EasyShoes - There Are Many Options

Numerous applications of the EasyShoe have now been performed and tested. EasyShoes have been used in endurance races, track races, driving competitions, dressage, eventing and trail riding. They have been applied in clinics and seminars within North America and Europe. In my blog last month, I outlined the Global Endurance EasyShoe Clinic schedule. I encourage anyone interested in the EasyShoe to attend at least one clinic with EasyCare or Global Endurance. There is a lot of information passed on and shared and they provide great opportunities to practice under a watchful eye.

There are four different kind of EasyShoes available: SportCompetePerformance, and Performance N/G.

While the Sport, Compete and Performance models applied with glue, the Performance N/G can get glued or nailed. EasyCare has created several videos covering the proper application of each. It is advised to watch these videos and adhere to these application methods. Otherwise failure will be inevitable.

In today's blog, I want to discuss a few options you can use in your application. After application of any of the four EasyShoe models, you may fill the sole area with packing material. I have seen excellent results by using Vettec Equipak (regular, CS or soft) for this purpose. Most of the time this step might not be necessary, but if you want to guard against any possibility of a stone bruise or want to provide some more sole protection, this is a viable option. Below an example of a Sport where I filled the sole area with Equipak CS.

This option provides frog support with the EasyShoe Sport.

Another option is to add nails for peace of mind when applying the Sport and Performance. Let's say you do not have enough experience with gluing and/or do not trust your glues. Maybe the glues are a little old or it has been a cold day so you decide you want to add some insurance to your application. You can add a couple of nails to the shoes even though they are designed primarily for gluing. Below is an example of a shoe with two nails applied in addition to the glue:

What if you only want to use the EasyShoes for the front or the hind? No problem. In the picture below, I applied the the EasyShoe in the front and Easyboot Glue-Ons on the hind. You could also substitute the Glue-Ons for Gloves or any other Easyboot. 

When nailing or gluing to a hoof that is wider than the shoe selected, you can use an EasyShoe Spacer. EasyCare has five different sizes of Spacers available, size 8,10,12,14 and 16. The numbers refer to the width in mm. Select the proper size to make the shoe fit before attaching it to the hoof by either glue or nail. After the shoe is applied, the spacer can get pulled out with a hoof pick and then used again.

If the hooves are weak (thin lateral cartilage and/or thin and soft digital cushion) or the horse has to race in a 100 miler over difficult terrain, these spacers can be left in place and secured with small screws.

This spacer gives the shoe less flexibility and the hoof more support.

Below is an example of a weak hoof: soft and thin digital cushion, thin lateral cartilages. This hoof would benefit from a spacer to give it more support in an event. For conditioning hooves like these, it is best to leave the hoof bare for training to strengthen it, but I digress.

The EasyShoes can be set back on the hoof for more breakover and more heel support. You also can rasp the shoe after application to increase breakover or, if the heels are too long, you can rasp them down in the heel area. The image below is an example of setting the shoe back to the white line. It shows also a little heel extension for support of the movement apparatus. The trailers could be as long as half the distance from the heel to the end of the heel bulb. 

Here, all the clips and glue tabs have been removed but EasyCare recommends you leave either the toe clip or the side clips. When leaving the clips in place, you might want to set that nail above the clip a little higher but that is for a future blog.

The EasyShoes allow a lot of flexibility. Only your imagination is the limit. Evaluate the whole horse, then the hooves, then the purpose and task the horse has to perform. Then decide which EasyShoe to apply, how to apply it, and which option to choose.

Next month we will discuss nailing options of the EasyShoe Performance and I will share some tips and tricks with you. So stay tuned!

Your Bootmeister 
Christoph Schork
Global Endurance Training Center

You Don't Know Where I Ride! Oh, But I Do...

An endurance riding competition is not the only activity that works well for showcasing many of the EasyCare products, but it does show what extremes can be achieved using our products. Now that the four EasyShoe models are available throughout our distribution network, with more shipping out this week from our Tucson office, we are seeing some success stories around the world. Just last weekend, horses in EasyShoes won top awards at the Antelope Island Endurance Ride near Salt Lake, Utah. The riders appreciate the flexion the shoe allows within the hoof capsule, both laterally and vertically.

