Winchester Western Saddlery

Submitted by Dee Reiter, EasyCare US Dealer Representative.

Winchester Western Saddlery joined EasyCare Inc. at the end of March and they are going full blast with EasyCare products! They were selling HiTie Trailer Tie Systems before they could take them out of the box!

They celebrated their grand opening last month and here's what Diana had to say, "Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our Grand Opening Celebration! With an attendance of 700-800 new friends and loyal Winchester Western Saddlery customers, great food and drink and Kannan Road Band live on stage, it turned out to be a fun day! Thank you also to our participating vendors who made our raffle prizes the best ever and our party was a huge success!”

Winchester Western Saddlery has a great stock of EasyCare Gloves, Trails, Clouds, Soakers and, of course, HiTie Trailer Tie Systems! Visit Diana, Cathy and Julie at Winchester Western Saddlery in Temecula, California or give them a call at 951.894.2501

HiTies & Horse Camping 101

Submitted by Lisa Morris, Team Easyboot 2015 Member and Hoof Care Practitioner

My favorite recreation is riding, and my very favorite riding includes a camping trip with my friends and horses. Sometimes that involves a Ride Camp in a competition situation.  Over the years, my horse camping has evolved and improved.  I began a long time ago with a tent and stock trailer pulled by the family Suburban.  My horse would either get tied to the trailer all night or I would build an electric pen.  I got tired of rough camping in the elements and having an occasional loose horse. Sometimes my horse would jump out of his electric pen, or a neighbors horse would get loose and run through MY pen, causing equine chaos.  If my horse was blanketed, he figured out that he wouldn't get shocked by the electric pen and would just walk through it!  My riding buddy got a "portable pen" but her horse got tangled in it when he rolled and took the pen with him when he ran off.  That was a wreck!  Some of my friends carry heavy steel pipe panels on their trailer to build stalls at camp.  It's effective, but they are so heavy and cumbersome to set up and break down.  A few years ago I finally saved enough and upgraded to small-ish 3 horse living quarters trailer.  My sleeping situation was vastly improved (AC!  Hot shower!) but my horse was still jumping out of his electric pen when he would have random, late night wanderlust.  

River Run AERC Ride Camp - How would you safely contain your horse?

I purchased HiTies from EasyCare for my trailer and my horse containment issues have been resolved!  The HiTie is pretty easy to install, just two holes need to be drilled through the frame of the trailer and it is bolted on with included hardware.  The hardest part for me was finding the frame in my triple walled, insulated aluminum trailer. The HiTie was installed at the highest point of the frame where the uprights meet the ceiling frame.  They can be installed to fold downwards or to the left, or right.  Take some time to look at your trailer windows and layout to figure out where to install it.  Do you want it on the living quarters door side or on the back side?  If you use a canopy will it be in the way?  Where will you install rings for your buckets and hay bags?  How close can you install your HiTies so the horses can't reach each other? I found the EasyCare HiTie Installation Video very helpful in this process.

EasyCare HiTie 

This is how the HiTie is rigged, except I started using the bullsnap instead of the bolt snap shown.  Note the panic tie ring at the HiTie end.

Once my HiTies were installed, I had to figure out how I wanted to rig the horses to the trailer.  I have successfully used a large carabineer attached to a safety tie ring.  You want some type of quick release system in case your horse, acts like a horse and gets himself in trouble.  I also use a thick, soft cotton lead rope on my rigging so if a horse gets a leg over the rope it is not likely to cause burns or abrasions.  I changed from a bolt snap, to a bull snap because my horse figured out how to open the bolt snap by rubbing it on his buckets.  They have not escaped since! EasyCare also offers a Bungee system for securing your horse.

Say "yes" to the bull snap.

I suggest letting the rope hang down and having the bull snap about 6" off the ground.  That give the horses a chance to graze and roll if they like.  They have a lot more room in this set up than they did in my little electric pens.  I leave the rigging "set" to the correct length and I do not use the ropes for any other purpose.  It's easy to grab them out of my tack room and clip them on the HiTie.  I usually do that before I unload my horses.  I slit pool noodles lengthwise and used them to cover the fiberglass arm.  This lessons any vibration against the trailer finish and protects the arm from UV damage.

