Take a Picture, it Lasts Longer

More and more I am realizing how valuable a camera can be as a trimming tool. Lately I've been allowing more time to take before and after shots of horses feet when trimming. I find that what my eye and brain can't grasp in the present moment can often be processed while viewing at a later time. I recently trimmed an Arabian with at least nine weeks of over growth. When I looked at the before and after photos of the Arabian I was astonished at the changes in the coronet band and weight distribution of the heels. When I trimmed her my only thought was that this horse needs a trim. 
Arabian before (left) and after (right) trimming.
The same thing happened the following week when I pulled EDSS shoes from a Quarter Horse and trimmed him. I just knew he had to get out of those EDSS shoes. It was only after looking at the photos that I realized just how significant the changes were in the coronet band and heels after the removal of shoes and a trim. In this case the trim was minimal, mostly just rounding edges and removing unnecessary frog material. 
Quarter Horse before (left) and after (right) trimming.
The trimming application was the same for both horses, removal of the wall to the exact contour of the peripheral edge of the sole including the bars except at the heel purchase and rounding all the weight bearing surfaces. This seemed rather routine to me at the time, however, the following week I couldn't stop bringing up the individual images and trying to figure out how such minimal trimming could have had such dramatic results. I had a hard time understanding the mechanics that were involved. I have to admit that most of my attention is focused on the sole and the information that is available at the time. I welcome positive changes elsewhere, but I don't try to make corrections any where other than weight distribution to the sole. My confusion magnified after putting the images of the two horses next to each other.
After several days, I finally noticed that not only were the angles of the coronet bands affected, but the angles of the heel bulbs had changed as well. That's when it dawned on me that by removing the overgrown wall, bars, and frog (re-establishing a more natural foot print) both horses were able to properly weight their feet and allow the soft tissues to reposition closer to where they belonged. Yes, each individual foot on each individual horse has its own correct position. Furthermore, each individual foot being in its correct position aids in the correct positioning of the three other feet. That's one of the reasons that hoof boots and pads or 4" of pea gravel/sand footing work so well to balance horses and make them comfortable, not to mention preventing problems in the first place. Horses standing in this type of footing are allowed to self level or compensate for over growth and/or conformation challenges. In a way, boots with pads could be considered mobile footing. I would never recommend trying to affect the hairline with a trim - I would only trim according to what the sole is ready for at the time. The more information you have, the better when it comes to making informed decisions while trimming. 
David Landreville, Landreville Hoof Care

EasyCare Sales Skills 101

Maintain Self-Confidence

This is the most important skill a salesperson can cultivate. How do you develop and maintain self-confidence? Very simple: Know your product. EasyCare offers training for you and your staff, which can be done by phone and takes about 30 minutes of your time. If you believe in yourself and your product, your customers will be inclined to believe as well. (Call to set an appointment.)  Also, stay up to date on changes and new products from EasyCare by subscribing to the Dealer Newsletter.




Good Listening

Most salespeople are natural talkers. Taking the time to ask your customer questions and really listening to their answers shows respect for them and gives you a clearer idea of their needs. Ask your customer for details about their horse's hooves, does the horse have a high heel, short toe, etc. Ask for freshly trimmed measurements. Ask them for details about their riding discipline. Get all the information that you can and then suggest the proper hoof boot style.


Emotion plays a major role in sales. There's an old saying that "features tell, benefits sell." Features are the facts about the hoof boots, benefits are told by the emotional response from your customer about the hoof boot. Tell your customers about the benefits of booting and the benefits of the particular boot style that you are suggesting. Then ask your customer questions to see what they like and how they feel about the hoof boot style that you are showing.


(Emotion = The blue Gloves are pretty!)

Building Strong Relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with your customers (and their horses) are key to the first sale, but also builds for many future sales. If your customer likes and trusts you, then they will be a long time customer. Relationship building starts with good product knowledge, good listening skills and selling your customer the hoof boot style that truly meets their needs.

Dee Reiter


Retail Account Rep

I am the Retail and New Dealer Account Rep for EasyCare. I will be happy to help you with ordering, selecting the most popular styles and sizes of EasyCare hoof boots to stock. Let me help you with suggestions on merchandising and provide training for you and your staff, at your convenience.


