Thinking Glue - Outside the Box of Equine Podiatry

Submitted by Chris Niclas CJF, CLS and owner of Chris’ Farrier Service Inc.

There have been many changes in the hoof-care industry over the last 25 years. One of the changes I have come to appreciate is the use of adhesives and glue-on shoes. From being intimidated by the failures of using glue in the beginning, to becoming comfortable using it in my daily practice, it has been a journey. As a teenager I became interested in hoof-care out of necessity. Almost 25 years later, I still have a passion for the horse and am driven to continue learning new skills as a farrier. 

I met Mark Plumlee, owner and instructor of Mission Farrier School, at an International hoof-care clinic he hosted in the late 1990’s. Mark is a Certified Journeyman Farrier, a Registered Journeyman Farrier, and a Certified Lameness Specialist. Knowing that Mark has been on the leading edge of farrier science, when it comes to farrier education, I approached him last fall and asked if I could attend Mission Farrier School. After 20 years as a professional farrier, I was excited to learn how much information is available in both the art and science of hoof-care. 

During my time at MFS, Mark asked me if I would be willing to partner with his school to go deeper into the emerging market of gluing on shoes in a way that was meaningful for the horse. Since I am currently working on my own certifications for becoming an Instructor and Examiner for the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (ELPO), I realized this would be a good opportunity for me to thoroughly investigate the Glue-On protocol, as part of my “homework” for the ELPO certification. 

In teaching a glue clinic, I knew I needed to investigate and confirm what the general Glue-On protocol was currently. So last November, after attending a level 5 clinic with the ELPO in Loveland, CO, I drove down to Durango, CO and had the privilege of spending a day with Garrett Ford, CEO of EasyCare Inc. We spent most of the day gluing on shoes, as well as sharing our ideas, inventions, and prototypes. Becoming familiar with using glue and synthetic shoes has given me multiple options to protect and support the equine foot in both performance and therapeutic applications.

I knew I did not want to work with cadaver feet when teaching the glue clinic at Mission Farrier School. I also wanted an easy and simple way students could learn to work with the glue without the added stress of being under a horse. This led me to create a wooden foot that attached to a hoof stand and simulated the working positions needed to both glue on a shoe and remove it, since both are important when working with a glue-on equine clientele.

Garrett Ford and EasyCare Inc. were very generous in donating shoes and glue for the clinic. Additionally, Larkin Greene the Western Regional Sales Manager for Vettec, also donated glue and came up from California to attend the clinic. Larkin was instrumental in sharing his knowledge of chemistry and the structures of how the different adhesives work. His 35 years of experience gave us all many valuable tips in using glue successfully.

The Glue clinic was attended by farriers and students from across the United States. The state that were represented included Alaska, Washington, California, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Massachusetts and even the Netherlands. Everyone at the clinic had an opportunity to glue on 3 different shoes the EasyShoe Performance N/G, EasyBoot Glue-On and the EasyShoe Sport.

After each gluing exercise we would gather as a group and the class would share what they learned. This created a positive learning environment and allowed everyone to learn from others mistakes and successes. For most of the people attending the clinic, this was their first experience using glue. The learning curve often leaves a person discouraged or overwhelmed, which can lead to not using adhesives as a tool in their trade. My goal was to teach the steps of how to clean and dry the foot, so it is prepared for the process of gluing on a shoe and is the key to a successful gluing job. Providing a hands-on experience, students were able to learn firsthand what it looked like if they applied too much or too little glue. Being able to practice both gluing on a shoe and taking it off multiple times, created an environment where each participant could gain confidence in the process.

It is important to remember that each horse is an individual and each foot may have its own special needs. Throughout the two days there were brain puzzles on a dry erase board that challenged all attending to think outside the box. This became an exercise to stretch our minds in creativity and problem solving. For the third project everyone was able to create a problem and a solution for their wooden horse's foot. I really enjoyed watching how creative each team was at putting into practice “thinking outside the box”. Some teams made hoof wall extensions, others created a shoe with a hospital plate that could be glued on and others created ways of doing a hoof wall repair. At the end of the day I did a live demonstration putting all the pieces into practice on a special needs horse.

If you are curious and find yourself inspired to explore the world of adhesives and all the possibilities with gluing on a shoe, checkout the webinars that EasyCare has put together. They are well worth taking the time to watch and study.

Mission Farrier School has been teaching leading edge farrier science for 25 years, and offers a quality Farrier education. Most of their students come with little to no horseshoeing experience, but occasionally you’ll find a few seasoned professionals like myself learning the new science and advancing our own skills, right along-side the newbies.

