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!

 

Hoof Boots Win Again at the AHA National Championship Event

It's been a fantastic summer of riding, riding and more riding. I spent a lot of time this year working with Majik's feet as they have grown out the separated hoof wall that he came with. I was told when I bought him that he was unable to go barefoot as his hooves "chip out." I can understand the previous owner's thoughts on this as he has literally chipped off huge chunks on all four feet throughout this process. Luckily, with a different trim and very balanced diet his new hooves are growing beautifully, the chipping has become minimal and he is sound as a dollar. It's really fun to see these transitions. 

Lovely. The day we brought him home. Yes, that's blood. 

Vast improvement, but still changing.

Because of the fact that Majik constantly had a piece missing from one or more hooves, I decided to offer a little extra cush in his Easyboot Gloves for endurance rides. I have since found my "go to" for 50 mile events that I couldn't be happier with. Gloves + Sikaflex = rockin' rides. Just do it. Not only does the Sikaflex offer a little extra adherance to ride out those rambunctious young horse moves, it creates a custom orthotic pad that provides a little concussion relief, eliminates any peripheral loading and makes for pretty happy ponies.  The best part is that it doesn't ruin your boots and is easy to pull out of the hoof when finished. 

The last ride of the year for us came quickly this year and left with a bang. I packed up my Majik Monster and big red beastie, Indy, to head to Oreana, Idaho, for the Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals. I planned to ride Majik in the open event and Indy in the 50-mile AHA National Championship. The night before Majik's event I put on his front boots with the Sikaflex and slept soundly knowing we were ready to rock the next morning. It was a day where everything just came together. I had a phenomenal ride on a horse whom I adore and found myself grinning like a fool cantering along with The Bootmeister, Christoph Schork, throughout the day. Christoph and I came in to tie for first with a ride time of 5:02. Majik looked fantastic showing for Best Condition although with my weight we just couldn't get it done. Christoph's horse won the BC, deservedly. He had the tried n' true Easyboot Glue-Ons for Starlit who moved exceptionally all day long. 

Pure bliss. This horse owns my heart. Majik felt like this all day long. Steve Bradley Photography.

Finishing a ride in five hours makes for a leisurely afternoon. I was able to apply Indy's boots with the Sikaflex and relax a bit while the day went on. The next morning, we hit the trail with purpose, but it quickly went downhill as my horse decided I did not know what I was talking about, he did not like me and oh-by-the-way-I-forgot-to-tell-you-I-no-longer-listen in an S-Hack. I basically got the finger from Indy, which cost us a great deal of time as I pulled him up to have a frank discussion with him. Thankfully my boots were stuck tight as his shenannagins at that moment would have seriously stressed some improperly fitting boots! Head (kinda) back in the game, we continued on by ourselves until the first vet check and thankfully his head was completely back in the game for the rest of the ride. Indy was awesome the rest of the day and I marvelled at his pure athletisim and strength as we cantered back to the ranch, missing the AHA Reserve National Champion title by less than a minute, for a ride time of 4:38. In hindsight, I wouldn't do anything differently as Indy showed beautifully for the Best Condition award and won easily with a very high vet score for both the National Championship and the open ride. Go Indy! There were more than a few times that day, including a mile of hard-pack gravel road, where I was stoked to have given him the extra protection with the Sikaflex. 

Indy with all four off the floor. This horse is a powerhouse. This was only his second ride in Gloves and he wore them beautifully. Another Steve Bradley great. Below is Indy two days after the ride, looking pretty decent.

The fact that I am still finding what works for me and my horses after all these years and all these miles in Easyboots astounds me. I guess I never really thought about it but figured after a couple years everything would be old hat, but I am fascinated to look back at my experiences with boots and happy that I still have it in my nature to continue to grow and learn and even experiment a little. My horses are only better for it. 

EasyShoe Clinics: Travel Time Again

Like always this time of year, when the leaves are turning and the ride season winds down in the Mountain Region, Europe is calling. 

I shall again travel to Europe in the middle of the month to conduct several hoof care clinics, demonstrating hoof trimming techniques and showing folks the most proficient way to apply various models of Easyboots and EasyShoes. We will glue, nail, tape, adjust, fit all the different shoes and boots of EasyCare  product list. Specifically, I will travel to Germany, who won this years Soccer World Championship in Brazil and Switzerland. 