Once my horses are rigged to the trailer, all I have to do is hang my hay bags and water buckets.  I have the horse water on the hay rack of the trailer to make filling buckets easy.  The hose is attached to the ladder with zip ties and I can use it to fill the tank from the ground or fill buckets.  I like to use EasyCare Stowaway Hay Bags to carry my hay to camp.  At home I pack the individual hay bags so that I don't have to deal with it when I am busy camping. How many hay bags will the horse eat on this trip?  I usually pack more than I think I will need.

I usually haul two horses for my daughter and I, so we fabricated a stud wall to store hay in the first stall of my trailer.  

Stud wall for first stall hay and camping stuff storage.

If I am going on an extended trip, I use the EasyCare Stowaway Bags to keep hay in the bed of my truck and/or on the roof rack.  I have driven through some nasty storms and my hay remained dry.  With these products and preparation, it takes me literally five minutes to have my horse camp set up and the horses settled while others are wrestling with other containment systems.

I used to use halters to secure my horses, but I have recently switched to biothane horse collars.  There is less chance of a horse getting "hung up" on a halter, and they can roll a little easier as the collar just moves around the neck as the horse rolls.  I add an engraved dog tag with my contact info to the collars in case my horse manages to get loose.  Braiding an ID tag into the mane is also effective.  I do prepare my horses at home to have safe and fun camping trips.  Just like training your horse to be a great trail partner, it is worthwhile to train your horse to camp at home.  I look for every opportunity to let them hang out on their HiTies so they automatically consider it "home base" and are at complete ease.  Using slow feed nets and keeping hay in front of them helps keep their gut functioning and their minds occupied.  Horses can be very stressed if they don't know what to expect at a busy Ride Camp.  I suggest letting your horses hang out tied either on the HiTie at home, and/or on a safe overhead tie.  

I like to tie my horses up after they have been worked.  I will offer them water frequently and will make sure they are in the shade while they are resting.  I do not untie them if they are having a temper tantrum (IE pawing, pacing in circles, calling to other horses) until they are totally bored and half asleep.  I do that routinely at home and they are quieter tied in camp because we practiced first.  Practicing standing tied is wonderful for developing patience, especially in young horses. Eventually, when you tie them up, they cock a foot and fall asleep.  At this point, your horse is probably trained and ready to go camping.  If you want to use a horse collar, try it out at home first after they are really good at tying quietly.  I lunged my horse with a collar so they got used to the collar restraint.  I also kept the halter on for the first few hours but attached the rigging to the collar.  After they were ok for a few hours using the collar restraint, I trusted the horses to remove the halter and use the collar only.  Proper preparation is key!

I start overhead tying young horses under supervision, so they can eventually become safe camping and riding partners.  Always tie horses above the height of the withers.  Proper preparation begins at home!

If there is a chance that the rope can get under your saddle with an overhead tie, remove it and tie directly to your trailer until it is time to ride out or untack.  If your horse paws on the HiTie, and you are worried about your trailer wheels, a piece of plywood can be cut to cover to the wheels in camp.  Look critically at your camp and try to think of any stupid thing the horses can try to hurt themselves.  Do you use a HiTie to camp with your horses?  What safety suggestions do you offer? I am grateful that EasyCare has developed products to make riding and camping with horses a pleasure.

Camp was broken in minutes and another fun weekend with our horses is now a memory.  Thanks EasyCare!

 

The Sik Method: How to Glue on a Pair of Used Gloves, Just Sik'm On There

Submitted by Tennessee Lane, 2014 Team Easyboot Member

For those of you who are intimidated by the Glue-On Process, this is a great, easy, and cost effective alternative.  I have referenced an old blog about this "ghetto" style glue job so many times that I have decided to bring the topic back to the surface.