Farrier Ernest Woodward applying an EasyShoe Performance N/G.

On day one of the 50-mile event, Rusty Toth and Ripper won the 50-mile event in just under five hours. On his fronts, Ripper was wearing EasyShoe Performance N/Gs that were glued with two nails applied to the front quarters of each shoe. On his hinds, Ripper wore Easyboot Gloves.

Rusty and Ripper approaching the 30-mile vet-check. 

Christoph Schork on CStar and Rori Tehan on Dunny tied for first place on the two-day 100-mile event at the same location. Both horses had EasyShoe Performance N/Gs applied on their front feet and Easyboot Glue-Ons applied on their back feet. Dunny also won the Best Condition Award.

CStar and Dunny approaching the vet check on Day 2 at the Antelope Island 100-mile event.

There are three things you should know about the EasyShoe:

  1. Get educated! There are three upcoming EasyShoe Clinics still to come as part of the national tour of clinics presented by EasyCare in association with Daisy Haven Farm and Anatomy of the Equine. Designed to cater to horse owners, trimmers and farriers alike, this course reviews anatomy of the lower leg, various application methods using glue or nails, as well as the best tips and tricks to make application successful. The next clinic takes place May 16-18 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
  2. There is more product in stock. Our distribution center in Tucson, Arizona is stocked up on EasyShoe. You should be able to get exactly what you need.
  3. A bigger size is coming! The EasyShoe Performance and Performance N/G will be coming in size 5 - we expect to receive product by the end of May 2014. Size 5 accommodates hoof sizes summarized in the table below:

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.

EasyShoes for Rehabilitation

Part of the hoof care provider's job, no matter what your area of focus, is to have resources available to you to solve problems for your clients and their horses. As a farrier who focuses on rehabilitation of the equine foot, I'm always in search of new tools to help the horses I work on. In the case of this horse, I was excited to have the new EasyShoe as a tool to help him. He came to me this past fall, an older quarter horse gelding, and had been having steady lameness issues for years.

Here are radiographs of his front feet as of 2012:

From the farrier perspective there is a lot of room for improvement in these X-rays. I have explained my goals for trimming and shoeing from radiographs in various scenarios in these previous blogs: What To Do With That Foot?, For The Love of the Small (Often Foundered) Pony, Rehabilitation of the Insulin Resistant Foundered Horse: DHF Style and Broken Down May Not Be So Broken.

However, in summary, the four most important criteria for me in my hoof care work is:

  • 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.
  • Minimizing flare and distortion in the hoof capsule.
  • Hoof-pastern axis in alignment.

The two biggest areas for improvement for this horse in 2012, were the long toe (base of support longer in the toe than heel) and the flare at the toe indicating distortion in the hoof capsule.  

There were many diagnoses regarding why this horse was chronically foot sore: from navicular to founder. However, despite many different treatment options being implemented over time, the biggest improvement to the hoof was when the horse was taken barefoot and the hoof capsule was rehabilitated to the above parameters by a fellow hoof care provider. I became involved in October 2013. The hoof care provider had done a very good job with rehabilitating the horse's feet, and while he was much sounder than any previous approach to helping his feet, he still had periods of unsoundness that needed to be addressed.  

When I assessed the horse it was apparent to me that while the distortion was gone, and the hoof capsule was much more compact, the hoof care provider was never going to be able to get these feet to a 50/50 balance around the center of rotation of the hoof capsule. The toe could not be trimmed any shorter, and while lowering the heels more would increase the heel portion of the support, the palmar P3 angle would start getting too low. So I didn't feel that was a viable solution.  

We decided to create the mechanics we needed with the EasyShoe. We were able to set the shoe just a bit further back, and provide additional heel support, which brought our entire foot print back. We were also providing foot protection and concussion dampening with the plastic and glue, which I felt would provide additional benefit.  

Here are his feet in the EasyShoe:



The horse is quite sound and ready to go home and get back to enjoying riding with his owner. I believe the addition of the EasyShoe was the final piece of the puzzle to helping this horse overcome his chronic lameness issues.  

