The Easyboot Mini's Personal Impact

Submitted by Victoria Nodiff-Netanel of Mini Therapy Horses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, EasyCare.

Throwback: The Easyboot Epic History

Blog originally posted November 29, 2009

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

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

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


The first prototype Easyboot

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

First Easyboot production model.  Early 1970's.

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

First black production model

Neel soon added black to his natural horse products.

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

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

Easyboot buckles improved and became more sturdy over time

Easyboot buckles improved and became more sturdy over time.

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

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

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


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

The current production Easyboot

The current production Easyboot.

Easyboot Epic

The Easyboot then evolved into the Easyboot Epic.

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

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

Modifications of Easyboot Glove and Glue-On Shells: Part II

Submitted by Pete Ramey

Glove Glue-On Shells    

The Industry’s Shift to Synthetic Horseshoes 
In my opinion, the increasing popularity of synthetic shoes – both for rehab and for high performance – is a very good step in the right direction. During the time that metal was the only material we had that would hold up under a horse, metal made a lot of sense as a horseshoe material. But these days we have a wide array of materials that will do the job, and most of them are much better for energy dissipation and shock absorption. These materials are also more flexible, which can allow the foot to function more normally, perhaps leading to increased health of internal structures when compared to more rigid shoes. 

I do worry that synthetic shoes will become just another thing that people leave on horses’ feet 365 days a year. Healthier than steel, perhaps, but still degrading the foot with their constant presence. I use these tools in my everyday work, but for most situations I remain a “barefoot and boot man,” as I think this combination yields the best hoof health in a majority of situations. 

My Love Affair with the Glove Shells
There are times, though, that long-term or even permanent hoof protection is needed. For these horses, I usually turn to the Glove Glue-On Shells, simply a Glove without the gaiter (instead of other synthetic shoe models) for several very specific reasons:

  • All of the glue bond is on the side wall, instead of on the bottom of the wall. This frees me up to unload areas of separated walls, making these shoes ideal for growing out hoof capsule rotation, toe flaring, and quarter flares (and thus wall cracks).
  • Almost as well as a hoof boot, if applied properly, they can allow total release of pressure to the sole during hoof flight. This allows you to get away with more sole pressure/support than any other fixed shoeing method I have seen, heard of, or tried.
  • There is no need to trim the foot “flat” in preparation for shoeing. The horse’s foot, when viewed from the side, is naturally arch-shaped, mirroring its internal structures. The only ways to level this arch for shoe prep are to, 1) thin the sole at the toe, 2) thin the sole at the heels, 3) leave the quarter walls too long, or some combination of those three. I can’t abide any of those, as each causes damage. Note: When floating the quarters above the shoe floor, be careful not to let glue run beneath the wall and harden under the sole.
  • The glue bond area is 3-5 times larger than typical glue-on shoes. There is also no need to prep or protect the prep of the ground surface of the foot. For beginners, this makes it easier to succeed with them. For seasoned veterans, this makes the bond as close to bombproof as a shoe can get.
  • I can pad in them! Most permanent shoe modifications accommodate padding or impression material under the arch of the sole, but not under the wall or the outer periphery of sole. This little trick is a true life-saver for thin-soled, splat-footed horses.
  • Using heat-fitting, this shoe can easily adapt to any almost any hoof shape, and be adapted to any breakover or heel support needs.
  • Economics. I can stock only this shell and, by trimming it down to shape, duplicate a wide array of products. If I want an Easyshoe, a Flip-Flop, a lower cuff, a direct glue shoe with no cuff, M/L or D/P wedge, better traction, heels in, heels out, open sole, closed sole, frog support… I can make one by removing unwanted material from this single product. This helps maximize precious storage space in my truck and, of course, dramatically cuts the expense of carrying extra stock. 

Heat-Fitting 
It is equally important to achieve a close fit with the Glue-Ons as it is with the Gloves. We have the same breakover and heel support needs. Large gaps between the wall and shoe will be difficult to fill with glue, and tight areas may push the shoe out of place before (or after) the glue dries. 

