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.

BREAKOVER
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.

INWARD VS. OUTWARD PRESSURE
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.

BALANCE
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.

APPEARANCE
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

Alternative Uses of a Horseshoe Nail

You might never have an interest in nailing a horse shoe on a hoof but if you are a natural hoof care provider, rider, or horse owner, the horseshoe nail can still serve you very well.

Here are five alternative uses for horseshoe nails:

1. Explore the depth and severity of white line separation.

Horseshoe nails are very pointed, no other nail or hoof pick is thin enough to be inserted into the white line to clean out decayed tissue, debris, small embedded pebbles and prepare it for treatment. Simply insert the nail and scrape the separated white line clean, then apply treatment solution. The same applies for cleaning out collateral grooves.

 

2. Explore the frog for thrush.

Not every crack in the frog means thrush. With a horseshoe nail it is easy to find out and check the frog for sensitivity, decay and bacterial invasion.

 

3. Estimate the thickness of the sole by measuring the depth of the collateral grooves. With the pointed end of the nail it is easy to get to the bottom of the groove. Unless you use a Precision Hoof pick, which has a pointed end and a reading scale, a horseshoe nail is second best. Lay your rasp over the level and flat trimmed heels, place the nail to the bottom of the groove and use your fingernail or a marker to fixate the spot where it hits the rasp. Then pull the nail out and measure the distance.

The distance below, marked by the fingernail, is 2 cm, about 3/4 of an inch.

 

4. Clear the channels in the Vettec Adhere tube. Sometimes, when tubes have already been used previously, little plugs can form and obstruct the openings. This is really bad news if a mixing tip is already attached and an uneven flow of glue comes out. A nail tip can clean it out quickly and easily.

 

5. Clear debris from a screw. Need to replace a gaiter on your Easyboot Glove? Tighten a screw on your gaiter or the power strap? ( I highly recommend doing this after each ride using Gloves). After a ride with Easyboot Gloves, most screw heads are filled with debris. Somehow the sand and grit forms such a hard fill that your phillips screwdriver cannot get a bite. A horseshoe nail allow you to clean the slots out with minimal effort.

This screw slot is filled tightly with debris.

Can you think of any additional usages of a horseshoe nail? Please share them with us.

 

Your Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

Matthew's Story

This past winter I traveled half way around the world to spend time with my husband who works in Saudi Arabia. I left a list of local barefoot trimmers with my clients in case of an emergency or if any were in need of trimming while I was gone. With the exception of a few horses that had health issues going on, I felt that all would be well. One of those horses was Matthew. Mid-November Matthew, was having trouble eating and drinking and had a very sore neck. He was taken to a vet clinic where they performed dental work and sent him home. A few days later, he was still very sore in the neck, had laminitis and was displaying colic like symptoms. He returned to the vet and spent eighteen days being treated for laminitis. Although Matthew's owner, Linda, preferred barefoot, the vet felt traditional farrier methods were the best course of action for the laminitis. A type of wooden wedge block was screwed to his hooves in hopes of alleviating his discomfort. As days went by, his blood panels continued in a downward spiral indicating that his kidneys and liver were shutting down. Matthew was in constant pain from the laminitis and showed no sign of improvement. Unfortunately as I was leaving the country, Linda called to tell me her horse was being sent home from the vet clinic to die.

When I returned home at the end of January, I fully expected Matthew to have gone on to greener pastures but much to my surprise he was still alive. When he returned from the clinic it looked hopeless at first but Linda felt she had to give her boy a chance because of his will to live. It was very challenging to keep him warm on the below zero degree days and nights - most of the time he laid in his stall. Finally he started showing improvement and new blood panels showed his kidneys and liver were normal. As Linda's wish was to return Matthew to barefoot, the vet agreed to begin by pulling the hind shoes.

Matthew's right hind after his first (left) and second (right) trims.

When I arrived at the barn, Linda had Matthew standing ready for his trim. As I removed his bandages, nothing prepared me for the sight of the sole completely gone from the tip of the frog forward. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I wished someone would have warned me before I started the process out in the middle of a dirt lane by the barn. But there I was, so I began lowering the heels and bringing back the toe to a more proper break over. By the time I finished trimming, Matthew seemed more comfortable and was walking better. After cleaning the dirt from his hooves, we put him in some Easyboot Gloves with 12 mm medium density comfort pads inside until we could come up with a better solution.

Matthew's right hind five (left) and ten (right) weeks after first trim.