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm and our work, please see:

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.DHFSchool.com

Easy Learning at the EasyShoe Clinic

I have been chomping at the bit to get a hold of the new EasyShoe ever since I saw the first test reports. I feel pretty comfortable using Adhere with the Easyboot Glue-On having glued for myself and for many endurance riders over the last few years. I figured I could work out gluing the new EasyShoes easily enough by watching the instruction videos, so at first didn't see a need to attend the EasyShoe Clinic. Then I saw it was to be much more than a simple demonstration of how to apply the EasyShoe. Daisy Bicking of Daisy Haven Farm was going to present hoof mapping and trimming instruction. I have been following her online for some time now, and really wanted to take one of her clinics but flying to Pennsylvania was out of my budget. Then on top of that, Paige Poss of Anatomy of the Equine was also going to be a presenter. I had seen her give a presentation at the PHCP conference in November and was totally blown away by both how much she knows about the anatomy of the hoof and leg, and by how well she can do a dissection. Those two giving a weekend full of hoof information sealed the deal for me!

Derick, me, Paige, Megan, and Daisy. Go Team Humboldt! (Katie had to leave early)

My long awaited shipment of EasyShoes arrived about a week before the clinic date, and it was all I could do to not glue them on my mare. They were so pretty and shiny...new toys, oh my! They kept whispering to me to take them out to play but I managed to keep them in the box long enough to get down to the clinic and learn how to do things right. I was excited to find out that I was not the only one from my area. My fellow endurance rider and owner/trimmer Katie Azevedo was coming down to audit. Megan Hensley and Derrick Vaughn, local trimmers as well, were coming to the clinic too! Wonderful to see more local hoof care providers wanting to further their education. Team Humboldt would be rocking the first EasyShoe Clinic!

Bob, Paige, and Kevin getting things set up for our Friday night activities.

This clinic had sentimental value as well, I was coming full circle this weekend. I started my hoof care education at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing in 2005, and it gave me a wonderful foundation on which to build my hoof care career. To be back again and learning something new was absolutely wonderful! By hosting this clinic in a very traditional farrier school, Bob Smith really showed how the two worlds can and should come together to provide the best in hoof care and I greatly applaud him for it. As hoof care providers we need to learn to work together, not bicker about who is doing what better or worse. The clinic was attended by trimmers, farriers, and owners, and we all had a great time and learned from and with each other.

Friday I headed down to Plymouth arriving just in time to grab a bunk and stash my gear, before dinner and the evening's activities. After everyone gave a brief introduction of themselves, Kevin Myers and Daisy Bicking gave a rundown of the EasyShoes and the pros and cons of the different gluing methods (Adhere or EasyShoe Bond). Questions were asked and answered as to the varying performance and therapeutic uses of the different shoe models and glue and/or nailing applications. This was followed by Daisy's presentation hoof mapping/trimming and Paige's brilliant dissection. It was so interesting and informative!

Inner workings of the hoof...

Saturday started in the classroom with some more questions and answers and an overview of the day to come. Then we moved out to the work area, where Kevin and Daisy went over tools and glues, then did an excellent demo of both gluing methods on a live horse.

Kevin showing the fit, prep, and application of an EasyShoe Performance with Adhere.

 

Daisy showing us the proper application process with dental impression material and EasyShoe Bond.

After lunch we began work on our cadaver hooves, learning to map, properly trim to the map, and fitting the EasyShoe.

Working on my cadaver leg...it was weird to work in this position on a limp leg.

We followed this with a wonderful group dinner, where we exchanged many more ideas, discussed things we were still struggling with, and had many laughs! Sunday we were back in the classroom in the morning, then moved back out in the work area where Daisy did a nail and gluing demo with the Performance N/G.

The Performance N/G both glued and nailed on with EasyShoe Bond and a few nails.

After the live demo, we retrieved our cadaver legs and finished up any prep work. We then split into groups depending on with application method we wanted to try. I chose to try out the Adhere method of gluing and Kevin led our group. 

The results after I cleaned up my glued hoof. Not too bad for a first try!

Finally, those of us who wanted to, were given the opportunity to practice nailing on our cadavers. Considering I haven't nailed in years, except the occasional lost shoe at an endurance ride for someone, or very occasional application of other synthetic shoes for a client, my nailing practice didn't turn out too bad. A tad low, and I was lacking the proper blocking tools, but overall I see I haven't forgotten how to do it!