First and foremost, please bear in mind that the guidelines Easy Care provides for gluing boots on cannot be beaten, it is by far the safest and most effective way to glue your brand new Easy Boot Glue-Ons or EasyShoes.  You will notice that when it really matters, for example at Tevis, I follow their prescribed method to a "T."  There are times when you just don't want to mess around or take any risk.  Feel free to find out a little more about how I, personally, decide which product to use for each challenge by reading The Way I Do It - by Tennessee Lane.  The Sik Method is not my first choice, but it quickly becomes my first choice when my usual first choice gets knocked off my menu of options, or if I'm feeling lazy... or cheap.

However, I have used the Sik method many many times with great success.  Yes, I have done multi days (multiple days of 50 milers back to back,) and even 100-milers in a set of broken-down old Gloves.  As I mentioned, I use this method out of necessity, laziness (because it is VERY easy and stress-free,) and if I have an old set of Gloves ready for retirement.  How do you do it?  You just Sik'm on there!

Above, Tennessee gallops Shazam out of the vet check at the North American 100 mile Championship ride, having used this Sik Method.

Scenario:  You've been training/riding your horse while he wears Easyboot Gloves, maybe you've been racing in them too, they still have some useable tread on there but they really are a little tore up.  The gators and hardware are trashed, they're stretched out, they've got holes in the toes, they've done some hard time, and it's time to order up a new set.  Don't throw them away!  Use this Sik method to glue them on for your next multi-day!  Go ahead and order your next set of Easyboot Gloves while your at it, this will be your old set's last hurrah.

You will need: Your horse, your hoof trimming equipment, your old EasyBoot Gloves, a caulking gun, 1 tube of SikaFlex 227, 1 popsicle stick, 1 phillips screwdriver (also great to have rubber/latex gloves, alcohol in a spray bottle, a tall Gin and Tonic.)  This process must be done at LEAST 1 day prior to riding your horse.  For example, do it the evening before your big ride so the glue can set up over night.  This is NOT an option for a horse that will stand and paw afterward, he will paw off the boots.

Sik Method Step 1: Prep your old EasyBoot Gloves

Toss them in a bucket of soapy water to soak.  Scrub them out thoroughly.  Use your screwdriver to scrape out any dirt that might have gotten compacted in the toe.  Rinse them out thoroughly to insure the soap, dirt etc is off.  Set them upside down to dry like dishes.  Consider spraying the insides down with alcohol, totally optional though (don't wipe them down with alcohol, the remnants and dust from your paper towel is no bueno for glue.)  Set them upside down to dry thoroughly and leave them upside down until you are ready to put the glue in them, this will insure that all the dust from your horse moving around doesn't settle on and stick to your nice clean boots.  

Step 2:  Loosen the screws

This is important!  Take your screwdriver and loosen all three screws of each gator on each boot.  You just need to break that super-tight seal that you usually strive to have on a new set of Gloves.  Sometimes the screw heads are so worn down from action that its hard to get enough bight on them.  You want them to hold lightly, but you REALLY want to make sure you will be able unscrew them once glued to your horse (below.)

Step 3:  Prep the hoof

Make sure your horse is trimmed as you would usually trim him before your ride.  Easyboot Gloves are meant to be worn over a nice fresh trim so they fit like a GLOVE.  Use a wire brush to scrub/scrape any dirt from the hoof wall.  The hoof should be dry but this process will even work on a damp hoof as long as it is very clean.  Consider spraying the hoof wall and sole down with alcohol, helpful but not necessary to this process.  This prep is the same as the usual Glue-On protocol, however, the Sik method is much more forgiving, for example it will work fine on hooves and boots that are not immaculately clean or dry.  Just do the best you can under your circumstances and don't stress about it.

Step 4:  Sika Flex

Put on your rubber/latex gloves and use your caulking gun to apply SikaFlex 227 in a triangle at the base of the boot where the frog will be in contact with the boot.  The more concave the hoof, the more glue you will need to fill that concavity.  It is important to fill the concavity of the frog but not overfill it.  That part is exactly the same as the approved EasyBoot Glue-On Protocol, but here's where the Sik method diverges...  Squeeze SikaFlex onto your popsicle stick like you are putting toothpaste on your toothbrush.  Use the popsicle stick to "paint" a solid layer of SikaFlex on the inner vertical wall of the boot.  The layer should be about as thick as a dime and should cover the entire wall which will soon be in contact with your horse's clean hoof wall.  Take your time, have a seat, have a sip of that gin and tonic.  You are working with SikaFlex, not Adhere, so time really isn't of the essence here, chillax.  One tube of SikaFlex will be perfect for all 4 boots.

