For the Love of the Glue-Ons!

Submitted by Leah Cain, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

I love riding a horse with Glue-On boots!  I have had a lot of success with them.  My horses travel freely and are confident over varied terrain in them.  In the past, I have only used them for 100 mile endurance competitions and multi-day rides.  I like using them so much that I hate to have to pull them off after a couple weeks to keep the hoof healthy.  I was thinking that if I had access to the sole of the hoof in order to keep it dry,clean it out and apply iodine, I could keep the boots on longer.  After speaking with Kevin Waters and Christoph Schork, and reading Christoph's blog about cutting out a big hole in the bottom and some of the benefits, I decided to try it myself. 

I took clean, unused glue on boots and cut a hole in the bottom using a 2 1/8 hole cutter (the one that you would use to cut a hole in a door for the door knob.)  I secured the boots to a piece of wood to hold them still. Also, make sure you are using clean gloves on your hands to ensure that you do not get the boots dirty.  Once the boots have the proper holes, you are ready to glue on boots as normal except you do not need Sikaflex in the bottom of the boot.  I did also use the EasyShoe Bond for this application simply because I realized that I didn't have any tips for the Adhere. 

I kept the boots on for 8 weeks.  In that time, I did many miles of conditioning and one 50 mile endurance competition.  We experienced lots of mud, gravel roads, sand and just about everything in between.  Surprisingly, we never picked up a rock. 

The last two photos are the boots and hoof after eight weeks. I definitely have found my new favorite way to use Glue-On boots!

 

The Elite Team

Tevis is arguably the most prestigious and toughest endurance race in the world. Even people who have never heard of the sport endurance riding have heard of the Tevis. The ride is being followed all over the world. This year marks the seventh year that EasyCare has provided a free gluing service for interested riders at the Tevis. In December 2008 Garrett Ford and I rode the Easyboot Glue-Ons at the Las Cienega Ride in Arizona for the first time ever in an endurance race. Garrett and I finished first and second that day and GE Cyclone, this years Haggin Cup winner, received the BC honors. 

From then on, we never looked back. We knew that the Glue-Ons would have a future. Starting in 2009 EasyCare organized and provided the Tevis gluing service. The numbers of interested riders are increasing every year and it  became harder and harder for Garrett and I to glue boots on dozens of horses before Tevis and then ride the next day. Often we both were so tired and suffered of aching backs before the ride even started that I was surprised we even made it through and finished at all.

Last year, Garrett had the great idea of forming an Easyboot Elite Team for Tevis, consisting of qualified farriers and hoof trimmers who would not enter the Tevis themselves. Interested individuals filled out applications, these were then screened and after interviews, the Elite Team members were selected. 

Kevin Myers wrote a blog last year after Tevis with some stats on how Easyboot Glue-On riders fared compared with riders using various other hoof protection methods. You can read up on this by clicking on this blog. Just a short statistic here, last year the completion rate for non Easyboot riders was 42%, Easyboot riders finished at 55%.

So, how does it compare to this year? This year, the completion rate was an astonishing 76% for Easyboot riders! The highest percentage ever! Haggin Cup winner was again in Easyboots. You can see the full history of results in Garrett's Tevis recap.

The Easyboot Glue-On is certainly an outstanding product. But without the proper application of these boots, the numbers would certainly not be that good. Only the professional and meticulous glue on procedure guaranteed this success. There is no better group of hoof care professionals in this country than the Easyboot Elite Team, with this years members being listed alphabetically here: 

Daisy Bicking

Josh Bowles

Jeremy Ortega

Pete Van Rossum

Deanna Stoppler

Derick Vaughn

These individuals did such an outstanding job gluing boots on, it was a pleasure for me to watch. If my memory serves me right, not one single Glue-On boot applied by this team was lost during Tevis. 

Elite Team members worked at three stations, gluing three horses at the same time.

The hoof is structured with the rasp to increase the adhesion of the glue.

An Elite Team member is checking the size for proper  fit.

After the glue is applied and the boot attached, the borders are sealed and smoothed out. With a hoof buffy, the boot is then finished for a crisp and clean look. 

Tevis has come and gone. We are all looking forward now to the National Championship in September this year at Antelope Island. Will riders with Easyboots again take home top honors?