Afterwards we wrapped up in the classroom with final thoughts and questions. The most exciting news at the end? We got to keep our cadaver legs if we wanted, to take home and dissect ourselves! I scored two other legs from participants that didn't think it was so awesome to take home several day old cadaver legs. I know, I am a nut to get excited over dead things, but they are comfortably chilling in my freezer right now, and I can't wait to find some time to pull them apart. A few nutty friends already expressed interest in watching as well.

I learned so much at the clinic! I suggest anyone with any interest in learning (of any kind related to hooves, not just gluing on shoes) attend one of the EasyShoe Clinics. You won't regret it. I walked away pretty confident I could at least start working with the shoe, and with a lot of good information about hoof anatomy, function, and new ways to trim. I just glued on a set of four shoes on my mare today, and did a crack-repair with a pair of front shoes on a POA as well. Though it took me more time than I would like, that is to be expected with any new skill you learn. I was quite satisfied with the end results of both gluings.

Natalie Herman

Report from the First EasyShoe Clinic in Plymouth, California

I had the honor of attending the first of the EasyShoe Clinics last weekend at the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, California. Presented in collaboration with Daisy Haven Farm and EasyCare, Inc., clinicians came from as far north as Washington State and as far east as Colorado. To hold the inaugural clinic at a renowned horseshoeing institution was proof positive that the EasyShoe is building bridges to new markets and building appeal to a wider customer base. 

Applying an EasyShoe Performance onto a live horse.

We all gathered around a salad and lasagna dinner before heading into the classroom and making introductions so we could get to know our fellow attendees. Most people there were trimmers or farriers, but we also had a good number of horse owners. Some had prior gluing experience, but many did not. Most trimmers were eager to expand their current business models into therapeutic work and saw the EasyShoe as a good tool to help them expand their client base in that direction. The last couple of hours on Friday evening was spent huddling around Paige Poss of Anatomy of the Equine while she mapped two cadaver feet before beginning the fascinating process of dissecting each of them all the way down to the coffin bone. It was mesmerizing to see how all the pieces connect, how they are attached, and where everything sits within the hoof capsule. 

Paige Poss begins the dissection of a cadaver hoof.

On Saturday morning, we reviewed lessons learned from the dissection exercise and discussed the benefits of mapping a hoof before trimming it, and how to set things up to prepare for applying the shoe. Daisy did an excellent job of demonstrating the biggest differences between trimming for a barefoot/booted protocol versus trimming for application of a permanent hoof protection device like the EasyShoe. With a barefoot trim, the practitioner is managing a subtractive process, whereas applying an EasyShoe is an additive process and requires a different methodology for trimming.

Explaining the importance of following each step methodically.

As the clinicians moved into the barn, we used a live horse to demonstrate two applications of the EasyShoe Performance. Daisy led a brief hoof mapping exercise on the horse before I went through the step-by-step process of gluing on a shoe using Vettec Adhere. The process requires a lot of cleaning and drying of the hoof capsule and sole, but if followed meticulously, the user can enjoy a virtually risk-free use of the shoes throughout the full trim cycle. Daisy followed up with a demonstration of applying the EasyShoe for a therapeutic application using EasyShoe Bond, the methacrylate glue that can also be used with the EasyShoe for any application. 

Understanding the hoof. Understanding the EasyShoe.

After lunch, the clinicians each used their own cadaver leg to begin the hands-on process of preparing and cleaning the hoof for applying the EasyShoe with their chosen method. Each cadaver foot needed first to be mapped, then trimmed appropriately. They then measured the hoof and assessed the appropriate size for their hoof. The day concluded with a recap of lessons learned, which particular challenges they had overcome, and which areas they felt needed to be addressed in anticipation of the gluing or nailing application the next day.

Megan Hensley working with her group using the EasyShoe Bond method.

On Sunday morning, another live horse was used to demonstrate preparation, application and removal of a more challenging case. Clinicians then broke into groups sorted by their desired application method (gluing with EasyShoe Bond; gluing with Adhere or nailing), with each group led by a team leader to work on the specific application process. Clinicians worked methodically through each of the steps and had many questions and moments to perfect their applications along the way. Each student benefited from the group setting and were able to apply lessons learned by others as well as themselves. 