Step 5:  Apply boots

Put the Gloves on your horse like you always have.  They will slide on and twist around a little easier than they normally do because there is a slimy layer of SikaFlex lubricating everything.  Once it's all the way on, twist it back and forth a couple times (clockwise and counterclockwise) just a 1/4 to 1/2 inch to make sure the glue has effectively smeared onto the hoofwall.  Make sure the boot is on straight and set the hoof down.  Velcro the gators on tight.  If you put way too much glue in the frog, it will squirt out the heel, wipe it out or this glue will attach the gator to the horse's heel bulbs and the back of his pastern which is no bueno (you'll end up "waxing" him when your remove the gators, youch! Yet still functional with bald heels LOL.)  Excessive glue will also cause the boot to slide around and twist excessively but don't worry, it's salvageable.  The Sikaflex takes a while to set up.  If the boot twists, just calmly pick the hoof up, straighten it out and put it back down.

Step 6:  Observe 

Let your horse stand there, maybe feed him for entertainment's sake, and allow that glue to set up a little bit.  Unlike adhere, this glue will be setting up for the next 8 hours.  If he twists a boot, just straighten it out.  Have a sip of that gin and tonic, talk to your neighbors, play fetch with the dog, call your mom, clean a stall, just give it a little time, at least 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on him and if he twists, straighten it and re-tighten the gator.  It's easy to waste time around your horse for 10 minutes or even an hour to check on him.

Step 7:  Walk away

Put your horse back in his run (or back on his HiTie or load him in the trailer for your 6 hour drive to the race,) with the glue still wet and his gators on tight.  It seems crazy, I know.  But it works.  Just walk away.

Step 8:  Remove the gators & Voila!

When the glue is set up (6-8 hours later) use your screwdriver to unscrew all of the hardware on each boot and tear those nasty old gators off.  Retire them permanently, or if you're really a hoarder, then keep them around for spare parts.  Voila!  You've got boots glued-on for your ride, no gators to worry about.  Yes, the screw "backings" remain behind and are harmless hitch-hikers.

PROOF #1 The NAETC or North American Endurance Ride Championships (Picture at top in blue Gloves.)

I traveled through an ice storm and -37 degree temps to FL to represent the mountain zone at a championship 100-mile ride.  I was very sad to find out shortly before the race that my adhere had frozen and gone bad.  It was too late to acquire new Adhere but I had what I needed to Sik'm on (a full set of Easyboot Gloves that fit him and a tube of SikaFlex.)  I Sik'd them on Shazam in the pouring rain, threw him in the trailer with wet glue for the last leg of our journey, and he stepped out of the trailer ready to race.  We ran 100 miles in 10hours wearing ghetto, Sika'd on gloves and he was the fastest mountain horse to complete.  The only problem was that I had packed nice new Gloves as my spares so 1st of all, I wrecked a perfectly new pair of Gloves, and 2nd of all, I totally forgot to loosen the screws and had to cut the rubber to get the gators off.  But the boots were in great shape at the finish of the 100 and were difficult to remove even weeks later.  I spared you the pictures of me gluing them on in the rain and mud.

Proof #2 Mt Carmel Multiday

My beast of a mare thinks it's her job to test the strength of gators.  There's no way I was going to make this set of old glove last 3 days of extreme terrain attached to the hooves of a freight train.  I Sik'd them on and she smoked through 3 days and 155mile of rough terrain and high speed in a pair of gloves that were literally about to go in the trash, in fact two of them even had large holes in the toes - it doesn't matter once they're glue-on, as long as there's amply tread to protect the bottom of the hoof.

