Postcards to Kevin

Finding words to express the magnitude of loss and feelings the EasyCare family is dealing with is difficult, to say the least.  The shock is still lingering and the tears flow far more easily than words.  Here are a few thoughts and tributes from the EasyCare family:

From Dee Reiter

Kevin and I arrived at EasyCare within a month of each other in 2010. From the start, Kevin became my “go-to guy” for his warmth, charm, knowledge, his willingness to always be there for me and he earned my trust very quickly. I loved his work ethic, his big smile, his quick wit, his sarcasm and his gentleness. 

He was always my biggest fan in sharing my successes. In one of my last emails to him, I told him that my main concern was to exceed his goals for me and then we would both be happy. Kevin’s one word reply, “Amen.” He was my boss, my motivator, my friend.

We identified with each other as the “two worriers” in the company and both (laughingly) admitted that neither of us would ever change.

In 2010, Kevin and I flew to Massachusetts for Equine Affaire and spent five days together. You learn a lot about your teammate in five days of being together constantly. We are both the coffee drinking champions of EasyCare and it was a constant battle of Dunkin vs Starbucks. It was during this time that we both found ourselves, not only new to EasyCare, but new to our trade show booth and how I earned Kevin’s nickname, “Dee-vious” in getting (borrowing) the parts and pieces to put a trade show booth together. That name stuck until Wednesday, June 29, 2016. It was a name that endeared me to Kevin and now makes my cry.

Kevin’s hugs were the best and the last hug he gave me, he hung on for an extra long time. I wish he would have hung on so much longer.

Kevin, my heart is broken and I will miss you forever.

From Nancy Fredrick

Kevin, sweet Kevin…..you will be missed and loved forever.
From our first meeting here at EasyCare in 2010, you were a “Breath of Fresh Air”. Your smile was contagious. One look at you and a person could not help but smile back. Your happy attitude was so infectious. You have always been so gracious, forgiving and eloquent in everything you did and all interactions with everyone. You just had a way with words to make every person you came in contact with feel special.
I feel blessed to the moon and back that we had such a great connection these past six years. 
My heart is broken that you are gone from this EasyCare family….but your memory and smile will live on forever for all of us.
Love you Bunches mi Amigo!!!!! Via con Dios~

From Kathy Sherer

Kevin had so many wonderful qualities but if I had to choose just one word to describe him, it would be “kind.” 
The first time I met Kevin was shortly after he had moved to Durango. He needed pasture for his beloved horses, and I was the lucky one who had what he needed. When I met this handsome, gentle man, it was love at first sight. That sweet smile and adorable accent were like a magnet. When I saw him interact with his horses, I could see how patient and loving he was. I can still see that cute little grin of his as he stood and watched them like a proud father. 
Every day, when his truck showed up, I always went out to see him. “Hello, lovie” is how he always greeted me, and it would make me smile every time. More than once, I jokingly asked Kevin if I could adopt him. My mothering instinct was telling me that this very gentle spirit needed to be protected.
On his visits, we sometimes talked about the possibility of my becoming part of the EasyCare team, but the timing wasn’t right until four months ago when I became a part-time Customer Service Representative. This is when I got to see another side to Kevin. As our beloved leader, he was not only kind, but he was also supportive, patient, encouraging, and obviously brilliant. We depended on him in every way.
Kevin would be happy to see how his EasyCare family is caring for each other as we pull together in his absence. If one of us is struggling, another team member steps in. If someone needs a hug, there’s always one available. The team that he built is closer than ever, and I know he’s smiling about that. 
I’ll see you on the other side, lovie.

From Shari Murray

I already miss so much Kevin calling me on the phone and calling me “lovie”. "How are you lovie?  How is your day going?"  When Kevin asked, you could tell he really cared about how my day was going and how I was. He would ask me every time I talked to him “How is Mr. Muggles doing?” Kevin had a way about him that made everyone he had contact with feel special. 