 

From the desk of the Bootmeister

 

Christoph Schork

www.globalendurance.com

 

Mentorship with Garrett Ford

Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

In 2015 I applied for the American Association of Professional Farriers (AAPF) Roy Bloom Scholarship by submitting a case study entitled “A Team Approach to Treatment of Recurrent Abscessing Resulting From Solar Keratoma in a 14-year-old Quarter Horse”. As one of two recipients of the scholarship, I received the grand prize of a two to three day paid mentorship to take place with an AAPF mentor of my choice.  I chose to mentor with Garrett Ford, President and CEO of EasyCare, the leader in hoof boot technology.

Ford is an innovator, businessman, endurance rider, athlete, and breeds and races horses in the Arabian racehorse industry.  He is married to an amazing athlete, could-be professional chef, and physical therapist, Lisa Ford, and is raising a 9-year-old hard-as-nails, feisty daughter, Alyxx Ford. They have three dogs—one that is quite crafty and does all kinds of tricks, another who is an up and coming cattle dog (and wreaks havoc on the horses and foals, in a good way) and another miniature guard dog whose bark is much bigger than her bite. And they have a lot of horses. Arabs.  Ford trims and shoes his own horses for pleasure, endurance competitions, and for the racetrack. 

Ford’s experience in the hoof care industry, wide range of interests and talents, and ability to manage his career and personal life were all reasons for my selection. 

Traveling across the country from Vermont to Colorado was nothing new—every year I travel to Alberta, Canada to visit my dad—but still when I exited the plane in Durango I was amazed at the dry air.  Vermont is a humid place; even when we lack rainfall, it is humid.  Colorado was dry.  Cloudless sky.  Bright sun.  Like Alberta, like home.

My first evening at the Ford ranch was spent settling in, eating delicious sushi in downtown Durango (I liked the appetizer of fried brussel sprout chips best), and planning the next two days. 

Enjoying sushi with a feisty Ford!

In the days to come I would learn about trimming in a dry environment; glue on tips-and-tricks; new ideas for glue usage; basic information about Arabian breeding and racing; and endurance riding (hands on—we went for a 17-mile ride in the mountains, trotting and cantering the entire ride).

17-mile ride with Garrett and Lisa Ford.

Day 1: Can you glue a shoe?

If you think you know all there is to know about gluing try spending the day with Garrett Ford.  His mind constantly challenges the status quo.  He and his friend and colleague, Curtis Burns, continually test new ideas for shoe designs and for glue prep and use.  After numerous courses with various well known glue practitioners and spending a week as a team member of the 2015 Easy Elite, gluing shoes on competitors’ horses for the Tevis Cup 100 Mile Endurance Ride, I would say I know a thing or two about gluing but as farriers we can never learn too much and Ford is a prime example of pushing the boundaries and not allowing ourselves to settle in the comfort zone.

We played with shoeing using a technique that allowed us to tack the shoe on with Vettec adhere only from the heel to widest part of foot portion of the shoe, alleviating any possibility of glue pressure in the tip of P3, and tying in the cuffs and toe region of the shoe with Equilox tinted with black concrete dye.

Equilox tinted with black concrete dye.

We talked about the importance of heel prep and making sure the periople is removed prior to applying glue and how critical it is to glue the vertical height of the heels, not just the sole side.

Importance of heel prep.

We applied a dual nail/glue system and cut the cuffs down to account for slight flaring in the foot. 

A conversation about aesthetics and finish led me to realize that the smallest of details, like consistent finish in all four cuffs, separates better from best.  Ford talked about his mantra when finishing a foot—Curtis Burns once said to him: “Would you leave it like that?” And so he says it to himself after every trim, glue job, boot removal…would you leave it like that?  If in doubt fix it; do it to the best of your ability or don’t do it at all.

Day 2: Trimming a few, and a few more.

Trimming in a dry climate was in some ways like taking a breath of fresh air.  The work can be more difficult when trying to remove embedded bar and sole material but the feet are rock solid, literally. In Vermont feet are in a constant cycle of wet to dry to wet to dry to mostly wet, soggy, like a sponge. I might be exaggerating a bit but you get the idea.  Even though Ford’s pastures are irrigated daily, the horses’ feet are dry.  The air is dry. The ground is dry.  Feet: dry.