Save on Hoof Boots for Halloween

Is your barn having a costume party for Halloween? Red and Blue Easyboot Gloves will take your horse's costume to the next level. Save 15% on colored Gloves purchased from EasyCare during the month of October. This form-fitting, seamless boot hugs the hoof and responds like a natural foot. Like a glove, this boot provides protection without stifling mobility. The Easyboot Glove material stretches over the hoof and clings to the hoof wall so debris stays out of the boot, even in sandy or muddy conditions. There is no external hardware so there is no need to worry about replacing cables or buckles.

Use promo code: RB1013. May not be combined with any other offer.
Offer valid 10/01/13-10/31/13. Automatically applied to online orders.

Due to its form-fitting nature, the Easyboot Glove is only recommended for horse's on a four week or shorter trim cycle (or horse's that have maintenance rasping if on a longer trim cycle). The Glove must be carefully sized and fitted to the hoof. After taking your horse's hoof measurements, EasyCare recommends getting a Fit Kit to ensure you select the correct size.

Happy Halloween! Photo by Jacki Day.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.


Daisy Haven Farm Hoof Care in Nigeria

Being involved in teaching others about hoof care, I have taught a wide variety of people in varied locations. Earlier this month I had the experience of a lifetime, traveling to Nigeria to help the horses and conduct a clinic for Nigerian farriers. My trip was sponsored by a wonderful woman who is working diligently to improve the quality of care for the horses there. She runs a rescue where she rehabilitates horses and teaches natural horsemanship. Her mission is to provide education on all aspects of horse health, management and training. She asked me to come to Nigeria to help a few of her most challenging horses with their hoof problems and provide education to others in the area.  

Nigeria is an equator country, very tropical. Average temperatures are around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit and it rains almost every day, especially in the summer. This leads to rampant moisture related foot problems: thrush, white line disease, and even canker. 

In fact, it was a horse who had foundered due to chronic pervasive canker that prompted my trip:

While in Nigeria I worked with two groups of horses: horses cared for by my host through her rescue, and horses living and working at the polo club. You'll see a stark contrast between the environments of the polo club and the rescue.

A photo of the polo club below:

And the rescue:

Farriers as we know them don't exist in Nigeria, at least not in the region I visited. Hoof care is provided here by the horse's grooms. Part of the groom's role in caring for the horse is the health and maintenance of the foot. The grooms learn from each other with very little formal education. The horses are predominantly kept barefoot, and trimmed on a four week schedule. I was surprised to find that in general, most of the feet had good shape and symmetry. The trim being applied was fairly basic, trimming the wall to sole level, rounding wall edges, frogs trimmed and soles cupped out.  For the horses with good feet, this served them fairly well.  




However, any time the feet had significant imbalance or pathology, the standard trim applied fell short of addressing the problems, leaving these horses in limbo. This is where my host has become actively involved in providing education and assistance.  



Most fascinating to the students there were the hoof models I brought. Many did not know there was a bone inside the hoof, rather they believed there was only flesh or tissue inside. We discussed anatomy in depth, worked on mapping the hoof and especially knowing when to modify the trim for different hoof situations.  





Overall I feel my time there was very productive. The group was very eager for knowledge, and seemed appreciative of the time we spent together and information shared. It is clear to me that they care deeply for the horses, and want the best for them. Hopefully I've given them some tools, a new perspective, and have helped my host fulfill part of her mission. I'm looking forward to going back in the near future for part 2!



For more information on Daisy Haven Farm and our work, please see our website: www.DaisyHavenFarm.com .

