Demystifying Glue Options for EasyShoes and Easyboot Glue-Ons

I greet you today to demystify your choices of glue for applying the EasyShoe and Easyboot Glue-On.

EasyShoe Compete Applied with EasyShoe Bond Fast Set by Derick Vaughn

1. EasyShoe Bond Fast Set

Designed for use with any of the four styles of EasyShoes, the EasyShoe Bond Fast Set adhesive allows for ample time to mix the glue (and add copper sulfate granules if required), before applying the shoe. When using the Fast Set, the user has between four and six minutes from the onset of mixing the glue in the cup before it is cured.


2. EasyShoe Bond Slow Set

Slow Set allows for ample time to prepare the shoe. The EasyShoe Slow set will take approximately six to eight minutes to cure depending on the environmental temperatures.

 


Sikaflex Adhesive

Providing that couch-full-of-puppies feeling to your horse's sole.

At EasyCare, we use Sikaflex to cushion the sole of our Glue-On boots. This added cushion to the sole has been time tested and proven by novice and expert users alike. It takes up to 12 hours to fully cure but provides added comfort to your horse in even the most arduous terrain such as the annual Tevis 100-mile event. Sika, as it is affectionately known, is always paired with the faster-setting Adhere. The slow-setting Sika is applied to the sole and reduces concussion. The faster-setting Adhere is applied to the hoof wall to keep the boot shell in place almost immediately. 

Adhere

The cheetah in set up time, Adhere sets up quickly and allows the foot to go weight-bearing almost immediately.

For those that are fashion forward and would like the hoof color to match the glue; Adhere does come in both black and tan options. Adhere has been proven in strength and adhesive durability through its use as the primary adhesive when applying the Glue On. It is also frequently used for applying the EasyShoes allowing the applicator the ability to have fully cured and set shoes or Glue-Ons in less than two minutes, depending on environmental temperatures. 

I hope that this has helped to make an educated decision on choosing the best glue for your needs. Now that you have a guide, get out their and get your glue on.

For application tips and tricks on any of the hoof protection devices in the EasyCare lineup, visit the Videos Page on our website. If you have any questions on best practices for applying glue-on EasyShoes or hoof boots, please call our customer service team at 800-447-8836.

Josh, EasyCare Customer Service Representative.
 

Be a Mentor

Submitted by Tennessee Lane, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

Getting involved in an equestrian sport is a much bigger deal than getting involved in your average neighborhood softball league or cycling club.  I'm willing to bet that there are few sports that can rival the amount of time, money, knowledge and emotion that is involved.  Over the past couple of years I have taken several individuals from "square 1" to racing 50 milers on their own, and it was not an easy task, but it was a very fulfilling one.  There is no checklist, no rule book, no school, the experience of this "craft" must be passed down, be it human-to-human, or human-to-horse, or horse-to-human.  When you get in to cycling, you don't have to train the bike, you don't have to feed it every day, the bike doesn't even have to like you.  And there are bike shops everywhere.

In the equestrian field, first of all you really have to want it, to have the grit to follow through and fulfill your dreams, but you also have to "feel" your way through.  I could pull someone off the sidewalk downtown and explain very carefully, in detail, something as simple as how to get on a horse.  But much to my dismay, when a horse walks up, they'll still look silly and fail the first time.  There are a lot of people out there with a lot of knowledge and experience, even if it's basic.  It's that basic experience that gives beginners the biggest boost so that they can eventually fend for themselves on the trail.

There is SO MUCH to learn, from conformation and picking a horse, to basic care, to feeding and supplementation, to training, and then there's equipment, from simple tack to performance gear and dont forget the truck and fracking trailer!  That's just the beginning of a really long intangible list.  There's so much to teach a person, just like there's so much to teach a young colt when you start them, it's impossible to describe everything, they just have to feel their way through it, we say they need "wet saddle blankets."  That old line is hard to explain but nothing can replace EXPERIENCE, on-the-job, in-the-field, hands-on, bloodsweatandtears and it all starts with a mentor.