What is this sole thickening in front of the tip of the frog? Leave it or remove it? Why is it there in the first place? We will discuss this and much more during these clinics.

Nailing the EasyShoe Performance N/G is part of all the clinics now. There is a strong desire out there to learn nailing these shoes.

Do not get me wrong, I will promote and demonstrate EasyCare products, but I'm also very open to all kind of hoof protection on the market. After all, we are always after the most suitable products under any given circumstances and needs for our horses. During these clinics, I have used and applied all kind of hoof protection of all kind of companies. After all, if you do not try them all, how will you know who is the best and which product will fit a particular horse the best?

Explaining to the audience before demonstrations begin.

Participants always get ample opportunities to trim hooves and apply various hoof protection products themselves. That is indeed the preferred way to learn.

In the middle of October, I will hold the first seminar close to Muenchen, or Munich, how many Anglos like to spell the name of this jewel of the Bavarian Capital. The seminar is organized by Bianca Schiffer, a NHC Trimmer in Bavaria. If interested, you may visit her website at: http://www.keep-it-natural.org/ 

The weekend after I will travel to Zurich, Switzerland. There, Franziska Bauman is the onsite organizer of the second Seminar, where we will focus mainly on application of the various EasyShoes. You may still be able to join in on that one, there might be a couple of spots available. Contact Franziska Bauman via Facebook or by clicking on her name. Rounding out the program at the end is a private follow-up clinic close to Munich on the first weekend in November.

Any of my European blog followers, if you are interested in these learning opportunities, you may email me privately or message me on Facebook. You could possibly still attend.

At the end of November, the F-Balance clinic will be taking place at Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, Utah. I had written a blog about this upcoming F-Balance Clinic in my August blog. You can read up on this by clicking on the highlighted link. This Clinic will happen on November 28th - 30th at GETC in Moab, Utah. The investment fee of $1,500 includes 4 nights of lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as F-Balance Certification. Class description available at F-Balance website. It is very worthwhile to also visit F-Balance website to learn more about this trimming method, developed and taught by Daniel Anz.

This clinic will expand your horizons tremendously. Daniel has taught his trimming methods all over Europe and South America. He is a real authority and icon in his native Argentina. The Clinic is hosted by Global Endurance Center in Moab, Utah. We are all looking forward having Daniel here in North America for the very first time to teach us about his research and findings.

Please sign up as soon as possible, we have to limit the participants numbers to 10. You may also email me privately at christophschork@gmail.com or through a Facebook message.

Hope to see many of you at these events.

From the Bootmeister, Christoph Schork

www.globalendurance.com

Uninterrupted Conversation

I am fortunate enough to have a great group of friends to ride with, particularly Jenni Smith. We haven’t been out much together this year since Tevis, and I've missed our weekly rides. We have great conversations and I always learn something new. Riding together creates a great opportunity to exchange information.

Jenni and me arriving at the Foresthill vet check in 2013. We went on to get 2nd & 3rd place together at Tevis that year in Easyboot Glue-Ons

During a recent ride, Jenni and I launched into one of our conversations about horse care. I said to her that I thought by virtue of my horses being barefoot that I take better care of them overall.  When my horses were shod, I would meet with my farrier once every five or six weeks and we would talk about how a horse has been moving since his last visit, we would look at wear marks on the steel shoes and sometimes he would watch them trot out if I commented on something out of the ordinary. Then he would replace the shoes and say “See you in six.” In between his visits, I would clean out the hooves but that was about it. Looking back on those days, I want to pop myself in the head. It was practically neglect.

Now I am fussing over their feet just about every day. I’m rasping them regularly, keeping an eagle eye on how they are wearing and taking close notes on any irregularities. And it’s not just their feet: my attention has moved up the legs to the whole body. I am paying more attention to how my horses are moving and feeling overall. And I attribute this to them being barefoot. Jenni nods in agreement. Shoes limit the amount of feedback you get from your horse, she said. You really can’t see significant wear patterns on the shoes, and you don’t get feedback from the hoof itself. It’s like the shoes interrupt the conversation with your horse. "Brilliant!" I exclaim.

