What's Important?

2016 has been a tough year filled with a few bumps in the road and unexpected challenges.  It's been a year of reflection, a year that makes you look at what's important and a year that has helped separate the small stuff from the things that matter.  

Alyxx and Cyclone in 2007

One of the things I've always wanted to do was get our daughter engaged with horses. I want her to develop a relationship with a special horse, I've wanted her to have an outlet during her life, I've wanted her to be able to turn to her horse after a tough day at school, frustrating day at work or during a tough year.  I've wanted it for her but didn't want to push her toward the decision.  I've wanted so bad for her to want it.  I've wanted to share the passion and not push the passion.  

Alyxx and Toaster 2012

So here I am with too much to do at work, I'm behind trimming the horses, I'm behind at home, I feel like I've been playing catch up all year.  More than ever I need a couple weeks at home catching up and getting my head above water.  Then the moment I've been wanting, Alyxx called me on the way to school today and asked me if we could do her first endurance ride together this weekend on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  She knows I'm busy, knows Mom has a broken hip but said she really wanted to go.  

Alyxx and Tambre 2016

The answer is yes!  It's what I've wanted for her, it's what I've dreamed about for her.  Catching up at home and some of the items at work will need to wait.

It was a good lesson and time to ask myself some pointed questions.  Why are we doing this?  What is important?   

 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

Easyboot Success at the 2016 Tevis Cup- Statistics the Haters Won't Like!

I had a distinguished farrier tell me at the International Hoof Care Summit "The only reason Easyboots do well at Tevis is because you get your product on the good horses". He was trying to take away from our success at Tevis but I took it as a compliment and just smiled.  

The haters out there will look at this blog as boasting. Bragging. Talking about success. To be honest, I don't care. I've been at the helm of Easyboots and the leader of alternative hoof protection for over 25 years. Over those 25 years we have been snickered at, called a fad, copied, told I was "going to hell", eyes rolled at, called an outsider, spit on, etc. In the horse world, and our bigger world, it's tough to be an outsider. It's hard being someone that goes against the grain. You get laughed at when you are someone that comes with different ideas. People want you to fail. As the punches and insults came over the years I decided to return the blows with results rather than words. It's one thing to talk about a product, it's another thing to beat them.  

The 100 Mile Tevis Cup started the sport of endurance racing and is still considered the toughest 100 mile horse race in the world. It's the race where the toughest people in the sport go to test themselves, their horses and their gear. The 100 mile course forces competitors to use products that work! You can't fake results at the Tevis Cup. 

EasyCare started putting an emphasis on the Tevis Cup back in 2009.  We decided at EasyCare to take our products to the toughest race in the world and see where they stacked up against the other hoof protection options. Rather that talk about the benefits of a product, we decided to have the results and stats speak for themselves. Rather than convince riders your product worked, show them stats and results that were hard to argue.  

Lisa Ford and GE Cyclone win the 2016 Haggin Cup!  Awards don't get bigger in the sport of endurance.  

Tevis 2016 Statistics:

  • The Tevis Cup was won by Karen Donley on Royal Patron wearing Easyboots.
  • The Haggin Cup (Best Condition) was won by Lisa Ford and GE Cyclone wearing Easyboots.
  • 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 4th place and 6th place were in Easyboots.
  • Ten of the top 20 finishers were in Easyboots.
  • Overall 2016 Tevis Completion rate: 52%
  • Non-Easybooted completion rate: 44.35%  (115 Non-Easybooted riders started, 51 Non-Easybooted finished)
  • Easyboot completion rate: 72%  (50 Easyboot riders started, 36 Easyboot riders finished)
  • 30.3% of all starting horses were in Easyboots.  
  • 41.3% of all finishing horses were in Easyboots.  (36 Easyboot riders finished, 51 Non-Easybooted finished)

Most Easyboots were installed by the 2016 Easyboot Elite crew.  

From left to right: Pete Van Rossum, Daisy Bicking, Christoph Schork, Garrett Ford, Deanna Stoppler, Steve Foxworth, Derick Vaughn, Jeremy Ortega and Josh Bowles.

EasyCare and Easyboots have had a nice run at Tevis. It's been a bunch of hard work but we are happy with the results. 

Results from 2010 to 2016:

  •  2010 Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2011 Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2012  Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2013 Tevis Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2014 Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2015 Haggin Cup in Easyboots.
  •  2016 Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup in Easyboots.

