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.

SOS May 2016-Stuck? Pro Tips for Removing Glue-Ons

We have quite a bit of content about how to glue like a rock star. Everything from hoof prep to using different materials to modifying glue-ons for any situation. We even address aesthetics in our quest for gluing perfection. By now, you probably have gluing down. Keeping the shoes and boots on is no issue-the trouble is getting those things off.

EasyCare Elite Gluer and all around great guy Pete Van Rossum of Ramona, CA helped us out with some pictures of a quick and simple method for removing glue-ons. Thanks for the great photos, Pete! 

Rasp through the cuffs and around the edges of the EasyShoe then rim or score the edge of the shoe with the edge of your rasp.

Using your pull-offs, start at the rear of the shoe and carefully roll it forward. Inching it along will ensure it's just the shoe that comes off. Go slowly. Better leave that hoof wall on the horse where it belongs.

Once the shoe or boot is off, all you need to do is clean up the remaining adhesive and cuff material with your rasp and hoof buffer.

So there you have it. One pro's method for getting unstuck without a fuss. Of course there is always more than one way to skin a cat. If you'd like to see more you might like Christoph Schork's blog about removing the Easyboot Glue-Ons or Garrett Ford's video showing two ways to remove EasyShoes.  

If you've come up with a different way that works for you we want to know about it!

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

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

Secrets of the Savvy

Secrets of the Savvy: your source for inside information on all things EasyCare. See you next month!

Get a Leg Up with EasyCare's Ultimate Stirrups

We spend a lot of time making sure our horses are as comfortable as they can be. Most of us know that providing well fitted hoof wear goes beyond just protecting the feet. The benefits extend from the feet all the way up the bony column and keep the skeletal and soft tissue systems protected from excess shock, and wear and tear. My older horse consistently moves better and stays sound with boots and firm comfort pads; especially on unforgiving surfaces and long, hard rides.

That's great. But what about us?

I know I'm not the only one who feels a little beaten up after a long ride.

That same concussion that we are so concerned with protecting our horses from travels right up through the saddle to us too! Ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, and neck. Every footfall.  We avoid excess bounce by getting out of the saddle and off our horse's backs. We lessen the concussion by sinking our weight into our heels in the stirrups and allowing our ankles and knees to flex like shock absorbers. Despite our best instinctual efforts to absorb that concussion it still adds up. Even the smoothest, most balanced riders feel the cumulative effect using their joints to dissipate of all that energy.

If you have any past injuries like me, this phenomenon is magnified. Those are my legs in the x-rays below. You can bet your bottom dollar that I am always looking for a way to make the ride more comfortable.

Enter EasyCare's new aluminum stirrups. Now you can enjoy the same reduction in concussive forces and comfort your horse does with the EasyCare Ultimate and Ultimate Ultra stirrups. These machined aluminum stirrups come equipped with a closed cell EVA foam pad installed on the wide foot bed. The wide foot bed distributes weight across a larger surface area to reduce fatigue and provides an extremely stable base of support. The pads absorb shock and concussion; they take the beating so your joints don't have to!

Take it from this battle scar veteran. These stirrups are game-changing comfortable. Maybe you'll be the next one to trade in that bottle of ibuprofen for some new stirrups!

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.

A Rookie Went Gluing: Flippin' Success with the Flip Flop

Spring is finally here and that means a lot less snow and ice, more hours in the saddle, sunny weather, long days, cold drinks, sun burns and flip flops. All my life people have been telling me flip flops and horses do not mix, finally they are wrong.  They may have been talking about me wearing flip flops around my horses but that is a moot point, flip flops and horses DO mix. 

As you all know we just recently released the new Easyboot Flip Flop, if you didn’t know this you are really missing out, or living under a rock. Since we have released the Flip Flop I have been dying to give them a try on my horse but the weather had been delaying me from doing so. When the weather started making a change to spring I got all of my supplies ready, let all my cohorts know I was going to be gluing and made a plan to glue on a Saturday. Well, Saturday turned into Sunday and everyone I had invited to help me glue had spring fever and other things they wanted to on the beautiful spring day. Heck, I don’t blame them, I would of ditched me too. 
I will admit, I was slightly worried  freaking out about gluing on my own. Remember our past blog as to how we were unsure who the hot dog was and who was the bun? Ya, we are still not positive, I think I may be the hotdog, as I was quite uneasy about gluing without my security blanket, AKA the bun. I was determined that if I took my time and was very prepared, I would be just fine gluing solo. The weather was perfect for gluing, not too hot, not too cold, the sun was shining and there was only a slight breeze. 

