New Medical Boot System Coming to Market: Easyboot Stratus

Several months ago, Curtis Burns and I sat down and challenged each other to come up with a better medical hoof boot. We both felt the products on the market could be improved to better serve the laminitic and foundered horses. In addition, we felt a product line could be improved to give professionals more options during a treatment cycle. Our main goals were to develop a new boot with the following features:

The Easyboot Stratus in the prototype area.

1.  High quality materials.

2.  Soft internal materials to prevent rubbing.

3.  Fastening system and sole shape to prevent twisting.

4.  Tread system that accepts the EasyCare Therapy Click System.

5.  Each boot will come with a pad system.  

Easyboot Stratus.  Getting Close. 

One of the features of the boot that I'm most excited about is the fastening system. The system has an internal piece of webbing that hugs the contours of the horses heel when fastened. The webbing runs between the layers of the boot, doesn't actually touch the horse but places pressure in the right areas. This strap keeps the heel down and prevents twisting.   

Cut away view of the heel area.  Easy to see how the internal webbing strap holds the boot in place.

Non cutaway version shows how the webbing exits the boot. 

Each boot will come with a the Stratus Pad System and 15 stabilization rods. The system will allow professionals to custom design a pad for each horse and change the pad during the treatment cycle.  Rods are made of different densities and are inserted into the pad to add/change or remove cushion.  

The pad with 15 comfort rods. Different colors for different density.  

We are excited about the Stratus project and believe it will help horses and the professionals that treat them. Looking at a late 2017 or early 2018 launch.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

Easyboot Stratus Pad System: Get that Laminitic Horse Comfortable!

The Easyboot Stratus and the pad system are a collaboration between EasyCare/Polyflex Horseshoes and Garrett Ford/Curtis Burns.  We have been working to bring a new concept to market that will help horses. The comfort of the horse has been the main goal but we are also putting emphasis on a product that can be adjusted and changed for the horse as the needs of the horse change. In addition the system needs to hold up, stay in place and can't twist. We tried to look at the challenges laminitic/founder horses have now and provide a better solution. When asked about the project, Curtis offered the following.  

"When Polyflex Horseshoes and EasyCare first began working together, it quickly became obvious to me that just as the equine industry continued to improve, so would our products.Garrett had a way about him that never seemed to settle with "good enough" when it came to his company. According to him, every product could always be improved. It's that core business value that brought us to the Easyboot Stratus.

"My personal challenge was to redesign the sole insert. We needed a material that would withstand long term use while simultaneously offering therapeutic benefits to the horse. After research, trial & error we created a product we are truly excited about.

"Its honeycomb design is the most notable feature. We discovered that this pattern increases in stability as the horse loads weight onto their foot - making it ideal for horses requiring therapeutic feedback for extended periods of time. The new insert is soft enough to cushion the sole yet resilient enough to maintain its integrity. It offers a dependable, personalized level of comfort for horses who require a consistent level of therapeutic feedback."

The system comes with a pad and three densities of stabilization rods.

The holes go 80% through the pad.  The horse stands on the side without the holes.  

Rods are inserted in different areas of the pad to customize the experience for every horse.  Stiffen different areas with different densities.

Stabilization rods placed in the pad a cut to length

Hoof surface side

 The pad system will work both in the Easyboot Stratus and Easyboot Cloud hoof boots.  In addition the pads will be available to purchase and can be cut to fit other EasyCare hoof boot designs.  

"The relationship shared between Polyflex and EasyCare in itself is an example of professional collaboration for a common goal that we are proud to be a part of. Together we are working to create and improve products for the good of horse - and the Easyboot Stratus is just one example of many more to come," concluded Curtis.

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

The Easyboot Mini's Personal Impact

Submitted by Victoria Nodiff-Netanel of Mini Therapy Horses.

For years I’ve been searching for the perfect boots for my miniature therapy horses and EasyCare has created one that fits and functions like a dream! 