The clinicians from the Plymouth, California event.

The clinic wrapped up on Sunday afternoon with a review of lessons learned, discussions about best practices for application and removal, and a look forward to each clinician's plan for next steps. Everyone who attended felt confident about their application, excited about the new markets and opportunities with the EasyShoe product line.

Three of the clinicians like their experience so much that they modified their schedules so they can attend the upcoming clinic in San Diego this weekend. The event, which will be held at the famous Arroyo Del Mar facility owned and run by Shannon and Steffan Peters, will feature presentations from Daisy Bicking, Ernest Woodward and Garrett Ford, as well as the dissection of a lower leg by Paige Poss. A few spots are still available if this is an activity you think could benefit you as a horse owner or as a hoof care practitioner. On-line registration forms are available by clicking here: EasyShoe Clinic Registration Form.

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.

Global Endurance EasyShoe Clinics

On the road again. The overwhelming public response to the new EasyShoes has been exceeding expectations and the requests for more EasyShoe Clinics are coming in from all over the world. Because of this, I decided to travel some more to share these EasyShoes and their application with as many folks as possible. In my blog last month, I wrote for a report of the previous trips to Europe I had undertaken together with Garrett Ford, the CEO of EasyCare

Explaining the EasyShoe in Duesseldorf, Germany.

For additional information on the EasyCare clinics, click here: EasyShoe Clinics. Below is the current list of the Bootmeister's upcoming clinics.

April 4 Antelope Island Ride Syracuse, UT
This clinic is geared towards the rider who has no experience with the EasyShoe and wants to learn about using them. Time: 2:00-4:00 PM, after the first days event. I will show and demonstrate gluing application of the shoes. Contact: info@globalendurance.com or christophschork@gmail.com

March 29-30 Munich, Germany
This Clinic/Workshop is geared towards for the professional hoof trimmer and farrier. We will combine a more in depth hoof anatomy session with trimming discussions and application of all the four different EasyShoe models on live horses. Gluing and nailing will be demonstrated and practiced. Contact: info@globalendurance.com or nina.sepp@gmx.de

April 26-27 and May 10-11 Moab, UT
These two Clinics/Workshops will take place at Global Endurance Training Center. We will focus on trimming hooves, EasyShoe and Easyboot Glue-On applications. Participants will have opportunity to trim either their own horse or a horse provided. After a demonstration, everyone can practice gluing boots or EasyShoes provided. This is a definitely a hands-on clinic. After day one, we round out the evening with a slide presentation of Mongolian Hoof Care. Raffle and Give Away prizes from GETC, EasyCare and Coldflex. Participants will also learn how to nail on an EasyShoe. Contact: info@globalendurance.com or christophschork@gmail.com

The new Performance N/G are clear, so it even easier to see the white line and place the nails accurately.

May 23 Fandango 3 Day Pioneer Ride Owyhee, ID
After the first day of the ride, we will conduct a 2 hour clinic, 4:00-6:00 PM. We will focus on gluing and nailing the Performance and Performance N/G. For the gluing application we will use Adhere from Vettec. Additionally we will have some give away prices from GETC, EasyCare, and ColdflexVettec Company is sponsoring the Wine and Cheese Party after the clinic, organized by Global Endurance Center. Contact: steph@endurance.net or christophschork@gmail.com

Riding easily through difficult terrain with the new EasyShoe.

A big THANK YOU goes out to the organizers of the above seminars: Jeffrey Stuart, Nina Sep, Stephanie Teeter and Kevin Waters. Hope to see you at some of these clinics!

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

The Slickest EasyShoe Application Contest

Do you have the best EasyShoe application? Enter The Slickest EasyShoe Application Contest to win cash prizes! 

Submit photos showing four views of an EasyShoe application. The required views are a solar view and a lateral view, taken after the hoof has been trimmed and prepared for the EasyShoe application. Also, a lateral and a dorsal view after the EasyShoe has been applied. You may enter the Glue Application Category or the Nail Application Category. Three winners will be selected in each category with the following prize amounts: 1st place - $500; 2nd place - $350; 3rd place - $100. 

All entries must be submitted by May 16, 2014. Winners will be selected May 26, 2014. To enter the contest click here: The Slickest EasyShoe Application Contest.