The next day I called EasyCare for advice on boots and padding for his severe condition. I ordered the Easyboot Rx and several pairs of pads knowing that we would have to experiment to find the perfect combination. As barefoot trimmers will tell you, the horse will show you if you just take the time to ask. Taping the pads to his hooves with duct tape worked best at first (Matthew preferred 2 soft density comfort pads). Boots were tolerated during the day as he roamed the yard but not at night. We ran into a problem with rubbing even with wool socks. So the taped on pads offered a needed rest from the boots while he was in his stall on softer terrain. In as little as five weeks, you can see how quickly the sole filled back in and the hoof began to heal a condition that was traditionally thought irreparable. I'm hoping that in the future, veterinarians will come to know that with the proper tools available like hoof boots and pads, barefoot is a viable option for laminitis.

Karen Reeves, Natural Equine Hoof Care

Don't Be Negative

We all know that being negative is considered a bad thing, and it's no different for the horse's hoof!
 
A negative palmar (front), or negative plantar (hind), angle in the hoof refers to the orientation of the coffin bone in the hoof. In a negative angled hoof, the wings of the coffin bone (called the palmar processes) are lower than the front of the coffin bone. A healthy hoof alignment within the capsule is considered to be a couple to several degrees positive. The range of normal can depend on the horse's individual conformation and breed. While there are proponents of a ground parallel coffin bone when the horse is at rest/standing on flat ground, it is generally accepted that the healthiest and soundest feet are those with a positive angle (this is my preference). As I am always repeating, the rear most area of the hoof is meant to be landed upon, and under full load it will dip downward as nature intended. If the hoof is already at ground parallel just standing still, the coffin bone will go negative under full impact.

A negative plantar angle.  The red line shows the angle we are referring to - the rear
of the coffin bone is lower than the front. This is an extreme example to help you see it.

So what are the causes, why is it bad, how do you recognize it, can we fix it?

Some of the causes of negative palmar/plantar angles:

  1. Environment
    One of the causes of negative palmar/plantar angles (NPA) relates to our arid environment here in Southern, CA. Without moisture to soften and help exfoliate their feet, some horses can build excessive sole. Bar material that should end about 1/2 way down the frog can migrate forward and over the sole, blending with the sole and even covering it completely. You may have heard the term "false sole" and this is what it is referring to. This material, if not recognized and removed, can pack in under the tip of the coffin bone and essentially push the edge upwards.
  2. Trimming
    Some horses are trimmed and shod to exacerbate this situation. Reiners, for example, can have crushed heels and excessive vertical toe height (NPA's) from sliding, and I see it in upper level dressage horses who are stepping under themselves during highly collected movement.  
  3. Conformation
    Sickle hocked horses are predisposed to this hoof form. Horses with DSLD are as well, because the damaged, dropping pastern and suspensory areas move the weight bearing area too far rearward.  

Why is being negative a bad thing?

The horse is essentially overloading the rear of the hoof. The soft tissues of the digital cushion, lateral cartilages, frog, etc., are being crushed. The heel bulb areas will look flattened, the frog can appear to be prolapsed, and there may be a crevice in the frog from where it is pinching forward (which can trap thrush). Horses with negative plantar angles often stand underneath themselves, which leads to soreness through the stifles, hocks, hamstrings and up into the croup and sacroiliac area.

How does one recognize this situation?

A lateral radiograph will certainly show you the bone orientation, and is ideal so you know exactly what you are dealing with. With that said, a big sign of NPAs can be a bullnosed appearance to the hoof wall. This is due to the wall following over the tip of the coffin bone which is pushing outward. Another obvious sign is from underneath the hoof, there will be more depth at the apex of the frog than the rear of the foot. Sometimes horses with NPA's will have wear such as squaring at the toe wall and a buffed appearance to the wall. (This is also a sign of sore hocks or stifles, which we know is a possible result of NPA's, but it can also be just a symptom of soreness, injury or weakness there and can't be assumed on its own to mean the horse has NPAs.)

Before (left): The bullnosed or dubbed shape common in horses that have a NPA.
After (right): Five weeks later - the heel was able to start lifting now that the pressure has been relieved.

 
How do you fix it?