The Equine Lameness Prevention Organization offers clinics and classes throughout the year teaching Hoof Mapping, proper Barefoot Trimming and advanced classes for becoming a Certified Lameness Specialist or Certified Farrier Glue Practitioner.

Vettec has countless clinics throughout the year and many helpful webinars and videos available on the internet. Take the time to check them out.

If anyone wants to practice on their own with a wooden horse hoof adapted to fit a hoof jack, mine will be available for sale by special order. I have found the horse is the best teacher of all. At the end of each day, it is the opinion of the horse that guides us to becoming the best hoof care providers we can be.

A big thank you to Mark & Karen Plumlee, Steve Foxworth, Garrett Ford, Larkin Greene, James Klund and my wife Kristi in helping and equipping me to help others.

 

In Love With The Love Child

When working with glue and composite shoes, there are a variety of factors that impact which shoe you might choose. Some of those factors include the horse's job, the type of support/mechanics/protection/traction the horse needs, and more. When setting yourself up for success, there's also a direct relationship between the experience of the person applying the shoes and the amount of glue surface area the shoe offers. The higher the demands on the foot and shoe the more detailed your application needs to be and more glue surface area the better in many cases for added insurance.  

I was intrigued when EasyCare announced trials available for a new shoe, fondly called the Love Child. With so many glue-on composites shoes available, the largest variety of shoe design and application options already coming from EasyCare, I wondered what the Love Child would have to offer that was unique. The Love Child comes from the union of two already fabulous products, the EasyBoot Glue-on and the EasyShoe Performance. The Love Child combines the tread of the Performance with a modified cuff from the Glove Glue-on. Additionally, a full pad was added in the bottom of the Love Child. This pad is softer than the bottom of the Glove Glue-on which allows for more flexibility in the heels. I immediately thought of several horses this hybrid boot/shoe could help, and applied to be a tester.  

Over the last several months I've been able to apply the Love Child to two different horses in two very different situations playing with both acrylic and urethane glues with tremendous success. This first horse is a teenage hunter/jumper thoroughbred who has had chronic lameness in both the front and hind end. He does very well in EasyShoe Performance or Performance N/G on the front, but we've had difficulty getting EasyShoes on the hind feet because he cannot hold his legs up for very long and going weight-bearing in our application process in the past has been difficult.  

The Love Child offered us an excellent option for hoof protection with a greater chance of success. Here are his hind feet before Love Child application, note how badly he wears his toes due to his hind end discomfort.

The Love Child fit his hind feet perfectly.

His feet were prepped well for glue by scuffing and drying all glue surface areas, in this case the wall, from heel to heel. Fungidye is applied in the quarters to prevent infection growing in a bit of wall separation present, then Artimud was applied to the sole side of the foot to prevent fungus and bacteria from growing before next trim/shoeing.

Finally dental impression material was applied to provide sole support, and to help prevent debris from going up under the shoe.   

The Love Child was glued on with acrylic glue, cleaned up and had a final layer of super glue applied over top. They have been on for four weeks and the horse is quite comfortable and sound, schooling low level dressage four-five days/week. We're expecting the shoes will provide him with sole support and protection, as well and prevent the worst of the toe wear over time.  

Here is the Love Child applied to the second horse, an endurance horse. We were able to use urethane glue on the left at the first application, and acrylic glue on the right for the second application. Both glue applications kept the horse comfortable and performed well. There was no reason for the change beyond curiosity of application differences between the two. Both glues worked quite well. We followed the same application details as specified above for each set of shoes, including antimicrobials, dental impression material, and hoof prep protocol.  

This is a horse who is a chronic shoe puller and needs a weight bearing application for glue on work. The Love Child is an excellent shoe for this horse because the large amount of glue surface area helps ensure shoe retention, and with the complete toe cuff, is easy to apply in a weight bearing method. This first set stayed on for seven weeks with no issue even though the horse lives in a wet environment with a lot of mud and rocks. The glue bonds were strong, the shoe expanded at the back as the foot grew, and dental impression material stayed in all but the very back.  

When they were removed for the second application they came off cleanly, with no wall degradation. The shoe had some mud on the inside, but no debris. And the frog, bars and sole cleaned up with no bacteria or fungus present. The slight sole bruising evident in the photo here was on all four feet, even though the fronts are shod and the hinds are barefoot. He's a very sensitive horse.  

Overall we've been very impressed with the performance and ease of application of the Love Child. I definitely see a place for this shoe as a tool to help horses in my practice. Thank you EasyCare!  