The balance of backing toes, leveling heels, leaving vertical height, straightening bars, removing exfoliating frog material, all of it applies to Colorado feet but Ford’s horses had healthy, dry feet instead of healthy wet feet.  Looking at the feet in Colorado versus Vermont wasn’t earth shatteringly different but I quickly realized that dry West feet could handle a bit more trimming than soggy East feet. In Vermont it feels that I am constantly balancing taking just the right amount of foot; not leaving so much that it will chip in the next couple of weeks of growth but not taking so much that if we hit a dry spell the horses will be sensitive on hard ground. 

During our day spent trimming Ford and I talked about the Arabian breeding and racing industry and what I got from those conversations is probably not what you’d expect, the retention of facts of sires and dams and bloodlines.  Instead it was the fact that a person can specialize in and pursue various areas of interest and still be successful.  Sure it is important to have a place in the market for your talent and skill set but that doesn’t mean solely focusing on only that area to be successful. 

Ford’s ability to network in various aspects of the horse industry reminded me of a web with many threads that all weave together into an intricate design, making the entire web stronger. 

My mentorship taught me that if you have passion, a willingness to work hard, an open mind, and aim to do things right the first time you will succeed.

If you understand that the most important thing in life is caring for your loved ones and staying true to who you are deep inside—to look in the mirror and be able to answer to yourself—then success is easy.  Success is and will always be yours.  Success is more than reaching a specific goal; success is a way of life.

"E" is for Epic and "K" is for Kevin

Submitted by Jordan Potthoff, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

On Saturday, July 16th I went on a ride with my mother, Cathy, and our two Wisconsin cowboy friends, Daniel and Vern. Cathy, Vern, and I are members of the Back Country Horseman in La Plata County. This group does trail work in wilderness areas where horses have access to ride. It is "Trails 2000" for Equestrians. As president of the Durango Chapter my mom decided we needed to scope out the Crater Lake trail that goes up past Andrew's Lake, near Silverton, Colorado, before the work crew came in the following week. It was a fun day ride and we were all happy to get out and enjoy the beautiful Colorado weather.

We looked at the hiking guide to gauge our time and mileage. It stated, "5.5 miles to the lake" then of course 5.5 miles out. I had done a 5 mile ride on my 4 year old mare, my first young horse, and I felt she was ready for a longer ride. This would certainly be a challenge because it was twice as far as we had ever gone. There would be many challenges on this ride that would test her and I as a team. Needless to say, according to our GPS tracking the day went from a 11 mile ride to a 14 mile ride. If I was looking for a ride to challenge and train my young horse, boy did I find it.

I wasn't sure the footing of the trail so I decided on my Easyboot Epics for the ride. I am new to the barefoot world and natural hoof care. My horse, Pistol, has spent the riding season in shoes and the off season barefoot. When I joined EasyCare I pulled her shoes and began the journey into barefoot hoof care.

So far I like the Epics. The way that they open up allows for easy application and I still get a snug fit because of the cable and buckle system. This is a great starting place for me since both Pistol and I are new to booting. My hope is to make believers out of my riding group for this trip and future ones. I did spend part of the ride talking about EasyCare and all of the different boots we have to offer, as well as Glue-Ons and EasyShoes. I enjoy talking about the boot because I truly believe in our product. It doesn't work for every horse but the owner and CEO, Garrett Ford, is always looking to increase sizing options and created a better boot. 

My horse had some reservations about our first few water crossings. Somewhere during that time of trying every avenue possible to avoid the water she tore the gaiter on one of her boots and the boot came off. The boot buckle didn't release so I need to examine the boot and see if the cable is broken. I will also measure her feet again to make sure I have the correct size. I think what happened was I tried the fit kit and found the correct size for the Glove. But without checking measurements ordered the same size in the Epics. This is a common mistake. Our boots are not all sized the same, so we always tell our customers not to assume that if they are a size in one model they will be the same size in a different model. What probably happened is that this boot was too big and the clamp didn't tighten enough around the hoof to stay on during her frantic moves across the water.

When I did remove the boots I found that very little water stayed in the boot. I know that some people worry about water building up in the boots and sloshing around during a ride. This boot allows most of the water to squish back out after going through a stream.

The Epics have moderate traction and break over on the toe. The trail up to Crater lake was a mixture of dirt trail and big rocky sections. As we passed over large slabs of rock I noticed that Pistol had better traction in most instances and had less of a tendency to slip out compared to the other horses who were shod with steel shoes. Pistol has not developed a disciplined, cautious step yet, so I know that she wasn't getting better footing because of better foot placement on the trail. I was also happy for the gaiter protection around the heel bulbs because two of the horses experienced small cuts from sharp rocks.