The pictures below show the views that are necessary for the contest. When taking pictures please remember to:

  • take photos on a clean and flat surface.
  • take photos in natural light, shaded areas are preferable to full sun.
  • take the dorsal and lateral views from the ground level.
  • take the solar view with the camera parallel to the sole (do not tilt the hoof).
  • label your photos by foot and view (for example "RF lateral" for "right front lateral").

Solar view of trimmed and prepared hoof.

Lateral view of trimmed and prepared hoof.

Lateral view of finished EasyShoe application.

Dorsal view of finished EasyShoe application.

If you have any questions please give us a call at 1.800.447.8836 and we will be happy to assist you.
 

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

Launching the EasyShoe in England

I had the honor of attending the British Equestrian Trade Association Show in Birmingham last week. BETA International, as it is affectionately known, is the largest equine trade fair in the United Kingdom, and reunites an interestingly eclectic mix of tweed and rubber boots. I was there to work with Trelawne Equine, who had done a brilliant job of launching the new EasyShoe to the UK market in the days and weeks leading up to the show.

Although there was not an abundance of blacksmiths there, several stopped by at the Trelawne Equine booth and stayed for a while inspecting each of the four EasyShoe models. The trusty Blacksmith Buddy was there, thanks to Carl Bettison of Stromsholm, which afforded me the opportunity to demo the installation of the EasyShoe using Vettec Adhere.

I later went on to give an EasyShoe clinic in Durham in the north of England - attended by some 30 local blacksmiths, set up by Lucy Nicholas of Trelawne Equine and hosted by Dr. Paul Proctor of Simply Horses Vet Clinic. There was a lot of good dialogue with them and great interest, particularly in the glue-on versions of the EasyShoe.

Trying their hand at the EasyShoe Performance N/G.

Given the stringent laws in the UK for application of permanent hoof protection devices we have chosen to work with Stromsholm Ltd as distributor for all four of the new EasyShoe models in the UK. In effect, we are now working with two different departments for distribution of our EasyCare product line. Trelawne Equine will continue to act as the UK distributor for all products except the EasyShoe, and Stromsholm Ltd. will act as the UK distributor for the EasyShoe line and its related products.

The congregation of blacksmiths in Durham.

For EasyShoe enquiries in the UK, please contact Stromsholm Ltd. at 01908 233 909 or stromsholm.co.uk. For all other EasyCare Inc. product enquiries in the UK, please contact Trelawne Equine at 0844 257 8585 or trelawneequine.co.uk.

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.

Is Your Tack Shop Different?

Be First and Be Prepared to be Different:  In the equine industry, those EasyCare Dealers who are always first with the newest and most advanced hoof protective technologies always make an impact and the best impression on their customers. This was particularly interesting to me during the release of our new EasyShoes.

I had dealers calling, leaving messages and calling back before I could get back to them to pre-order the new EasyShoes. However, I also had dealers that wanted to sit back and “wait to see” what happens. They, obviously, will have a lot less impact on their customers and could possibly lose sales for lack of stock.

But you’re only going to make something of that great first impression if you’re smart enough to understand the needs of your customers. To do this you need to do your research. EasyCare provides literature and videos to educate you and your staff.  But, you also have to have a clear understanding of your own differentiators and the impact they can have on your customers. Even if your store is in a highly competitive area, there is always something that should differentiate your tack shop from others.

How can you differentiate yourself from the other tack shops, feed stores or on-line ordering? Yes, price is important, but it certainly isn’t the only thing that will sway a customer to purchase. What else have you got to offer? How can you really help your customer? Are you offering the newest, most advanced products in hoof protection? Can you show them good, reliable customer service?  Can you offer hoof boot fittings? Can you offer minor hoof boot repair? Can you offer EasyShoe or Glue-On clinics?  Your added value is starting to emerge and this can differentiate your tack shop from your competitor.

Get to know your competition: To help refine your differentiators, it’s useful to know what your competitor’s differentiators are, too. Not only the other store in the next town over, but the on-line shopping sites as well. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses. The latter is important because you can define your differentiators accordingly and step up your game in these areas. I have dealers that are in the same vicinity that actually work together for the good of the customer. One dealer will only sell hoof boots, while the other specializes in E-Z Ride Stirrups, Stowaway Packs and HiTies.