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. please see www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com
 

Which Mac Boot is the Mac Boot For You?

EasyCare strives to offer products that offer reliable, effective, and affordable hoof protection among diverse disciplines and for multiple purposes. In 2005, EasyCare purchased the Old Mac's product line and patents. The original Old Mac's boot had proven to be robust and successful, but Garrett Ford, President and Innovator of EasyCare products, identified room for improvement. The boot was soon revamped to create the Old Mac's G2 which offered better breakover, more effectual tread, reinforcements for added durability and a modified size chart to fit a more traditional shaped hoof.

Old Mac's and Old Mac's G2. Solar view demonstrates changes to tread and breakover.

An organizational trait that EasyCare has been known to implement is continuously making updates to products to yield better results for horse and rider. The Old Mac's G2 had proven itself to be an excellent multi-purpose boot, but because the boot did not have any replaceable parts and the Mac line-up of boots are all sold in pairs, it imposed an expensive obligation to replace them. It was decided that the boot needed a face lift with replaceable parts in order to better fulfill the requests of Mac boot users. The New Mac was introduced in 2015.

Although the boot offered the same sizing, several tweaks to the product had been made with the latest version of Mac boot. While many EasyCare customers were pleased with the changes, there still existed a group that preferred the more modest appearance of the Old Mac's G2. In addition, a group preferred the buckle enclosure around the heel bulbs to the industrial Velcro strap, particularly in very muddy environments. When customers speak, EasyCare listens. Back comes the Old Mac's G2!

EasyCare is now manufacturing both the New Mac and it's predecessor, the Old Mac's G2. Here is a breakdown of their differences so you may determine for yourself which of the Macs is the Mac for you:

In terms of functionality, the most notable difference is the closure across the back of the boot. In extreme muddy conditions, the buckle is often preferred. The leather strap and buckle can be a challenge to work with in very dry environments or extreme cold. This is wear the New Mac steps in with the industrial Velcro strap. While the Velcro strap is more user friendly, the Velcro is more susceptible to getting mud caught in the hook and loop material.

For more help on deciding the best Mac style boot for your use, please contact EasyCare. The team will be happy to offer more insight on particular boot features that apply to your specific needs. 

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

I am the Hoof Care Practitioner and Veterinarian Account Representative. My priority is to maintain expert knowledge of EasyCare products and remain educated in the ever-evolving industry of natural hoof care.

Tough As Nails and Cute To Boot

This sweet-looking gelding in pink is Tucker, my 17 year old Standardbred/Hackney cross. Behind the adorable exterior lies a trail-blazing machine. We live on the East Coast of Virginia, where the trails are not always "groomed". Things like thorny vines, fallen trees, deep leaf litter and uneven terrain characterize our rides. In truth, that's the way my Evil Knievel pony likes it. Tucker will hunt down any horse trail, dog trail, game trail and bunny trail, so I keep him protected with leg boots and Easyboot Back Country boots. I LOVE the design! Super easy to put on and take off and sticks to Tuck's feet like he was born with them. I also love the protection we get around his coronet band and hoof wall with the Back Country. The boot tends to deflect debris up and away from the horse's leg and coronet band. Tucker trusts his Back Country boots and knows that when I put them on we're going exploring. Without them, he doesn't complain, but he doesn't have the same gusto. He moves more confidently on every surface in his boots. From deep water to fresh pavement, this horse blazes through it. Thank you, EasyCare for making a product as tough as my horse!

Name: Genevive 
State: Virginia
Country: USA
Equine Discipline: Trail
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Back Country

Sam Glaser Named EasyCare CEO

Exciting news! Sam Glaser has been named the organization’s next chief executive officer, effective April 3, 2017.

“Sam is a leader with a track record of leading teams that create measurable bottom line growth,” said EasyCare president and owner, Garrett Ford. “We are thrilled to bring Sam into the EasyCare family as we continue to position this company as the global pioneer in innovative equine products.”

Sam recently received his Executive MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, and joins the EasyCare team after 15 years of experience in diverse leadership roles within the oil and gas, publishing, and outdoor service industries. In his most recent role, Sam served as Director of Operations for Abadie|Schill, PC, an energy law firm practicing in 14 states.

"Over the past 46 years, the leadership at EasyCare has proven over and over again that they value innovation in the global marketplace and are committed to creating a company culture that sets them apart from their competitors," Sam said. "I am absolutely honored to contribute my experience and energy to this great company as we fuse EasyCare's commitment to customer service and product development with my passion for developing and working alongside exceptional employees."