EasyCare is very proud of what we have accomplished at the Tevis Cup. We are proud to be a company coming to market with new, controversial ideas. There are many ways to skin a cat, and I believe in many different types of hoof protection.  But with that said, I'm sure proud of what our little product range has accomplished at the most difficult horse race in the world.  

Over the last 61 years only 50% of the riders starting the Tevis finish each year.  That is like flipping a coin.  I prefer to use Easyboots and increase the coin flipping results.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

Kevin Myers- A Friend, a Colleague and a Mentor

I've had some difficult moments in my life but Kevin's passing has ripped my heart out.  Kevin had amazing friends and was loved by everyone he touched.  It's ironic that Kevin took his life because he didn't want to go forward lonely.  

Those close to Kevin have been through a bunch of emotions since Wednesday June 29th, 2016. Disbelief, sorrow, guilt, hours of tears, anger and numbness.  I've had a very difficult time trying to accept his passing and know we will never be able to replace him.  I could go into great deal about all our times together, travel, laughs, adventures and try to bring him back with memories.  Rather than try I've made a personal challenge to to emulate his good qualities and work hard to make the world a better place.  Kevin had so many amazing qualities but there are a couple that stand out that we should all work to echo.  

1.  Smile!  Kevin had an amazing smile.  A smile that would light up a room.  A smile that made you feel comfortable.  A smile that made him easy to approach.  A smile that made you feel loved.  I will smile more!

2.  Sincere interest in others.  Kevin had a sincere interest in others and had an amazing way of always making the conversation about the person he was speaking to and not himself.  It was easy to like Kevin because he never boasted, spoke of himself and always made it about the person he was conversing with.  I will become more interested in others.    

3.  Kevin had a sense of adventure and loved the outdoors.  He loved to ride, run, ski, and do hand stands in the most amazing places.  I will spend more time outdoors and bust out a hand stand!

4.  Kevin had patience.  Patience with people, patience with difficult situations and patience with animals.  I will practice more patience.  

5.  Kevin was great listener.  He was always there for his friends and was the shoulder we all leaned on.  Could we have prevented this if his close circle was better listeners?  I will listen more.  

6.  Kevin gave the best hugs and the best handshakes.  Kevin would shake your hand and and look you in the eye in a way that built trust and comfort.  His hugs were strong and passionate.  I will give better hugs and better handshakes.  

7.  Kevin was generous.  Kevin gave way more in life than he received.  I'm a generous person but can give more, I will give more.   

8.  Kevin was a hard worker.  I've had the opportunity to work with and learn from many people in my young life.  Kevin and I worked shoulder to shoulder for 6 years and we complemented each other in many ways. One of the things I'm most grateful to Kevin for is the opportunity to be a better father.  Kevin's hard work cleared my plate and allowed me more time with Alyxx.  I'm forever grateful.   

 Kevin was loved by everyone and leaves a massive hole that will never be filled.  I hope you have found peace my friend.  

 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

My Favorite Horse Boot Just Got Better- The Launch of the New Easyboot Glove 2016

The hoof boot that redefined hoof boots.  Most people associated hoof boots with bulk and galoshes strapped to a horse's hoof before the Easyboot Glove was released in 2009.  The Easyboot Glove was the first boot that allows you to watch a horse moving down the trail and not focus on the boots.  The stretch fit hugs the hoof wall and adds a 3 mm protective cap to the hoof wall.

When the Easyboot Glove was introduced, most people were skeptical about its success.  The boot not only worked, but quickly became our best-selling boot.  I've personally done countless endurance races in the Easyboot Glove and continue to condition my endurance and track horses in the boot.  It's my boot of choice and my personal tack is packed with 100+ Easyboot Gloves of various sizes.  The stretch fit makes it the closest-fitting hoof boot in the world.

Video of the 2009 Strawberry Fields Endurance Race.  Muddy conditions, two best conditions and a first place award made me a believer in the Easyboot Glove. The Easyboot Glove redefined bulky hoof boots.

Although the form fitting design continues to sell well, the Easyboot Glove Gaiter has been the weak link for some horses.  The gaiters work well, but don't last as long as the Glove urethane base. We have been working for almost a year on a new gaiter design that will wear longer, will flex and conform to the various heel shapes and will fit on the current urethane shell.  The key to the new design is a molded cap at the rear of the gaiter that fits the contours of the heel bulb and at the same time offers large amounts of elongation and strength.  

The new Glove Gaiter has a injection molded urethane/rubber cap molded to fit the heel bulb area of a horse and offers tremendous elongation to accommodate movement.

