New Hoof Protection Products in the R&D Phase at EasyCare

I was recently looking at the last seven years of statistics from the Tevis Cup 100 mile horse race.  Although I'm a big believer in hoof protection products that give the hoof the ability to move as nature intended it's nice to see real numbers from the most difficult and demanding horse event in the world that support my beliefs. Results for the Tevis Cup show that EasyCare's products not only work but they outperform other types of hoof protection.  

Here are some interesting numbers from the last seven years of the Tevis Cup.   

1.  53.07% of starting riders finished the event, 61.68% of starting riders in Easyboots finished the event, 50.36% of starting riders not using Easyboots finished the event. In 2011, 75.68% of starting riders in Easyboots finished the event!

2.  6 of the last 7 Haggin Cup (Best Condition) winners used Easyboots.

3.  5 of the last 7 Tevis Cup (race winner) winners used Easyboots.

4.  In 2016 the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers used Easyboots.  

2016 Haggin Cup Winners.  Lisa Ford and GE Cyclone.

I'm not a statistician but those numbers tell me that flexible, urethane hoof protection excels at the most demanding 100 mile horse race in the world.  You are more likely to finish if your horse starts in Easyboots, you are more likely to win the Haggin Cup and you and more likely to win the Tevis Cup if your horse is fitted with Easyboots.  Yes, there are many that still want to argue that hoof boots don't work, are a fad, are for tree huggers, etc. but just looking at numbers from the last seven years, it's a hard argument to win.

So what's next?  We believe in our products, we believe we have a nice range that covers many types of disciplines and EasyCare can accommodate Mini horses up to some of the smaller draft breeds.  Although we are happy with our line there is always room for new products that can help horses, are easier to apply or are more economical. Below is a short list of what we have in the works and some quick thoughts on each.

1.  EasyShoe Flex.  A flexible steel core over molded in urethane.  Intended to be nailed on the hoof.  Yes, many people do not like nails but at the same time complain of the costs associated with glue.  We believe this shoe will be a healthier alternative to many of the nail-on products in the market.  Open heel, full heel with frog support and different clip options.  The open ended nailing slots are very unique and make the product much easier to apply.  Take a look at a recent Easyboot Facebook post on the EasyShoe Flex.  

EasyShoe Flex Ground Surface.

2.  Easyboot Slipper, Easyboot Love Child or BFM.  A cross between the Easyboot Glue-On Shell and the EasyShoe Performance.  It allows more movement in the heels than the Easyboot Glue-On Shell and is easier than the EasyShoe Performance to apply.  In the future we plan to integrate a gaiter on this shell. Take a look at a recent Easyboot Facebook post on the product.  In 48 hours we received 200+ applications to help test the new design.  

Easyboot Slipper/Love Child/BMF

3.  Easyboot Sneaker.  A new multidimensional boot for riding, turnout and therapy.  The boot has a unique strap system that hugs the heel bulbs and prevents boot rotation when tightened.  The sole is a rubber/urethane blend and is more flexible than a total urethane product.  We will be looking for riders to help test this product in a new BETA release program.  More information to follow.

4.  The Old Mac's G2 is back.  We have brought back the G2 for 2017.  In addition we are testing a wide version that is wider than long. 

Old Mac's G2 Wide in testing.

5.  Easyboot Fly.  Features a shell that accepts three different gaiter types.  The design allows for adjustment in length, heel height and allows for heel pivot.  It's testing well and we will be reaching out to include testers soon.  

Easyboot Fly from the back.

We look forward to getting these products tested and to market.  In the near future we will be reaching out to horse owners, vets and hoof care professionals that would like to be involved in BETA releases and product testing.

We are excited about these products and feel they work in conjunction with the "Smart Structure" of the hoof.  What product do you believe will be the most helpful in the horse industry?

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President & CEO

I have been President and CEO 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.

Freedom Movement

Submitted by David Landreville, Landreville Hoof Care

Someone recently asked me how to convince their clients to schedule their horse(s) on a shorter trim cycle. One of my clients had this horse's leg bone and I haven't been able to get the shape and function of the fetlock joint out of my head. Talk about no margin of error. There is no room for error. Trimming  is meant to be done daily in nature. Horse's feet grow 1/16th of an inch every four to five days (3/8" - 1/2" per month). If they are naturally a little crooked due to conformation flaws (which every horse has to some degree)  then the longer their walls get, and the more crooked the foot gets. Their feet are their foundation. If they are crooked the horse must compensate in their body. This is typically where leg, shoulder, neck, back, hip, hock, stifle, knee and jaw pain comes from. The horse is a living kinetic structure. Any imbalance in any joint affects every other joint. 
 