It's great news for EasyCare! Sam will personally give me the ability to focus more on new product development. We have several very exciting hoof protection products in the works and new product development needs to continue to be a main focus.  

Sam brings a great skill set that will help EasyCare continue to put an emphasis on our team, systems and logistics. 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President

I have been President 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.

Coming Soon: Natural Colored Easyboot Glue-Ons

EasyCare is excited to introduce an incognito hoof care option for our fair-hooved friends. The Easyboot Glue-On that has proven success in a multitude of applications will now be available in "natural" color. Is there any better color for a natural hoof care product?

Sossity and Mario Gargiulo's application of the natural colored shell.

EasyCare also carries Vettec Adhere in beige. A neutral colored hoof paired with the natural colored shell and a beige adhesive application creates quite an aesthetically pleasing form of hoof protection.

Photo credit: Sossity Gargiulo.

The application process for the natural colored shells is the same as the black Glue-On shells. The shell and Adhere are nearly identical in color which makes this glue product most favored. You may also use EasyShoe Bond as an adhesive, as well.

Lateral view of Sossity Gargiulo's application using Vettec Adhere in beige.

A hoof buffer really helps to soften the appearance of the glue and create a seamless transition from hairline to toe. In testing, Sossity Gargiulo found that the natural colored shells do react more sensitively to a heat gun, so if using a heat gun when applying, this should be taken into consideration. 

Devan Mills using Easyboot Glue-Ons for a barrel racing event.

The Easyboot Glue-On is the #1 choice for natural hoof protection at the renowned Tevis Cup and is sported by some upper-level dressage performers, such as Akiko Yamazaki and Steffen Peters. This boot has made successful debuts worldwide; from the United States to South Africa and widespread across Europe, Australia and Asia.

The EasyCare Glue-Ons-natural will be available for purchase this spring. Please continue to follow our blog and Facebook for updates.

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

I am the Hoof Care Practitioner and Veterinarian Account Representative. My priority is to maintain expert knowledge of EasyCare products and remain educated in the ever-evolving industry of natural hoof care.

Roger Hoefs! After 8,000 Days, Time Has Told!

Roger Hoefs worked at EasyCare for 8,000 days!  21 years, 10 months and 25 days. In the 8,000 days we learned a great amount from Roger. We learned work ethic, hustle, punctuality, attention to detail, integrity and all with a smile and a positive attitude. Roger came early, worked hard, was never involved in drama and always exceeded expectations! 

Roger Hoefs started working at EasyCare on May 5th, 1995. Roger came to EasyCare after working 28 years for A.C. Nielsen Company. In Roger's 28 years with with A.C. Nielsen Company he never missed a day of work. Roger continued the same performance at EasyCare and we had to push him to take vacation days that were accumulating.  

Roger personally made the majority of all stirrups manufactured at EasyCare.

Roger applied for work at EasyCare on April 6, 1995 after moving to Oro Valley. His resume was very impressive but I made the assumption that he was over qualified for assembly work and thanked him for his time. Roger returned the following day and our discussion continued. I once again didn't think the position was the right fit for EasyCare. When Roger returned the third time I gave in and we decided together to give it a try. He agreed to give it his all and said with a smile "Time Will Tell".  

Roger quickly rose to the top and often did the job of three younger men. What ever was needed and what ever was asked of Roger it was done 110%, with a smile and with a urgency. 

Roger's surprise retirement party

Each team member at EasyCare has countless stories and memories of Roger. We have all learned from Roger, we have all tried to keep up with Roger and we all now have a bit of Roger in us. A great man that will never be forgotten. So after 28 years with A.C Nielsen Company and 22 years with EasyCare Roger has turned eighty years old. He has decided it's time to retire, travel a bit and possibly relax. 

Roger and his retirement cake.  Roger loves his sweets.  

"Time Will Tell" was his favorite line. Yes it has. Roger Hoefs is class act and one that we are all proud to emulate.  

Thank you from the entire EasyCare team. We love you Roger Hoefs! To a great man that will never be forgotten!

 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President

I have been President 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.

Endurance And EasyCare

The sport of endurance riding is only a small segment of all equestrian sports nationally and worldwide. Maybe 5% of all equestrians engage in endurance. Attending the AERC Annual Convention, one gets the feeling that endurance riders are the center of the horse world. This year's AERC Convention was held in Dallas, Texas.

New AERC officers are being sworn in during the general session at the convention.