When Abscess Goes Untreated - The Sequestrum

If you own horses, chances are good that at some point either you or someone you know spent many hours tending to an abscess. An abscess is collection of pus in an area of the body (in this case the hoof capsule) that causes severe pain and swelling due to the body’s immune system’s attempt to fight off the infection. This pus is actually excess white blood cells and tissue (living and dead), fluid, bacteria and other foreign substances. The white cells are the body’s natural defense to infection that release destructive components after identifying and binding with bacteria. Their purpose is to “kill” the harmful bacteria, but in the process healthy tissues are also damaged. In the hoof, this damage most often occurs in the laminae and bony structure within; in other words, if not treated, the coffin bone itself begins to degenerate and weaken, causing small pieces to break away. As part of the inflammation response, more white cells are sent to the site to remove the damaged tissue (the clean-up crew) which actually creates even more inflammation and subsequently more pain. The pieces of broken and damaged tissue are not distinguished by the body and the natural immune system subsequently treats them as foreign objects; hence, the system treats the bone pieces as “foreign objects” - these are what are known as sequestrum.
This is the story of Colt, a beautiful gelding purchased by Carla (Pittsburgh Pet Connections CEO) who had poor hoof care before she found him. There are some individuals who believe the hooves can go months without trimming, and others who feel they can trim themselves despite the fact that they have had no training or poor training at best. Colt was one such victim of circumstance, and he came into Carla’s love and devotion in need of immediate attention. His hooves were long and imbalanced, and after two trims he was still experiencing intermittent lameness. Local vets were called and his abscessing was opened, but they continued to fester despite many hours of soaking, draining and treatments with drawing salve. After seeing no improvement, it was decided he needed to seek clinical attention for a second opinion and x-rays. 
Colt was sent to Fox Run Equine Center where Dr. Brian Burks DVM diagnosed a lateral sequestrum on Colt’s left front hoof. This first picture shows Colt’s tract on film; you can see some lines coming from the side of the hoof draining down by the back of the heel. 
This is the site that had been opened from the outside bar (hoof wall beside the frog) but never drained out completely. Inside, there is a piece of broken bone that was damaged due the accumulation of pus for a long period of time. Dr. Burks used a dremel tool to drill a small hole into the quarter (side of the hoof wall) to remove this sequestrum. The second picture shows the piece of bone being removed and just how small the piece of bone was; its removal was imperative for Colt’s recovery.
The third picture is a shot of this same area after surgery, the quarter area grew out within three months with daily packing with betadine and Sliver Sulfadiazine.  
Before the surgery, Dr. Burks scraped out all the hard laminae from the bottom of the hoof to ensure there would be no residual bacteria’s invading the capsule that could potentially cause reinfection of the hoof. His intuitions served him well when it was discovered that the very tip of P3 (coffin bone) was extremely brittle. He concluded that this was damaged a long time ago from old abscessing that had caused this area to weaken and nearly break away. By making another “window” in the hoof wall, Dr. Burks was able to preserve most of the wall structure and remove this weakened area as well. He commented to me that the tip “fell away” when he merely touched it with his forceps, so it too was removed and needed packing until it grew out. This fourth picture shows the actual procedure during surgery when the forceps were inserted into the toe wall to remove the sequestrum. 
I’ve worked with many vets over the years, but I’ve never met one quite as thorough and open minded as Dr. Burks. The traditional protocol for any respective procedure is hospital plates (wide aluminum shoes) that stay on for many months to support the hoof during healing. Because Burks took such care to make minimally invasive openings for removal, Colt was left with adequate hoof wall for support. Carla was adamant in keeping Colt as natural as possible, meaning she wanted him to remain barefoot, and he respected her wishes. I was called to meet with Burks about follow up hoof care and we mutually agreed he could remain in a hoof boot that would not only support his hoof, but also provide better coverage for the opened areas that needed daily treatments. This last picture shows Colt’s open toe area five days after surgery when he was taken out of wraps and placed in a hoof boot. 
Treating a hoof injury is difficult on the owner as well as the horse. Carla was going to need a boot that would not only cover the entire hoof wall, but also one that could be easily removed and strong enough to withstand several months of continuous wear. Colt was rather stubborn about lifting the hoof for his daily treatment, so ease of application was an absolute necessity. I am familiar with several boots, but the best choice for this situation called for durability, full support and easy removal as well so that no further damage would occur. I could think of only one boot that would serve her purpose, and one that she would be able to keep for years to come in case she ever needed them again - the Easyboot Rx
From March to mid-May Colt wore his boots day and night. He was sound at a walk almost immediately after the surgery and because he had a boot he was able to get turnout in the arena and a small paddock every day. We actually booted both front hooves to make sure he wasn’t off balance on the front and this kept him sound while simultaneously avoiding any shoulder pressure or further injury. Carla made sure that his hooves were kept as dry as possible to avoid any rubbing due to excess moisture or sweat by removing them daily for treatments and drying the back of the hoof before replacing it. This movement helped facilitate the healing process and by the end of May the entire wall had grown out completely with no further problems. Within a month Colt was even able to do short rides wearing hoof boots and today he is doing very well. He has not had an abscess in nearly a year and his soles are tough because he has relocated to a facility that enables full turnout and natural wear. Carla has since purchased a pair of Easyboot Trail boots for long rides, and we are grateful to not only EasyCare for their supreme products, but also to Dr. Burks for his open-minded approach to natural horse keeping. Thanks to Carla, Colt has a wonderful life and his hoof issues are no longer…he is happy, healthy, and sound. 
Nancy Frishkorn BA, CHCP