After all that lead up, it seems over simplified to say you usually just remove excess sole under the coffin bone...but that is usually all that is required!  It may take a single good trim to fix the situation and get the hooves back on track. Or, more commonly, it can take many trims with varying amounts of material taken out, and the horse may need some remedial body work to help soothe the sore soft tissues. It takes someone really good at reading the hoof to know how much to take and when. Hooves adapt over time, and the corium that covers the coffin bone can actually have distorted enough that a trimmer could get into trouble by trying to over correct a situation too quickly. Sometimes all we can do is lower the wall at the toe, and only the sole immediately adjacent to it. If the problem didn't originate in the hooves but rather from a conformational issue, disease or an injury, we are limited in how much permanent change we can make at the hoof.  
 
At the AHA conference a couple of years ago, we used a simple heat sensing tool on the feet of horses that were NPA, before and after their trims. The feet were warmer after the trim, indicating possible better circulation in the foot when the rear of it was not being as crushed. I've seen some amazing changes to the heel and frog areas on horses with corrected angles so don't be negative, be positive!

A sole view of what changes can take place when correcting a NPA. There is approximately
6 months time between the images. The weight bearing area of the heel has moved back
and thickened, the frogs have widened, the hoof is rounder in shape, and there is more
equal depth under the coffin bone.  (The horse is a working teenaged dressage horse.)

 

Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care

Give Shoes the Boot - You're Still a Cowboy

Over the years, we have seen many trends with horses - from the dos and don'ts of feed, to the method in which we train. The one thing that has stayed consistent is people moving towards doing what is best for their horse, and not what is simply habit passed down. Back in the day, it was not uncommon to get the youngest, craziest guy near the barn and have him hop on and "break" the colts. Obviously, we know there are better ways to skin that cat.

Being married to a ranch raised roper, I am immersed in the "cowboy tough" world. Surprisingly, these same guys that used to "break " horses are now deliberately trying to ride with a nice soft loop to warm up. Given that the mark of a "cowboy" used to mean climbing up on a bronc and surviving, I am happy to see the transition into a more sensible approach. So why the hang up with hoof boots?

My husband specializes in natural hoof care and so most of our clients are open to boots but there are those who still insist on shoes. Of course we try to show the advantages of allowing the horse to have a natural foot. We try to educate on the simplicity and versatility of boots. And yet, most of the time we meet resistance, usually justified by the old thinking that shoes are needed for traction and balance. Really? I beg to differ. I have a theory - it is not that shoes are really needed, it is that boots may be just a little too trendy for the "cowboy" crowd. I pose it in a different way when I talk to these guys. I point out the logical side. Who really is a smarter guy? The one who lights $80+ on fire every 6-8 weeks for shoes or the guy who invests a little chunk up front (far less than repeated shoeings) for the year.

Now I know this seems a bit ornery but the truth is, if you are going to put you foot down about not following the new trends, then put your foot down about not following the old ones and see where you actually end up. I challenged my father-in-law to do this. After almost 60 years of holding his ground on shoes, his horses are now booted in the latest and greatest Easyboots. He even changes them up to meet his needs. He uses the Easyboot Trail for everyday mountain riding and the Easyboot Epic or Easyboot Glove (depending on his mount) for the competitions and his older boys that have special needs. As it turns out, he is no less of a "cowboy" than he was in his shoeing days. As for our performance horses, we too ride with "trendy" hoof boots and yet, my husband is still the big tough guy he has been raised to be. When you are ready to set the bar for your own horse, make sure you have these crucial elements in place:

  1. A competent practitioner capable of properly trimming the barefoot horse.
  2. The proper fit, acheived by a simple fitting session.
  3. The proper boot for the needs you have.

When you have checked that list off, you will be well on your way to optimal performance. Give shoes the boot! Soon you may find you are more of a horseman than the stubborn guy next to you.

Amanda Peterson, Peterson Approach Equine Services

From Seaside to Sagebrush

This time last year, my horses and I were enjoying ocean views, redwood trees, and lush green grass. If you ask me, there really is nothing quite as beautiful as Humboldt County California’s redwood coast. Add some of the best trail partners around and it’s really hard to beat. But for some reason, my husband and I had this itch to see new places and try something different. So in December (perfect timing to avoid another wet Humboldt winter), we packed up our family of two dogs and three horses and moved ourselves to Reno, Nevada. It’s taken some adjusting, but it’s turned out to be a great move for us and even better for the health and happiness of our horses.

As luck would have it, this winter has turned out to be one of the driest on record for our former stomping grounds, and one of the coldest and wettest Reno has seen in years (“wet” is relative, it’s still a desert). We've adjusted to the colder temperatures and we have settled in with the help of some awesome friends. We thought the horses would protest -2 degree mornings coupled with 20 mph winds but they really didn’t seem to notice. In fact, they seem to be thriving in the desert environment. My sweet, retired old girl, Sere, in particular seems happier than ever.