Have integrity: No one trusts a business that bad-mouths the competition. Stay true to your business values. Selling is a tough business, but a business owner with integrity is a huge differentiator and that goes a long way in creating a good customer service experience.

Find out which differentiators matter to your customers: Your customers play an important role in helping you further refine your differentiators and focus on the ones that matter to them. Step outside your business and listen to your customers’ needs and fine-tune your marketing messages. Focus on differentiators that really matter to your customers.

Roll your differentiators into your marketing message:  To help ensure your differentiators are well-defined and ingrained across your entire sales and marketing operation (including your staff), it’s important to develop a messaging platform and stick to it.

Most of all, make this about the Customer: A good sales person has the skill to let the customer do most of the talking. Have your sales people follow the 80/20 rule (80 percent listening, 20 percent talking). Instead of rushing through their pitch telling the customer which hoof boot is their (personal) favorite and trying to convince the customer accordingly, train your sales people to let your customer talk. They need to listen and understand the customer’s needs and identify which hoof boot style can address that customer’s needs and then outline the features and benefits. A very good salesperson will go the next step and look for needs that the customer hasn’t even raised. The more you can get the customer to think about needs they hadn’t previously recognized, the more likely you are to earn their trust and loyalty to your store. This will differentiate your staff of experienced sales people from the kids that are working at the other feed store in the next town or an on-line order.

EasyCare offers training for you and your staff, at your convenience. Training is done by phone and usually takes about 30 minutes of your time. Please call for 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.

 

California EasyShoe Clinics in March

Have you heard the news? Daisy Haven Farm will be offering five EasyShoe clinics across the US. Each 2 1/2 day clinic schedule starts on Friday evening and will focus on hoof anatomy, background on the EasyShoe and hands-on application techniques of all four shoe models. Space is limited so make sure to reserve your spot today. Participants may sign up using this on-line form: EasyShoe Clinic Registration. Please contact Daisy Bicking with any questions at Clinic@DaisyHavenFarm.com. Next month we are holding two EasyShoe clinic in California:
 
March 7-9th in Plymouth, CA
Host: Bob Smith
Facility: Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School
5225 Carbondale Road, Plymouth, CA 95669
 
March 14-16th in San Diego, CA
Host: Shannon Peters
Facility: Arroyo Del Mar
7070 Black Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92130
 
 
Friday Agenda
4:30 PM: Registration and Dinner
5 PM-9 PM: Anatomy Presentation and Dissection
• Overview of the weekend.
• Presentation on hoof anatomy and terms.
• Dissection by Paige Poss in conjunction with x-ray comparison of anatomy.
 
Saturday Agenda 
8:30 AM: Breakfast and review of previous day, Q & A
9 AM-5 PM: Cadaver Work
• Demonstration of hoof trim and prep for glue.
• Participant hands-on hoof mapping and trimming using x-ray: reliably finding the external landmarks related to internal anatomy.
• Shoe fit and preparation for glue.
• Lunch offered during review of the morning work, continue work after lunch.
• Demonstration of shoe application.
• Wrap-up Q&A at end of day.
 
Sunday Agenda
8:30 AM: Breakfast and review of previous day, Q & A
9 AM-5 PM: Glue-On Shoe Day
• Participants hands on final hoof prep and glue on shoes, working as teams to watch and assist each other.
• Lunch offered during review of the morning work, continue work after lunch.
• Learn to nail offered after lunch.
• Wrap-up Q&A at end of day.
 
 
For additional information on the EasyShoe, read Garrett Ford's blog, Launching the New EasyShoe, and Kevin Myers' blog, Eight Things Everyone Should Know About the New EasyShoe. Additional clinics will be held at the following locations:
 
May 16-18th in Charlotte, NC
Host: Bryan Baire
Facility: Location TBD
Charlotte, NC 
 
June 13-15th in College Station, TX
Host: Dr. David Hood
Facility: TBD
College Station, TX
 
July 11-13th in South Lyon, MI
Host: Brian Smigielski
Facility: Gaited Acres Farm
6175 Mae Lane, South Lyon, MI
 

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.