From Devan Mills

Kevs, I have been lucky enough in my life to meet a lot of wonderful people and there are a handful of those people that have made a profound impact on my life both professionally and personally, Mr. Myers you are certainly one of them. After coming to interview with EasyCare I ran into you, Derrick and Rebecca at the local Mexican joint, you of course greeted me with that big smile and told me, “These are your peeps” I did not have the job with EasyCare yet but after you said that I wanted nothing more to be one of those peeps, and thank you for letting me be one of your peeps. Kevin thank you for always encouraging me in the office and trusting me with projects that I would have never trusted myself with, you have helped me become a more confident person I will be eternally grateful for that. I have had conversations will my fellow employees about how EasyCare has very passionate employees, looking back you made us more passionate about what we do, your passion and knowledge rubbed off on all of us. Another person that made a huge impact on me life once told me ‘Devan, you ride for the brand sometimes that is hard to find in a person’ it took me sometime to figure out what he meant by that, but Kevin you most definitely rode for the brand; fiercely loyal, extremely passionate and never gave up until the job was done in both your personal and professional life. Thank you for always caring about how I was doing and genuinely wanting to know, always making sure myself and horses were taken care of. I am going to miss running into you after work in Falls Creek on horseback and being amazed that you somehow did 18 miles on your horse up there, Falls Creek is going to be missing a big piece of what made it so special. Our trip to Tucson last fall I learned so much about you which made me respect you on so many levels and also left me wondering “When does Kevin sleep, he does so much?” thank you for also answering every single question I had about saguaro cactus, I'm sure you were thinking “This girl needs to get out more.” Thank you for being a part of my journey in life, I am going to miss you as a leader, mentor and friend. Rest easy, although it was much too soon you certainly earned it. 
With the utmost respect- Devs  

From Jean Welch

Before I started working at EasyCare, I was first introduced to Kevin through his Blogs. My first impressions of him were that he was adorable, funny, and clearly committed to helping horses. His English humor and wit came through in his writings. I read everything he wrote, never thinking that one day I would actually meet him, let alone work at the same Company. He was an accomplished endurance rider, an actual Tevis rider! He was somewhat of a superstar/celebrity in my book.

When I finally had the honor of meeting him, I was so nervous, but his warm smile greeted me as if we were longtime friends. He looked me in the eye and shook my hand and made me feel at ease.

As our friendship grew, he became more like a brother, sharing his knowledge, insights, words of wisdom, and dreams of the future. He had this uncanny way of diffusing a tense situation into something to giggle about. He has been a great inspiration to me, and I will miss him terribly.

From Rebecca Balboni

Oh Kevy, my most favorite leprechaun, I so hope you have found the peace that eluded you in this life. I am grateful for your leadership and mentoring in the office, for our adventures into the wilds of Colorado (sometimes the wilds of downtown), and for every precious mile ridden together. You, kind sir, could sure turn a phrase. You were a phenomenal chef, a horseman beyond compare, a scholar, and a loyal friend. I miss our banter and your infectious 1,000 watt grin. I don’t know how you did it, but you managed to “get” every person who came across your path. So kind and generous with your words, you were the best at making everyone comfortable. A diplomat in the truest sense of the word. You were the anti-awkward. You taught me so many lessons about how to be-just by being your inimitable self. Thank you for our short time together. You have changed my life in ways you could never imagine. Ride on, Kevin, ride on and on and on. 

From Debbie Schwiebert

Dear Kevin,

Man, you worked hard and played hard. Sometimes I wondered how in the world you were able to do it all but that’s just how you rolled.

We shared some great times riding together and laughed until we cried during the EasyCare photo shoots. I’ll confess I was never more stoked than to fix you up with a “real hat”!  You wore it well my friend. Good times and special memories.

Your life made a difference, thank you.

From Christoph Schork, The Bootmeister

Kevy!!

Kevin left us hanging. I cannot help wondering where I failed him and what I missed during the last few months of his life. I still have not come up with an answer and I might never come up with one. So I am left with the memories of Kevy, how I often called him endearingly, and what he meant to me.
Few people have touched my life the way Kevin has. He was a person of infallible character, a man with high morals, a person that listened to everybody patiently and never failed to give advice when asked. Kevin also was a man of highest intellectual capacity. Witty, smart, funny and mentally stimulating,
these were some of his outstanding personal traits. There was not one single topic I could not discuss with him. His understanding of the world was refreshing. Tolerant in every respect, yet a man with conviction. For years we worked together within the EasyCare family. Highly professional and
knowledgeable in every aspect of the business, I could always rely on Kevin to come up with a solution to any problems that came up.

Kevin made work to be fun. His joyfulness, smile and laughter was contagious and will be a part of me forever. In private, we spent countless hours riding together on our horses, riding bikes, running or just sitting and discussing politics, history and life. Kevin also took active part in other peoples success. His friends accomplishments made him happy. I feel privileged to call him my friend. His memory will be with me for the rest of my life. I will miss
him. He left a big void in my life.