I think the biggest thing that is overlooked in horse's hooves is how much the horse is affected by minute imbalances in the hoof. Here is an example: take a four foot builders level. Fix it vertically to the jamb of a door. Check it for plumb. The bubble should be centered between the lines at the center of the level. Slide a penny between the bottom of the level and the floor, on the jamb side of the level. You should notice the top of the level come away from the jamb about an inch and half. 

A penny is about 1/16 of an inch thick. That's how much the hoof walls grow in about five days. If the leg of a horse isn't plumb then one side of the hoof gets longer than the other from lack of wear. The weight of the horse gets distributed more to the short side of the hoof. The longer this condition persists the more the short side of the hoof gets excessive wear and crushed, the more crushing, the less circulation, the less circulation the less growth, etc. Horses can compensate for years, silently, until their lameness becomes obvious. Most often this appears as a "mystery" lameness or gets diagnosed as a neurological issue, or even disease. The cure is the same as the prevention; keep the heels level, don't just eye ball it. Use a gauge. Remember that a 1/16 inch off at the ground equals an inch and a half at the shoulder. This is pretty significant to the horse when they are trying to keep 300 lbs (per leg) balanced four feet above a four inch diameter circle. Problems are compounded with the addition of a rider.

The cadaver leg in the photo below is crooked and shows uneven wear.  The live foot is properly balanced. 

Horses feet can't be left to go to hell for several weeks and then brought back for a few days. They're designed to be perfectly balanced, always.
People still don't want to admit that this is supposed to be done daily by nature. Domesticated horses rely on humans for this and the real problem is that too many people set trim schedules according to their pocket book instead of the rate of growth, or empathy for the horse. 

Frog Talk - Part I

What do frogs and bars have in common?  Answer: they are both most controversial among hoof professionals.

Bars and frogs of the equine hoof are the most discussed tissues and there are about as many opinions out there as there are hoof care professionals. Bars and frogs are always a hot discussion topic. (I had written a blog about bar trimming a couple of years ago.)

Personally, when trimming the frogs, I am a minimalist. I remove as little as possible from any frog, unless special considerations require it. But more on that later.

The frogs of the equine hoof have many functions, one of them being shock absorption. Generally speaking, a large, wide and thick frog is better suited for that task. A frog that contacts the ground upon landing of the hoof is a healthier frog compared to a recessed frog or one that is not able to contact the ground because the hoof is shod with a horse shoe that loads the hoof wall only peripherally. 

Not sure what it is, but many hoof trimmers just have an urge to trim something of the frog. Even if it just a tiny little piece. I mean, what good is a hoof knife when one cannot use it. And frogs just cut so nicely and soft, quite contrary to most soles and bars. They just cannot help it, something has to be cut of the frog, even if it is not necessary.

During my recent hoof care clinics in Europe, one of my group of hoof care professionals discussed trimming and preparing hooves for gluing various hoof protections like the EasyCare Glue-Ons, Flip FlopsEasyShoes and Equiflex horse shoes. Every year for the last ten years I have been traveling to Europe to conduct these clinics and workshops. Most of the time by myself, but occasionally also with EasyCare Staff and Garrett Ford. 

A participant had asked me a question and just in that moment I had turned around to answer, one of the others who held up the hoof could not resist the urge to slice a little piece of a very healthy and nicely callused frog. Nothing needed to be taken off here, but it is just so typical of us trimmers. Something needs to be cut, even if only a tiny little bit.

Now, this will not do much harm, however, that little piece taken off robbed unnecessarily the sensitive frog tip from its callused skin.

The calluses are a front line shield and defense against fungi, bacteria and parasites. Remove it and the frog is weakened and harmed. Before cutting any tissue off a horses hoof, I always ask myself the two questions:

- Is the removal of that tissue helpful to the horse or will it be harmful? 

- Will the horse travel better or worse afterwards?

These are two quite different questions, the second question building upon the first.  What decision I ultimately make in terms of hoof trimming depends a lot on whether or not the horse is being ridden, over what terrain, for how long,  and is it bare footed or with hoof protection

For me, the ultimate test is riding a horse over varied terrain bare footed. Below I am sharing a few photos of different frogs and my trimming thoughts on them.