Better fit can be achieved with the Glue-Ons than the Gloves when large quarter flares are present since the gaiter is not in the way of quarter fitting. During the heating process, you will find that it is better to hold the shell with something besides your hand, particularly if you have opened the sole (discussed below). I use my shoe pull-offs or crease nail pullers.

As an end result, you want a snug but relaxed fit with little-to-no air space, and no pressure attempting to push the shoe out of place. Prior to gluing, you should be able to put it on the foot with no glue, walk the horse around on concrete, and it should stay in place.

Other Modifications

All of the modifications I discussed in Part I with the Glove boots can also be done to the Glue-On Shells. Below are additional options I use only when gluing.

Venting the Back of the Shoe
Gluing allows you to cut out the heel section of the boot completely. I almost always do this as it allows the foot to breathe, keeping the back half of the foot relatively free of the black, foul funk. I tend to do this simply with my pocket knife, and then I finish by rounding the top of the cuff with my nippers or shears. 


Opened heel of Glove shell, done with knife and nippers. I’m doing this to 90-something % of my glue-on shells.

Venting the Bottom of the Shoe
If there is adequate sole and frog in the center of the foot and if I don’t perceive a need to use impression material or padding, I often vent the bottom of the shoe. Using a jigsaw or Dremel, you can follow the contour of the shoe tread, mimicking the frog support and look of an EasyShoe. The material is strong and difficult to cut. Most tools actually burn their way through it, rather than cutting, and it can be a long process. 

So in most cases, I simply use a drill and hole saw (thank you Leslie Carrig!), usually 2 ¼” diameter, occasionally larger, to vent the bottom of the foot. This takes seconds to do, with no burning or clogging, though the end result may not look as cool as other designs, the horses never notice. As with almost any open-bottom shoe, there is some risk of a stone lodging between the shoe and the sole, causing problems. But the access to air can be worth the risk, particularly if the owner routinely picks and checks the area.

Pads and Impression Material
All of the padding methods discussed for the Glove boots will work with the Glue-On version, plus several additional options -- Dental Impression Material (DIM), pour-in pads, and Sikaflex 227 adhesive, to name a few. Generally, when using any type of pad, I leave the shoe’s stock sole intact (forgoing the sole vent). I also fill the collateral sulci and cover the sole with a thin layer of Artimud to keep infection at bay.

Prep and Glue
Gluing instruction is best done in person or at least via DVDs or YouTube (start here)  – not in writing – but here is my basic protocol in a nutshell, and in a very specific order:

