The 2011Specialized Carbon Epic. Carbon frame, carbon wheels and now 29 inch wheels. All not available four years back. The $9,900.00 price tag is a result.
1982 Specialized Stumpjumper. Even the non bike people can easily see an industry that thrives on change.
Look at downhill skiing and the technology in shaped skis, boots and bindings. They get better and better every year. Look at something very gear free like swimming and the advancements in low drag swim suits changes yearly. Look at golf. Golf club technology is new and improved every year. You blink in these industries and you get left behind. Compare these industries to the equine industry and the fact that the majority of our equine partners are still competing in iron shoes and saddles that haven't changed in decades.
The slow rate of change and acceptance in the horse industry has been personally highlighted by a recent entry into the flat track racing industry. I've written about our journey trying to enter the world of flat track racing and it's a perfect example of why the horse industry is slow to change. Take a peek at the story here "The Horse That Wasn't Allowed to Race"
Clunk racing at Araphoe Park in aluminum plates. Clunk was scratched twice because he was not allowed to race in a glue-on urethane shoe.
Most other industries are changing at a rapid pace, so why is the equine industry so slow to change? Look at the racing industry as just one example. Life on the race track presents challenges to the equine hoof. Many track horses have challenges with brittle walls, tender feet, lack of support, and contracted heels from continuous shoeing. Track horses that rip off a shoe and lose hoof wall also have a difficult time holding shoes and as a result miss conditioning and races. Track horses are subjected to pounding workouts and as a result are prone to injury. Is the aluminum race plate the end solution? Is an aluminum racing plate the end game? We don't believe it is and for the reasons above EasyCare believes the sport could benefit from a more supportive shoe.
The technology is available to make a lightweight race shoe for the equine track athlete. EasyCare has developed a shoe that offers the following.
- The Easyboot Race will allow the hoof to expand and contract as nature intended.
- The Easyboot Race will provide support and comfort for quarter cracks.
- The Easyboot Race will allow farriers and trainers another tool for problem feet that will not hold nails.
- The Easyboot Race will allow farriers and trainers an option that flexes and absorbs concussion to extend the horse's health and longevity.
- The Easyboot Race can be trimmed and modified to suit a specific horse, track or surface.
- The Easyboot Race will be less likely to hurt horses, jockeys or spectators if they do come off.
- The Easyboot Race will allow trainers to train the horses harder and on less than perfect surface conditions.
- The Easyboot Race will bring the track an affordable glue-on solution.
Aluminum Racing plate used today.
An aluminum racing plate used in the 1980s. Yes it's the same shoe. Nothing has changed.
The track seems very hesitant to change. Although we have tried everything to learn the rules and participate at Arapahoe Park with new hoof protection that gives the industry options, we have so far not been able to compete because the stewards and race director have determined the Easyboot Race shoe violates rule 7.608.
An aluminum plate next to an Easyboot Race shoe. The ability to change and make new products is here.
"7.608 - Bar plates may be used only with the consent of the Division Veterinarian. The commission may limit the height of toe grabs for any breed at a live race meet. Toe grabs with a height greater than the maximum set by the commission, bends, jar caulks, stickers and any other traction device worn on the front hooves of horses while racing or training on all surfaces, are prohibited. The horse shall be scratched and the trainer may be subject to fine for any violation of this rule."
As I ride my Specialized Carbon Epic down the mountain trails my mind wonders. Why is the equine industry slow to change? Are saddle designs, metal shoes and bits the best we can do? Have we come to a limit in the industry where we can't improve? Why do many of the organizations that govern the equine sports have rules that prevent change?
As we participate in other sports and see the advances in technology the lack of advancement in the equine industry become more and more obvious. Does your sport have a rule that prohibits new saddles, new hoof protection or new helmets? Do you believe the rules prevent you and your horse from competing at your highest ability? Challenge the rules. Ask why! Help the equine sports catch up with the rest of the sporting industries.
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.