September 2013: Bare Feet by Katy

She needs no introduction, her truck says it all: it's Bare Feet by Katy. EasyCare's featured dealer for September 2013 is passionate, dedicated and, yes, fun. It's business with a smile when your natural hoof care practitioner is Katy Banks of Corbett, OR.

Katy became a certified farrier in 2000 and shifted her focus in 2005 to natural hoof care. She hit the ground running as an EasyCare dealer in 2008 and has been a fantastic addition to our hoof care practitioner dealer network. 

As a single mom, Katy recognized that what she really needed was a skill that could afford a flexible schedule and be used and taken virtually anywhere. Having spent her life with horses, the transition to a career in hoof care was a perfect fit. Being self employed allowed her the needed flexibility to be available for her children and still pursue a successful career helping horses. When Katy first started her venture, her daughters were only ages four and two so this was certainly no small undertaking. The girls, now teenagers, continue to keep things hopping at home for Katy. Add to the mix a clientele of 150 head of horses a month and you have one very busy lady.

When asked about her marketing and business strategies she says, "It's hard not to put the truck at the top of the list. The "big girl truck", as my mom calls it is recognized nearly everywhere in the NW Oregon and SW Washington area. The other key element I believe is my personal attention to my clients and their horses. Customer service must be a priority in my line of work. If my clients and their horses are happy then I've delivered on my end of the deal. I strive to be available to my clients and consider their needs a priority, always taking into consideration their input. After all, they really know their horses better than anyone. I ensure they have access to as many resources as possible to keep their horses happy and healthy. Part of that equation is keeping EasyCare hoof boots and accessories on hand. The Easyboot Glove and Back County are my most requested boot styles."

As far as advice, she recommends her fellow hoof care professionals maintain the highest level of communication possible with clients. Keep appointments and never, ever stop learning. She also encourages hoof care providers to think independently and to assess new ideas carefully. To the horse owner, she couldn't stress more the importance of working with your horses so that they can stand quietly and comfortably while being trimmed - your horse and hoof care provider will thank you.

As is often the case, taking the road less traveled hasn't been without a few bumps. Last fall, Katy received news she had developed an acoustic neuroma that would require cranial surgery. Things came to a screeching halt and there was a big question mark placed on a lot of things. Ultimately Katy came through it more determined than ever. Clients and friends stepped up to help her through the rough spots and Katy says she was completely overwhelmed by the love and support show she received. The surgery resulted in many challenges and has left Katy deaf in one ear, but her recovery and successful return to trimming is one to rival a Rocky movie.

When asked about her favorite hoof boot, she'll tell you she really doesn't have one but rather her "favorite" is the one the that fits and suits the horse best for his job at that given time. She is quick to mention however that her youngest daughter loves the Back Country for her gaited horse.