Proof#3 

I slapped these babies on a horse that was totally freaking out and I was in such a hurry.  There was glue everywhere.  It was the shoddiest job I've ever seen.  I was so "over it" and I had to go so I just threw him in the pasture, the boots were so sloppy and still making sloshing noises, and the horse was FREAKING out back in the pasture, literally pacing at a gallop.  I figured they would be off or worse - glued on backwards the next morning.  But they weren't.  The next morning (yes there was glue EVERYwhere) the boots were on fine.  I unscrewed the gators, tore them off, and rode the ever-loving snot out of that horse for the next 6 days in a row - hard, steep, mountain work.  Boots were fine, horse was even better.

I'm not really sure where to stop with the proof because I have done quite a few 100s and tons of multi days with ancient, tore-up, old Easyboot Gloves that I just Sik'd on for one last hurrah.  It's crazy the mileage you can get out of these things, and this is the best way to get some awesome final mileage out of a set.  It's not artwork, but it's a great alternative for someone looking for alternatives.  Although I always use new Glue-On shells and follow the extreme protocol for important rides, I do this "Sik" method often, and I feel like I'm cheating.  Give it a try, it's so Easy!

EasyCare Live Event: EasyCare's Other Products

EasyCare's November live web events kick off this week with a presentation on EasyCare's Stowaway Packs, Stowaway Gear, E-Z Ride Stirrups, and Hi-Ties. This 60-minute interactive presentation will cover the basic information you need to know about EasyCare's horse and tack products.

When: Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 2 PM PST (5 PM EST).

Where: easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/otherproducts

The list of topics to be covered includes:

What questions do you have to add to the list?

This live broadcast event is free, and will be presented via live web stream at 2 PM PST (5 PM EST) on Thursday, November 6, 2014. It's easy to sign up - just go to easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/otherproducts. If you can't make the event, sign up anyway: a recorded version of the presentation will be available for you to come back and watch as many times as you'd like. The platform is state-of-the-art and offers an easy way to ask questions during the event.

You can ask us anything you'd like during the event, and everyone who signs up will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a free pair of EasyCare hoof boots. We will select one winner at the end of the live event.

Sign up now at easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/otherproducts. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-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.

Easyboots or EasyShoes? Yes!

I had the pleasure of riding two 50-mile events last weekend at one of the most beautiful and challenging rides in our area. Mount Carmel, Utah, is the location for the May five-day event hosted by XP Rides. 

Ria McCarthy and Mike LeRoux hand-walking their horses shod in EasyShoes down a challenging goat trail. 

If you're wondering which booting or shoeing protocol is right for you, rest assured that a variety combinations of Easyboot Gloves, Easyboot Glue-Ons and EasyShoes all performed well in the top five finishers at every day of this multi-day event. If the products can do well at high speeds in challenging rocky terrain, it's likely that any of the protocols witnessed last week will do will for your chosen equine activity.

Andy Bown using Easyboot Gloves.

1. The Hoof Boot Traditionalist

Not interested in gluing or nailing whatsoever? Have no fear: the third place horse on Day 4 won the coveted Best Condition award using a set of used Easyboot Gloves with power straps and three wraps to each foot of athletic tape under the boot. The rider chose to boot him the night before, and to leave the gaiters loose for the night while the horse was tied to the Hi-Tie at the trailer. He simply snugged up the gaiters in the morning before he saddled, and the boots were removed later that day at the completion of the event. For more information on best practices, click through the Fit Kit, Application Videos and FAQ pages on the EasyCare website.

Rocky, sandy climbs and descents challenge these horses in Easyboot Glue-Ons & EasyShoe Performance N/Gs.

2. The Easyboot Glue-On Fan

Easyboot Glue-Ons continue to be a favorite for customers who go on pack trips, ride multi-day events, or compete in 100-mile competitions, or simply want a therapeutic application for their horse. The greatest benefit of the Glue-Ons is that the glue under the sole provides additional concussion absorption if your trail plans are going to be over rocky or hard-packed trail. Another advantage is that there is no contact above the hairline, so even with the most challenging mud or sandy conditions, there is literally nowhere for the debris to build up.

The EasyShoe Performance N/G applied by Ernest Woodward.