We saw this butterfly at the end of our ride. It made me think of Kevin. Butterflies to me symbolize rebirth and transition into a new state of being. For me I think it could have been Kevin joining me in my successful ride. I had looked forward to riding with him this summer. I know that I would have learned a lot from him and my horse would have as well. He was always approachable when I had questions or wanted to learn more. I know I will still learn from him, his memory, and his experiences through the many many lives he impacted. 

Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing Kevin Myers for very long, he immediately inspired me to challenge myself and expand my riding experience. Both his and Garrett's passion for endurance riding was infectious. I have dabbled in many disciplines and their passion has sparked my curiosity for this new one. Well let me tell you I have a long way to go! Kevin would have called my 14 mile stroll a "recovery ride". HA! I was the one who needed to recover after that ride. It was my longest ride in a long time. But he was always very encouraging and was great at celebrating victories no matter how small.

He was on my mind during my first big ride. I know that he had a habit of doing a hand stand in great places so in his memory I did a hand stand in victory. Here's to you, Kevy. "K" is for Kevin. Happy Trails.

Kevin And The 300

It is very hard for me now to pick up a pen and write a new blog after the tragic event that occurred within our EasyCare Family. It just hit too close to home. I am still extremely sad and in pain to the deepest level in my soul. 

 

 

And now what? We are all supposed to pick up the pieces and keep going. I guess we have to. Life is going on and we cannot keep staying in a state of sorrow forever.  It is unhealthy and also not fair to others close to us who might not have had the privilege of knowing Kevin Myers.  But make no mistake about it, it is hard, very hard. Tevis is happening this week, then the Nationals and other rides.  EasyCare will develop new products and life will continue. But Kevin's memories will stay with us and that is a good thing. Sooner or later we all shall be united again with him.  Hope it will be quite a bit later.

To learn more about what Kevin meant to all of us within the EasyCare Family, you can read up on the last couple of blogshttp://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/horse-boots-customer-help/postcards-to-kevin, and here: http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/easycare-admin/wish-you-were-here.

One of the best blogs about Kevin was written by Garrett Ford. A magnificent tribute to him. I just love Garrett's thoughts about Kevin. 

Kevin was very interested in the success of his friends. He was always supportive of me and helped me achieve my goals. He was so looking forward to me reaching the 300 mark of wins in the endurance sport which he himself loved so much. It is sad that he missed that day and event, which happened during the Doubloon Ride, managed by Tennessee Lane of Remuda Run

Riding GE Pistol Annie at day 2 of the Doubloon ride to achieve the 300 win mark.

While the spirits were dampened by the passing of Kevin, and we all were not really in celebration or partying mood, it was nevertheless a big event that had not been reached by any endurance rider in the the world. 

Merri Melde from Endurancenet wrote a very nice article about it, to be read up here.

Trotting out for Completion after the finish of the Doubloon on day 2.

Okay, so far so good,  but what does EasyCare have to do with it all, one might ask.  Quite a bit, I will answer. 

A lot of these wins were actually accomplished using various EasyCare hoof protection products:

By far the most used boot was the Glue-On. In over 100 wins the Glue-on boot were used. Simply a reliable hoof boot that gets the job done. Love that boot. Easy to apply and lasting.

Ria McCarthy from Heber City, Utah, just rode with her dad the whole length of the state of Utah from the border of Arizona to the border of Idaho, 605 miles with countless vertical feet over many mountains during her 28 day trip. She and her horse used only one pair of Glue-On boots for the whole trip, and there are still some miles left on the tread. Just incredible performance. No iron shoe would have lasted that long.  Ria shared these two photos of the bottom of the Glue-On boots with me:

What a testimony for the Easyboot Glue-Ons. No need to say anything more. These photos say it all. 

So we all move on, with a heavy heart, no doubt. I hope time will heal us all and make us better people because of Kevin. We all shall look out more for each other. This will be his legacy he left for us.

From The Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

Flip Flop Forgiveness

Submitted by Mari Ural, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

Even if your horse doesn't have the perfect foot, give the Easyboot Flip Flops a chance.  Especially for those people who want to go barefoot, but feel they can't, Flip Flops are the perfect solution.