Katy has many great stories but the one most near and dear to her heart is of a paint mare with navicular that came into her possession. The horse had been shod with pads and wedges for the previous five years (she was 13 at the time). The shoes were pulled and after six months of diligent trimming the mare was pasture sound barefoot. This mare progressed from a size #0 wedge/bar horseshoe to a size #2 in a hoof boot and was able to be ridden on the trail in boots with pads. Katy adds that the whole experience was so satisfying and fun. "Watching her moving freely in the pasture with the other horses and being able to keep up on her own, well there is simply nothing like it." 

Thank you Bare Feet by Katy, it’s a pleasure having you as part of our amazing team of hoof care practitioner dealers.

Roll With It!

The "mustang roll", or rounding of the edges of the hoof wall, was first noticed by observing the way the wild mustangs of the western United States wear their hooves through constant movement over abrasive terrain. Some form of a roll has become the hallmark or calling card of those who align themselves in some way as doing a "natural trim" and as anyone who knows us by now is well aware, we at Wild Hearts take the roll seriously! There is surprisingly much to it, to the point I had a hard time keeping this article short enough.
So what is the deal with the roll?  What are some reasons why it's beneficial and important?

An actual mustang hoof showing off his naturally worn roll.

Perhaps most importantly, the mustang roll allows us to shorten a horse's breakover without shortening the vertical toe height beneath the coffin bone (which, especially on a front foot, could cause soreness). For our approach to trimming, if you extrapolated a line from the edge of the coffin bone to the ground, just in front of that is where we would like the hoof to leave the ground or 'break over'. Far too often there is excess hoof wall in front of that line, which delays the hoof leaving the ground and causes strain on the entire hoof capsule and limb of the horse. Long toes draw the hoof forward which collapses the bars forward and out, contracts the foot, contributes to thin soles, thrush, etc.  It's bad foot mojo!

The orange line on this radiograph represents the approximate desirable location of breakover, with the blue
curved line to represent approximate location of the bevel/roll. There are other factors at work with the horse
in this image, but for the point of the discussion I tried to choose a pretty clear case of a toe which is too long!

The hoof wall is thicker at the toe from approximately 10-2 o'clock, and the lamina are closer in proximity in that area as well. I personally believe this is because the toe area has evolved over the history of the equine to be able to handle the demands of high wear in this area as a horse moves. The majority of domestic horses simply cannot duplicate that type of wear which causes the epidemic of long toes that we see.

The roll works with the ground to push the hoof wall and lamina against the internal structures, rather than a sharp or straight edge working against the ground to further pry away the wall from the hoof as the horse moves. Think of the end of a wooden broom handle that has been cut to a sharp edge, and then is ground into the ground. The edges would fray and pry away further with each impact. On the other hand, if the edge was rounded, as the handle was pounded into the ground the rounded edges would simply compact even tighter.

By "raising" the roll or putting on a steeper and higher bevel in areas of less wear on a less than straight horse (which is most of them!), we can balance the rate of wear more evenly across the foot. This means the horse will look and be more balanced as their trim cycle progresses.

The roll smooths the rough edges of damaged wall such as from nail holes or blown abscesses and a well done roll can make a hoof look neat and polished (and keep it that way, thanks to the inward pressure effect mentioned above). Many people unfortunately have associated a barefoot horse with neglect or lack of use, often because of the chipping and cracking that comes from a too-long trim schedule and a messy appearance to the foot. Clean, balanced rolls help eliminate this, and make a hoof look good visually as well as providing good functionality!
Roll, bevel, dubbing - the same thing?
Not really. A roll is a rounded outer edge to the hoof wall. A bevel is more about the angle we take with a rasp or nippers from the bottom of the hoof. We typically roll the top edge of our bevel. Dubbing is more like a thinning and bullnosing of the wall, and in my opinion not something that is positively functional for a hoof.    

Mario applies a mustang roll.

You can over do a roll.
A weak, separated, shelly wall is not able to do its job of sharing the support load for a hoof, and may need to be rolled away for the short term while healthier wall is grown in. The horse may be fine with this but most likely will need to wear hoof boots for comfort until his hoof can perform better. He may even be more comfortable without the leverage on his hoof from the disconnected wall. But an otherwise healthy, well connected hoof can become sore and require boots if you roll away too much wall or start the roll too close to the sole - especially beyond the 10-2 o'clock point.  Horses with already short upright toes, or with previously thinned walls at the toes, will not be able to have as big a roll as other cases. But with that said...