Let's start with an easy one: This Tinker frog is perfect for its job of landing and shock absorption. I think we can all agree that any trimming of this frog would harm the horse.

Another healthy frog that should not encounter a hoof knife at all.

A desert hoof: thick sole and thick frog. Hardened by the elements and terrain. The outer layers are showing signs of cracks and shedding. I won't help that process, but leave it alone and let nature do its job. There is no thrush anywhere, so I do not see any reason to start cutting anything off.

Thick callus with a deep central sulcus. Thrush? Unlikely, no smell, no sensitivity, just a deep sulcus because of summer dryness. I am leaving it as is.

Looks like the outer callused layer of the frog was just shed. Whether by terrain or with help of a trimmer, I do not know. Obviously the hoof trimmer followed the principle of trimming the heels to the widest part of the frog. That hoof now is compromised and probably not a good candidate to be ridden without hoof protection, frog and sole will be sensitive for a while now.

Good one above. Analysis: thick sole, probably a double sole. Frog tip connected to sole. Frog flaps with thick callus. Horse travels sound over rocks without any hoof protection for many many miles. Admittedly, that frog does not look "nice". But it certainly is functional, tough and thick. Cutting anything off that frog would compromise his bare footed travel. I leave it as it is, even that connection with the sole on the tip is not harming the hoof, but protecting it even further.

That hoof needs some trimming, some of the overgrown bars already were shortened. But let us just look at the frog now: cracked, thick callused frog with dry central sulcus. I do not trim anything off here. At red arrow tip: flap material is growing laterally to hold soil and to increase heel support area. These flaps are useful, I will leave them in place as they have been growing.

Frog tip is starting the renewal process and peeling. Do I help and cut it off or let nature do its job? Obviously it is not quite ready to peel itself, if I cut it, the frog tip will be sensitive and I will have potentially harmed the hoof. 

On the opposing hoof of the same horse, the tip has shed itself of already, next part is also trying to come off. I do nothing and leave it alone.

Now to an interesting question: 

What to do about flaps and fold overs that are often observable on the frog? Generally these flaps are there to hold dirt which in turn again stimulates the tissue. Often they grow there where the hoof considers them most useful. I am always amazed on how nature takes care of the areas in need. Building materials are expediently sent there.

 Lets have a look at these frog flaps:

Same hoof with slightly different photo angles for better understanding. That hoof shows very low heels, in fact the heel bulbs are so low that they are running the risk of getting bruised and injured when encountering rocks. These flaps grew at the right place to protect the bulbs. In the second frame the red arrow shows a slight abrasion from the movement of the flap against the heel bulb. Possibly also from soil or sand rubbing against the skin. Removal of these flaps would endanger the bulbs. These frog flap extensions also increase the load bearing surface area of the whole foot. 

But, these flaps also can harbor bacteria and fungi, one might object. True enough. How to safeguard against this and more about frog pathology, crooked frogs, recessed ones and how to deal with them and correct them all I will cover in next months blog, Frog Talk - Part II

 

From The Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

 

Easyboots Changed My Life

First Place Honorable Mention Story Winner

Submitted by Jesse Caswell, EasyCare Customer

I was raised on a cattle ranch. Steel shoes on horses was a way of life. My Grandad would say “I can’t ride that horse until get I get shoes on him.”

In 1960, I became interested in endurance riding. Steel shoes were all we had. All of my friends were riding the Tevis. It became my dream and goal, but due to my occupation, there was never time to condition my horse properly. No time, no money. But I dreamed of retirement. 

By the time retirement age came, my health was so bad I could not ride. I had rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The more doctors I went to, the more medicine they gave me. At my worst, I was finally bedridden. I was in excruciating pain. I decided to go with all natural care and threw out all the medicine.

Nine months later I was back riding horses and pursuing my dream. I soon found out that endurance riding was no fun. I kept getting pulled for lameness. I had five horses, no matter which one I rode, I would get pulled. I went through a dozen different farriers. The horses would get hoof abscesses and were always fighting thrush. The worst part of steel shoes was when I would lose one and the nails would tear out half of the hoof wall. 

I went to 29 races and got pulled 19 times for lameness. The last race I did with steel shoes was the 2013 Tevis. I went 85 miles, only to get pulled.  That was it.  I quit, came home and pulled the shoes off all my horses and said, no more. I did not race for the next two years. I spent all my time getting my horses healed from the ground up.