3. The Explorer

Are you intrigued by the EasyShoe's ability to let the hoof flex the way it is designed to, and compelled to try a hoof protection device that stays on for the full trimming cycle that allows the hoof to breathe? The EasyShoe Performance N/G and EasyShoe Performance were applied to the horses that won first place on Day 1, 4 and 5. The Day 5 horse also won the Best Condition award. Depending on the model you select, the EasyShoe can be nailed or glued by your hoof care practitioner or farrier. The key to success with these shoes at high-mileage, high performance events like the Mount Carmel XP, is to follow preparation and application protocol to a T. Make sure the person applying the boots closely watches the application videos and goes through the FAQ pages for the specific boot model.

The Moral of the Story

Barefoot hoof care principles are alive and well with any and all of the EasyCare hoof protection devices you choose. If hoof boots work well for you, there is just no reason to change what you're doing. If you're intrigued by the benefits listed above of each of the hoof protection devices described above, maybe you should work with your professional to attempt other models or styles. I rode a new horse on Day 3 with Easyboot Performance N/Gs on the front and Easyboot Gloves on the back, and on Day 4 I rode a horse with Easyboot Glue-Ons all around. I like the full sole coverage of boots, but I also really appreciate having a horse that I can just throw a saddle on and head out onto the trail without even putting on boots.

No matter what you decide, remember the EasyCare staff is here to help you succeed. Since so many of us are boot users and testers ourselves, we tend to know enough about the choices to steer you down the right path, especially when you reach an impasse in what to use.

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-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.

Horse Purchasing - From the Ground Up

In my last blog, Horse Shopping - From the Group Up, I talked about horse shopping for my husband. The winner of this search was horse #3, an 8-year-old, half-Arabian gelding named Tyler. Tyler passed the pre-purchase exam with flying colors. Radiographs of his feet and joints were outstanding, so much so, in fact, that the examining vet commented on him, saying “You’ve got a good one here.” I was pleased with my choice.

A week later, we loaded up the rig for the Fire Mountain endurance ride in Ridgecrest. This is one of our favorite winter desert rides. Our plan was to pick up Tyler in Arroyo Grande on the way (more or less) to Ridgecrest. We rolled into Sun King Farms just before dark and loaded him into the trailer without much fanfare. Tyler was about to get his eyes opened to what his new life as an endurance horse was going to be like. That night we drove to Bakersfield and stayed at an overnight stabling facility. He got a round pen to himself and the mares shared the arena. It was much better for them to be able to move around, rather than being tied to the trailer all night.

The next morning, we loaded up and headed for Ridgecrest. Having Tyler with us posed a problem: He had never been on a HiTie and I didn’t want to tie him within striking distance of the mares. As luck would have it, there was one small pipe corral at the far side of camp. We set up next to it and Tyler got the corral while the three mares got their HiTies. All was calm in our herd.

Tyler learning about life in base camp.

For the next two days, Tyler got to witness all the activity from his corral. We took him for a couple of short trail rides each afternoon, and he handled it all very well. On Sunday night, we loaded up and drove back to Bakersfield. This time, we over nighted at the rodeo grounds, and Tyler spent the night tied for the first time. He was still there in the morning, so I’m considering that a success.

Once I got him home, I let him chill out for a few days to recover from four days on the road and to get accustomed to his new surroundings. During this time, I went about the business of getting him set up with a properly fitting saddle and bridle, and measured his feet for new Easyboot Gloves. Here is where I ran into some trouble. Although Tyler has always been barefoot, he hadn’t been getting a proper barefoot trim and as a result his feet were slightly misshapen. I knew this could be corrected over time and so I didn’t worry about it.

His right front measured 130mm wide x 130mm long. His left front measured 135mm wide x 130 mm long. I ordered a pair of 2Ws for him. The 2W was almost too big for his right front foot. His foot wasn't so much flared as it was just much wider at the base than the top—truly bell shaped. His left front was similarly shaped but with some flare on the sides. As a result, the 2W fit his width but was too big front to back, leaving a void between the boot and the hoof wall. I know I can reshape his right front foot and fit him into a 1.5W, but I’m not sure what to do about the left front. This is where trial and error has served me well (although I’m open to suggestions).

So far, the 2W boots have been sufficient for Tyler’s first few training rides. I used extra tape to fill the void on the left front. However, before I can do any speed work with him I will need to get him into properly fitting boots. His back feet, by the way, are normal. They fit into a regular 1.5 boot.