Mini Therapy Horses is an all volunteer nonprofit charity. Our mission is to bring hope, comfort and joy to children and adults in need with our 7 highly trained miniature therapy horses. Our little horse angels provide emotional, physical and positive mental benefits to those they visit with the help of our team of volunteers. Our specialty is helping people in crisis.

All of our tiny mares have a busy schedule. They are registered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Civilian Volunteer Program, who can be called on at a moment’s notice 24/7 and are available for community outreach events like National Night Out, Emergency Preparedness events and LASD open houses. We have a special literacy program with Lieutenant Jennifer Seetoo bringing the minis to schools and LA County Public Libraries.

The horses comfort patients and staff in The Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, the psychiatric wards, the Intensive Care Unit and VA Hospice. We’ve been committed to weekly visits in this hospital for over 8 years. We love the veterans and they love our horses! One of the many heartfelt interactions that has inspired me was when I received a Last Wish request from the head nurse of the VA Hospice in North Hills, CA. She had a terminal patient, Jerry, that requested to see my therapy horse Pearl as his last wish. He had met Pear when he was being in the Greater LA Veterans Hospital and it really touched his heart. Jerry had been taken in by a family on a farm in Germany and his fondest memories were of the horses he connected with as a frightened child. I went within days to visit Jerry with Pearl and it brought all the nurses to tears. Jerry talked to Pearl as he went in and out of consciousness while stroking her. They were communicating in their own language. Pearl knew what he needed. I heard a few days after our visit Jerry passed peacefully and I felt honored to have Pearl help him on his way.

Mini Therapy Horses are regular visitors at Ronald McDonald House East Hollywood and Pasadena where the families of children undergoing treatment for cancer and other critical medical procedures in nearby hospitals, get to stay free or at low cost.  The children are always excited to spend time with our tiny horses.

We have so many incredible experiences with the children and their families, and I’d like to share a few. Pearl and I visited with a little girl staying at Pasadena Ronald McDonald House that was going through critical procedures and had lost a leg to cancer. We hooked a lead on both sides of Pearl’s halter and off we went together with her walker and all! She was so overjoyed and felt like a normal kid walking a horse while Pearl pranced in her Easyboot Minis. Being able to lead a horse from a walker or wheelchair gives these kids a sense of empowerment and a memory they will never forget!

Another magical visit was with our volunteer Megan Sullivan and myself handling mini therapy horse Willow Blue and a child that was visually impaired. With sensitivity and compassion Megan took his hands and helped him navigate Willow from her ears to her hooves. He felt the warmth breath from her nostrils and ran his fingers through her fluffy mane. He was ecstatic with happiness and his mother was crying saying she had never seen him respond like that and be so engaged. This comfort and relief for the parents and siblings is vital to the health of the entire family and his support system. These experiences are the essence of what drives our hearts and our charity, Mini Therapy Horses.

Our relationship with EasyCare began when I met one of their representatives at an event in Santa Rosa where they were unveiling their new Easyboot Mini. I first had our horse Black Pearl put on a set of the smallest Mini boots on the market. The boot slipped on, was the perfect fit, and it looked gorgeous! In that moment Pearl and I felt like Cinderella and we both knew our search for the perfect boots for our miniature therapy horses was over! Our lives were changed forever!

We are so thankful for EasyCare’s sponsorship, supplying all our therapy horses with their fantastic boots. Our equine family adjusted seamlessly to the feel of the boots and we love the ability to conform the boots to each hoof with the Velcro straps. The integrity of the construction of their boot is very impressive. They hold up beautifully with lots of use. The EasyCare Mini boots match the work that we do helping grieving communities and children and adults in crisis. As members of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team the horses are secure in all situations and look very professional. It’s so important to feel confident in a product we’re endorsing. It is important that it meets the high standards of our therapy organization and the people and agencies we work with.