Before we moved to Reno, I was considering euthanizing Sere. Sad, I know. And trust me, I cried just thinking about it. This is a horse I've had 15 years! But she was laminitic and dull and some days she really had a hard time getting around. On her bad days, she’d need to wear Easyboot Epics with Comfort Pads just to be comfortable in the pasture. I decided to wait to make a decision, and see if moving her to a completely different environment would improve her quality of life.

Ouch. Sere's California feet.

Four months after moving to Reno, we’re still using Easyboot Epics with Comfort Pads but now we’re using them on 10-12 mile trail rides. Sere is comfortable, bright eyed, and happier than ever. I have my horse back!

Sere's Nevada feet. Much better.

I’m amazed and delighted with the changes I’ve seen in Sere in the last four months. This move has turned out to be exactly what she needed. A dry environment has been a huge help for her formerly thrushy feet. Now she has those rock hard desert hooves that horse owners love and hoof rasps hate. Taking the sugar out of her diet has been an important change too. Even though she only had access to small amounts of green grass in California, that was still enough to cause her to have frequent bouts of laminitis. Now she’s on a big, two acre dry lot so she has plenty of room to move around but absolutely no grass. To make up for the lack of grazing time, the horses have access to grass hay in slow feeders at all times. In addition to the diet and climate changes, I've also gotten help from a natural hoof care provider. I feel like I was doing okay trimming her myself but it's always helpful to have a professional eye to point out any little things that can be improved (and FYI, if you're in need of a barefoot trimmer, Jeremy Procopio, from Foresthill, CA, does a wonderful job and is building a clientele in Reno).

So, my four month evaluation of Reno is pretty great! I’m thankful to have my horse back and I’m very excited to get out and explore new trails with her. As always, I’m very grateful to EasyCare for making products that allow me to take the best care of my horses and their feet.

Renee Robinson

Team Easyboot 2013 Members Announced

Thank you to everyone who applied for Team Easyboot 2013. The panel of EasyCare staff members selected this year's team based on diversity of representation in geography, discipline, age and skill set. Our goal for TE13 is to have engaging members who are enthusiastic and communicative both online and in person. Team Easyboot 2013 members are listed below.

Kim Abbott
Amy Allen
Sharon Ballard
Ashlee Bennett
Daisy Bicking
Laurie Birch
Karen Bumgarner
Mikayla Copenhaver
TJ Corgill
Angela Corner
Karen Corr
Carol Crisp
Q DeHart
Kandace French
Susan Gill
Natalie Herman
Nonee High
Leanna High
Kim Hudson
Brigit Huwyler
Christina Kramlich Bowie
Mary Lambert, DVM
Gene Limlaw
Sabrina Liska
Tennessee Mahoney
Stacey Maloney
Elaine McPherson
Lisa Morris
Martha Nicholas
Rachael Parks
Raina Paucar
Grace Pelous
Amanda Petersen
Buck Petersen

Heather Reynolds
Jeremy Reynolds
Carla Richardson
Vanessa Richardson
Renee Robinson
Tami Rougeau
Christoph Schork
Leslie Spitzer
Susan Summers
Steph Teeter
Lucy Trumbull
Mari Ural
Jennifer Waitte
Carol Warren
Amanda Washington
Kevin Waters
Kicki Westman

Congratulations! Team member photos and biographies will be posted on the Team Easyboot page. Team members are available to inform others about EasyCare products and assist in boot fitting. Keep an eye out for TE13 members at your next event.

Returning applicants were asked: "What do you feel was your greatest contribution to the team?" Tennessee Mahoney's humorous and inspirational response is below.

I feel like I help gal's like myself realize that "they can do it." I encounter a lot of people who have an, "it must be nice!" attitude. I guess they they think I have a Fabio, live-in, professional natural hoof care practitioner and booter. Spoiler alert - I trim, boot, and glue-on by myself. This industry is filled with women who love horses but their horse's hooves are akin to their truck's engines, a "black-box" area. Sure, every now and then you come across a gal who can change her own oil...or at least check the oil. Your horse's hooves and his hoof care and protection should not be a "black box" area. Yes, I do in fact have a wonderful husband (Sean) who helps me immeasurably but he has never trimmed a hoof. With some basic education and some experience, the women of this industry can take their horses' hooves into their own hands. Let's just say, you can get as involved as you want and do a good job.

Tennesse Mahoney returns to Team Easyboot for 2013!

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.