  1. Trim the feet, clean out any infected areas in the white line or frogs, wire brush debris from the walls and bottom of the foot. This, and the other steps are each done to all four (or two) feet that are being glued in sequence, rather than doing each foot start-to-finish. This saves time.
  2. Heat-fit and do all shoe modifications. If using DIM or a felt pad, it is prepared at this point. If using a pour-in pad, decide if you need a hole or holes in the shoe to inject the pad.
  3. Sand all the gluing surface of the sidewall, yielding a rough finish. I cut 50 grit belt sander belts into small squares and do it by hand, or more recently, use a cordless drill buffer/sander. I then use the rough corner of my rasp to add fine grooves to the gluing surface. Take care to prep all the way to the back of the heels. This area can be hard to reach, easy to forget, and is the most critical area of glue bond. 
  4. With a small hand-held butane torch, I heat the outer wall for 1 or 2 seconds in each individual spot, moving the torch around very quickly while avoiding melting the hair at the coronet. Most of this, I do with the foot on the ground, but be sure to pick up the foot and prep the heels. I do the same to the inside of the shoe’s gluing area. This step eliminates dust, oils, and moisture, and is critical to success. After this step, take great care not to re-contaminate the glue surfaces of the hoof and shoe. Arm sweat, oils from impression materials and bacterial treatments are the most common culprits, as well as the grubby little hands of curious onlookers and well-meaning horse owners with a bottle of fly spray in hand (yep, it happened to me).
  5. Using a painter’s digital moisture meter, verify that all parts of the hoof’s gluing surface read 0.0% moisture. If not, repeat step #4. If a horse just came in from dry stall shavings or a dry pasture, one lap with the torch will usually do the trick. If the horse just came in from the rain, it may require three or more laps. Resist the temptation to heat longer as this could harm the horse. Instead, heat more times. Be patient – this is the most important step, particularly if you live in a damp climate.
  6. Glue. Keep it warm in winter, cool in summer. I like to use the guns and mixing tips – personal preference. Sometimes I use the acrylic, EasyShoe Bond Fast Set (Equilox, Equibond – all the same, with different labels) because it may be better glue for wet environments, and sometimes I use the urethane Vettec Adhere because it is less noxious and may do less damage to the walls. Adhere is also more user-friendly, and thus may be easier for beginners to succeed with.
  7. Purge the glue before installing the tip. For Adhere, be sure equal amounts of both agents are flowing freely. For EasyShoe Bond Fast Set, be sure the (white) bonding agent is flowing constantly, about 1/10th the volume of the pigmented agent. If so, wipe the glue from the end of the tube, being careful not to mix the agents, and apply the mixing tip.  
  8. If using DIM, place it on the foot. If using felt (or other) pads, place them in the shoes.
  9. Purge a grape-sized ball of glue onto the ground or paper towel, then apply the glue to the shoe. I avoid the sole, the ground surface of the wall, and the lower ½” of the cuff. The concern here is getting a glob of glue on the sole, which will then act as a stone in the shoe. To the rest of the cuff, I apply the glue liberally with a continuous ¼”-thick bead covering most of the gluing surface by the time I am done. In warm weather, I then put the shoe on immediately. In cold weather, I may stall for a bit, waiting for the glue to begin to cure. I repeatedly touch the glue with my gloved finger – at first the glue will attach a small “string” as I pull my finger away. As the glue starts to cure, this will not occur, and it is time to apply the shoe. As you do this, be careful not to drag glue from the sidewall onto the sole.
  10. Wait. For some applications, I want to cure the glue while I am holding up the foot (less sole pressure, less compression of pads – I generally do this on thin-soled horses). On other applications, I want to cure the glue with the foot on the ground (easier for lame or impatient horses; may yield a more snug “performance fit.”). If the shoe is to be cured in the air, put the shoe on, put the foot down on the ground, have an assistant pick up the off foot, then quickly put it back down (this spreads any glue that might have ended up on the sole). Pick up the foot you are gluing, check shoe placement, wipe off any excess glue, then hold the foot up until the glue dries. If the glue is to be cured with the foot on the ground, place the shoe, have your assistant pick up the off foot, and then watch the glued foot carefully as the glue dries. At some point partway through the cure, I switch places with the assistant, as I will want to be the one holding the foot during the latter (and more trying) minutes of the cure.
  11. Repeat for the other feet. You will need to clean, purge, and apply a new mixing tip for each shoe.
  12. Go around with a hoof pick and check the shoe heels to be sure they are bonded. If not, attach a new mixing tip and re-glue these areas. At this point, you can also seal the tops of the shoe cuff with a thin bead of glue. If you are slick, you can get all this done to all 4 feet with one mixing tip.
  13. If you are using pour-in pads, inject them now. Decide whether you want a lot of sole pressure, a little, or none. If you completely cure the pad while you are holding the foot off the ground, there will be a lot of support/pressure. If you put the foot down to let the pad cure, there will be none. It varies case-by-case, but I tend to do something in-between.
  14. When all the glues are cured, watch the horse move. Make final adjustments to breakover and heel rockers, if needed, based on movement.

Removal
After 5-6 weeks, Vettec Adhere will become brittle enough that shoe salvage is not terribly difficult (though it is still cheaper to buy a new shoe than it is to pay me to clean an old one up for you). I take a ¼” flathead screwdriver and work it between the shoe and the hoof, separating the bond.

With EasyShoe Glue (Equilox, Equibond…) at 5-6 weeks, the glue will not be brittle – the screwdriver method rarely works. Instead, using my hoof knife, I cut ½”-long slits in the top of the cuff, dividing the cuff into 6 sections around the circumference of the foot. I then use my shoe pull-offs to peel and rip each of the sections down and off the hoof wall individually. 

Tape-On Application
A hybrid between the on-off hoof boot and a glue-on application is the tape-on boot/shoe. Many people trail ride in this setup, and I use it for rehab cases when I need to cover the foot for 24-48 hours and then gain access. 