Heart's feet do not have the perfect shape for Glue-Ons or Gloves.  He does use them with help from a power strap, tape and extra glue because the shells tend to get a gap at the "v".  His foot just seems to be narrower towards the coronet band than at the base, although the trim looks great.

We decided to give the Flip Flops a whirl.  Knowing there would be some gapping we simply stuffed more glue into the gap.  It has worked out great.  He's been out in sand, rocks, gravel and even some nice footing!  He's quite happy in his Flip Flops.  He strides out and the Flip Flops are totally secure.  The best part is that nothing collects in them.  After the ride, there is no debris stuck inside the Flip Flops, they are clean as a whistle.  When we were in mud, some did squish into the boot.  However, when it dried it came right out again.

For those folks who wish to leave them on for a full trim cycle they are perfect.  All the fresh air any hoof could want. Thank you, EasyCare.

 

 

EasyCare Goes Cavalry at the Old Dominion

Submitted by Karen Neuenschwander, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

The Old Dominion 100 is a bucket list ride for many. Rocks, big climbs, heat, humidity, and more rocks make “the Beast of the East” a fitting nickname for this ride. To add to the challenge, there is an option to ride “Cavalry.” The rider must carry with them everything for the horse and rider (except for water) for the entire ride. I’ve been fascinated with the idea of attempting this challenge since I learned about it several years ago. When it came time to take my mare, Brooke, on her first 100 miler, I knew she’d be a good candidate to give it a try. She’s strong on mountain trails, tolerates heat and humidity well, and takes great care of herself without being too high maintenance.

Hoof protection was a big consideration since any gear for lost shoes or boots had to be carried. Easyboot Glue-Ons were the obvious choice for us. The key to Glue-On success is proper application to DRY hooves. In our damp, swampy Southeast Virginia climate, getting those hooves dry can take a little extra effort. Brooke and her buddy, Legalas, had a sleepover in my barn’s stalls the night before we applied the boots for some extra drying time. “Legs” will be doing Tevis next month in Glue-Ons applied by the EasyCare gluing team, so he did the 50 miler at Old Dominion to try them out. The next morning, I glued everyone’s boots (with lots of extra hands to help things go smoothly), and we headed to the ride.

A night in the stalls keeps everyone's hooves nice and dry before gluing.

Although I tried to minimize the amount of stuff that I carried, some necessities needed to be packed along. I used the EasyCare Deluxe Stowaway Pack to carry some grain, two spare Easyboot Gloves, and electrolytes. I had planned to use the Deluxe Pommel Pack for more storage in front, but upon trying it out, discovered that I actually preferred something a little smaller. One quick call to EasyCare, and the standard size pack arrived a couple of days later. It carried my drink bottles and Brooke’s all-important carrots! I carried my food in a small backpack designed for ultra-runners, and we were all set to tackle the ride!

Sporting our Glue-Ons and all of our gear.  Photo by Becky Pearman Photography
 
Our goal was simply to get a completion. We made time where the footing was good, trusting that the Glue-Ons would absorb concussion on the miles of forest service roads. Brooke was able to do her awesome power walk over the crazy rocks and up and down the steepest climbs, her boots providing great traction and protection on the uneven footing. In the end, we completed the ride in fifth place, making us eligible to compete not only for the Cavalry Trophy, but also the Old Dominion Trophy, which is judged similarly to Best Conditioned.
 

During the judging the next morning, Brooke trotted out sound and looked great for the vet exam. I was shocked and honored at the awards ceremony to learn we had won both the Cavalry and Old Dominion Trophies! I am so grateful to EasyCare for offering products that helped make our ride such a success!

 

Thunder's 5000th Mile in Repurposed Gloves

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2016 Member
 
My plan was simple: Order some comfort pads to put in Thunder's Gloves and go ride three days at Oregon Outback's beautiful Hallelujah Trail, put on by Dennis and Linda Tribby. Only I messed up and ordered 12mm pads and not the 6mm, which I have since returned and now have 6mm pads for the next time. But I needed something for this time. Never fear, I have a tube of Sikaflex to goop some boots on with. Hmmmm, I scrounge through my collection of used Gloves and come up with two that have some mileage on them that are still plenty good. Plan B, Sikaflex the Gloves on and take the gaiters off and voila - good as Glue-Ons.
 