From Becky Caldwell

Kev,

When we first met, I was at a turning point in my life where I felt like my world had been flipped upside down and I was starting over from scratch. I was terrified and insecure. But when I walked through those doors for my first official EasyCare interview, I was overtaken by your incredible smile. I was instantly at ease, as though I had known you my whole life. Over the past few years you've challenged me, encouraged me, empowered me to take on any new challenge with confidence and grace, and quickly became a very important part of my family. You supported me through the hard times and celebrated with me through the great times.

Over this last week, my heart has been flooded with memories of you. In this swirling video reel playing over and over in my head, there is one specific memory that stands out above the rest. It was a beautiful Spring day and you and I decided to go for a run after work. Even though there was a slight chance of rain, we headed up Junction Creek and made our way up to Gudy's Rest. As we began our descent, it started to sprinkle. Then it started to rain………no, it started to POUR!! You and I ran, giggling and smiling like little kids, through calf deep mud puddles and what seemed like a river washing us down the trail. When we got back to the car, we were both soaked and my face hurt from laughing so hard and smiling so big. I'll never forget the smile on your soaking wet face that day. It is a vision I will carry with me always. Although you're no longer here with me, and I don't get to see that incredible smile every day, I know you're not truly gone. You are still here with me……with all of us who love you. And through this broken heart, my comfort comes in knowing that you are finally at peace, and that you will forever be laughing and smiling, and splashing through mud puddles.

Fly free, my friend. I love you, Kev.


The EasyCare family is sending love to all who knew and loved Kevin.  "Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart." 

Peace to you all.

SOS July 2016: Modified Hoof Boots for Acute Laminitis

Perhaps some of you were fortunate to see Dr. Bryan Fraley's presentation on Hoof Boots and Laminitis at AAEP in Las Vegas last December. For those of you who weren't (or for those of you who do not have a photographic memory), a copy of the associated white paper is available HERE.

Dr. Fraley heads up the Fraley Equine Podiatry Center located at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in the heart of Lexington Thoroughbred country. EasyCare is thrilled that our products have played such a pivotal role in his research.

Dr. Fraley explores the how and why of "interchangeable soles" (EasyCare's patented Click System) on hoof boots and presents compelling evidence of their use in the successful treatment of acute laminitis. On the hit parade are: boot selection and fit, usage of various packing materials, a candid look at the pros and cons of choosing modified boots over a more permanent shoe package.

The Therapy Click System is currently available in a 5 and 10 degree wedge and four sizes to fit nearly our entire range of boot styles. The degree of wedge can easily be adjusted with a grinder or the addition of adhesive material.

EasyCare is constantly working to develop novel solutions for treating lameness. You can see other therapy offerings like the Cloud, the Click, and the Flip Flop on our podiatry page HERE. Contact us to see how we can help you with even the toughest cases!

Debbie Schwiebert dschwiebert@easycareinc.com 800-447-8836 EXT 2224

Rebecca Balboni rbalboni@easycareinc.com 800-447-8836 EXT 2232

 

Secrets of the Savvy

Secrets of the Savvy: your source for inside information on all things EasyCare.

Business of Booting Webinar presented by the PHCP Thursday, June 23, 2016

You're invited!

What: The Business of Booting webinar taught by Leslie Carrig, PHCP Mentor and former owner of High Desert Hoof Care

When: June 23rd, 2016 at 5:30 pacific time.

Who: Professional Hoof Care Practitioners and students training to work in this field

As a Hoof Care Practitioner it is part of your job to select and fit the hoof boots that will work best for your clients and their horses. This is critical to the success of your business in more than one way.

Some Topics Covered:
- gaining confidence
- working with owners
- successful use of hoof boots
- changing your attitude towards hoof boots
- profits
- inventory, what should I stock?
tricks of the trade
- a detailed handout will be provided

If you are working in hoof care as a career (or plan to), but are struggling with being a salesmen, consider taking this webinar to boost your business and add to your bottom line.

Find out more and sign up at http://pacifichoofcare.org/Businessofbooting.html

Rebecca Balboni

easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.

And Here I Am at EasyCare

Submitted by Kathy Sherer, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

My mother told me that the first word out of my young mouth was “horthy.” Later, when I could speak more clearly, I began asking Santa for horse figurines instead of dolls, and cowboy outfits instead of dresses. I still remember proudly wearing chaps and a holster to my first day of kindergarten. 