Warning: Results of this vary wildly. If a horse steps on his own shoe, they will pull right off. But I have also seen them stay on for a week and heard of them staying on even longer. I think it really depends on the way the horse moves and perhaps the environment. I have found that I can count on them for 48 hours as well as about anything – so this is how I use them. 

If a horse absolutely must have 24/7 protection, use a boot or a glue-on instead. I like to say, “Tape-ons are for when you kind-of need a shoe and only need it for a short period of time.” All that said, this is still a very commonly useful tool, and has the distinct advantage that you can keep re-using the same shell over and over, often for years to come. This can also be the only option (for turnout or riding) when the bulbs or coronet has been injured and permanent shoeing is not desired. This method also works for use similar to a hospital plate when daily access is needed to dress a wound or surgery site. 
This method is ideal for post-trim tenderness. A conscientious trimmer (with a stock of glue-on shells) who inadvertently causes post-trim soreness, can do a tape-on application to cover the foot for a few days, then pick up the boots at the next visit, clean them up and sell them to a gluing client. All it costs is the purchase of the tape and the time to clean up the boot.


Mueller Athletic Tape Application. Used alone with Glove Glue-On shells or as extra insurance with Glove hoof boots.

Mueller Athletic Tape
Note: Several years ago, I bought two cases of Mueller Athletic Tape, which I am still using. Apparently, it has since changed, and the material is now thinner (thanks, Amy Diehl), so these instructions may warrant some experimentation with the newer version of tape. I will update as I learn more. And, no, I will not sell you any of my tape. 
Here is my method:

  1. Heat-fit a Glove shell – and strive for perfection. Do not cut the back out of it or open the sole for this method – just use a stock shell. As always, the better the fit, the better this will work. You want to end up with no excessively tight spots and as little air space as possible. The shoe should be difficult to pull off, once applied. Be sure the boot is clean – free of dirt and moisture.
  2. No additional prep to the foot is required; just trim normally.
  3. Wrap the foot with Mueller Athletic Tape as if you were applying a hoof cast. I generally use 3-4 rounds/laps of tape, wrapping so that I cover all of the side wall that the boot shell will cover and also lapping under the wall and slightly onto the sole. 
  4. Drive the boot shell onto the foot with a rubber mallet (or for trail use, a big stick). For the first 30 minutes, the extra friction provided by the tape will make this shoe very difficult to remove. After 30 minutes, the heat and pressure will have caused the tape’s own glue to wick through the fabric and there will be a pretty decent glue bond. During the first 24 hours, it is almost as hard to get off as it would be if it were glued with hoof adhesive.
  5. The bond seems to disappear within 48 hours. I think dust simply works its way in and absorbs into the glue. I believe that when I (and others) have seen these stay on longer, it was simply because of good fit, the added friction, and a horse that never interferes or trips. Either way, removal after 36 hours is not an issue – you can generally pull them off by hand.

Mueller Athletic Tape in Gloves
The above wrapping method is even more useful as “Glove boot first aid.” If you are using Glove boots, carry a roll of Mueller Tape in your trail pack; it doubles as first aid tape, so shouldn’t take up extra precious space. If you rip a gaiter on the trail (or develop any other boot fit/performance issue) you can add the tape to the foot, knock the boot on with a stick, and ride on for the rest of the trip without a gaiter.

I even had one client who was using a #2 Glove when her friend threw a #0 horseshoe. They kept wrapping tape around the #0 foot until the #2 Glove fit and got the horse off the trail without further incident. My client discovered, at the same time, that her horse no longer needed boots for that particular trail anyway. Now, this is not a recommended application by any stretch of the imagination, but it did work.

Smoothing Boot Fit Problems
I like for my booting clients to have a roll on hand in case booting issues pop up mid-cycle. This is particularly common when I am in the process of growing out hoof capsule rotation or wall flares. The boot fit will get sloppy over time. I do try to adjust for this at routine visits, but sometimes I misjudge. Hopefully, when I arrive for my scheduled visit, I can de-bug the boot fit, but having a way to keep my clients riding saves me some unscheduled trips.