I’ve trained the horses to do many tricks that are tools to break the ice, promote interaction between patients, and bring joy to those withdrawn, depressed and in pain. They all play a battery operated keyboard, give a high five, they smile and stand on their hind legs, kick balls, squeak toys and of course, bow. At any time we might be requested to visit an at-risk youth center like A Place Called Home in South Central, LA, Newton Police Station, Maryvale Orphanage, a home to console families that experienced a traumatic event, a busy street fair, or a school. The minis are able to perform in their boots and feel calm and secure doing these activities. The boots are practical and have a neat and clean appearance. The Mini boots complete our horses professional uniforms including their vests, halters and leads.

Aside from looking beautiful, I have full confidence knowing my horses will be able to comfortably move with ease and stability on a variety of surfaces. At the Veterans Hospital they shine the floors so well you can see your reflection in them. We love walking down the corridors in our Easy Boot Minis knowing we won’t we slipping and sliding! Nothing makes me happier than to see the kids at Ronald McDonald House feel so empowered when they double leash walk the little horse with us, all decked out with shoes, bows, a sparkly halter and a vest with an embroidered flying horse.

These boots are lightweight but at the same time tough and durable allowing Black Pearl and Blue Moon to show off their standing abilities! This trick on some surfaces could be potentially dangerous for our girls without their trusty boots. The flexibility of the boots allows for the natural movement of the legs. Whether we are at in a hospital room visiting a patient, with the children at Ronald McDonald House, de-stressing law students in the UCLA Library or doing community service with the LASD, the Easyboot Minis are sure to protect our horse’s tiny hooves.

I always laugh when we are getting ready to go on a visit and pull out the boots, because the horses KNOW we are headed out on a mission helping people all over Los Angeles.

January 1st , Mini Therapy Horses will be participating in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade proudly sporting the Easyboot Minis on our 7 therapy horses. This year’s theme is “Making a Difference” and EasyCare has truly made a difference in our lives in helping our horse’s ability to help others in need!

Thank you, EasyCare.

Who We Are

The American Association of Equine Practitioners presented recently a study by Keith Kleine, MS Director of Industry Relations, about the current trends in the horse industry in the USA. The overall picture shows a steady decline of the horse population in the USA, as well as a substantial decline in the horse registrations of all breeds.

Below some graphs of the present make up of horses and horse owners within the USA and their development trends:

 

 

 

Now to the present trend that has been observable for the last decade and a half:

These stats paint a sad picture of the horse industry. Surveys among horse owners reveal some of the reasons for the overall decline:

If interested in the whole detailed presentation of Mr. Keith Kleine, you can visit this site: Current Trends In The Horse Industry

Besides the economic stress factors, the horse industry has other challenges to deal with:

 

- Younger generations have multiple other interests besides horses and riding

- Increased public concern about horse welfare

- Decreased public knowledge about horses and what constitutes  good horsemanship

For all of us who love horses and their companionship, these statistics  above give reasons for concern. How can we, the national and international horse community, stop and maybe reverse that trend? A few ideas come into my mind:

- Education of the public about the horse sports and animal welfare

- Setting an example for good animal husbandry and horsemanship

- Working at the community level within local horse clubs 

- Lobbying at state and federal level for horse trails, facilities and equestrian sports

- Joining equestrian clubs and associations

- Writing blogs, articles, letters to the editors 

EasyCare has been a leader in the horse industry in terms of innovation of horse and rider products that makes the life of horses and riders easier and healthier. But more than that, though, EasyCare has been setting an example for horsemanship, horse welfare and public education. EasyCare has been involved in various equestrian disciplines  as sponsor, contributor, educator, blogger and their staff is competing in many disciplines. If we look for guidance, the staff of EasyCare has been setting a shining example in the whole equestrian world. 

The hoof care clinics EasyCare and I have been conducting for many years now, serve as an example on how to use hoof trimming methods and hoof protection that serve the horses well and additionally show the public that we all care about horse welfare. Taking a stand against horse abuse, cruelty, excesses in the show world and on the endurance circuit gives us all more credibility and we can show the world that we, the horse owners, hoof care practitioners and riders, are concerned and caring. Hoof care is holistic. In our clinics we always stressed that point. 