When I look back at each boot project and think about the hours involved, I feel proud of the end result as I know the hard work of so many that made it possible.  The early drawings, SLA's,  shelves of prototypes that didn't work, the molds that didn't make the cut, the hours on airplanes and in the saddle testing.  After the designs get done, its on to photos, instructions, videos, price sheets, barcodes, brochures, and entry into our accounting system and website.  Then the product needs to be manufactured, received and shipped. It takes a whole team and a bunch of hours.  In the end and after many different designs, failures and successes, we have arrived at new gaiter design and a new Easyboot Glove 2016.  The new Easyboot Glove 2016 design has the following improvements:

1.  We have eliminated the rear elastic material of the gaiter and have replaced it with a new blended urethane that has been injection molded to conform to the horse's heel area.  The new material is very pliable and stretches to fit the contours of each hoof.  The material will elongate to 500% of its original shape and come back to form.  In addition, the blend will come back to the original shape after thousands of delegations.  

2.  The gaiter pattern has been updated and improved based on many hours of distance riding.  The center seam has been eliminated.  

3.  Improved hook and loop with a fabric layer added for strength.  

Several photos of the new design.  

 

 

 

 

 

Testing over the last year has shown great results.  The new gaiter will take the Easyboot Glove 2016 to the next level.  The close fitting boot gets as close to the bare hoof as possible.  The protection of a boot without the bulk.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

The New Easyboot Back Country, Like a Fine Wine

The Easyboot Glove Back Country has been refined, improved, and is being re-released as the Easyboot Back Country. The rear comfort cup gaiter is now made of a softer and thicker material. The front shield has been refined for a sleeker fit.  All sizes now come with a rear sung strap that  is removable and can be reversed for either left or right hooves. The modifications allow the boot to excel in the pleasure riding category and double as a performance boot.   

The new Easyboot Back Country. New front shield, new comfort cup gaiter and snug strap come standard.  

The new design comes in both wide and standard sizes. It's quick and easy to fit and stays on through the most challenging terrain.  

Rear snug strap comes standard on each boot.

The comfort cup gaiter folds out of the way making the boot easy to apply.

In place and ready to ride. Easy to fit and close-fitting.  

Ready to hit the trail!

Wide and standard shell patterns. #2 standard and #2 wide pictured.  

We will continue to sell the old style Easyboot Glove Back Country while supplies last.  The first order of the new style Easyboot Back Country will contain sizes #1.5, #2, #2.5, #3, #3.5 and #4.  The first order will also contain wide sizes #0W, #0.5W, #1W, #1.5W, #2W, #2.5W and #3W.  

We are excited about taking this boot to the next level and believe you and your horse will have great results. 

 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

The Easyboot Mini: Available Friday, April 1, 2016

You spoke, EasyCare listened. The miniature horse and small pony world will soon have dependable hoof protection that still delivers the benefits of being barefoot. Meet the Easyboot Mini. The smallest production hoof boots in the world go on sale on Friday, April 1, 2016.

The Easyboot Mini is the most durable tiny boot on the market today and utilizes EasyCare’s most successful tread pattern made famous by the best-selling Easyboot Glove. Its urethane sole provides excellent traction that has proven in testing to hold up on any terrain, from pavement to rocky trail to kitchen tile. The boot is simple in nature but secure to the hoof when fitted correctly. No strength or hand dexterity needed: the boot fastens using a robust, industrial-style hook and loop system at the front of the pastern.

Need another reason to own an Easyboot Mini? When you purchase them, you also get a jar to store you horse treats.

To determine the correct size for the Easyboot Mini, measure the width and length of your pony’s hoof following a fresh trim. The width is the widest point across; the length is the line from the toe to the buttress line. For more detailed information, visit out Measuring Instructions page. Next, compare the hoof dimensions to the size chart below. 

If you have questions about the Easyboot Mini or would like assistance with sizing, please contact us our customer service team at 800-447-8836. EasyCare is excited to provide the little-horse community with the most advanced natural hoof care protection available today. The boots will be available for purchase online and by telephone starting Friday, April 1, 2016.

For more photos information about the Easyboot Mini's evolution, see my last blog.

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

Easyboot Mini Horse Boots Will Be Available in Spring 2016

EasyCare is asked on a daily basis to produce smaller size boots and larger size boots.  Although our goal is to help all horses, these projects fall on both ends of the bell curve, and sales often don't support the mold costs.  In 2013, EasyCare added two larger Easyboot Trail and New Mac sizes in the #11 and #12 after police horses in Australia were electrocuted and killed.  The smaller horses were wearing boots and survived, the larger horses didn't fit in boots and were killed.  The #11 and #12 boots were quickly added to prevent this type of disaster in the future.

