 38 years of hoof care experience.
Tom Curl with Big Brown, 2008 Kentucky Derby Winner.
The list of speakers was impressive, and after Tom welcomed the attendees, it was clear that the finest gluing practitioners in the world had been assembled to share information and techniques publicly. It was even more clear that EasyCare's role as a thought leader in the application of hoof protection devices is well established. Each of five speakers had one hour to make a PowerPoint presentation and to apply their hoof protection device gluing protocol on one foot of a live horse.
Ian McKinlay of Tenderhoof Solutions presented case studies of hoof rehabilitation using Yasha Glue-On Shoes. He spoke at some length about the importance of allowing the hoof to expand and contract to remain healthy and vascular. As a farrier who has been working in alternative hoof protection device applications since the 1970s, his presentation was both fascinating and inspiring.
Leah Clarke applies the Sticky Shoe.
Leah Clarke, whose early years were connected to the world of endurance from her home in California, presented a gluing application of the Sticky Shoe, manufactured by the Thoro'bred Race Plate Company. I was particularly fascinated by the user kit the shoes come in: they contain everything you need for the gluing application, even a set of latex gloves. Leah later presented some case studies of quarter crack repair and lacing techniques to repair hooves.
Tab Pigg from Vettec presented application of steel shoes using Vettec Adhere. If you have ever used the Easyboot Glue-On, you will know that Adhere is one of the recommended glues for applying the boot.
Curtis presents at the auditorium in the OBS facility.
Curtis Burns of No Anvil LLC was the next to present the application of the Burns Polyflex Shoe. Curtis and Garrett Ford have worked in close partnership for more than two years as the design of the EasyShoe evolved. Curtis' application technique was characteristically meticulous. And as the hoof care practitioner responsible for Mucho Macho Man, Curtis has to know the best application methods on earth. And they appear to work: Mucho Macho Man won first place at the Breeder's Cup last month, bringing home an astonishing $5,000,000 purse for the win.
Garrett applies an Easyboot Glue-On. The entire event was filmed, with close-ups projected in real time onto a giant screen.
The first day closed with a presentation by Garrett Ford on how to glue on the Easyboot Glue-On. Garrett's application is almost as meticulous as Curtis'. His current application technique can be seen on the videos section of the EasyCare website.
One of the Glu-Tech Seminar attendees works with Garrett Ford to apply an EasyShoe to a Blacksmith Buddy.
On day two, each of the attendees worked in a hands-on setting with the presenters. Attendees picked who they worked with and applied the various forms of hoof devices using their preferred glue. Rather than using live horses, each presenter worked with a Blacksmith Buddy - essentially a life-sized prosthetic horse leg attached to a stand. The hooves are interchangeable, so the opportunities for teaching application methods using the Blacksmith Buddy are limitless.
There were four key takeaway points for me:
- Gluing techniques vary dramatically. The key to successful application of the Easyboot Glue-On and the upcoming EasyShoe models rely upon careful and meticulous application methods.
- Glue provides the bridge between steel shod and barefoot protocols. If you've felt like barefoot/booted and shod worlds are in a different universe; think again. Gluing applications of hoof protection devices have been around since the 1970s. Many of the hoof flexion benefits of barefoot/booted principles are alive and well in the glue-on shoe world.
- The EasyShoe is eagerly anticipated across all sections of the hoof care world - the ease of application and the flexion properties will be key in its broad mass appeal as compared to all other glued hoof protection devices on the market today.
- As Garrett Ford put it; "we're not selling horse shoes - we're selling what our shoes can do for the horse."
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.