I did go back to endurance racing.  It was with Easyboot Glue-Ons. I could not believe how my horses performed. They trotted so smooth. Just seemed to float. They just naturally went in to extended trotting. 

I did two day rides, 50 mile races, and each day on the same horse. I never tried to win, just stay up in front all the way.  I was in the top five in most of my races.  I did 21 races, all 50 miles and had seven Best Conditions.  The biggest success was at Chalk Rock. This was a two day, 50 mile ride each day. Saturday placed 2nd and got Best Condition, and Sunday, on the same horse,I placed 1st and Best Condition! 

I knew I was Tevis ready. Tevis 2016 I finished 6th place!

I tell everyone that EasyCare changed my life.  Easyboots are the secret to my success. Only took me 75 years to get on the right track.

Thanks EasyCare!

Bringing the Foot Back to Life

Submitted by David Landreville, Landreville Hoof Care

Many horse owners find themselves in a situation where their horse isn't necessarily lame but they know that their horse's feet could be healthier. They find themselves in the uncomfortable state of not wanting to settle for "what is" and not knowing how to achieve "what can be". In my own opinion this is where change often starts and where I suggest:

  • A change of footing.
  • Then a change in trim protocol and diet.
  • And finally to give the horse room to move because that's where the real change occurs.

I recently had someone ask me what my take on frog contact with ground surface is. In my opinion, frog contact is the heart of hoof development and the key to bringing a foot back to life. One thing I will say to begin with is that it all depends on:

1. The stage of development of the foot

2. The type of footing that the horse lives on

Success will be limited unless you can control these two factors. The footing needs to be brought up to the frog or the frog needs to be lowered to the footing. One way or the other, or both.  Sand/chat/pea gravel and/or boots with appropriate pads can be used to accomplish this.

I consider this ( photo above ) to be a well developed foot (eight years in a small track system and micro managed on a 1-3 week trim cycle).  You can see that there is less heel height (ends of collateral grooves to ground contact points) and more heel depth (ends of collateral grooves to hairline).  The frog is fully alive and in the same plane as the heels (blue line). This relationship doesn't change much when the foot is weight bearing due to the strength of the back of this foot.  This frog and digital cushion are well developed and they can take a lot of weight bearing. This, in turn leads to further development.

I believe the frog needs to make contact with the ground but it's actually a very specific area of the frog and a very specific percentage of the horse's body weight that it is supposed to support. It's slightly different for every horse, in every environment, and for various stages of development. Proper frog contact provides proper stimulation to the digital cushion and lateral cartilages. These tissues are regenerative. In my experience this is true even in older horses, although this can be limited by the extent of the damage done over time. Once the proper frog/heel/back of sole relationship is achieved, development can begin and the frog can begin to gradually take a heavier load. When a foot gets to this point, development can be continual. The key to frog development is pressure. The frog thrives on pressure.  It is like a muscle in that way.  It can be developed at any age, just like an old man who decides to get fit in his 70's. It's not easy but it's possible.  Needless to say, starting younger is better, but better late than never. 

 The key to success here is in controlling the environment, movement, diet, hoof shape (trimming/wear) and especially movement.  The horse should always be kept as comfortable as possible because it's the proper weight bearing over the hoof structures while standing and during movement that build the foot.

Above is the progress on a hoof made over 5 months of trimming on a 2-3 week cycle. The heels have been properly lowered and shaped (for the stage of development) and brought closer to the level of live horn, following the contour of the growth corium. The goal here is to keep the horse comfortable while gradually getting the frog reactivated by making proper ground contact; bringing the living tissues that thrive on stimulation closer to the ground. This horse was living part time in a grass pasture and part time in a 12'X12' stall bedded with shavings. The black arrow shows an abscess eruption that I used as a land mark to track the progress.

Here's another photo showing the foot before, and directly after, a trim. Here, I set the heels according to the horse's poor stage of development and the terrain she lives on, which is a 10 acre natural desert, grass pasture (dry and hard footing). My decision to "set the heel height" comes from carefully listening to the horse. By that I mean that she is untied and not being held when I trim her so she is free to leave if she doesn't like what I'm doing. 