To proof my point, just read some of Daisy Bicking's blogs, or of Landreville Hoof Care, or one of my previous blogs about my clinics I am teaching every year. November this year, I will be traveling to Norway and Switzerland for all encompassing Hoof Care Clinics, where I will not only show and demonstrate EasyCare's broad spectrum of hoof protection but also lobby for the horse industry and the welfare of the horse throughout. Reports will be coming up.

Despite the dismal and somewhat sobering graphs I showed earlier, I remain optimistic that with joint effort we can reverse that declining trend and make a difference in the world.

From the Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

Would You Like A Hoof Boot At 50% Off? EasyCare Bargain Bin Is Online And Live

Are you looking for hoof boots at 50% off?

EasyCare is the first company in the world to produce a commercially available hoof boot. We have been at it for 46 years and the majority of the terminology, technology and business systems in our market place have been established by EasyCare. Measuring charts, materials, boot terminology, fit kits and warranty procedures are a few of the many things that EasyCare has developed and are now being used by other boot makers.

Bargain Bin boots.  Only the best are cleaned up and sold at 50%

EasyCare's warranty procedures are some of the most aggressive in the business. We strive to make horses comfortable and their owners happy. The result of the warranty system is lightly used boots that can't be sold as new sit in the warehouse. These slightly used boots need a home and a hoof to protect. The Bargain Bin has been set up to list these high quality but slightly used boots at a 50% discount. All Bargain Boots are heat stamped with "BB" and are not covered by warranty. All sales are final. In addition to the slightly used boots, we will be also offering older boot models and discontinued models at 50% off.

The Bargain Bin has been set up to help our loyal customers and place our slightly used product. Quantities will be limited and will be updated weekly.

The Bargin Bin is now live. Check back weekly as your favorite boots will be listed here.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

 

 

Tevis Glue Ons

Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo of Wild Hearts Hoof Care.

The Western States Trail Ride, more popularly known as the Tevis Cup, probably needs no introduction. Being one of the top endurance competitions in the world, where 100 punishingly rugged miles are completed by qualified horses and their riders in a single 24 hour period.

For mere mortals such as myself, I can really only imagine the time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears that go into preparing and qualifying a horse for an event like this. 

However this year, as a hoof care practitioner, we were able to do Tevis Easyboot Glue-On shells for the first time! In the last few years since we began working with endurance rider Kristine Hartman, we have glued on for many 50’s, a couple 100’s and even a few back to back rides where our skills were tested for 150 miles in a set! But when it came to gluing for Tevis, in previous years we happily handed off our freshly trimmed, barefoot clients to the amazing skills of Easy Care’s Team Elite. This year the task fell to us and I would be lying if I said it didn’t add a bit of pressure to our application!  

Cruising through, photo by Dominique Cognee

EasyCare has an impressive record with the Tevis Cup. (To read the stats check out Easyboot Success at the 2016 Tevis Cup- Statistics the Haters Won't Like!”) The Glue-On shell has served the horses well, providing cushion, traction and protection for 100 truly grueling miles of rocks, water crossings, roads, steep climbs, descents and MORE rocks!

For Kristine Hartman and her Arabian mare Tess (Count on Tessie Flyin’) we wanted to be certain her mare’s footwear helped her continue her streak of completions and excellent placings. As luck would have it, the day we were scheduled to apply our Glue-On’s for Tess, we got a visit from none other than farrier Daisy Bicking. Daisy was a member of the 2016 Tevis Team Elite. It was a group affair as farrier Chris Beggs from Australia and Sarah and Jon Smedley of Trim & Trainwas were also in attendance!