Size matters!
A mustang wears his roll onto his hoof every day through his constant movement. Our roll has to last as long as possible until we can re-trim the horse. In most horses in our area, even a big "Mario Roll" will last about four weeks before it fades away with the growth of the hoof. By a typical five to six week maintenance trim, most horses rolls are gone or nearly gone, but nothing has gotten away from us to where problems have begun. Small superficial chipping is ok and just cosmetic, but if there are bigger issues we definitely need to look at the diet, trim cycle length, hoof booting needs, etc.

 "A good mustang roll is the best friend of natural hoof trimming" ~ Paige Poss, www.ironfreehoof.com  

Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care - See more at: http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/insights-from-the-inside#sthash.n9OgtBzt.dpuf

Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care

The New Baby

As a happy housewarming present to myself, I went crazy and bought myself a baby! A ten month old, gawky, adorable, spindly-legged stud colt was quickly armed up into my trailer before I could change my mind. No worries there, I met this little guy the morning he was born last July 27th and immediately fell in love. I was able to watch him grow up, month-by-month, in the midst of the other colts and fillies much older and larger than he, and I fell hard. When the opportunity presented itself for this chromed-out, flaxen colt to become mine, I jumped. Welcome, Belesemo Magic Marker! 

Mark is a 3/4 brother to my gelding, Belesemo Enchanter, who has proven himself to be one of the funnest horses I've ever had the pleasure of riding. Chant came to me as a late, unstarted four year old, who presented plenty of challenges due to his independent nature and somewhat aloof personality, combined with lack of daily handling. He, himself, was sold as a yearling and grew up on large acreage with a small herd of Quarter Horses prior to his owner having to sell. This has all changed, and Chant and I have been solidifying our partnership through the long, slow distance training miles, as well as thriving under constant attention in my backyard. He's truly blossomed as a seven year old and I am thrilled with the horse that has developed. I see a lot of Chant in this sweet and curious, yet independent and confident young colt. While I am trying not to wish away his babyhood, I cannot wait to see the horse he will become. 

Mark, Chant and project-mare, Anya (who is worth a blog post, herself!)

For myself, one of the most exciting parts of getting such a youngster is knowing I have full control of his hoof care, which is incredibly important during this stage of growth and development. Too many young horses are left with improper and infrequent trimming, which can lead to permanent conformational deformities. While I haven't gotten to fully trim him yet, I have been working with him on picking up his feet and preparing him for frequent trims and leg handling. We've had a couple rasp strokes here and there, and he's nearly dependable enough for a real trim. The little punk is pretty good about his front feet, but would rather keep his hind feet to himself. No worries, I am persistent and he is little, thankfully.

Next post will be a trimming update with pictures of the little tiny hooves. Unlike the other grown-up ponies, I can't take pictures without two extra hands which seem to come in short supply during the busy summer months. I am excited to get the imbalances I see from the top fixed, and back those little toes up. It's amazing how you can see what could potentially become larger problems if left unaddressed. In the meantime, I'm going to go smooch on that adorable little face! 

Red Boot and Blue!

Save 15% on Red and Blue Easyboot Gloves purchased from EasyCare during the month of July! This form-fitting, seamless boot hugs the hoof and responds like a natural foot. Like a glove, this boot provides protection without stifling mobility. The Easyboot Glove material stretches over the hoof and clings to the hoof wall so debris stays out of the boot, even in sandy or muddy conditions. There is no external hardware so there is no need to worry about replacing cables or buckles.

Use promo code: RB13. May not be combined with any other offer. Offer valid 7/01/13-7/31/13.

Due to its form-fitting nature, the Easyboot Glove is only recommended for horse's on a four week or shorter trim cycle (or horse's that have maintenance rasping if on a longer trim cycle). The Glove must be carefully sized and fitted to the hoof. After taking your horse's hoof measurements, EasyCare recommends getting a Fit Kit to ensure you select the correct size.