(Below) Once-a-Rookie, Indy Lane, learning to trim his own horse.  He's now trimming, booting, and traveling to races on his own, having learned how to ride just a year earlier.

As if the equestrian world isn't tough enough we've decided to take hoof care in to our own hands, so now a significant portion of time needs to be dedicated to teaching how to trim, maintain, and protect our horse's beautiful hooves.  Just like no vet knows your horse's norms as well as you, no farrier can compete with your level of hoofcare if you take it into your own hands.  No hoof, no horse.  The best equine athelete out there can't do what he does best without proper hoofcare, so it's far from a back-burner issue.  So often I see horses with horrid hoofcare, even people who just had the farrier do a $200 job, it's all shiny and pretty and the left heel is an 1" taller than the right...hello, Hi Lo?!?!  (Invision me with one corner of my smile up, shaking my head slowly at the ground, hands on my hips, trying not to point and stare.)

I'm asking each of you to mentor someone in your lives, to whatever level you are comfortable.  Teach them the basics, and if you know more than the basics, teach them that too.  Teach someone to look at a horse's feet and identify basic structures so that they can "eyeball" the common mistakes that are often made and maybe even help correct them.  Teach someone how to do a maintenace trim.  Teach someone how to put a EasyBoot on.  Offer some sagely advice, and always be willing to listen to it when it's offered to you.

Help someone who is struggling with something that you have mastered.  Be patient.  Mastering a craft takes years - and a mentor.

Once-a-Rookie, Mike Le Roux, now doing 100% of his own hoofcare, booting, and Top 10ing at 50 mile races on his own.  (Below)

(Below)  Sponsoring junior rider Jackie Smith (12yo) through her first 100 mile ride, the Big Horn 100 (2014) in Glue-Ons on both horses - Moxy and Pixiedust.

Looking for a hoofcare mentor?  Might I recommend the Bootmeister ;-) or any Team Easyboot member or other succesful and experienced rider or hoofcare pratitioner.

When Your Frog is Down: Repairing Prolapsed Frogs

A prolapsed frog is where the frog, sensitive frog, and digital cushion have fallen below the height of the wall in the heels, basically the heel arch collapses. This is more than just a low heeled horse or overgrown frog that needs trimming. It is an actual displacement of the soft tissue in the back of the foot.

This horse's left front frog is touching the ground, even though his shoe has a two degree wedge built into it:

There are many reasons why I believe a frog might prolapse:

  • Trimming heels to the back of the frog regardless of Palmar P3 Angle, then concurrently trimming to a long distorted toe.
  • Wet environment making the horn more deformable and susceptible to excessive load in the back of the foot.
  • Disease in the frog.
  • Wedging to correct low heels without also supporting the frog and caudal structures at the same time .

Other signs that go with a foot with a prolapsed frog:

  • Landing toe first.
  • Positive to hoof testers on the frog.
  • Weak digital cushion that does not fill the space between the lateral cartilage so lateral cartilages will appear more upright.
  • From the sole view: laid over, weak bars and heels that fold over. The horse is often standing on the rolled over outer wall, and not the actual heel purchase.  When trimmed the horse will also typically have corns under the folded heels.
  • When viewing the foot from the side: folding of the horn tubules at the heels, quarter bulge, then a dip in the wall going towards the toe.
  • Low dorsal wall angle.
  • Broken back hoof pastern axis.
  • Chronic heel abscesses.
  • Negative plane Palmar P3 Angle.

Here are some examples of horses with prolapsed frogs. The feet are untrimmed, any rasping was done to clean off glue for before-trim photographs. Notice the heels of these horses do not touch the ground. The frog is taller than the heels so is therefore hitting the ground before the heel purchase. Each of these horses were also very sore to pressure on the frog and quite lame when walking:  

Notice the corn revealed in this foot:

Notice the bulge in the heel quarter on this foot combined with the dip in the wall going toward the toe: 

When I help a horse with a prolapsed frog, I aim to establish my hoof guidelines, ideally through the trim:

  • 3-8 degree palmar P3 angle: the angle of the bottom of the coffin bone in relation to the ground.
  • 50/50 base of support from toe to heel around the center of rotation of the hoof capsule.
  • Capsular and phalangeal alignment, with a straight hoof-pastern axis.
  • Minimizing flare and distortion in the hoof capsule.