For endurance Glue-On prep, one of the steps we never miss is using the Hoof Buffy sand paper on the entire outer wall. This removes surface dirt and oils and the scratchy dry finish really helps grip the glue. We also put in shallow horizontal grooves into the wall with the side of the rasp, to provide additional grip – making the hoof wall groovy helps with glue traction as well.

We like to heat fit all of our Glue-On’s, and our Tevis-bound Tess was no exception. Heating the boot and helping it shape to the hoof wall allows excellent surface contact with no gapping, which helps with overall retention. For more information about heat fitting take a look at Pete Van Rossum's blog, "Applying Easyboots Using the Heat Fitting Method." We additionally recommend holding the heated boot against the hoof wall as it cools, feeling for any small gaps and pressing the shell into them - this really assists the boot shaping process. 

An extra step we do is to drill in small “glue grommets”, little circles around the wall area of the boot, into all 4 shells. These allow the glue to ooze through and over the shell upon its application to the hoof, adding several other anchor points for our best chances at retention.

Daisy assisted us with the Sikaflex 227 application, Team Elite style! The Sikaflex adhesive has an amazing 600% elongation memory, making it a wonderful stretchy soft cushion for use on the sole with the added benefit of it being adhesive. It is messy, slow setting business, so you use the much harder, quick setting Vettec Adhere for shoe retention on the walls, while the Sikaflex sole/frog application cures over about 24 hrs. Daisy’s application went perfectly, with Sikaflex oozing out the heel area in just the right amount that we knew the sole and frog were well cushioned.

A bead of Adhere along the top lip of the shoe helps form a strong seal to the boot, and finishing that with the Hoof Buffer really blends it so that there is no hard edge to snap of. It blends the material together for a smooth transition that looks nice but most importantly resists removal. We also use the buffer all around the toes to soften the breakover point. 

Cantering into the finish, photo by Dominique Cognee

This year’s Tevis included a new and difficult canyon, not to mention high humidity, hot temperatures, and even some rain!  Kristine reports that it was her hardest Tevis of her nine so far! That is impressive in itself, but some of you may recall a rider that broke her arm at a fall during Tevis last year. A woman who actually went on to complete the race in an amazing 25th place, that was none other than our own brave, (and yes, crazy) duo Kristine and Tess! Despite the sweltering, steamy weather and extra challenging canyons this year, Kristine and Tess rode a great ride, and finished safely and soundly in 24th place!  

We are grateful for the opportunity to do Glue-On’s for Tevis and are so proud to have been a part of this team and their success!  

Rounding the Corner Part 2

Submitted by David Landreville of Landreville Hoof Care

This article is a continuation of my previous article, Rounding The Corner. The following photo collage is a good example of how I encourage a lower heel on a high heeled horse. These are two slightly different views of a before and after trim on a small pony with very tall heels. He grows this much heel in 3-4 weeks. I've been trimming Rio for over two years now. He used to have tall hoof capsules with a lot of retained dead and woody tissue. The owner and I have worked as a team to make the following changes:

~diet (Bermuda grass hay only)
~increased movement (owner designed and built a small track system for Rio and two other herd mates)
~footing (track system is in a desert area with sandy loam footing and the owner mucks regularly)
~frequent meticulous trimming (owner calls me at 3 weeks like clock work.)

The heels may still be too tall for this pony or they may come down some more, however, they are fully alive and supple (dead woody tissue gets removed at each trim interval leaving thick, supple, healthy tissue. This is an important distinction between a hoof that is unhealthy due to the heels being too high, depriving the regenerative caudal structures of the stimulation that is needed for continual development, and a hoof that is healthy and normal for the horse's individual conformation. I refer to this as "bringing the life into a foot."

Here are my personal heel trimming parameters as illustrated (fairly well) in these photos:
(In other words, I'm not telling anyone how to trim, I'm just showing how I trim.)