 
One thing I love about Sikaflex is that it doesn't set up real quick. I can take my time and not hurry, I like that. So my first step is to loosen the screws on the gaiter because I will take it off eventually. Then I take the Glove and fill it with a generous amount of Sikaflex, smearing some up on the sides inside the boot too. I set the boot aside and do the last minute touches of being sure the hoof is clean and ready. With Sikaflex I don't have to buff the hoofwall and such like you do with Adhere, I like that too. Then I just put the Glove on as I always would, tapping it into place with the mallet and hooking up the gator. I have him ties eating hay which keeps him quiet for awhile as the Sikaflex sets up. After an hour or so I put him back out with his buds. The next day I remove the gator and head for the ride.
 
 
Thunder chowing down at the vet check on day one. Our Sikaflexed Gloves are performing well.
 

Thunder after the first 50, looking happy and ready for another day. (Photo by Trish Frahm)

Mid-day trotting down the great trails and enjoying life! The footing was awesome and we wouldn't have needed those comfort pads on this ride anyway. But it was sure nice to not have to worry about any rubs or irritation from three days of gaiters and Gloves. Thunder completed his AERC 5,000 miles with day two. And we finished up the weekend riding the third day and being a Pioneer.
 
 
Now here we are six days after "sikking" them on and I have the chore of removing the boots. They are still nice and tight.
 
 
The best way I know to get them off is find a spot to insert a flat sided screw driver and just start working it around the hoof and pull the boot and such away from the hoof wall.
 
 
It takes a few minutes of working the screw driver around the hoof but soon the boot is coming free of the hoof.
 
 
After loosening the sides all around, I insert the screw driver blade under the boot, working through the heel area, and it pops right off pretty easily.
 
 
‚ÄčAnother great thing with using Sikaflex is all the material is in or on the boot and your hoof is clean and has no debris stuck on it. We'll be ready to trim and Glove for the next ride, and go for more miles.
 

Editor’s note: the opinions expressed in this blog do not represent EasyCare’s official recommended gluing protocol for hoof boots. To learn more about the recommended gluing protocol, please see http://www.easycareinc.com/Our_Boots/Easyboot_glue-on/glue-on_fitting.aspx. Following the steps outlined by EasyCare will increase the success rate of any glue-on product.

 

Rookies Take it Off

When we glue hoof protection on, us rookies just hope we actually have the chance to remove it and that it doesn’t just fall off on its own or come flying off while riding. For the most part I have been very successful and the protection I have glued on stays in place for the entire duration. The Flip Flop was no exception. Since the Flip Flop is quite easy to glue you would think it would be easy off as well. Easy on, easy off, right? WRONG! The Flip Flop is not easy off. I’m not implying that it is difficult to remove when you need to do so I’m stating that these were not going to come off on their own and tools were going to have to be involved. 

This set of Flip Flops had been on just over 6 weeks, there was one tiny spot just above the junction of the base and the cuff that was coming unglued but it was in no way going to cause the Flip Flop to fall off.

In true rookie fashion I was not the most prepared, but if I were it wouldn’t be any fun right? If you have the Flip Flop application guide you will notice on the removal section it suggest either using a hoof knife or vibrating cutting saw. I do have almost everything anyone could ever need in my trailer but unfortunately a vibrating cutting saw is not something I have stashed away. I do have multiple, very dull hoof knives, so I was in luck.

I will admit, I did ask the man in the silver sneakers for tips on how to remove the Flip Flop and he said to make sure I was pushing the base away from the sole when cutting and to also not remove the entire base as I could use it the to peel the cuff away from the hoof wall.

Well, my awesome hoof knife was so dull that no matter how hard I tried it was not going to cut the junction without quite a bit of strength. As I was leaving the office that day we were talking about removing my Flip Flops and I had received another bit of advice from another man that unfortunately does not wear silver sneakers about rasping where the cuff and the base meet so that is exactly what I did. 

I made sure to really rasp the thickened part right where the junction starts, I believe that would have been enough if my hoof knife was sharper than a butter knife but I went ahead and did the entire junction.

Once my rasping was done I grabbed my super dull hoof knife, pulled the base down and the junction cut just like butter!

I cut about three quarters of the junction and then stopped. This allowed me to use the base as a handle to pull the cuff away from the hoof wall, it peeled with such ease and virtually no damage to the hoof wall. It also made my clean up much easier as there was only a thin line of Adhere left on the hoof wall.