So the gluing process began, well actually it started the day before when I added four quick studs to each Flip Flop. The horse I was gluing these on I use for barrel racing but we do very little to no arena riding. I will be using the Flip Flop to get her fit this spring and wanted a little added traction when I’m out riding, I typically ride her on single track trails and grass at a long trot.

That morning I started out by giving her a fresh trim and cleaning up the hoof with my hoof pick wire brush, then I put the Flip Flops on each foot and marked where I would need to trim them down. I also made sure they were marked left and right since the lengths were slightly different. I then turned her back out, as I was going to take my sweet time making sure the Flip Flop was trimmed correctly and I had all my supplies out before I brought her back up. She and I were both going to need a full tank of patience to make this a success.

I do not own a set of nippers or a power saw so I had to be creative with trimming down the heel of the Flip Flop. I left the plastic bag on the cuff of the Flip Flop to make sure I did not compromise my gluing surface, I then placed a wooden block on the base of the Flip Flop along the line that I needed to cut and secured it with a clamp to the work bench. Using a hand saw I cut along the line I had drawn. The Flip Flop cut very easily once I got it started, I did not even need to clean up the edges. If you wanted to, you could use the fine side of your rasp or a piece of sand paper to smooth everything out.

The thing I liked best about the Flip Flop is that I could do a lot of the hoof prep on the ground. My horse does not mind the Buffy, wire brush or the rasp but the open flame we are still working on. She likes to pull back especially when you have her foot up on a hoof jack, so the more I can leave all four feet on the ground. the safer it is for all parties involved.

Once I had the hoof wall prepped, I cleaned up her sole with my wire brush and also used the torch to make sure it was dry. I then put a Zip on her, which is not necessary, but since I was taking my time and there was a breeze I didn’t want to have to worry about contaminating the hoof with any dust.

I was now ready to actually glue the Flip Flops. I gathered everything up so it was arm’s length from my horse: my glue, the Flip Flop and also my rubber mallet. I put on my rubber gloves, got my Adhere ready, put the tip on, purged a little and then grabbed my Flip Flop.

Applying the glue evenly, only to the upper part of the cuff, I picked up her foot, removed the Zip and slipped on the Flip Flop. One thing I did add to my process was that I tapped the toe of the Flip Flop with my rubber mallet, this is not a make it or break it step, but it did make me more confident that her toe was to the front of the shell. I then placed her foot down, toe first and ran a bead of Adhere around the top of the cuff. I did this all without switching tips on my Adhere, this is a huge deal considering the first few times I glued I would run though at least two tips before I could even get a shoe or boot glued on the horse. I did one full foot at a time, I prepped and glued and then move to the next foot. Once I was done with the second foot, the first was set up and ready to be cleaned up. It is nice that the Adhere sets quickly and there is virtually no down time.

Once I was finished cleaning them up with the buffy, I added EquiPak Soft for my pour in pad. (Side note we do not recommend using Sikaflex as a pad, unless you want to stand with your horse for the next 12 hours so it can set.) Once the EquiPak was set I finished them off with some Super Glue, and bam, we were ready to go. I let her stand tied for about an hour and then took her on a long ride. We crossed water, went through sticky mud, over rocks, sticks, sand and down the paved road. I am lucky enough that where I live I can pretty much cover any terrain I might like right out my door.

I knew I would like the Flip Flop, but I did not realize how much. The Flip Flop was extremely easy to glue without any assistance. It actually made me feel like an old pro, I didn’t glue myself to anything my horse wasn’t covered in black Adhere and I didn’t feel like drinking a pitcher of margaritas after. Really, the part that I valued the most was how comfortable and well my horse moved with these on. I firmly believe in every single one of our products and love them all in their own way. It may be that I have spring fever, but the Flip Flop is certainty my new favorite.