~lower and bevel the heel wall very close to the seat of corn around its entirety, being careful not to take them lower than LIVE frog tissue. This step can be confusing when there is an excess of dead retained sole at the seat of corn. In my experience, dead sole is retained where there is thin live sole. In these cases, I gauge the depth of each collateral groove and carefully try to achieve the same measurement on each heel without invading live sole or causing unbalanced pressure to the frog bulbs. For more information read Chapter 19, in "Heel Height: The Deciding Factor, Care and Rehabilitation, of the Equine Foot."

~remove dead frog tissue

~smooth and round all surfaces to simulate wear for comfort and precise weight distribution. 

In the before trim photos, there is a noticeable "re-curve" in the transition from soft heel bulbs to hard heel horn. I refer to this in the above mentioned blog. My immediate heel trimming goal is to get as much of the re-curve out so there is a single curve from the heel bulbs to the heels without compromising comfort or movement, which would be counter productive. To me, this only makes functional, anatomical, and humane sense. I try to never invade LIVE sole or LIVE frog because my long range trimming goal is to build these structures. I do come as close as I can though, depending on the footing that the horse lives on and the stage of development of the foot. 

This pony rockets around his track system constantly developing better feet. He used to be edgy, timid, and bracey when being handled. In my experience, these are all signs of constant stress from the following CHRONIC conditions:
 
~tendon/ligament strain (throughout the entire body)
~joint misalignment (throughout the entire body)
~muscle strain (throughout the entire body)
~crushing of the hoove's solar and coronary coriums
~tearing of the hoove's dorsal lamellar connection


(Above) White arrow points to the apex of the recurve from Rounding the Corner (part 1)


Heels can be trimmed with the intention of achieving preconceived, desired angles which only last for a short time due to the hoof wall's rapid growth rate (1/16" every 4-5 days). Or heels can be trimmed with the intention of enhancing stimulation in order to increase blood flow and subsequent soft tissue development. The latter method is regenerative and requires frequent attention, and allows each horse the ability to evolve their individual true angles over time.

Get more information and keep up with what David is doing through the following links:

On The Verticle

David Landreville

Throwback: The Easyboot Epic History

Blog originally posted November 29, 2009

Easyboot Epic is one of the most successful protective horse boots in the equine industry. Unlike a horses shoe, a hoof boot can be applied to the barefoot hoof by a horse owner and used as a spare or can used when a barefoot horse needs additional hoof protection.

How did the Epic become one of the best natural horse products? The Easyboot Epic evolved from the original Easyboot invented in 1970. After the invention of the first hoof boot in 1970, the Easyboot quickly improved and continued to change under the direction of Dr. Neel Glass. Horse hoof problems are a problem today and were more prevalent in the 70's.  Barefoot trimming techniques have helped improve many of the problems.

Take a look at the Easyboot photos and look back at the history of Easyboots for horses. 


The first prototype Easyboot

The first prototype Easyboot. Roofing material and ski buckles were used on the first prototype.

First Easyboot production model.  Early 1970's.

The first Easyboot production model. Neel Glass and his staff hand poured the material into molds. This was the first of the protective horse boots to ever hit the equine market. Neel first made them in what he called "Natural" color.

First black production model

Neel soon added black to his natural horse products.

Side hardware was soon moved inside.  This version was late 1970's.

Hardware on the side of the Easyboot was soon moved inside the hoof boot. The backstrap on this old boot has since rotted away.

Easyboot buckles improved and became more sturdy over time

Easyboot buckles improved and became more sturdy over time.

The back of the boots were high and needed to be cut down by the consumer.

The back of the boots were high and needed to be cut down by the consumer.

All Easyboot molds were later changed to lower profile in the back.


Once a year EasyCare did a small run of red Easyboots.

The current production Easyboot

The current production Easyboot.

Easyboot Epic

The Easyboot then evolved into the Easyboot Epic.

The Epic is the same boot as the Easyboot but adds a gaiter to the back of the Easyboot Shell. The gaiter helps keep the boot in place by locking down the heel of the horse. The Epic was the answer to the barefoot hoof and barefoot trimming. Easy boots for horses were now staying in place much better and were easy to apply. 