I almost always trim to just above the live sole in the seat of corn (back of sole forward of the heel purchase) and use this as a gauge for heel height. I've learned to respect the live sole plane and wait for change. This is the horse's response to readiness for change. The dead sole will exfoliate more easily when the horse is weighting the heels properly. Then I just remove the dead tissue and follow the same protocol for the frog. Removing the dead tissue on the frog exposes the live tissue that has feeling. When the toughened surface areas of the living heel walls, seat of corn, and frog are all in a proper tight relationship the back of the foot will become naturally more stabilized. This allows the horse to willingly set their weight into the back of their feet. When this is done correctly the horse will typically show signs of relaxation like licking, chewing, yawning, eye rolling, lowering their head, engaging with the trimmer, etc. 

I work over time to close the gap between the ground and the frog until the frog is taking its fair share of the weight bearing. This can take a few years. These same techniques can be applied to horses that are being transitioned out of steel shoes with distended frogs.


Left: just out of steel shoes. Right: two years later after making all the changes mentioned above.

Horse Strength, Speed, Torque and Hoof Boot Warranties

I'm often asked what type of torque is placed on a hoof boot by a horse.  I don't have the answer to that question but I marvel at the forces put on hoof protection products by a 1,000lb horse galloping around a pasture and changing direction at 30 miles per hour.  I have no idea what the exact answer is but it's a very big number.  When you consider the strength, speed and torque placed on all forms of equine hoof protection, it makes me proud to see what hoof boots have accomplished in the equine industry.  

The above photo shows the tremendous amount of strength and force that a horse can put on a both a horse shoe and a horse boot.  The Easyboot above was fitted on a horse over the top of freshly shod hoof.  The Easyboot was then glued into place with a product called EasyFoam (EasyCare doesn't sell EasyFoam now).  The foam was a pour in and would expand and fill all voids during the cure cycle.  Both the boot and the shoe were ripped from the horses foot.  All six nail clinches pulled through the hoof wall, the EasyFoam bond broke as the shoe and boot were pulled from the hoof.  The photos illustrate the forces applied to equine hoof protection.

The photos are a great example of why EasyCare has both a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and a 90 Day Warranty Policy. Regardless of hoof boot construction, boots can be damaged, materials can rip and boots can be pulled off. EasyCare has the best warranty in the business and plans to be the leader in hoof boot technology for another 45 years.  We have recently strengthened our warranty and empowered our team to take care of dealers and consumers more effectively.

With hoof protection it is not a matter of if but when.  Many times it is not the fault of the hoof protection product but the nature of the business and product line.  EasyCare has the best and most fair policy in the industry.  Our improved warranty procedure is outlined below.  

EASYCARE CUSTOMER RETURNS & WARRANTY

USA customers that have purchased directly from EasyCare.

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. 

We back all of our products with a money-back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with this product for any reason, EasyCare will gladly refund your purchase price (excluding shipping and handling) within 30 days of purchase. To qualify, all products must be returned to EasyCare and have a dated receipt. Offer not valid for EasyCare bargain bin or factory seconds. The customer will need to contact EasyCare Customer Service at 800-447-8836 to obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA). The customer is responsible for freight costs to and from EasyCare.  

90-Day Warranty. 

EasyCare Inc offers a 90 day repair or replacement warranty (from date of purchase) on quality and workmanship for all merchandise manufactured under the EasyCare label. The customer should return the product to EasyCare with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 90 day period.  Products will not be accepted without a dated proof of purchase. When the product is sent in for evaluation, the customer must call EasyCare Customer Service at 800.447.8836 to obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA).  Products that can be repaired will be quickly sent back to the customer.  Products that can’t be repaired will either be paid in the form of a store credit or replaced.  The customer is responsible for freight costs to EasyCare.  EasyCare will cover ground or parcel post shipping back to the customer.  Parts and labor are no charge under the 90 day warranty. 

EASYCARE DEALER RETURNS & WARRANTY

Customers that have purchased from an EasyCare dealer. 

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.  

Products purchased from an EasyCare dealer that are being returned under EasyCare’s 30-day money-back guarantee must be returned to EasyCare within 30 days of purchase. The EasyCare dealer will need to contact EasyCare for a Return Authorization Number (RMA). Once this number is obtained the product will be returned back to EasyCare along with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 30 day period. Once EasyCare has received the products a credit memo for the full purchase price of the item will be issued to the dealer (excluding freight charges).  All 30-Day Money-Back items will be paid in the form of a store credit. The 30 day money-back offer is not valid for EasyCare bargain bin or factory seconds. The consumer and/or dealer is responsible for freight costs.  