The Flip Flop is almost as easy to remove as it is to apply, all you need is a rasp and some sort of knife. It doesn’t even need to be that sharp, although I would imagine it would make it much easier if the knife was sharp, and the rasp won't not be needed. It could also make the process more dangerous. I have never done well around sharp objects so I'll stick to the dull hoof knife for removal. When I wrote A Rookie Went Gluing: Flippin' Success with the Flip Flop I raved about how much I liked this new product. Well, nothing has changed after weeks of use and my horse being extremely comfortable. I think I maybe more in love now than I was to start.

 

Bowker Master Class in Australia

Traveling to the other side of the world to Australia is a surreal experience, 24 hours of air travel to land in a beautiful place full of completely different flora and fauna, let alone tremendously entertaining accents.

I recently had the opportunity to go to the Melbourne area of 'Straya, as it's often locally called (try saying this with an Australian accent), and attend Dr. Robert Bowker's master class at the Equine College of Podiotherapy.  The College is located at a fantastic facility, Mayfield, in Yarck, Victoria, and is a nationally accredited educational program run by "The Barefoot Blacksmith", Andrew Bowe.  

The master class is an advanced hoof course offered to students at the school. And while Dr. Bowker is from the USA, nothing like this 3-day master class with him is currently offered here in the US. It was an incredible opportunity to attend this class as it is not usually open to those not enrolled in the school. I was traveling to Australia to teach a Daisy Haven Farm Hoof Distortion and Glue/Composite Shoe Workshop and was invited to guest lecture on glue and composite shoe work at the Masterclass. Of course, I extended my trip to attend the entire program.  

Sitting and listening to Dr. Bowker at such a concentrated level helped me further understand the theories and anatomy he has been sharing with us for years. Dr. Bowker has always been a great influence in my approach to my work with the horse's foot and this master class just reinforced and enhanced my understanding of the function of the foot. Here are a few key thoughts that stood out to me from the course:

1. Most of the blood flow to the foot is going to the back part of the foot. 

It is commonly thought that the digital cushion does not have significant blood supply as the large vessels of the foot lead to the front of the foot, and the sensitive frog and digital cushion are pale in a dead foot. However the digital cushion is made up of mixoid tissue which has bazillions of micro vessels: like watering your garden, using a fire hose would eliminate top soil, however if you use the fire hose to feed many small sprinklers it will work to water the garden without damage. So the digital cushion actually has immense blood supply.  

This previous blog highlights some of Dr. Bowker's research on the circulation of the back of the horse's foot: How to Develop a Healthy Foot: Circulation Is It!.

2. Navicular syndrome is a whole foot problem, as opposed to being contained to just the back half of the foot.  

In comparison to a healthy foot, a horse with navicular syndrome will have:

  1. Lateral cartilages with greater size micro vessels indicating chronic inflammation.
  2. Digital cushion with less fibrocartilage and mass, the fibrocartilage is a key component in energy dissipation.
  3. Impar ligament and deep digital flexor tendon lesions associated with "navicular disease".
  4. Coffin Bone will have 1/3 less bone than all other horses age 2-31 when navicular syndrome is present, i.e. osteoporotic.
  5. Primary Epidermal Laminae are closer together indicating increased stress.

The newest information Dr. Bowker presented at the class was on fascia. Dr. Bowker has been doing dissections from the carpus down the distal limb examining the fascial sheets. So far no two horses are the same.

He has been able to draw preliminary conclusions from the dissections that indicate horses are not born with developed fascial bands. They develop over time in response to how the foot interacts with the ground and manages vibration.  

Key points:

  1. Fascia is an integrated binding fabric between and around muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments.  
  2. These structures “float” or are meshed within fascial layers and bands and develop and change over time.
  3. Many structures are connected through fascia where no other apparent connection exists. For example, the common digital extensor tendon connects all the way to the frog through fascia.  
  4. Dr. Bowker has observed that managing vibrations, especially at high frequencies has a negative impact on the fascia.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg of valuable information presented. My book of handouts is 3" thick and my notes are pages and pages long.

My favorite quote of the whole course:

"The unanswered questions aren't nearly as dangerous as the unquestioned answers."  Dr. Bob Bowker.

‚ÄčHuge thanks to Sarah Kuyken of Innovative Hoofcare Australia for hosting me in Melbourne and Andrew Bowe of the Australian College of Podiotherapy for allowing me to present some of my work with composite shoes and attend the master class.

For more information: www.DaisyHavenFarm.com and www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com.