Early testing of the Easyboot Mini on a mini that lives in the house.  Who knew horses needed traction on kitchen tile? 

The addition of the #11 and #12 New Mac and EasyCare the largest range of hoof boot sizes in the world.  We now have the ability to fit most horses and breeds, but still have regular requests for smaller boots to fit the miniature breeds and young foals.  Because of the requests and our desire to help more horses, we have completed four new molds to take care of these small feet and can now fit a hoof down 42mm or 1 5/8 inches wide. We will offer four Easyboot Mini sizes and the largest Easyboot Mini size will fit a hoof width of 85mm or 3 1/4 inches wide.

The smallest Easyboot Mini.

The Easyboot Mini next to the smallest Easyboot Glove/Easyboot Glove Back Country Size #00.

The Easyboot Mini has been designed to fit both the miniature breeds and young foals.  The goal of the project was to fit these small feet and offer protection for driving, service work and road work. Here are some of the features that make the Easyboot Mini unique to the market:

  1. The urethane blend of material makes the sole both flexible and long wearing.
  2. The upper folds back out of the way for easy application.
  3. The upper adjusts well to different pastern sizes.  
  4. The smallest Easyboot Mini size is the smallest molded hoof boot in the world.   

Upper folds back for easy application.

Profile photo of the smallest Easyboot Mini size.
 
The Easyboot Mini project is complete and will start shipping in mid April, 2016.  It's fun to help a whole new group of horses and expand the EasyCare range.  Easyboot Mini boot sales will probably never be strong enough to recoup our mold costs but I can't wait to add one to the Christmas tree as an ornament, another to my key chain and one to hang off my rear view mirror.  All will be good reminders of what's important and to continue to help horses.
 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

2016 - The Year of New EasyCare Hoof Protection Products and The Monkey!

2016 is here and EasyCare is working on our longest list of new product launches in our 46 years in business.  Many are brand new concepts that we believe will improve the lives of horses and make the jobs of hoof care professionals more proficient. I'll start announcing the new products in our monthly newsletter blogs and will give all our customers and dealers a heads-up on whats coming. I hope to share a new product for each month of 2016. Yes, we have been busy.  

The Easyboot Glue-On Flip Flop will be available in sizes #1, #1.5, #2 and #2.5 before the end of January 2016.  The Flip Flop was one of those hunches that I thought would work but you never know until you try. In essence, the idea amounts to a flip-flop design with a conventional upper that extends backward only roughly to the widest point of the hoof. The widest point of the hoof has the least amount of movement in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Because of this lack of movement, the bonds between the shoe and the hoof hold much tighter and are much less likely to fail than at the heel. As a result, it is surprisingly more durable than shoes bonded along the entire sides of the hoof. The absence of an upper in the rear half of the shoe ensures that the heel and the entire back portion of the shoe is not connected to the hoof. The heel is afforded greater movement in all directions, which, in addition to improving the durability of the bond between the upper and the front portion of the hoof, also allows more movement of the hoof, which in the long run results in a healthier hoof.

I've glued a large number of hoof protection devices on horses feet in the last ten years and this product is not only the easiest to apply, but stays on the better than any glue-on product I've ever used. The product works better than expected, has won several 50-mile distance races.  

An early slow motion video of a Flip Flop in action. Check out how the sole flexes at the mid-point. 

One of the first prototypes on Fury.

Solar view. Same sole as the Easyboot Glove and will accept the EasyCare Therapy Click System.

The base flexes and pivots.

The final molds have an extended length sole. This allows the sole to be cut to length.

So what does the Easyboot Flip Flip do better than others and why does it have a place in the equine market?

  1. It's very easy to apply and it stays on very well.  
  2. Aside from abrasion, the back of the foot is protected but still functions as a bare hoof.  It allows the hoof to function better than full shell products.  
  3. Debris goes in and comes out easily. In testing we have seen no issues with debris getting in and packing in the toe area. For those with concerns, it's easy to add a pour in packing in the toe area.

It works very well with the EasyCare Therapy Click System. The perfect combination for a pregnant mare having hoof problems while carrying a foal to term.