After establishing hoof guidelines, we need time for the heels to grow straighter and in the correct position, and the frog and soft tissue to shift back into place. It is important to build prosthetic heel of some kind until the wall grows back into place. Here is an example of another horse I've worked on recently.

Before trim:

Before and after the trim, sole view. Notice the improvement in the frog at the heel bulbs and toe closer to 50/50 around the center of rotation proportions. The horse was trimmed and the foot disinfected with Clean Trax:

After trim, notice the foot is much closer to my hoof guidelines. All of my rehabilitative trimming on horses with prolapsed frogs is done using radiographs as a measurement guide so I can be accurate in achieving my goals and do no harm:

Because this horse's heel wall was so short, and his frog sore, we ended up building him prosthetic heel with a composite heartbar shoe, dental impression material (DIM) and glue, very similar to the technique demonstrated in this previous blog:  

 

The EasyShoe Performance and EasyShoe Performance N/G provide excellent caudal support to help these horses. Because of the sore frogs, it is not in the horse's best interest to leave them barefoot for rehabilitation. If for some reason a composite heart bar shoe with glue and DIM is not an option, I will build prosthetic heel with DIM in a boot instead. The DIM will form to the back of the foot, adding in the missing wall and protecting the frog. 

Whichever method I use, typically horses only need prosthetic wall extension for the first couple of trims. The keys to quickly helping horses with prolapsed frogs are:

  1. Rebalance the foot in the trim, ideally using radiographs as your guide.
  2. Disinfect any frog or heel infection.
  3. Protect the frog by adding prosthetic heel until the horse can grow the wall back.

Daisy Haven Farm and The School of Integrative Hoofcare

November Dealer of the Month: Well-Shod.com

Congratulations to EasyCare Dealer of the Month, Well-Shod.com. Well-Shod is the internet home of Ranchers & Farmers Supply Co. in Amarillo, Texas. They not only sell farrier supplies, they also carry a full line of feed, hay, livestock panels, pet food, animal health products, feed supplements, lawn & garden supplies and much more. However, Well-Shod is your home for quality farrier products, great prices and the very best service - And, Well-Shod prides themselves on customer service!

Well-Shod is a very new EasyCare Dealer with their very first order in August of this year. They carry all of the EasyShoe styles as well as EasyCare hoof boots; the Transition, Rx, the Trail and Epics. And, their sales have exploded in this short period of time!

John Harshbarger, Owner of Well-Shod, started with the company when he was 17 years old and here he is, twenty years later. John and his Website Manager, Elizabeth Kozak, feel their most successful marketing strategy is their very successful website.

                                                                       

John indicates that they also have a lot of traffic and a very loyal customer base. He feels that another reason for their success is their commitment to customer service and superior production selection. One of their favorite farrier events is the Hoof Care Summit.

John said his favorite EasyCare Product is the EasyShoe Performance N/G. “This EasyShoe has many options and functions that make it applicable to many different disciplines and for many different reasons.”

                

“In the last decade, we have seen a tremendous growth in the demand for and the availability of hoof boots and alternatives to traditional steel shoes. The variety of styles of hoof boots and shoes has increased and has become more specific to different disciplines.”  John continues, “I believe that hoof care has expanded to include many non-conventional methods. Glue-On Shoes, synthetic, and hoof boots are very important tools that can be used to better help the horse.”

John and his wife own seven horses that his wife trains and shows in Reining. They use Easyboot Transitions when trailering or stalling at shows.

Well-Shod is stocking everything that you need when it comes to EasyCare Products. But, they are running out of room and are stacking things higher and higher. Visit them at 8048 River Road in Amarillo, Texas or on their website at www.wellshod.com.