90 Day Warranty. 

If a customer has a warranty issue in the 90 Day Warranty period it can be handled two ways.  Through the EasyCare dealer where the product was purchased or through EasyCare

90 Day Warranty taken care of through the EasyCare Dealer.  The customer should return the product to the dealer with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 90 day period.  Products will not be accepted without a dated proof of purchase.  The dealer will then send the product to EasyCare to be replaced or repaired at EasyCare’s discretion. When the product is sent in for evaluation, the dealer must call for a Return Authorization Number (RMA). Products that can be repaired will be quickly sent back to the dealer.  Products that can’t be repaired will either be paid in the form of a store credit or replaced.  The dealer is responsible for freight costs to EasyCare.  EasyCare will cover ground or parcel post shipping back to the dealer.  Parts and labor are no charge under the 90 day warranty. 

90 Day Warranty through EasyCare.  EasyCare Inc offers a 90 day repair or replacement warranty (from date of purchase) on quality and workmanship for all merchandise manufactured under the EasyCare label. The customer should return the product to EasyCare with a copy of the customer’s dated receipt showing the item was returned within the 90 day period.  Products will not be accepted without a dated proof of purchase. The customer must call EasyCare for a Return Authorization Number (RMA) then the product shall be sent in for evaluation.  The customer is responsible for freight costs to EasyCare.  EasyCare will cover ground or parcel post shipping back to the customer.  Parts and labor are no charge under the 90 day warranty. 

EasyCare was the first company back in 1970 to make a production hoof boot.  The majority of new hoof boot products emulate our sizing charts, sizing methods, our boot designs, glue-on techniques, our fit kit concept and many of our procedures.  EasyCare's warranty program is the best and most generous in the industry and we plan to continue leading the way.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President & CEO

I have been President and CEO 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.

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

Submitted by Jordan Potthoff, EasyCare Customer Service Representative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Easyboot Mini: Available Friday, April 1, 2016

You spoke, EasyCare listened. The miniature horse and small pony world will soon have dependable hoof protection that still delivers the benefits of being barefoot. Meet the Easyboot Mini. The smallest production hoof boots in the world go on sale on Friday, April 1, 2016.

The Easyboot Mini is the most durable tiny boot on the market today and utilizes EasyCare’s most successful tread pattern made famous by the best-selling Easyboot Glove. Its urethane sole provides excellent traction that has proven in testing to hold up on any terrain, from pavement to rocky trail to kitchen tile. The boot is simple in nature but secure to the hoof when fitted correctly. No strength or hand dexterity needed: the boot fastens using a robust, industrial-style hook and loop system at the front of the pastern.

Need another reason to own an Easyboot Mini? When you purchase them, you also get a jar to store you horse treats.

To determine the correct size for the Easyboot Mini, measure the width and length of your pony’s hoof following a fresh trim. The width is the widest point across; the length is the line from the toe to the buttress line. For more detailed information, visit out Measuring Instructions page. Next, compare the hoof dimensions to the size chart below. 

If you have questions about the Easyboot Mini or would like assistance with sizing, please contact us our customer service team at 800-447-8836. EasyCare is excited to provide the little-horse community with the most advanced natural hoof care protection available today. The boots will be available for purchase online and by telephone starting Friday, April 1, 2016.

For more photos information about the Easyboot Mini's evolution, see my last blog.

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President & CEO

I have been President and CEO 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.

Don't Miss Out, Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners Conference Is Right Around the Corner!

Are you yearning for continued education or to ramp up your skills? Do you ever find yourself struggling to stay on top of the latest happenings in the world of natural hoof care? Do you wish you could connect with other hoof care professionals? Well look no further than Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners!   

The exciting news is their 2016 conference is just a few short weeks away and YOU are invited to come! 

Don't miss this opportunity to hear world class speakers present on a huge variety of relevant equine hoof and health topics.

WHEN:  Friday March 4th - Sunday March 6th, 2016 

WHERE:  Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and beautiful Arroyo Del Mar (owned by Shannon & Steffen Peters) Del Mar/San Diego, CA

The early bird rates for the 2016 PHCP conference close Thursday the 18th! Sign up NOW to enjoy the savings!