We are rushing to get four sizes done before the end of the month. I hope you will give them a try. I plan to share another new product next month that I believe will change hoof boot designs going forward. 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

Stop the Growth and Development of the Equine Hoof Early in Life: The Best Way to Screw Up Your Well Bred Superstar

RB Rich didn't win the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (the richest race in the history of Arabian racing), but a bigger battle was won at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on November 8th, 2015.  Rich's invitation to race on the biggest stage in Arabian racing and the chance at the 1.2 million euro purse was the highlight of his young career and also a huge milestone for the EasyShoe Compete.  

RB Rich raced the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons in a glue-on racing shoe that was once prohibited by our local track in Colorado.  It's not unusual for a young horse to use the same type of hoof protection each year but what is unusual is for a young horse to start his career in a flexible form of hoof protection.  RB Rich is the first horse that we are aware of to start his race career in the flexible glue-on EasyShoe Compete that not only conforms to track traction rules, but allows the hoof and internal structures of the hoof to develop and strengthen after application. Most young track horses are shod in a non flexible form of hoof protection early in life which in turn slows and hampers some of the critical development of the hoof.

RB Rich's left fore after pulling his flexible shoes. Trimmed and ready to train barefoot over the winter months.  Not the hoof on most horses after a successful 2015 season.  

Many readers are nodding their heads with agreement at this point while many others are calling me a tree hugger.  I ask all the non-believers to think about what the athletic fate of their young daughters and sons would be if their feet were cast to a rigid 2x4 board from ages four to eight.  The casted young foot was not allowed to flex when it hit the ground and the arch never developed, expansion was limited and the heel never developed to support the load of the body, feeling was lost and proprioception compromised.  We would never do it to our children but the majority of the equestrian industry does it to their most promising young prospects. Many equine industries rush to get steel and aluminum shoes on the two and three year old superstars so training can begin, races can be won and trophies can be collected.

In my opinion, the rush to fill the trophy case compromises the development of the equine hoof and as a result changes the lives of many horses.  As a result, many unsound three and four year olds head home because the horse is not winning and can't pay the bills.  The owners are frustrated and they wonder what to do next with the hopped up race bred horse.  The challenge is the horse now has the feet and internal structures of an 18-month old but the body and mind of four year-old. The engine and torque that the three and four year-old has developed is too advanced for the wimpy feet that were not allowed to develop with the other structures of the horse.  Yes, many horses race successfully with the current tools and protocol, but could their careers have been better and longer?  

Can a flexible shoe really make a difference?  I believe it can.  I believe young horses can start their careers early, have hoof protection applied and still develop a strong hoof and strong internal hoof structures.  

RB Rich is insignificant in the big world of horse racing, but he's a great example of how a horse can be managed with early trimming, conditioning barefoot and training/racing in a flexible form of hoof protection.  Rich has developed incredible feet, great digital cushion, and to date has been very sound.  He has all the ingredients to retire sound and start a second career.  He's a great example of what is possible.  

RB Rich before the Arabian Crown Jewel in Abu Dhabi: the richest race in the history of Arabian racing.  

Rich's EasyShoe Compete hoof protection before flying to Abu Dhabi.  Rich has great feet, massive frogs and an impressive digital cushion.  

Rich's feet in Abu Dhabi.  Not the feet you see on most track horses.  

I have a good friend that is an endurance rider and farrier.  He made a comment to me a couple years ago that has stuck with me and also made me think, "You're lucky because most all your horses have good feet" (not all my horses have good feet but most have much better than average feet).  My comment to him was, do you believe it's Nature or Nurture?  Do my horses have good feet because I've been better at selecting horses with good feet or do my horses have good feet because I've been better at providing and environment and trimming cycle to develop good feet?  He looked at me like I was a jackass but one of the two has to be true.  

I've personally seen the development of Rich's feet over the last four years, and I believe the following can improve a young horses feet and their long term soundness:

1.  Early balanced trimming.  Many people spend a great deal of time and money on breeding and then neglect hoof trimming the first 24 months.  Nurture the nature you have created. Give them the platform to perform.  

2.  Do as much of the early training and conditioning as possible using a barefoot and booted practice.  Help the feet develop and build the internal structures of the hoof.  

3.  When hoof protection is needed early use a flexible form.  It may be more expensive, but you just spent a fortune on breeding.  The majority of lameness is in the hoof or a result of poor feet.  Protect your investment.  

4.  Pull hoof protection during rest periods or the off season.  Continue to develop the hoof mechanism.  For all of you that say you can't due to a sore horse, you didn't do #1, #2 and #3.  