Jenni trotting out Stoner at Robinson Flat, Tevis 2014.<

Another thing I’ve noticed is that my Easyboots fit a lot better than they used to. When I first started using them, I sometimes had a hard time keeping them on. I think it’s because my horse’s feet were shaped like the steel shoes they were wearing. Over time, they returned to their natural shape and so the boots fit better and now they stay on.

Also, how the horse moves determines how well the boots stay in place. Our new horse, DeLaCruz, wears 1.5 Easyboot Gloves on all four feet. He travels straight as an arrow and has never lost a boot. Tyler, on the other hand, travels with a slight rotation to his front feet. As a result, his boots can rotate about 10 to 15 degrees inward and then stop. When this happens, I will re-center them during a ride and they will go back to being offset rather quickly. Jenni suggested wrapping Mueller tape around the center of the hoof where it dishes in slightly. I’m going to try that.

Tyler also tries to sprint up steep hills, which results in him peeling out of his hind boots, what I like to call “burning rubber.”  The proper way to avoid losing a boot going uphill is to start out slowly and gradually build up speed. I also quit fixing everyone else’s boots. Now the rule is, if you peel out up a hill and lose a boot, then you have to fix it yourself. My husband isn’t particularly fond of that rule, but it does get him to slow down.

Jenni and Stoner crossing the finish line at Tevis this year in fifth place.

As we trotted down the trail in unison, we agreed that having barefoot horses has definitely led to overall better care for them. 

Looking for the Best Hoof Boot Gluers in the World for the Hardest 100 Mile Race in the World

EasyCare is looking for six hoof care professionals to join our application team at the 2015 100 Mile Tevis Cup

Horses competing in hoof boots have performed very well at the most difficult 100 mile event in the world.  In 2014, ten of the horses in the top 15 places were wearing Easyboots.  The 1st place horse in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 was wearing Easyboots.  The Best Conditioned horse (Haggin Cup) in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 was wearing Easyboots.

The Easyboot/Tevis wall of accomplishment.  We are so proud of what Easyboots have done at Tevis.

The job of applying Glue-On boots before the Tevis Cup event continues to grow and it's harder and harder for the people riding.  We need your help.

- EasyCare will pay for your travel to and from the event.  You will need to be at the event from July 28th, July 29th and July 30th, 2015. 

- EasyCare will pay you for three days of hoof boot applications.

- EasyCare will train you all the skills needed to be one of the best in the world.

- Earn the title of Easyboot Elite.

The lead pack at the 2012 Tevis Cup.  All seven horses were wearing Easyboots applied by our gluing team.

Are you interested in being part of an elite crew?  Are you interested in helping horses and riders complete the hardest 100 mile race in the world.  Please send us an e-mail at admin@easycareinc.com with a letter of interest.

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.

Tools To Avoid Peripheral Loading and Extend Horse Longevity In Hoof Boots and EasyShoes

EasyCare is now selling Vettec Equipak Soft and Glue-U Shufill.  Why are these products important for the equine hoof and your equine partner's longevity?

Imagine walking or running in a shoe where only your toes and heels made contact with the insole of your shoe.  Your arch didn't touch, your arch wasn't given any support, and with every footfall only your toes and heel supported your weight. How long would you be comfortable without giving your arch and the main structure of your foot the ability to share the load?  Now visualize the similarities of a horse in steel shoes on hard ground. 

Every time I take my horses from a soft pasture I remove a dirt/grass plug from each hoof.  This plug helps load the entire hoof and help load the hoof like the arch support in most human shoes. 


Nature's hoof packing.  Does this happen by chance? 

One of my best conditioning rides in Durango is a dirt road that gets hard packed during many times during the year.  Although hoof boots offer protection from the rocks and concussion the addition of a soft packing helps load the entire hoof,  I personally notice a big difference in my horses when a packing is used.  The horses move better, they are more forward and they seem to finish with more bounce in their step.  The following day legs are tight and without heat.

We are seeing great results from both the Vettec Equipak Soft and the Glue-U Shufill pour in materials.  Both products set up quickly and can be used in both hoof boots and under EasyShoes.  One of the unique things about the Glue-U Shufill products is the ability to choose different densities.  The Glue-U also gives you the ability to use different densities in different parts of the hoof.