I recall two instances where I had to use the tape application with the Gloves as a permanent fix. I didn’t like it, but it was the best I could do. Both were on the hind feet of horses with hip problems that rotated their foot on the ground under load. After several boot-fitting fails, I left both clients applying one wrap of tape prior to booting the hind feet. Sloppy, yes, but better than nothing, I suppose. 

Race Day
This method, combined with adding Vet Wrap to the gaiter is how to make a bombproof Glove application. I don’t like to see clients train this way. I want to work through any booting bugs during normal rides. But on race day, show day, or that big group trail ride – that day when you want to be absolutely sure you don’t have any problems, it is worth the extra 3 minutes to put Mueller Tape on the foot, boot, then wrap the gaiter with Vet Wrap. Optionally, an added bell boot seals the deal.

And the List Goes On…
That’s the best thing about these two platforms (the Glove and Glove Shell). Your own imagination is the limit. While every boot and shoe can be modified to some extent, none other lends itself to so much possibility. In the past, I had to haul around a wide variety of options. Now, I find that I can get by with a full stock of only these two products – well – except that we do need them in larger sizes… and with some different tread options. 

For a complete article in PDF format, please follow this link to be redirected to Pete Ramey's website: http://www.hoofrehab.com/Glove%20Mods.pdf 

Blaze and the Many, Many Boots

Submitted by Ruthie Thompson-Klein, Equine Balance Hoof Care

I work with a horse named Blaze, a magnificent 18 year-old copper Appendix Quarter Horse gelding. We have played big parts in each others lives over the past 10 years and more recently, EasyCare has played a major role. Blaze’s early life was tough. His dam was rescued from the Florida race track, and moved to Colorado. At age 4 he was “cowboyed” by a thoughtless trainer, sustaining lifetime lameness issues. His owner, Wendy, wanted to give him a better life, moved him to San Juan Island, WA, and began rehabbing his physical and emotional injuries.

When I came into the picture, Blaze’s front-end lameness was evaluated by an equine locomotion specialist. In the process of relieving scarring from a Deep Digital Flexor Tendon (DDFT) injury, Blaze wore prescription padded aluminum Natural Balance shoes and reverse steel shoes to relieve pressure on his sore tendons. He was diagnosed with navicular changes as well. With thin soles and small feet he had difficulties on hard surfaces at anything faster than a walk. However, on a soft grass field he was a gymnastic prodigy.

Blaze could be the unofficial poster horse for EasyCare products. Over the last 7 years, he tested, wore and wore out Bares, Edges, Trails and Back Country boots along with every type of pad combination. Blaze spent some time in Rx therapy boots to help him through an unexpected laminitis bout. His radiographs showed very thin soles and ultrasound pointed out scars on his DDFT. Despite a poor prognosis, we wanted Blaze landing flat and moving comfortably. We made some progress but despite diligent owner care, true soundness wasn’t happening. Then came the Easyboot Glue Ons and glue. Blaze’s open-minded vet agreed to my alternative strategy.

Blaze’s breakthrough came with several rounds of modified Glue On shells beginning in July 2015. This included an enhanced break over bevel added to the shells. In addition, we changed his diet to include balanced minerals and a targeted joint supplement. He got expert chiropractic attention to extend his range of motion. He could trot! He could buck and run! He could play “cutting horse” with his buddy across the fence and pull off a freshly glued shell! We were just happy Blaze felt his old self.

The Glue-on shell strategy along with the dietary changes and a summer of gentle restarting worked. Blaze’s next round of radiographs showed more sole, and it was dense, hard stuff. I transitioned Blaze to custom heat-fitted Easyboot Gloves for work so he could live bootless and bare but have perfect protection for light work. We had addressed the sole sensitivity for now, but Blaze’s next challenge was a bowed tendon and continued soreness from troubled soft tissue. An unscheduled nighttime romp did not help!

Were there any boots to get Blaze comfortable? Yes. Easyboot Clouds had just debuted, but they were in short supply. We compromised with Easyboot Zip boots and Cloud pads. Wendy religiously cleaned, powdered and changed his boots daily so he could keep moving. When Clouds became available Blaze’s footwear closet expanded to hold a pair, a spare pair and a stack of new Cloud pads. If a horse could smile, it would be when those Clouds go on!