My training program for Tyler is pretty conservative. He’s already proven to be great on the trail. He likes to go out in front and he doesn’t spook at ANYTHING. I like that the most about him. He’s very balanced on his feet and watches where he puts them. He’s also light and balanced in the bridle. These are all desirable attributes in a horse for my husband. His immediate future will be a lot of long, easy trail rides and tag-alongs to rides so he can get further exposed to life in base camp.

Tyler's first long training ride at Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

 Stay tuned for his progress and how I solve my booting challenge with him.

Is Your Tack Shop Different?

Be First and Be Prepared to be Different:  In the equine industry, those EasyCare Dealers who are always first with the newest and most advanced hoof protective technologies always make an impact and the best impression on their customers. This was particularly interesting to me during the release of our new EasyShoes.

I had dealers calling, leaving messages and calling back before I could get back to them to pre-order the new EasyShoes. However, I also had dealers that wanted to sit back and “wait to see” what happens. They, obviously, will have a lot less impact on their customers and could possibly lose sales for lack of stock.

But you’re only going to make something of that great first impression if you’re smart enough to understand the needs of your customers. To do this you need to do your research. EasyCare provides literature and videos to educate you and your staff.  But, you also have to have a clear understanding of your own differentiators and the impact they can have on your customers. Even if your store is in a highly competitive area, there is always something that should differentiate your tack shop from others.

How can you differentiate yourself from the other tack shops, feed stores or on-line ordering? Yes, price is important, but it certainly isn’t the only thing that will sway a customer to purchase. What else have you got to offer? How can you really help your customer? Are you offering the newest, most advanced products in hoof protection? Can you show them good, reliable customer service?  Can you offer hoof boot fittings? Can you offer minor hoof boot repair? Can you offer EasyShoe or Glue-On clinics?  Your added value is starting to emerge and this can differentiate your tack shop from your competitor.

Get to know your competition: To help refine your differentiators, it’s useful to know what your competitor’s differentiators are, too. Not only the other store in the next town over, but the on-line shopping sites as well. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses. The latter is important because you can define your differentiators accordingly and step up your game in these areas. I have dealers that are in the same vicinity that actually work together for the good of the customer. One dealer will only sell hoof boots, while the other specializes in E-Z Ride Stirrups, Stowaway Packs and HiTies.

Have integrity: No one trusts a business that bad-mouths the competition. Stay true to your business values. Selling is a tough business, but a business owner with integrity is a huge differentiator and that goes a long way in creating a good customer service experience.

Find out which differentiators matter to your customers: Your customers play an important role in helping you further refine your differentiators and focus on the ones that matter to them. Step outside your business and listen to your customers’ needs and fine-tune your marketing messages. Focus on differentiators that really matter to your customers.

Roll your differentiators into your marketing message:  To help ensure your differentiators are well-defined and ingrained across your entire sales and marketing operation (including your staff), it’s important to develop a messaging platform and stick to it.

Most of all, make this about the Customer: A good sales person has the skill to let the customer do most of the talking. Have your sales people follow the 80/20 rule (80 percent listening, 20 percent talking). Instead of rushing through their pitch telling the customer which hoof boot is their (personal) favorite and trying to convince the customer accordingly, train your sales people to let your customer talk. They need to listen and understand the customer’s needs and identify which hoof boot style can address that customer’s needs and then outline the features and benefits. A very good salesperson will go the next step and look for needs that the customer hasn’t even raised. The more you can get the customer to think about needs they hadn’t previously recognized, the more likely you are to earn their trust and loyalty to your store. This will differentiate your staff of experienced sales people from the kids that are working at the other feed store in the next town or an on-line order.

EasyCare offers training for you and your staff, at your convenience. Training is done by phone and usually takes about 30 minutes of your time. Please call for an appointment.

Dee Reiter

easycare-customer-service-dee-reiter

Retail Account Rep

I am the Retail and New Dealer Account Rep for EasyCare. I will be happy to help you with ordering, selecting the most popular styles and sizes of EasyCare hoof boots to stock. Let me help you with suggestions on merchandising and provide training for you and your staff, at your convenience.