What Are Easy Shoes and Why Would I Want Them?

Submitted by Ashley Gasky, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

I have been lucky enough to provide several demonstrations to the public regarding EasyShoes. Some common questions are "How, what and why?"

EasyShoes are composite polyurethane horse shoes designed to be glued or nailed to the hoof capsule. Why would you want to use them?

1. In order for glue-on shoes to be successful, the hoof preparation must be meticulous. Who doesn't want meticulous hoof care for their horse? Glue bonds best to clean and dry surfaces. White line separations, chipped hoof walls, and excess moisture will be meticulously managed. Every surface will be cleaned and dried for optimal stickability. 

Crevices and cracks will be cleaned and filled, preventing them from spreading and allowing them to heal. The drying process involves the use of a small torch which can also be used in eliminating thrush infections. See minute 12:30 of this video from the Association of American Professional Farriers: americanfarriers.com/pages/Online-Hoof-Care-Classrooms-How-To-Make-Mentoring-Pay-Off.php  for an explanation of why to use a micro torch.

2. Protection with expansion. Sometimes horses require hoof protection, be it hoof boots or shoes. By applying protection, you prevent a horse from being concerned about the comfort of her feet, leaving her able to focus on her job. In this instance, an EasyShoe will enhance her comfort and ability to utilize her hooves in the most correct manner all the time, not just when a boot is applied. 

Frustoconical.

3. EasyShoe models can be applied to the hoof and go weight bearing instantly: a real boon when working on sore, or fidgeting horses.

4. Reduce or eliminate nail holes. If you are not great with glue, use the EasyShoe Performance N/G and tack in a couple of nails. If your not confident in nails, use glue.

EasyShoe Performance N/G with 3 nails and glue.

5. Because proper glue technique is a skill best honed when the pressure is off. Try it today, before you need it.

 6. Because they work. Eventing, Racing, Endurance, Dressage, Hunters, Western Pleasure, Cutting, Rehabilitation. You name it, EasyShoes are out there doing it.

Lyndsay Poole and her horse Garwin. Photo by Anthony Celona

 

RB So Rich has won multiple races in EasyShoes

 

Some Girls Like Jimmy Choo, We Like EasyShoe!

You may remember my blog on hoof mapping on my own horse. Several months later those flat pancakey Percheron/TB  feet are finally tight enough to fit into the size 5 EasyShoe Performance with a 14mm spacer. What a transition my girl has made! I had the opportunity to glue shoes on all four feet with Garrett Ford and Derick Vaughn-I learned so much and had such a blast! And best of all, Rosie is LOVING her new shoes, moving well, and enjoying her work as a jumper.

First Garrett and Derick tag teamed Rosie’s trim while I looked on and did my best to absorb every bit of information. They let me prep the hooves using a rotating hoof buffer attachment with 50 grit sandpaper and a Dremel tool. I buffed and rasped the hoof wall and made sure to remove all the periople on the heel. Then we used a butane torch and wire brush to put the finishing touches on the hooves-we torched each hoof 3 times! Those feet were CLEAN and DRY and good thing too because with Rosie tipping the scale at 1476 pounds there is NO room for error.

We decided to go with a two part gluing process and then filled in the sole with the Shore 40 Glue-U Shufill.  

First we applied Vettec Adhere to the sole portion of the shoe and put those on. I held the foot up for 2 minutes and then set it down carefully so Rosie could do the rest of the work. Applying the Adhere to the shoe and the shoe to the hoof for the first time was quite the rush. The clock was ticking and let’s just say that my dexterity with this process has some way to go. I was grateful for the knowledge and encouragement around me and especially for the nail that Garrett drove through the toe of the shoe to help guide placement and to minimize the chance of Rosie’s toe slipping forward after setting the foot down.

Next we glued the cuffs with EasyShoe Bond Fast Set. Since we wanted Rosie’s shoes to look slick, we mixed some cement dye into the Bond to match the black of the shoes. Next time I might have to add a little glitter! Using a hoof pick to pry the glue cuff away from the wall and a fat popsicle stick to slather the Bond in proved a little awkward but effective and Bond was oozing out of the holes in the cuffs.