Today, Blaze enjoys partial retirement with a small herd of geldings managed with natural horse keeping practices. Wendy likes to tell me, “You and EasyCare boots saved my horse,” but I remind her she and Blaze did all the hard work. Whatever comes next, Blaze has the hoof wear, the fortitude and his dedicated partner Wendy to see him through.

Which Mac Boot is the Mac Boot For You?

EasyCare strives to offer products that offer reliable, effective, and affordable hoof protection among diverse disciplines and for multiple purposes. In 2005, EasyCare purchased the Old Mac's product line and patents. The original Old Mac's boot had proven to be robust and successful, but Garrett Ford, President and Innovator of EasyCare products, identified room for improvement. The boot was soon revamped to create the Old Mac's G2 which offered better breakover, more effectual tread, reinforcements for added durability and a modified size chart to fit a more traditional shaped hoof.

Old Mac's and Old Mac's G2. Solar view demonstrates changes to tread and breakover.

An organizational trait that EasyCare has been known to implement is continuously making updates to products to yield better results for horse and rider. The Old Mac's G2 had proven itself to be an excellent multi-purpose boot, but because the boot did not have any replaceable parts and the Mac line-up of boots are all sold in pairs, it imposed an expensive obligation to replace them. It was decided that the boot needed a face lift with replaceable parts in order to better fulfill the requests of Mac boot users. The New Mac was introduced in 2015.

Although the boot offered the same sizing, several tweaks to the product had been made with the latest version of Mac boot. While many EasyCare customers were pleased with the changes, there still existed a group that preferred the more modest appearance of the Old Mac's G2. In addition, a group preferred the buckle enclosure around the heel bulbs to the industrial Velcro strap, particularly in very muddy environments. When customers speak, EasyCare listens. Back comes the Old Mac's G2!

EasyCare is now manufacturing both the New Mac and it's predecessor, the Old Mac's G2. Here is a breakdown of their differences so you may determine for yourself which of the Macs is the Mac for you:

In terms of functionality, the most notable difference is the closure across the back of the boot. In extreme muddy conditions, the buckle is often preferred. The leather strap and buckle can be a challenge to work with in very dry environments or extreme cold. This is wear the New Mac steps in with the industrial Velcro strap. While the Velcro strap is more user friendly, the Velcro is more susceptible to getting mud caught in the hook and loop material.

For more help on deciding the best Mac style boot for your use, please contact EasyCare. The team will be happy to offer more insight on particular boot features that apply to your specific needs. 

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

I am the Hoof Care Practitioner and Veterinarian Account Representative. My priority is to maintain expert knowledge of EasyCare products and remain educated in the ever-evolving industry of natural hoof care.

Introducing EasyCare's Veterinarian and Hoof Care Practitioner Account Representative

My name is Mariah Reeves and I’ve returned to EasyCare with excitement for my new role as Veterinarian and Hoof Care Practitioner Account Representative. I look forward to working with such a valued sector of EasyCare’s business with the purpose of maintaining healthy partnerships to maximize your success with our products. 

I was first introduced to EasyCare products in 2013 when I relocated to Durango, Colorado from Michigan. I was first put on a pony at 18 months old and was blessed to live a horse-crazy lifestyle until my departure for the mountains. The horses stayed behind with family and it was unknown when I would have the opportunity to re-enter the equestrian community again. A day after my arrival in this unfamiliar town, I was invited to interview with Garrett Ford and Kevin Myers. Two weeks later, I was headed to Tucson for training; it was a dream come true.

EasyCare Team gets hands-on with Pete Ramey in 2015

I was absent from EasyCare for the majority of 2016 and I could not be more delighted to be back. I feel passionate about EasyCare products and will to continue to stay up-to-date in the always-evolving world of natural hoof care. Together, we will share knowledge, supplement business, and continue to see the benefits that EasyCare supports.  The previous Veterinarian and Hoof Care Practitioner Representative, Debbie Schwiebert, has left me with big shoes to fill, but I am confident that I will be able to achieve my goals in serving as your go-to person for all-things EasyCare.