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW:  

Friday: Dr. Debra Taylor topics:  

  • Caudal Hoof Morphology
  • Negative Palmar/Plantar Angles
  • Padding the Thin Soled & Laminitic Horse 

Dr. Hilary Clayton topics:

  • Biomechanics of the Hoof to Ground Interaction
  • Straightness & Sidedness in Horses and Farriers 
  • Biomechanics of Lameness

Friday evening events include our fun and popular Meet & Greet event, amazing door prizes, boots and tools swap/sale, etc.!

Saturday:  Bus to Arroyo Del Mar

  • Dr. Clayton on Dressage Gaits & Movements
  • Garrett Ford of EasyCare live horse glue on demo and Q & A
  • Coralie Hughes, a Masterson Method Practitioner will demonstrate Dr. Kerry Ridgeway's technique of identifying patterns of musculo-skeletal pain in horses with Ulcers. She will also cover relief of tension and restrictions utilizing the Masterson method to ease the work of the farrier. 

Sunday:  

  • Carol Layton on Equine Nutrition
  • Joan Kulifay on Equine Arthritis & Lameness

In addition to the speakers, this conference includes the Meet & Greet dinner on Friday night as well as lunches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and transportation to/from the hotel to Arroyo Del Mar.  

Pricing as follows:

PHCP member early bird (now through Feb 18th): $250

PHCP member late: $300

Non member early bird: $300

Non member late: $350

To sign up and pay, reserve your hotel and get more details on this special conference, please visit the PHCP website.

This is a great opportunity to get connected, hone your skills and learn from some of the best in the business!

I look forward to seeing you there! 

 

Debbie Schwiebert

easycare-vet-hcp-deaaler-accounts-manager-debbie-schwiebert

Vet Dealer & Hoof Care Practitioner Accounts

I manage the hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts at EasyCare. An integral part of my job is to stay current in all areas of barefoot hoof care, which enables me to serve this vital group of EasyCare dealers at the next level.

Farriers Crowd The EasyCare Booth at the 13th Annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio

Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2015 Member

This week I attended the 13th Annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.  More than 1,100 farriers attended the four-day event with more than 130 vendor booths set up in the Duke Convention Center.

EasyCare, Inc. and Polyflex Horseshoes booths were crowded with farriers and offered a unique opportunity for farriers who signed up in advance to compete in one of two horseshoe glue-on competitions. EasyCare offered the Flip Easyboot Flop Flop Glue-On Division and Polyflex Horseshoes offered the Polyflex Horseshoe Glue-On Division.

Prizes in each division were $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Competitors were scheduled by the hour and only had an hour to complete the application. All competitors finished in the allotted time.

Derick Vaughn, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Second Place Winner of the Flip Flop Glue-On Division.

Hoof preparation for both glue-on applications were very similar; in fact EasyCare’s Garrett Ford adopted many techniques developed by Curtis Burns, owner of Polyflex Horseshoes.

The Polyflex horseshoe was applied using the steps outlined below.

Hoof Preparation

  • Rasp solar surface of foot to clean any debris off foot after your trim.
  • Treat all bacterial areas with Thrush Off and seal with Polyflex Seal-It.
  • Use a drill and buffy attachment (60 grit buffy paper) to clean and rough up the outer hoof wall and heel area.
  • Use a wire brush to clean the outer wall.
  • Use a handheld torch to dry the hoof wall. Torch then brush. Repeat three times.
  • Use a wire wheel to remove dust and debris from the solar surface of the hoof.
  • Dremel the heels (removing all overgrown periople) and bar region.
  • Use a handheld torch to dry the sole then remove all dust with a wire brush.

Shoe Preparation

  • Shape your shoe using a stall jack or by hand. Do not use a hammer to shape the shoe.
  • Clean the sole side of the shoe with a Dremel (use 9931 bit), roughing up the glue surface of the shoe. Be sure to get the inside and outside of the heel area roughed as well.
  • Use Keratex putty mixed thoroughly with copper sulfate crystals to pack any bacterial areas in the hoof, preventing glue from entering the depressions.

Polyflex Horseshoe Application

  • Dispense 2 oz of Polyflex Bond in a plastic rimless cup and mix with a 1/4 tsp of copper sulfate crystals.
  • Mix glue and copper sulfate with a wooden tongue depressor (cut one end of the depressor at a 45’ angle to use later).
  • Once glue is completely mixed, apply evenly on the sole surface of the shoe.
  • Set the shoe on the foot and use the remaining glue from the cup to blend in the heels and quarters. 
  • Use the angled end of the depressor to remove glue from the sole surface of the foot.
  • Do not wrap the foot with plastic wrap.
  • Hold the foot until glue is completely cured.