Ernest Woodward applied this EasyShoe using Shufill 10 density and Shufill 20 density in the heel. 

A horse with decent concavity is peripherally loaded in hoof boots.  A quick and easy way to give the hoof the opportunity to support the load as nature intended is adding a pour in after the boot is applied to the hoof.  Drill two holes in the bottom of the hoof boot before applying the boot.

Applying Vettec Equipak soft before a hard conditioning ride.

Flexible pour-in pads make an exact mold of the hoof's concavity: a great way to help the sole share the load.

Glue-U Shufill 40 hardness used to support the hoof in another EasyShoe application. 

Give a pour in packing a try for your equine partner.  Let us know if your horse improved at his respective discipline. Find these products and more on the Accessories page of the EasyCare website. We currently have them included under the Glue-On boots and EasyShoes section.

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.

Testing Hoof Wear in the North Cascades

Submitted by Ruthie Thompson-Klein​, Equine Balance Hoof Care 

After conditioning rides around our Washington San Juan Islands’ gentle road and forest trails, three of my clients and adventure-mates and I set out for some serious riding in the North Cascades. It was our “last blast of
summer,” and a great test for a variety of EasyCare hoof wear. The four of us spent several days riding steep and rugged wilderness trails as well as easy riverside meanders in the Methow Valley of Washington State.

Here’s our multi-breed lineup: Monique’s Chincoteague gelding sported a pair of EasyShoe Performances on front feet, bare behind. At home he is ridden bare or with front Gloves; on mountain rocks he needed protection. Since Monique would be riding intensely for a month, we decided  EasyShoes were the best application. Jet is a solid black horse with solid black feet, that made my Easyshoe Performance glue work look pretty decent. The shoes were applied with Adhere, five days before our trip, and ride-tested.

Jet's EasyShoes- before

Jet and Monique

Jan’s Arabian gelding, Farli, sported Easyboot Glove Back Country boots on front, bare behind the first day. When this endurance horse among us began lagging, short-striding and avoiding center trail, I suggested booting behind. I swapped boots, with a pair of firm-padded Glove Back Country behind and Power-Strapped Easyboot Gloves in front. Farli became his sound and comfortable self on the trail the rest of the trip. No vet call necessary. 

Jan and Farli

Alice’s Dutch Warmblood mare (a very large and intrepid trail horse!) trekked in Easyboot Gloves all around; size 4.5 Wide in front and size 4 Wide behind, no accessories necessary. An attentive owner/trimmer, Alice spent considerable time making sure Amira’s Easyboot Gloves fit her trim perfectly. My very-green Appaloosa gelding worked in our usual Power-Strapped Gloves in front and I added Easyboot Glove Back Country boots behind.

Our first few days were low elevation trails with water and rocky river crossings, bridges and forest paths. We then trailered to elevation where the terrain got much more technical. Headed to Cutthroat Peak, we traversed a landslide, encountered sharp rocks, a steep, rocky water crossing scramble, and boggy lakeshore when we reached Cutthroat Lake to rest and water the horses at about 5,000 feet. This is where we decided we’d rather hang out and experience the scenery than forge further up the trail.

Amira and Alice

Dancer, my Appy trail partner

The most demanding boot test may have been when I had to dismount to send my gelding ahead of me across a steep water crossing and up a rocky bank. It was too dangerous to ride at his level, and I was worried I might have to pick up boots in his thrashing, dashing wake, but Monique snagged him—still booted—on the other side. At the high elevation lake we took a break to assess our nerves, enjoy the scenery, have lunch and check our hoof protection. All boots and Easyshoes in place.

Steep water crossing

Jet's EasyShoes after miles and mud

Happy with our big adventure, we spent the rest of our time on more casual rides to give the horses a break. With so many details involved in this sort of trip, a large part of our success was carefree hoof protection, and we put it to the test to my satisfaction. This type of multi-day group ride used to require multiple shoe and tool preparation headaches, now those days are over. Thank you, EasyCare!

