Yes, natural hoof care has been around along time and many people feel it's the only way to keep a horse. There are also many people who believe all horses must wear iron shoes. I think the thing that I noticed most about 2011 is a broad, mainstream acceptance of barefoot hoof care. Horse owners that have had every horse shod for years now have one or two going strong barefoot or booted. I've noticed a change in thinking, it's no longer a debatable topic but a successful tool in the bag of tricks of the equestrian trade.
Here is my list of why I believe natural hoof care made a big step forward in 2011, why it will continue in 2012 and where EasyCare needs focus in the future. I'll start with #1 and cut right to the chase.
1. Pete and Ivy Ramey release a monumental book about natural hoof care called "Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot". Pete and an incredible group of contributing authors (Robert Bowker, Hilary Clayton, Brian Hampson, Eleanor Kellon, Kerry Ridgway, Debra Taylor and Kathryn Watts) lay out the importance of hoof care theory, nutrition and the hoof, trimming different parts of the hoof, laminitis management and feral horse foot studies. The book is incredible and a must read for equine professionals, horse owners and anyone who cares for the equine hoof. If you believe in the phrase "No Hoof, No Horse" this book will bring your knowledge to a whole new level.
2. Tevis Cup 2011. The toughest 100 mile horse race in the world tests horses, riders and hoof care management techniques more than any other venue in the world. Jeremy Reynolds wins both the Tevis Cup and Haggin cup using Easyboots on a barefoot horse. In addition to Reynolds impressive results, Easyboots were used on the 3rd place horse, 5th place horse and an additional 6 horses in the top twenty. In total 28 barefoot/Easybooted horses finished the 2011 event. The Tevis Cup continues to show that barefoot/booted horses care compete and win at the highest levels of equine sport.
The Reynolds Racing Team accepting the 2011 Haggin Cup. Marvel is wearing Easyboots.
3. Horse Journal names the Easyboot Glove as Horse Journal Editor's Choice and the Easyboot Trail and Horse Journal Best Buy. Horse Journal is a cool equine magazine that does a great deal of product testing and reviews. They don't take advertising dollars so their reviews are usually very good and on target.
The Easyboot Glove on an early testing run. EasyCare's hopes for this boot have come through.
4. EasyCare has promoted the $10,000 Hoof Boot Contest since 2005. Although the Hoof Boot Contest has been very successful and has helped promote hoof boots and barefoot horses in one of the toughest equine sports, 2011 will bring an end to the successful $10,000 Hoof Boot Contest and we will soon launch the inaugural 2012 International Transition Challenge. The Transition Challenge will showcase horse owner and hoof care professional horse transitions. The new contest will highlight the importance of routine hoof care maintenance, proper nutrition and exercise. The change of direction will take our contest focus off long distance racing and put money and energy into a contest where improving the lives of horses will be highlighted and rewarded. More information will be coming soon.
Before and After transition photos showcased in That's My Horse #2.
5. Advancement, another area of focus for EasyCare in 2012. It's 2011 and in many areas of the equine industry we are still using products and methods developed hundreds of years ago. Why do other sports like cycling, skiing, climbing, and running continue to advance? If you look at a bike developed 20 years ago you would think it belonged in a museum. If you looked at a saddle developed 20 years ago you would think it looks just like the saddles being made today. One of EasyCare's goals moving forward is to borrow technology from other industries and bring it into the equestrian industry. Time to look at things differently.
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.