Blog originally posted November 27, 2009. Updates to this product have occured since that date and are not listed in this content. For more information, please contact us.

My Foundered Horse is Finally Stable...Right?

Your horse gets sore feet. He is diagnosed with laminitis and founder. You have a good TEAM: Veterinarian, Farrier, and Caretaker, who help you address your horse's underlying metabolic condition and provide rehabilitative care. The horse becomes sound, and returns to his normal personality and, if you're lucky, his pre-laminitic level of performance. You can finally relax and breathe.   

Or can you?   

I began my hoof care journey in 2004 because of my own horse who foundered. I had a wonderful farrier at that time who put the rasp in my hand and empowered me to help my horse. With the veterinarian, we identified his insulin resistance and eventual Cushing's syndrome. He became sound and went back to a fabulous dressage career, retiring many years later due to EPM. You can read his story here: https://www.daisyhavenfarm.com/case-studies/windy

Windy, post-laminitis, back to work and winning in the show ring.

Fast forward to today. Windy is now 29 years old. He has been in excellent health and quite sound; metabolically stable, until last fall. I try to assess body condition on my own horses once a week, and Windy had become quite thin, even though he was eating well. He was a 3.5 body condition score (BCS) on the Henneke Body Condition Scale, ribs and hips sticking out. Looking back, I only have this image of him at that time, taken out of a video of the pony you see in the foreground:

I increased his feed for six weeks and when that didn't improve his weight I worked with our farm veterinarian to eliminate other causes of his condition:

-Teeth were assessed and re-addressed by our excellent dentist, but weren't the issue.

-No symptoms of ulcers, or other pain and discomfort leading to weight loss.

-Cushing's and insulin resistance were controlled based on blood work.

-Basic blood work all normal except for indicators of intestinal inflammation. We wormed Windy aggressively as he is a worm shedder. We also wondered if he possibly had internal tumors.

Interestingly, at that time, Windy's foot condition was also fairly poor with thin, retracted soles. We put him in EasyShoe Performance with dental impression material to support the frog and sole.  

By January, Windy was finally looking better. Until one day, upon assessing Windy's body condition, I realized he was now a 6 BCS, slightly overweight and decided to back off the feed. His soles were no longer retracted and he looked much healthier!  

But was he? The weight difference between 3.5 to 6 BCS was significant in a fairly short period of time, when he hadn't been underfed to begin with. Maybe the intestinal inflammation resolved somehow? I was unsatisfied with such a mystery. I hypothesized my horse was actually a skinny old horse whose metabolic condition was no longer controlled. Even though he had gained weight and looked "good" to me, perhaps it was really an indicator he was in trouble.

Our veterinarian agreed and we tested Windy metabolically:

ACTH: 39 pg/mL ( > 35 considered elevated)

Insulin: 58 uU/mL ( > 42 considered elevated)

Glucose: 102 mg/dL  (Lab reference range 70-120)

The blood results don't look alarming: Insulin only mildly elevated, ACTH a seemingly minor difference, and glucose normal. However, Windy had very similar blood work when he originally foundered in 2004.   So I was very concerned. In these situations, the Glucose:Insulin (G:I) ratio can be quite helpful: 

From ECIRHorse.com, one of the leading resources for managing Cushing's and insulin resistant horses:  

"What is the G:I Ratio?  The Glucose to Insulin Ratio (G:I ratio) is a very simple concept.  This ratio/number indicates how many “units” of insulin are being secreted per “unit” of glucose.  The smaller the number, the less sensitive the cells are to the insulin.  For example, a normal horse may have a blood sugar of 100 and an insulin of 10, for a G:I ration of 100/10 = 10:1, where an insulin resistant horse may have an insulin of 25 for that same blood sugar of 100, yielding a G:I ratio of 100:25 = 4:1.  Both insulins may be within the laboratory’s “normal range”, but these normals represent a variety of diets and various times after eating.  Obviously the horse that has a circulating insulin level 250% higher than other horses with the same blood sugar level is less sensitive to insulin.  A ratio < 4.5:1 is diagnostic for Insulin Resistance, while a ratio between 4.5:1 and 10:1 represents compensated IR."