After allowing the Bond to set up we went to town with the buffy and buffed the glue, the wall, and the cuffs to a perfectly smooth transition. We then filled the sole with the yellow Shufill-this is the firmest of the four durometer silicones EasyCare offers-taking care to inject some up under the web of the shoe so it would stay put. The Shufill was then covered with a layer of duct tape to hold it in place while it set up-only a few minutes. As if Rosie’s feet weren’t looking slick enough, Garrett busted out his super glue stash and slathered a layer over the top of everything to seal it off and provide one uniform outer layer. We pulled the duct tape off the bottom and were done. WOW! PERFECTION!

 

The shoes have now been on fourteen days including two big days of jumping schooling over 4' and another two days at a jumping clinic and the shoes are holding up great! I have been enjoying the ease of tacking up with shoes instead of our Old Mac’s G2’s and Rosie has been enjoying the comfort and protection around the clock. I expect to see some good quality hoof growth by the time we are ready to remove the EasyShoes and trim again.

Photo Credit: Caroline Miller

Since my ankle is finally healed enough for me to be riding seriously again, Rosie and I have been back to work on the cross country course and in the jumping arena putting our shoes to the test. So far they are getting an A+++!

Dealers: What Hoof Boot Style for Your Customer?

During a recent training session with an EasyCare Dealer, I found out that she had some customers that weren't keen on the Easyboot Trail. I asked what kind of riding they did and she proceeded to tell me that they ride to the hunt.

In all of our EasyCare literature, it specifically says that the Easyboot Trail is designed for the casual rider, someone that rides less than 25 miles per week.

That very same day, I had a conversation with Tami Rougeau of Three R’s Ranch (May 2014 Dealer of the Month) and she said, “I guess it’s in the rider’s perspective.” Tami brings up a very good point. To Tami, a very experienced endurance rider, riding 25 miles is a casual ride. It’s just a jaunt.

Tami and her horse (in Easyboot Glue-Ons) crossing Cougar Rock on the infamous Tevis 100-mile ride.

To someone like me, a Sunday afternoon, mosey on down the trail kinda person, 25 miles in one ride is a lot.

When selecting boots with your customer, it’s very important to ask questions and keep asking to determine which boot style is going to the best for their horse and their riding discipline. Do you know what style hoof boot to put on what horse for what riding discipline?

Dealer training sessions are administered by phone and usually take no longer than about 20 minutes. Please call 800-447-8836 ext 2226 if you would like to schedule 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.

Success with the EasyShoe Sport, More Than a CrossOver

Submitted by Tennessee Lane, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

Let it be known: the EasyShoe Sport has proven itself.

Tennessee Lane on Moxy take 1st and Best Condition at the Black Hills 100 wearing the EasyShoe Sport.

This shoe just protected Moxy's feet through another 100 miles of tough mountain terrain. No, its is not the first product that I would have chosen for the job (endurance riding/racing,) but I just had to try it and it surprised the heck out of me.

 

I was a skeptic about the EasyShoes. In my mind they were a "crossover": Chevy's Equinox, Ford's Edge, Volvo's XC60. The EasyShoe was EasyCare's answer to people on the edge of steel shoes and booting. But I was wrong. Yes, it may help people make the transition from steel to booted; sometimes people need their hands held even when the solution is obvious. But the EasyShoes can hold their own. As a skeptic, when the various models came out, I chose the most basic, the EasyShoe Sport. I figured if I really wanted frog and sole protection, I would go with my favorite product; the original Easyboot Glue-On. So if I was going to use a "Shoe," it would be for the benefits of actually wearing something less. I slapped on the EasyShoe Sport in no time, it seemed way too easy.  First thoughts?  "No way. Nope. Not gonna work. Not enough to it. It's gonna come off. And once riding in them, suddenly, after all these years in Gloves and Glue-Ons, I feel naked on the rocks. They can see my froggin' sole!" 