"The Way I Do It" by Tennessee Lane

Submitted by Tennessee Lane, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

Thank you, EasyCare for protecting Shazam's feet all the way to a 2nd Place Finish at Tevis this year. Over the past month I have received more than the normal few inquiries from people wanting to know how I train, how I feed, and of course, what my hoof care regimen is. The truth is that not much has changed around my barn, I still stick to the basics. The best advice I can give is: race like you train, train like you race. With that lead-in, you might expect I'm about to write a book, but alas, I haven't the time.  

I will, however, tell you about my hoof care regimen here at Remuda Run. There is no quick way for me to answer when someone asks what I do for hoof care on a daily basis. My daily routine has a ton of variability, from roundpen work to Tevis, and more than everywhere in between. There are also multiple aspects to consider: I'll break it down a few ways so you can decide how to make a choice in hoof protection on a daily basis. These are not rules to live by, just how I tend to do things.  

There are over 30 horses under my care here at Remuda Run, all of them are barefoot. About ten of them are in the stallion/broodmare/baby category, about ten are youngsters somewhere between groundwork and saddle-breaking to preparing for their first LD's, and about ten of them are currently competing in 50+ mile rides. Of that top ten, there are 4-5 that I could choose from on any given day to smoke a 50 or 100 miler.

Let's consider these populations of horses A, B and C as listed. The horses in group A are pasture horses, growing babies, nursing mothers, and aging stallions. None of them are being worked, but they cover some ground in their 35-acre pasture grazing. Group B is 2 year olds up to 5 year olds, living a leisurely pasture life as well but they come up for feed twice a day, remain in a dry lot overnight, and they should get worked once or twice a week. That work can vary from very light to very strenuous, depending on how much of a fight they want to put up that day, and how far along they are in their training. Group C is 5 to 12 year olds who have been around the block, they do hard training rides at a fast pace, flats or mountain trails, and they get put on the walker 2-3 times a week barefoot on top of that, usually about 4 hours of work at a time. They spend their days cruising a 25 acre grass pasture and their nights in their own runs, they get their custom beet pulp slurry am and pm, and they expect everything on time.

Group A gets a pasture trim every 6 weeks. This trim leaves enough hoof to protect itself, a fair amount of hoofwall (at least a couple of nickels) will precede the sole and frog when touching down. I want to leave enough hoof to give them grip and natural protection but I don't want it long enough where they are breaking their own quarters out (although it sometimes happens - they survive.) Group B gets trimmed at least every 4 weeks and touch-ups if they're going to wear boots. This trim is tighter than a pasture trim, so they can fit into a boot without flares getting in the way. They can be ridden barefoot in most terrain if necessary without being painful. They can even handle a rocky trail ride barefoot with no problems at a walk but it would be painful at a trot. Group C gets trimmed every time they get ridden, which is at least weekly. These horses' hooves are kept tight, a very close shave, the toes are brought all the way back to the white line for speedy and efficient break-over. The hoofwall and sole make a seamless, concave connection. These hooves will slide very snugly into Gloves and Glue-Ons a half-size smaller than the same hoof with a less tight trim. I trim and boot these horses every time I ride them.

Now let's consider other factors. There are generally three types of rides I do: Booze Cruises: almost all walking but usually on technical mountain trails with lots of rocks; Training Rides, mostly trotting at faster pace with some stretches of cantering, and time is made for the technical spots like muddy creek crossings or technical rock ledges; and Bombers, mostly cantering, covering the ground as quickly as possible, including keeping a good pace through the technical bits. These three types of rides should have you considering three variables: speed/gait, distance, and terrain/footing, and all of these should be considered when choosing hoof protection.

For a Booze Cruise on a healthy barefoot horse that has been kept the way I keep them, I take them out barefoot or I will use Easyboot Trails, depending on the footing, either just on the fronts or all the way around. The Easyboot Trails fit the hooves whether they were just trimmed or even if they are 4 weeks out. For a training ride, I use Easyboot Gloves on the fronts or all the way around. I will likely touch up the trim for the Gloves to fit correctly and function properly. For a bomber ride, I will trim my horses hooves tight, and tape the hooves with athletic tape and put the tightest fitting Easyboot Gloves on all-around, or I will glue something on.

