Submitted by Tina Ooley, EasyCare Customer Service Representative
I joined the EasyCare Customer Service team in June 2014, despite the fact that I do not ride horses and at the time, knew nothing about equine hoof health and anatomy. I immediately immersed myself in all of the training manuals that EasyCare provided me with and found myself quickly amazed by the complexity of a horse’s hoof. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could, not just because my job depended on it, but because it was fascinating. I spent hours reading books and articles learning about hoof anatomy and pathology, as well as all sorts of blogs and debates about shoeing vs. barefoot/booting. I could not deny the facts about how the hoof can function without steel shoes.
After the book and boot study, and the passing of a few written tests, I knew the hands-on training would be coming soon. I was excited about the idea of picking up a horse’s foot and checking out all of the external parts of the hoof that I now felt pretty knowledgeable about, but I was also nervous. And then it happened: one Wednesday afternoon, Holly and Rebecca summoned me to head out to the barn to play with horse feet. I was certainly unprepared as I headed to the barn from the office in my white Capri shorts and ballet flats, but I am not afraid to get dirty, so off I went. I won’t lie, the first time out with the horses was not pretty. I got schooled on the proper way to hold a hoof pick, tried to put an Easyboot Trail on backwards, got schooled again on how to hold a hoof pick and got a nice bite on my finger courtesy of my own ignorance about curious horses and the proper way to hold your hand out. It was exhilarating and I wanted more (not bites, but schooling and horse time).
My next trip out to the barn was after we had done a hoof mapping training session with Daisy Bicking. Rebecca and I decided to go out and do some hoof mapping with her horse, Rosie. Rosie was patient with me as I apologized to her for feeling nervous. Rebecca had me lead her from her pasture to the barn where we mapped her hooves. Rosie is a 16.2 draft breed and while I now know she is sweet as pie, I am unfamiliar with handling these beautiful, large animals and I imagined her doing me harm in some way. Pathetic, I know. She was perfectly behaved and we made it to the barn with no near-death experiences. I cleaned Rosie’s feet and we then had a very successful hoof mapping session and measured Rosie for her Old Mac’s G2s. My confidence around the horses was increasing, as well as my knowledge of their hooves and EasyCare hoof boots.
It was now mid-July: my training was coming to an end and it was about time for me to go live with our customers. I had one more hoop to jump through to prove my knowledge and competency in my new job as a Customer Service Representative for EasyCare: fit and apply every boot in our lineup to the horses. Did I mention that I had to do this with the owner and the CEO of the company looking over my shoulder? I was sweating and I hadn’t even begun putting the boots on.
I actually passed with flying colors, applying each boot successfully. I also got to “ride" Garrett’s pony, Toaster. I felt super excited about all that I had learned and accomplished in eight weeks. I am looking forward to continuing my studies in the world of all things horses and feel confident about my ability to serve our customers and answer questions. Helping people and their equine partners to reach a happy place together via our products makes me feel good. I look forward to doing more of that.