When it comes to riding equipment, I'm a minimalist. This is actually what attracted me to the EasyShoe Sport over the other models of EasyShoes: it's the simplicity. They are extremely light, provide bare minimal protection (almost as minimal as a steel shoe would, but with the EasyShoes the heels can still expand and contract) and they are extremely easy and fast to apply. It's funny, when I think about nailing a steel shoe to an animal's feet, the corn-fed half of me says "Yeah it's worked for thousands of years and literally helped shape the world we live in, obviously functional," and the other half of me is giggling like "LOL that $#!t is Midlevel! Goodness it's time to move on!"  

Moxy is a very heavily-muscled mare, she is one of the most difficult creatures on earth to keep a boot on because that big, beautiful badonkadonk of hers can apply more force (or torque rather) on a boot than a tractor can we she drives up a hill. She wore the EasyShoe Sport for 100 miles of trail at the Mt Carmel XP, which is a rough, technical ride. The fact that they survived 100 miles of Carmel on Moxy gave me significant confidence in the product and I started using it more often. I have been very impressed.

The Black Hills 100 mile ride was beautiful and extremely technical, to the point of being tedious and time consuming. Lots of rocks, tones of boggy creek crossings (literally there was a stretch where you crossed the same creek back and forth about 15 times, and you repeated that stretch of trail four times). I cantered wherever possible, which was not a lot, and that includes maybe four total miles of hard county road. Lots of rise and fall, and some super steep stretches, the perfect proving grounds for a new product. Moxy took 1st and Best Condition wearing the EasyShoe Sport.

Thoughts: They are extremely easy to apply.  Half the work because you prep half the amount of hoof wall and you aren't prepping the sole or frog, no Sikaflex under there. Just trim the hoof and prep the wings. They provide excellent grip in mud (or turf or snow,) better in those conditions (in my humble opinion) than the Glove or Glue-On or any other boot that covers/protects the entire sole/frog (given you haven't added studs to those products). You give up protection, but gain grip. What a great option to have with Winter (mud and snow) coming.

Tip: after applying the EasyShoe, I recommend taking a blob of Adhere on the end of your finger (like you would put toothpaste on it) and smearing it on the very back heel of the shoe (on both sides) so it closes any possible gap between the horse's heel and the end of the shoe. If the horse ever over reaches, that back hoof will start to try to make a flip-flop out of the shoe over time. This will prevent that back hoof from having a shelf to catch on. This will also reinforce the connection back there to prevent the shoe from starting to break away at the heel. That's where it is most likely to start breaking away because the heel is expanding and contracting with every stride. As you know, that's how we remove Glue-Ons, by breaking that seal and working our way around the hoof wall. 

Tip #2: If your horse is a toe-tapper (some horses drag their toes, fronts  or backs, there are a lot of reasons this can happen and I'm not diagnosing those in this blog, just telling you how to avoid shoe-loss as a result of toe-tapping or toe-dragging,) put another blob of adhere on your finger and paint a thick layer over the seam between the hoof and the shoe where they meet at the breakover. Over 100 miles, a toe dragger could start to break that connection so that the shoe starts to catch (like if the sole of your shoe came off starting from the front but it was still connected at the back, every stride would make it worse once it starts catching.)  So again, painting some adhere over that connection will prevent the earth from having anything to catch on. I was out of latex gloves, so I literally just squirted a line of adhere directly over the seam and it worked perfect (ugly but functional) but it would be better smeared with a finger.

Here is another picture from the trail. Rocks, mud, you name it.

Give EasyShoes a try. I did, and I love them. I plan to use lots of them for all the winter training rides I have coming up.

Facebook.com/RemudaRun

EasyCare Live Event: Performance Riding Boots

EasyCare is hosting another live interactive event this week to go through detailed uses and applications of performance riding hoof boots for horses. This 60-minute presentation will be recorded so you can come back and watch it any time. We will go through all the information you need to know about performance riding hoof boot choices and tips for successful application of the Easyboot Glove, the Easyboot Glue-On and the Easyboot Epic

When: Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 2 PM PST (5 PM EST).