It was in 6th grade that we had a “bring your pet to school” day. I saw nothing wrong with bringing my pony, and my grandfather helped me pull it off. Luckily, the event was held in the gymnasium where there was plenty of room and a floor that could be easily mopped.  I was born with “horse fever” and I never recovered.

Eventually, the boys at the boarding stable became as interesting as the horses. I’m sure my family was relieved that I was finally becoming more “girly.” I always needed to board my horse, so my mother had to drive me back and forth to the stable. This got old by the time I was 14, so that’s when I started to drive. I was supposed to go straight to the stable and back, and that’s what I usually did.

All of this growing up with horses took place in Michigan, and that’s where my horse fever got worse. I caught the “jumping bug.” It was an amazing little leopard Appaloosa named Son of Chief Handprint that took me over the jumps. He was so good at it that he jumped out of any pasture I put him in. I eventually gave him up to be shown at higher levels than I wanted to go.

When I moved to Durango in 1986, my jumping days were over and I got a Quarter Horse mare and switched to a western saddle. I bred her to a nice local stallion and gave the colt to my new husband. Many good years were spent on those horses before they went to horse heaven, and that’s when we switched to Foxtrotters. We both contracted a new case of horse fever.

We used to love to camp and ride in Monument Valley. Our guide got us to do some crazy things!

My paint Foxtrotter, Charlie, was constantly getting laminitis and finally had to be put down. I wish the Cloud boot had been available then.

I believe it was 2004 when I realized that steel shoes weren’t the best thing for horses. I discovered EasyCare boots and there was no turning back. I started with the Original Easyboot and then moved on to all the new, improved styles as they came out. At the same time, I was on a quest to find a barefoot trimmer. Until I could find one, my husband and I studied Pete Ramey videos so we could do it ourselves. It’s way harder than it looks!

Trigger, another Foxtrotter, was my next horse. My husband and I always ride in the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering parade with the 4 Corners Back Country Horsemen. Trigger has never been shod and has great feet. Next to him is Ebony who REALLY needs boots to be comfortable.

Parading with the Bayfield Belles.

Fast forward to 2016 where I now I find myself working for EasyCare as a Customer Service Representative. It’s so rewarding to talk to people all over the country and help them along their barefoot journey. Everyone desperately wants to make their horse healthier and more comfortable. There’s a lot of love out there for horses – and a lot of cases of horse fever.

 

Narrow Hooves? Try Inserts for Trail and New Mac Boots!

Have you struggled to find a boot to fit narrower hooves? EasyCare has a great solution for long narrow feet-the Old Mac's Inserts. These are shims that Velcro into either side of your New Mac or Trail boot to take up to one half inch of space within the boot. They are sold in a set of four and are quick and easy to apply.

This is an excellent choice for a horse just coming out of shoes as the hooves often get wider over the first several months of transition. In many cases, you can purchase one set of boots to carry you through a fairly significant change in hoof shape.

Optimizing the fit of your hoof boots will prevent twisting on the hoof and rubbing, as well as improve boot retention. If you ever have questions about fit, give our friendly customer service team a call. We are here to help and are always happy to share tips and tricks to make your booting experience the best!

Rebecca Balboni

easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and uniquesituation.

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.

 

New Beginnings with EasyCare

My name is Jordan and I have recently joined the EasyCare team. I graduated in December 2015 from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor's in Animal Science. My desire with this new degree was to work in a career where I can improve relationships between animals and their people. This brought me to EasyCare where I get the best fit for me by being able to assist fellow horse enthusiasts to have the best riding experience they can by providing ideal hoof support and function through barefoot trimming and booting.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself. I was raised in Durango, Colorado and as soon as I was done with my college education I moved back immediately. I have been working around horses for most of my life. I have been involved in 4H, pony club, horse judging team, and showing with local associations. When I couldn’t ride horses I was doing everything I could to be at the barn and work around them. In school I took hands on classes to continue learning and being around them.

At New Mexico State University I had many educational classes that pertained to lower leg structure and function of a horse. I had heard of barefoot trimming but had never personally experienced anything other than steel shoes. Knowing how the foot functions best made me realize how much steel shoes inhibit that function. EasyCare has opened my eyes to the benefits of barefoot trimming and hoof boots. I am ready to spread the word and help others see the benefits of this style of hoof care.