For endurance riding and racing, again, it depends on the terrain. There are a lot of things to consider: is it rocky, is it muddy? Are there a lot of bogs or creek crossings? I use Easyboot Gloves for most of my racing, over a fresh clean trim, sometimes with tape on the hoof wall, sometimes with Sikaflex in the sole. For multi days or anything over 50 miles I will "Goober Boot" (which I still do very frequently, in fact, my boots were "ghetto style" at the NAETC,) or I will Glue-On, and any of the Easy Shoes or Glue-Ons that EasyCare offers will work, but if it's super rocky then I will definitely choose a model that will protect the entire hoof/sole/frog. The Glue-On is my favorite, but I've been having a lot of fun in the EasyShoe Sport lately too. When I glue, I follow the protocol that EasyCare recommends, and I use Adhere on the walls and Sikaflex in the sole.

All this said, it's not very complicated for me to decide how to trim a hoof or what hoof boot to use but there are a lot of factors that I consider before making the decision. What is the horse's lifestyle? What level of work is it doing? What speed will it be maintaining? What kind of terrain will it be covering? What distance? Will I touch up the trim before booting?

Scenario 1: my friend wants me to teach her how to ride. I will take two older horses to the mountain trails for an easy pleasure ride. Hoofcare? Pull the horses our of the pasture and throw Easyboot Trails on them, then have a blast.

Scenario 2: I want to go to Moab to do two 50 milers on the same horse. Moab has lots of deep sand and rock. Hoofcare? Trim them tight and tape on Gloves or Glue-Ons.

Scenario 3: my friend asks if he can take one of my horses on an elk hunt. Hoofcare? Hmmmm, he will likely walk the entire time, plus he's not that knowledgeable about booting so I want booting to be easy for him, I'll send him along with a full set of Easyboot Trails.

Scenario 4: I want to go do an LD at Barefoot in New Mexico. Hoofcare: Afraid to go barefoot? Wear Gloves.

Scenario 5:  North American Championships / FEI 3* 100 mile race. Hoofcare? It doesn't matter what the terrain is, the point is you'll be galloping everything regardless. Glue-Ons.

Scenario: Tevis. Hoofcare? Are you kidding? The obvious choice is Easyboot Glue-Ons. There is no alternative.

There are a million scenarios and a lot of factors to consider. Here's the trick: make sure you consider all the factors. If you do, the choices are easy. Easyboot.

We Couldn't Have Done it Without Easycare

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2014 Member

My red headed beast, Z Summer Thunder, cruised through the Old Selam 50 to finish up his AERC 4000 miles. While Thunder hasn't worn Easyboot Gloves the entire 4000 miles, I have used them on him since 2010. In that time he has completed 3200+ miles in either Gloves or Glue on Boots

Thunder's first set of boots required that I learn more about balancing the hoof and getting a good fit. I refined my trimming techniques, rounding the hoof up, setting the toe back and really making the boots work on his hooves. I know that a good fit is a must to booting success. Booting success really requires a person to make a commitment to the horse, the hooves and the boots to make it right. But some people question why I went to boots in the first place.

Steve Bradley took this of Thunder and I at City of Rocks 2014

Thunder has a crooked foot, the left front turns out and requires constant trimming to maintain the balance. Plus, he forges if allowed to go any length of time between trims and shoes. Therefore shoeing wasn't the best for him as we'd have to show him every 4 weeks to maintain the hooves, that created a lot of nail holes. I've trimmed horses for years and Al shod all our horses back in the day, I know how numerous nail holes can break down hoof wall integrity. It was always our practice to allow horses to go barefoot in between rides and all winter long. So transitioning to barefoot wasn't a big stretch for my horses. 

I knew after our first ride in the Gloves that these were going to work. He moved well and was much happier. We put on the Gloves and never looked back, racking up 865 miles in 2010 doing two 100's and a multi-day. The Easyboots offer excellent rock protection and I was sure that I couldn't have done the Fandango 100 or 5 days at Canyonlands without boots! Plus I believe they help absorb concussion and protect my horse's legs and joints from harm. 

And Thunder just keeps going, so far this year we have 620 miles. We also got our dream trip this year through the Oregon Cascades and westward to the Oregon Coast. Ten wonderful days of riding and camping! Our Easyboots have certainly taken us many places and if they could talk they'd tell of many adventures!

Thank you Easycare for a great product. I'm fairly sure that Thunder wouldn't have reached 4000 miles in steel shoes.