Where: easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/performanceriding

The list of topics to be covered includes:

  • What are the choices for performance riding hoof boots?
  • How do I use a Fit Kit?
  • What are the current best practices for high speed and long distance riding?
  • How do I measure for hoof boots?
  • Who can help me with the hoof boot application challenges I've experienced?

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, October 23, 2014. It's easy to sign up - just go to easycare.yourbrandlive.com/c/performanceriding. 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/performanceriding. 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.

Learning From the Bootmeister Himself!

Submitted By Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

Very recently a group of friends and I seized an opportunity to take a road trip south all the way from Alberta, Canada to Moab, Utah to spend 3 days learning from Christoph Schork at Global Endurance Training Center.

The main purpose of our clinic was to learn more about riding distance horses in competition. It was to be 3 days of nutrition, conditioning programs, rider improvement, tack fit and selection, conformation analysis, riding over variable terrain and competition strategy. 

Personally, I wanted to become a better rider and focus on the tools that will help me keep my horse sound and competitive for as many years as possible. Christoph was a fantastic clinician and I came home with everything I hoped to and more in terms of knowledge, tools and strategies to help leapfrog me and my horse to a new level of competition and understanding. 

One of the things that stuck out the most for me is that so much of what we do to/for our horse can change what our farrier sees in the hooves. Feeding, turn out, exercise and helping create a horse who is evenly balanced on both sides can have a huge impact in what our farrier sees and in truth, we can "fix" a lot of hoof problems by daily management. 

It was pointed out that most horses do naturally have a dominant side and if you look closely, the hoof on the dominant side will have a lower angle than the hoof on the weaker side. Doing various gymnastic exercises with your horse to strengthen the weak side will help even out the hoof angles to make both front feet closer to matching so our farriers don't have to try to correct things from the bottom up over and over. This is distincly obvious in my own mare and now that I am aware I will be working hard to adjust her strength and balance from the top down!

At first sight, it was very evident that the GETC horses are housed much differently than my own. Although I have somewhat of a paddock paradise and do put them up in a dry lot at night, my horses are still quite heavy and I have to work very hard to expend all the extra calories to make them lean for competition season. In Moab, due to the arid environment, pasture grass is unavailable so horses are fed primarily hay with a low sugar content and at a rate that mirrors their current level of work - they get as much as they need but are never over fed. Horses in conditioning programs and those who are competing get supplements tailored to their individual needs to keep up an ideal body condition and help in creating efficient athletes. 

Christoph taught a session about hoof care, how he trims and why he does it the way he does. Living in the sand on a low sugar diet combined with the amount of movement his horses are doing sure does produce one amazingly tough hoof with excellent concavity and callous which allowed the horses to travel barefoot over some very rocky terrain without batting an eye.

It should come as no surprise that the Bootmeister's herd is extensively outfitted in Easycare products. It was so interesting for me, a gluing newbie, to see the master's work. The first 2 days of my stay I rode a mare named Apache who was outfitted with Easyboot Glue-Ons on her front hooves and Easyshoe Performance N/G on her hind hooves. She travelled so steadily over rough and potentially slick terrain, it was truly eye-opening for me and I had to work hard to stay out of her way, as with my own horses I typically would have slowed them down on parts of the trail.

My third day at GETC I rode a gelding named Pinky who had several 100 mile credits to his name and was outfitted with Easyboot Glue-Ons on all 4 hooves. Pinky also moved effortlessly over the Moab rocky terrain, never taking a misstep. These horses work hard and enjoy their job, they move soundly and have clean legs after their workouts. 

Any horse who is owned by an Easyboot fanatic is a one lucky critter. The comfort and performance offered by the product line is pretty amazing! It was such a great experience to learn from one of Easycare's best, see the products work over some of the toughest terrain on some of the toughest horses. I have lots of new ideas on how to improve life and competition for my own horses at home and can't wait to get started!