I am making the first steps towards getting my new project horse, Pistol, barefoot ready. I don't want to simply be an employee here. I truly believe in the product we provide the equestrian world. I want to stand by it and stand in it, proving that EasyCare is all that we claim it to be. I look forward to helping others find what is best for their horse to give them happy, healthy mounts to enjoy for years to come.

SOS June 2016: Buffy the Hoof Prep Slayer

Got some hoof prep and finish vampires that need slaying? Buffy to the rescue.

The Buffy is the fancy name for a Hoof Buffer Attachment. It is an absolute godsend for anyone who is out there gluing boots or shoes. Not only is it indispensable for quick and flawless hoof prep, it finishes hooves to give every trim and every glue on application a slick professional look.

So what is it? The Buffy is a rotary sander with an air bladder inside. It attaches to your existing drill (more horsepower is better) on one end and has a handle on the other. Slide on a sandpaper sleeve, inflate the air bladder, and let 'er buck!

Buffy comes with a valve stem remover/spare cap combo piece. You can replace the black plastic valve cap with this little unit or you can use it to remove the valve core if you felt compelled to change it out. It is not a different kind of valve for a different pump.

20 PSI is the optimum air pressure in your Buffy. A mountain bike shock pump is the perfect air pump for your kit. Small, lightweight, and a pressure gauge built right in. Pictured below is a Rock Shox brand pump purchased for about $25 off Amazon.

Should you puncture the air bladder that comes on your Buffy, EasyCare has spares available for purchase. Changing the bladder is no big deal, you can read all about it here.

The sleeves are available in ten packs of 60, 80, and 100 grit. 60 is great for prep and the finer 100 grit is excellent for finish work.

You can extend the life of your sleeves with the use of a belt cleaning stick-just buffy the stick to clean out the hoof wall and adhesive particles that gum up the paper.

Lots of folks use some kind of dust mask to keep inhalation of said particles to a minimum. We've seen everything from your basic hardware store dust mask to thin neck gaiters to the always stylish outlaw bandana. Check out Mario Gargiulo of Wild Hearts Hoof Care in Ventura, CA - thanks for the awesome photo, Mario.

Get in touch with us to find out more or to order your very own Buffy or to send us your dust mask selfies.

Debbie Schwiebert 1-800-447-8836 ext. 2224 dshwiebert@easycareinc.com

Rebecca Balboni 1-800-447-8836 ext. 2232 dshwiebert@easycareinc.com

Secrets of the Savvy

Secrets of the Savvy: your source for inside information on all things EasyCare.

How to Change the Air Bladder in Your Hoof Buffer

In the rare event you puncture the air bladder that comes on your Hoof Buffer Attachment, aka The Buffy, you'll need to replace it with a new one. This is a simple process and all you need is a phillips head screwdriver and your new air bladder, available from EasyCare.

First pull the sandpaper sleeve off.

Remove the four screws on either side of the business end of your Buffy. The will release the round metal plate on either end. Remove the one on the drill side of the unit.

Now you can pull the old bladder off, you will need to stretch it some to work it off of the buffy.

 

Slide your new bladder on, replace the round metal plates and screws, apply a new sleeve, and you are good to go. Remember that about 20 psi is the perfect amount of air for all your hoof buffing needs and don't forget a set of Easyboot Zips to protect your hoof prep.

Rebecca Balboni

easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.

Continuing Ed Opportunity-PHCP's Webinar "Laminitis, Founder, Insulin Resistance & Cushing’s"

Dr. Cindy Nielsen of the Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners will be hosting a 3 Day Webinar on "Laminitis, Founder, Insulin Resistance & Cushing’s" June 14, 16, 21, 2016 at 5:30pm Pacific time. These sessions are each 3.5 hours of presentation and discussion and participants are encouraged to submit radiographs for case studies. The webinar is open to the public and is a wonderful opportunity to get in on some of the education that has made the PHCP such a phenomenal resource for hoof care practitioners.

Ready to take your knowledge to the next level? More details and suggested reading for preparation are available at the PHCP website.

Rebecca Balboni

easycare-customer-service-representative-rebecca-balboni

Customer Service Representative

A lifetime of riding and showing sport horses has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of soundness and comfort on performance. Let me help elevate your equine experience by finding the right boot for your horse and unique situation.