Windy's G:I ratio was 1.76 = Severe IR, high laminitis risk.

The G:I ration confirmed my concerns, that his mildly elevated blood results were not the whole picture.  In order to gather more information, we decided to test Windy even further with a glucose tolerance test.  

The glucose tolerance test assesses the horse's insulin response to a dose of Karo syrup at 60 minutes and 90 minutes. Additionally we gathered a pre-Karo syrup insulin sample as a baseline. A horse whose insulin levels test within the laboratory reference range would indicate normal response and normal metabolic function.  

Windy's insulin values came back highly elevated, above the testable range:

Pre: > 200 uIU/mL (Reference range 0-20)

Post @ 60 minutes: > 200 uIU/mL (Reference range 0-45)

Post @ 90 minutes: > 200 uIU/mL (Reference range 0-45)

This test was definitive. It is important to remember that the baseline metabolic blood work panel is only showing you a moment in time. So the insulin taken in the initial panel result of 58 uIU/dL, being mildly elevated, was catching a low moment. Where the pre-glucose tolerance test insulin showed us a different moment, and one that was of much greater concern, which validated the G:I ratio.

I wish there had been some way to know that the pre-Karo syrup insulin was so high. We probably would not have done the glucose tolerance test if the initial insulin had been that high. However, it did give me a clearer picture of my horse's laminitis risk status.

By being proactive and asking questions, I was able to identify that my horse's underlying metabolic condition was not truly controlled and a contributing factor to his weight change. It is imperative to be vigilant when managing the Cushing's/insulin resistant horse by working with your veterinarian and utilizing these diagnostic tools to be objective when needed.

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www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

Don't Give Me Any Lip!

It's actually all about the lip!

I did a personal Facebook post last week that stated "I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the Easyboot Glue-On shell is the most successful product in the 62 year history of the Tevis Cup 100 mile horse race. The rock with your name on it can no longer spell your name". 

The Easyboot Glue-On shell has won the Tevis Cup in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. The Easyboot Glue-On shell has won the Haggin Cup in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Over the same years the finish rate for Easyboot horses was 63% compared to 50.77% for non Easyboot horses. This is the most difficult race in the world. A world where you can't fake success and results speak volumes.

The Fury showing for the Haggin Cup. Notice the heel first landing after 100 miles.  

The Fury showing off a heel first landing.

Why the success? Although I believe the success of the product in the most difficult 100 mile race in the world is attributed to many factors, the rear LIP on the shell is a huge advantage over the difficult and rocky terrain. I believe the reason the product has been so successful is the back lip of the shell that covers a bit of the heels and bulbs. I believe the downhill and hidden rocks take a toll on the horses. The horses start to get heel sore (especially when landing heel first). When the horses start the get sore in the heels everything changes. Strides shorten and they don't want to go downhill and the last 30 miles of the Tevis are downhill. The back lip of the Easyboot Glue-On shell does more than people think and is a huge advantage for the downhill, rocky trail.  

Take a look at the photo below. Look how the rear lip is protecting the heel in the rocky conditions. Imagine how the heel of the horse would impact the rocks without the rear lip of the shell. Imagine how the horse feels after 100 miles of difficult trail conditions? The back of the foot is designed to take the load. I believe when the heel gets sore the heel first landing goes away, stride shortens and performance is greatly reduced.

Take a look at the photo below. Carol Federighi on her way to winning the 2017 Vermont 100. Check out the heel first landing. Imagine the horse landing in rocks and what happens to the heel over a 100 mile race. Imagine what the "Lip" is doing to protect the horse in rough footing.  

Giving your horse some "lip" for the next difficult event may just be the edge you and your horse are looking for. 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.