My priority is to supply you with the support you need so that your clients’ are beyond satisfied with the yielded results of EasyCare hoof protection devices. Our company values each and every dealer within our network and are proud to have you promoting our products. As a side note, please know that each representative here is capable of assisting you with your EasyCare needs and product questions. If I happen to be unavailable to you for a time-sensitive matter, please feel confident reaching out to another team member within our company.

I’m looking forward to working with you! You can reach me at (800) 447-8836 ext. 2252 or mreeves@easycareinc.com .

At Least Once

Yes, I truly believe that each Hoof Care Professional should attend the yearly International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio at least one time in their life. It is an event packed to the brim with lectures and seminars. Organized by the AFJ, this year attendance was in the thousands. Farriers from all over the world attended and it is a great opportunity to meet them and exchange experiences. 

EasyCare Inc and Polyflex Horseshoes had partnered up and shared a booth side by side at the Summit. Great experience to work with Curtis Burns, in my opinion, the most experienced and best Hoof Care Professional in terms of gluing synthetic and polyurethane horse shoes.

EasyCare and Polyflex booth at the trade show.

 The Bootmeister explaining the advantages of the EasyCare products to visitors from all over the world.

Curtis Burns demonstrated quarter crack repair in front of many trade show attendees. 

Garrett Ford had some airline problems, so unfortunately he did not make it to the Trade Show. Some of the newest products developed by EasyCare, and meant to be showcased in Cincinnati, also fell victim to flight cancellations. Therefore the EasyCare Booth did not have all the new products at hand. Nevertheless, we had some of the newest and exciting EasyCare products on display and in cooperation with Curtis, I made it a go.

One of my all time favorite boots, the EasyBoot Flip-Flop, on display on the blacksmith buddy.

A joint production with Polyflex Horseshoes, the EasyShoe Flex is scheduled to get released onto the market in March. Watch this video here that explains the benefits of the Flex. The EasyShoe Flex will first be released in four sizes: 0, 1, 2 and 3. With a springsteel core, this shoe will flex just about like a hoof, like nature intended. The Flex is meant to be nailed on. Options are a dorsal clip or side clips. Another option is open heel or closed heel for frog support. Garrett Ford talked a little bit more about this in last weeks blog.

Not only was the Trade show a huge success with products on display from companies all over the world, the lecture series was filled with capable and iconic speakers like Mike Wildenstein, Simon Curtis, Dave Farley and my all time favorite: Brian Hampson. Brian has done extensive research on the Australian Brumbies and the Mongolian Takh horses like no other scientist in the world. His research has influenced the way we are looking and judging horse hooves in recent times. 

In Brian's lectures, you can learn a lot about the wild horses of the world. For example, did you know that 46% of all wild horses with hooves that we often consider ideal suffer from laminitis?

Photo from Brian Hampson's lecture. 

Looking at these hooves of wild mustangs in the image below, one might think of these being the ideal hooves everybody is striving to achieve.

What Brian Hampson found out in his numerous studies puts a damper on this illusion: these hooves might look appealing from the outside, yet inside these hooves have the highest percentage of pathologies. Specifically founder, laminitis, white line disease, navicular etc.

In the slide below, Brian is detailing the percentages of the pathologies found in his studies of the wild horse hooves in Australia:

Compare the wild horse hooves in the image above to this one below, taken from a horse in a wetter environment and representing hooves we see more commonly among our domesticated herds:

On first sight, we all would probably agree that this hoof is somewhat neglected and unhealthy. 

Yet, when checking more closely with digital radiology, nuclear scintigraphy and ultrasound the inside of hooves looking like this, one is astonished to find out that these hooves were among the healthiest in Hampson's studies. So the first impression is not telling us the whole truth or might actually totally fool us. Take home message is that the external looks of a hoof will not allow us to draw conclusions and pass judgement on how "healthy" the actual hoof, its internal structures and the digit inside really are. Interesting, isn't it? It sure taught me a lesson. That is the kind of invaluable stuff you learn at the Summit.

The learning experience all around was just amazing and, quite frankly, there is no better way to learn about Hoof Care, the newest scientific findings, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones but by attending the "Summit". See you there next year!

 

From the desk of The Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

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.

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.