 

EasyCare International

One of the most repeated questions we get here at EasyCare from customers who send us a Contact Us form is if we we ship to certain countries. We will be happy to ship anywhere in the world but let me tell you something you may not know.

We do have dealers all over the world that carry our products for us. You can click on our dealer locator here or on our home page of our website to see if there is a dealer in your country. If you do not find a dealer listed in your country and would like to order from us, go ahead and enter your order through our online store. International customers in Canada, Australia and Europe* have three shipping methods to choose from: First Class Mail, Priority Mail, and FedEx Priority. Only orders under $100 are eligible for First Class Mail. Orders between $100 and $400 are eligible for USPS Priority International and FedEx Priority International. Orders over $400 must select “International freight – quoted” and freight quotes will be emailed after you submit your order. International customers in other countries must select “International freight – quoted” and freight quotes will be emailed after you submit your order. 

Below are the approximate times for the shipping methods we offer (not including any delays in customs):

  • USPS First Class - 10-14 days 
  • USPS Priority - 6-10 days
  • FedEx Priority - 3-5 days

Also, make sure to pick the correct shipping method for your order:

  • Canada: USPS First Class - $12.00, USPS Priority - $48.00, FedEx Priority $56.00
  • Europe*: USPS First Class - $20.00, USPS Priority - $64.00, FedEx Priority $80.00
  • Australia: USPS First Class - $22.00, USPS Priority - $66.00, FedEx Priority $108.00
(The above shipping options are not valid for HiTies and Hoofjacks.) 
*Includes Great Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Greece.
 
As always if you have any questions please feel free to call our Customer Service department at 1-800-447-8836.
 

Shari Murray

easycare-customer-service-shari-murray

Customer Service

If you call the customer service help desk, you’ll probably get me on the phone! I process repairs, returns, credits and exchanges that come into EasyCare.

 

New Bigger Sizes and Free Shipping

The Old Mac's G2 and the Easyboot Trail are now available in sizes 11 and 12! Our previous sizes in these styles vary by 5mm increments, while sizes 11 and 12 vary by 10mm increments. Thanks to this increase in sizing increments, we can now accommodate a larger range of big hooves. Size 11 accommodates hooves with a width of 155-165mm (6 1/8" - 6 1/2"), and a length of 160-170mm (6 5/16" - 6 11/16"). Size 12 accommodates hooves with a width of 165-175mm (6 1/2" - 6 7/8"), and a length of 170-180 (6 11/16" - 7 1/8").

The new size 12 Old Mac's G2 (left) pictured next to a size 0 (right).

If you are in need of new hoof boots of any size, now is the time to order! Orders over $50 will receive free ground shipping in the month of January (excludes HiTies and Hoofjacks). If you have any questions about which hoof boot is the best for you and your horse, you can submit a Fitting Assistant or call us at 800-447-8836.

 

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

 

Holiday Gift Guide

Are you looking for a holiday deal on hoof boots? Visit our Bargain Bin where we have several new, discontinued models of boots available including the Original Easyboot, Easyboot Glove, and Easyboot Rx. All items in the Bargain Bin are discounted 50% off MSRP (valid only while supplies last, all sales are final: no returns or warranties). Bargain Bin items are available through the EasyCare website only. If the Bargain Bin does not have the hoof boots you need, you can take advantage of our quantity discount. If you purchase four or more boots at the same time from EasyCare, you will receive a quantity discount (excludes Easyboot Glue-Ons and Bargain Bin boots). You can mix and match your boot styles and sizes and still receive this quantity discount. Orders over $50 will receive free ground shipping in the month of December (excludes HiTies and Hoofjacks).

Are you looking for some stocking stuffers for your barn buddies? Nitrile Tough EasyCare Gloves provide the necessary protection when hoof trimming. These gloves will save your hands from rasp nicks and the form fitting design does not hinder dexterity. They are also great for general work around the farm. The EasyCare Magnetic Hoof Pick will always be close at hand since it sticks to any metal surface. We hope you and your horses have happy holidays!

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.