Endurance riders from the country and abroad came together for two days of seminars, various board and committee meetings and a trade show that gave participants a glimpse of new products on the market and also the opportunity to buy equestrian products, from EasyCare hoof boots to Vettec glues and various saddles. Specialized Saddles was well represented. EasyCare, Inc. is a Platinum Sponsor of AERC and the Official Hoof Boot Company of AERC.

In the photo above, Larkin Greene from Vettec Company is explaining gluing Easyboot shells on a model hoof during the trade show.

David Kaden and Tracy Webb, owners of Specialized Saddles, are presenting the Rookie Award to the Rookie of the Year. Specialized Saddles made and donated the saddle to the Rookie with the highest achieved mileage in 2016.

After the awards banquet, national awards achieved during the 2016 season were presented for the winners of various categories. I had a very successful year competing mostly on mares of Global Endurance Training Center. Among the most coveted awards is the War Mare National Award. The three mares I was riding placed 1st, 2nd and 9th among the top ten mares in the country. The War Mare Award is bestowed to the mare with most points accumulated throughout the ride season.

These mares also were in 2nd and 3rd place in the National Best Condition Championship standings. The most prestigious award, the National 100 Mile Championship Award, I achieved with GE Pistol Annie. She also won the AHA Half Arabian 100 Mile Championship title. In addition, these three mares took the top three spots in the Mountain Region Point and Best Condition Championships, respectively. 

As the winner, we received a new Freeform Saddle, donated by Paulita Neff from the Treeless Saddle Company. 

Receiving the National Championship Award by Susan Garlinghouse.

Why is this all significant?  And what do all these mares I rode in 2016 have in common?

These winning mares were ridden all season long with EasyCare hoof shoes and hoof boots. To be successful in these national competitions, a rider has to pay meticulous attention to every detail all year long: from nutrition to training and conditioning, from chiropractic work to dental care, from saddle fit to hoof trimming and hoof protection selection. The hoof protection of choice were EasyCare Glue-ons for GE Pistol Annie, Flip Flops for Medinah MHF and a combination of EasyShoes and Glue-ons for GE CCDRUS Star. I do not believe that we would have had that level of success, would it not been for the use of the EasyCare hoof protection. These superior products protect the soles, dampen the concussion for the joints and are lightweight. The horses can travel with more ease and comfort over rocks and hard ground. As we have seen so many times in the past, EasyCare is leading the charge again and can always be found at the forefront of research, development and success in the world. 

Here is another example for the spirit of innovation that has been demonstrated by EasyCare over the years: this new EasyShoe Flex pictured below will be released soon! I wrote in my blog last month about this exciting EasyCare product. I have been testing this new shoe for a while now and I am thrilled about it. 

From the National AERC Convention

By Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

March 2017 Newsletter: EasyCare BETA Product Testing Progam and More

In this month's newsletter:

  • EasyCare BETA Product Testing Program

  • Introducing EasyCare's Veterinarian and Hoof Care Practitioner Account Representative  

  • EasyCare Testers are Falling for the Love Child

  • Setting Your Therapy Boots Up for Extended Wear

​READ MORE HERE...

EasyCare BETA Product Testing Program

EasyCare has started a new BETA testing program to help test, evaluate and review new products before they are sold to the equine marketplace. The first BETA test is well underway and is being tested all over the USA and several foreign countries. Early results are positive and we have encouraged testers to share their experiences and feedback via questionnaires and their own social media feeds.

The first group of BETA samples for the Easyboot Love Child went out the first part of February. Many of the testers have applied the new design, have completed extensive testing and have supplied initial feedback.

Above: Sossity and Mario Gargiulo's initial install.

Above: Daisy Bicking's install after several weeks.

Above: Rusty Toth's install after several weeks and an endurance race.

Love Child testing has been a huge success. We are now looking for BETA testers for the nail-on EasyShoe Flex. This new EasyShoe design has an internal metal core that allows hoof mechanism. We feel that it offers many benefits to the horse and hoof health. Independent heel movement, flexion in the quarters and is over molded in a urethane that absorbs concussion and has high abrasion. The urethane and spring steel are the key. Check out this short video of the spring steel core in action:

 

EasyShoe Flex spring steel core.

EasyShoe Flex ground surface.

EasyShoe Flex hoof surface.

We need farriers, vets and hoof care professionals to help test the new EasyShoe Flex design. This is a nail-on product. If you would like to help test the new EasyShoe Flex please fill out the following form by clicking this link: EasyShoe Flex BETA Testing Form. The application period for BETA testing the EasyCare Love Child has now ended.

Have a great March!

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.