The EasyShoe Compete is not a first for flexible hoof protection.  And although the EasyShoe has made a small impact in the sport of Arabian flat track racing and some smaller splashes on the thoroughbred tracks, it's bigger brother has won some of the biggest races in the world.  The Polyflex shoe has won races like the 2013 Breeder's Cup Classic on Mucho Macho Man, had a successful career with the highest North American money earner in Curlin and has won stakes races on most of the tracks in the USA.  The Polyflex and the EasyShoe Compete are similar products, share the same patent and have both been highly influenced by farrier Curtis Burns.  

Mucho Macho Man winning the 2013 Breeder's Cup Classic in the flexible Polyflex horse shoe.

The race in Abu Dhabi was the finish line for a product line that we have worked very hard on and believe in.  Rich has been a living research dummy that has come out the other side smelling like roses and has feet like iron.  It's not the road for everyone but it's a consideration for owners and breeders who want to develop the horse first and value second careers.  I'm personally excited to take Rich off the track and start a long and successful endurance career.

What are your thoughts?  Is this a bunch of hogwash or does shoeing a young horse in non flexible materials compromise hoof health, athletic longevity and successful second careers?

 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.

Although "Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery" It's Time to Move On. New E-Z Ride Stirrups are Here

The majority of the endurance riders in the United States and many abroad either use or know a friend that uses the E-Z Ride Stirrups.  The wide base stirrup, based on an early US cavalry design, supports the foot for long miles in the saddle and is very lightweight.  Bob Walz started making the stirrups in his Tucson home in the early 1980s.  My mom was his first dealer buying and selling many stirrups for Bob.  The stirrup design grew in popularity with Bob adjusting his manufacturing and machinery to keep pace.  Bob moved to Pilot Hill, California, to be closer to the Tevis Trail and his children in the late 1980s.  His desire to ride more prompted him to sell the machinery, trademark and know-how to EasyCare in the early 1990s.  Bob was a long time family friend and sponsored me as a junior twice at the 100 mile Tevis Cup.

EasyCare took over production in its Tucson facility with Bob's equipment and opened molds for an injection-molded version.  Our distribution grew and we started selling to more endurance and trail saddle manufacturers.  As time went on, many of the companies we sold to copy Bob's original design but made them with inferior manufacturing techniques.  If you do a Google search for "Endurance Stirrups" and then click on images you will see pages of endurance stirrups that resemble Bob's design.  Many of the copy designs designs are hard to tell apart and over the years we had many returned to EasyCare that were not manufactured by EasyCare. Although "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", we have decided it's time to introduce a new model with several patent pending features.    

A Google search shows pages of distance stirrups that copy Bob Walz's original E-Z Ride Stirrup design

The goal of the new design was the following.

1. Wide base to support the foot over long distance and long hours in the saddle.

The E-Z Ride Ultimate Ultra in black.  Also comes in silver.

2. A very strong hoop that will hold up for years.

3.  A pad system that offers cushion, traction and can be easily changed as they wear.

The new EVA pad.  The pad will be used in both the E-Z Ride Ultimate, E-Z Ride Ultra and E=Z Ride Nylon designs.

E-Z Ride pad and base before assembly

4.  Top bar system that integrates with different stirrup widths.  

The 1", 2" and 3" top bar system.  Top bar is designed to accept many different leather widths and half sizes like 2.5" or 1.5".  No need to change top bars when you switch top bars to a new saddle.

5.  Removable Cage.

Cage pops into place with four male pins.  Pad holds it in place. 

Cage in place ready for EVA pad.

The new E-Z Ride Stirrup will come in two different price point models.  We will offer the top shelf E-Z Ride Ultimate Ultra and the lower priced E-Z Ride Ultimate.  The Ultimate Ultra is a 100% machined aluminum design that will hold up with the most aggressive riding and abuse.  This stirrup is built to last for your lifetime and is priced to be the last pair of stirrup you will buy.  The Ultimate has the same indestructible hoop but uses a ABS injected base that is a bit lighter in weight.  Both designs accept an EVA pad that snaps into place with four male plugs.  The male/female plug system in the pad an base allow the pad to be changed as they wear. The system goes together with two bolts. No glue or rivets for the pads or cages.

Two screws hold the design together.

All designs (with the exception of cages) are in stock and ready to ship.  Cages will be here in a month.  These will be the premium priced stirrup on the market and we will continue to sell our nylon version.  

I really like how this project has come together and believe the new design is a great one.  Both the non cage and cage versions have been tested on mnay endurance events and both finished top ten at the 2015 100 mile Tevis Cup.  Bob Walz would be proud.

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-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.