Team Easyboot member Karen Corr using Red Easyboot Gloves at an endurance ride.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, EasyCare CSR

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.


Gloves and Pads? It Can Work!

I have a sensitive princess mare. Do you know the type? Hates to get wet, doesn't like to get dirty, is very expressive about what she thinks her minions (humans) should or should not being doing, etc. And she loves shoes (aka hoof boots)...lots of them. Her collection of Easyboots is vast and takes up two gear bags! She has winter mud boots (Easyboot Gloves with studs), summer boots (Gloves without studs), gravel/rock running boots (Easyboot Bares converted to the Epic buckle system with dome pads), black boots, red boots, Back Country boots, all in multiple sizes depending on if her feet are wet and bigger/dry and smaller, trimmed/untrimmed, etc. At least she is not into purses, right? She also shows her sensitive side in that she loves her padded boots, especially if the footing is not 100% ideal and may have some rock or gravel in it. She does ok in her Gloves, but really moves so much bigger and carefree when she has her padded Bares on.

I have always had the thought in the back of my mind, that I would like to have more frog stimulation in boots. The flat surface inside can mean not enough frog stimulation, unless they are really big, healthy, dropped down frogs. Sadly, many of our horses do not have awesome frogs, and the only way to get them is by stimulating them with lots of movement/ground contact. The best way to get this, is to ride in padded boots, especially dome pads if the horse tolerates them (I have met a few with thin soles, or painful frogs, that find dome pads to be too much pressure). I love the simplicity of the Glove though, and the fact that she never interferes in them which she does occasionally with her hinds when wearing Bares. I always wondered if I could just put dome pads in the Gloves. I decided a new one was out of the question since it took up half the space in the boot, and I highly doubted they would stay on. So then I thought about taking some older, already squashed down ones out of my current padded boots - that looked much better. Then the testing began. First I went on a trail ride, mostly on flatter terrain with decent footing and mostly walking with some light trotting. I applied Mueller athletic tape to the hooves as I suspected the boots would not stay on otherwise.

That experiment was a success, with the boots staying on and in place (no twisting). I did this a few more times, adding a bit more trotting, some cantering, and a little more distance. Then I decided to them on a 35 mile training ride in Redwood National Park. This involved a good amount of elevation change, mud, creek crossings, downed branches, and a decent amount of trotting and a little cantering. Of course when we were all tacked up and ready to go, I realized I had forgotten to tape the boots - I decided it would be a good experiment to see what happens. So I stuffed a role of tape into my saddle pack and off we went. Sure enough, once up the fist two miles and a long, really big hill, we stopped for an evaluation at a nice, grassy spot. Boot fail - all four had twisted.

Front (left) and hind (right), you can see the gaps left by the twisting.

So out came the tape, and the boots went back on (after much ado about finding the right rock to smack them on with). Then off we went again to continue our ride. Every now and then I would check them, but they did not budge. I had quite a good time riding the beautiful redwoods that day, with my friend Jo on her horse Beetle. Beetle also uses Gloves or Epics with pads, and has been developing much nicer frogs.


Eowyn taking a snack break.

It sometimes felt like a fairy world...tree blossom petals all over and little wild flowers blooming all around.

The majestic Redwoods towering above us.

The traditional picture spot, a burnt out redwood tree is big enough for horse and rider!

One of my favorite trees in the park. Its roots grew over an old redwood stump.

After eight hours on the trail, and taping them up after the first fail, the boots worked great all day. In fact, I almost had to break out the screw driver to pop them off. This has been a reoccurring theme when I tape Eow's Gloves. My next experiment (without pads) is to tape only with power straps and no gaiters...

I love how the dome pads take on the shape of the bottom of the foot. It fills in all the hollow spaces, moves away from the loaded ones, and supports everything, much like how dirt would naturally fill in the hoof. Compare it to one of the 'dirt pads' I often find in Eow's paddock.

If you'd like to check out the "Fairy Woods" too, our local endurance club, Redwood Empire Endurance Riders, host a ride there every year. This year we will be having it in September. Come on out and join us! http://redwoodendurance.com/

Natalie Herman