Finish

  • Once the glue has completely cured, use the buffy to smooth the glue and create a nice transition from hoof wall, glue, to shoe.
  • Use the Dremel to clean up excess glue from around the heel and bar area of the shoe.

First Place Polyflex Division Pete Van Rossum prepping the sole side of the polyflex horseshoe

1st Place Polyflex Division Winner, Pete Van Rossum, prepping the Polyflex Horseshoe.

The Easyboot Flip Flop was applied using the following steps:

Hoof Preparation

  • Use a drill and buffy attachment to clean and rough up the outer hoof wall.
  • Use a wire brush to clean the outer wall.
  • Use a handheld torch to dry the outer hoof wall then brush with a wire brush.
  • Repeat three times.

Flip Flop Application

  • Load a cartridge of Vettec Adhere in the Vettec glue gun.
  • Make sure Flip Flop is clean and free of debris.
  • Cut the tip off the Vettec Adhere cartridge.
  • Purge a squirt of glue before attaching the Vettec tip and purging another squirt of glue.
  • Dispense glue on the cuff of the Flip Flop, filling only about 2/3 of the cuff from the top with glue so that glue does not get under the solar surface of the foot, creating sole pressure.
  • Apply the Flip Flop to the hoof making sure that the toe is completely set into the cuff.
  • Once the glue has set for about a minute, place the foot on the ground.
  • Use more glue to trace the outer cuff of the boot, creating a smooth seal between the hoof wall and boot cuff.

Finish

  • Once the glue has completely cured, use the buffy to smooth the glue and create a nice transition from hoof wall, glue, to cuff.
  • Be sure not to sand down the sides of the cuff where it ends and transitions to hoof wall.  Sanding this area too much could weaken the glue bond.

When the hoof preparation and shoe application methods are followed as listed above shoe failure will almost never occur.

Flip Flop Glue-On Division Completed Shoes

Curtis Burns and Garrett Ford judging all entries

The winners of this year’s glue competition are as follows:

Polyflex Horseshoe Glue-On Division

1st Place: $500 - Pete Van Rossum, Farrier and Owner of Pete Van Rossum Natural Hoofcare, Ramona, California.

2nd Place: $300 - Steve Norman, Farrier, Georgetown, Kentucky.

3rd Place: $200—Ashley Gasky, Farrier and Owner of Precision Hoof Care, Ballston Spa, New York.

Polyflex Horseshoe Owner, Curtis Burns, with Polyflex Horseshoe Division Winner, Pete Van Rossum

Flip Flop Glue On Division

1st Place: $500 - Jeremy Ortega, Farrier and Owner of From The Ground Up, Mokelumne Hill, California.

2nd Place: $300 - Deanna Stoppler, Farrier and Owner of Horse & Sole Hoof Care, Fairfax, Vermont; tied with Derick Vaughn, Farrier at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky.

3rd Place: $200 - Daisy Bicking, Farrier and Owner of Daisy Haven Farm: School of Integrative Hoof Care, Parkesburg, Pennsylvania.

4th Place—Shawn Skorstad, Farrier Apprentice for Kendra Skorstad, Owner of Connected Healing Hoof Care, Rochester, Wisconsin.

Jeremy Ortega, First Place Winner of the EasyShoe Glue-On Division, with the EasyCare crew, Kevin Myers, Garrett Ford, and Debbie Schwiebert

Ashley Gasky, Jeremy Ortega, Deanna Stoppler, and Pete Van Rossum

Along with the competition, EasyCare displayed the new EasyCare Therapy Click System. Choose from a five degree or ten degree wedge pad that clicks into place on the bottom of the Easyboot Flip Flop and uses screws to lock the wedge into place. The Therapy Click System can also be used in conjunction with the Easyboot Cloud and eight other hoof boot models.

The cutest displays in the booth were the new Easyboot Mini Horse Boots. The boots have a simple construction and are easy to adjust. They can even be used as a therapy boot if your mini suffers from a hoof abscess or has an injury that requires the hoof to be wrapped and kept in a clean environment while healing. I already have clients lining up to purchase these boots for their minis. 

The booth was fun, interactive, and exciting. I can’t wait to see what EasyCare has in store for us at the 13th Annual International Hoof-Care Summit.