The Best Laid Plans

Submitted by Lysane Cree, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

2012 was the ride season that I was going to attempt my first 100 mile ride with my Paint mare Mae West Holliday, as well as attempt to get our FEI 2*. By the Spring of 2012, I had over 1,000 miles (CTR and endurance) miles with Mae, had completed three days of the Western Maine Pioneer Ride in 2010 with her, as well as two day 60 mile CTRs in 2011 in fairly hilly terrain. I felt we were ready to tackle a slow 100 miler. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans can go astray.

I have been using Easyboots since at least 2006 and have been on Team Easyboot for a couple of years. At home when I need a pair of boots quickly for faster work on rocky ground, I grab my Epics or Gloves, and off we go. In competition though, I’ve come to rely more and more on Glue-On boots for competitions. I have not yet perfected, however, the art of gluing without getting glue everywhere. I envy those that do not get stains on their clothes, their hands, their horse, their pit crew (yes, I managed to get a few drops in her hair once) and their boots have a simple little line of glue around the top. I have designated gluing clothes and I use rubber gloves. Nevertheless, I manage to make a bit of a mess each time. Aside from picking off the bits of glue stuck to my arms, rubbing alcohol works pretty well for removing glue from your skin. Clothes eventually get put in the trash when they are too stiff to be comfortable.

After carefully planning out a strategy for the 2012 season, I managed to get a pair of the new red Glue-Ons shipped in time for tackling the Pine Tree 100. Red is for Canada, of course. Red is also the color of the Mohawk warrior flag which I wear on some of my shirts. 

I glued on my mare’s boots before leaving on the Thursday before the ride, in the heat and humidity. Perhaps too much humidity. My brain felt fried from the constant sweating and I realized after gluing on two boots that I had forgotten to rasp the hoof wall. I had never glued the boots without rasping, so I was not sure how well the boots would hold. To add to my mistake, I left my glue at home. We started the 100 on Saturday full of anticipation and ready to tackle the trail. Early on in the ride, however, that front boot came off again and I eventually lost the other front boot on the other non-rasped hoof. For my mare, it seems that rasping is a vital step. I was carrying Epics with me in a boot bag though, so quick stops, a dab of Desitin and we were back on our way. Whatever boots work! Other than this minor issue, my horse and I felt great and I was confident that we could get this ride done.

Unfortunately, the best laid plans can get waylaid. My mare was pulled at 65 miles for lameness in the hind end. Coming from fairly flat country, we had to work at finding hills to prepare for this ride. After speaking with the ride vets and consulting with my own vet back home, we thought it could be mineral related and I adjusted some of Mae’s supplements and added MyoGuard to ensure that her large muscles were getting all they needed to function properly.

All seemed to be back in order when we resumed training and there was no sign of lameness, so I went to a hilly 50 mile ride and planned to do a 7 mile an hour average pace – to push my horse a little without going too far beyond her comfort zone. All was going superbly, she vetted through all As, until she slipped going down a hill, almost sitting down. While initially she seemed fine, she was lame in the left hind when we arrived at the vet check. I gave her two weeks off following this ride and brought her back slowly and attempted a slow 50 which we completed in 8:41. I gave her some more time off after this 50 and did just light riding to keep her moving, staying focused on the goal of completing the 75 2* ride at Stormont in Finch, Ontario.

Again Mae vetted through with all As to start and she was very forward on trail, however, we were pulled at 18 miles for the same slight, but consistent, lameness in the left hind. By this time I was very discouraged and wondering whether this was to be the end of our long ride together. I raised and trained Mae from the time she was 8 months old and this opinionated mare and I have an understanding, I didn’t want to think about not being able to compete with her anymore. 

More weeks off and easy walking rides, building up the distance very slowly each week, has not eliminated the lameness. It returns intermittently with harder work. My vet and I have scheduled a full lameness exam for the weekend to try to get to the bottom of this. I am fully willing to give her all the time off she needs, but I sure would like to know what the issue is.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but as the leaves change colors and the weather turns cold, we at least have the winter to figure out where we go from here. In the mean time, I have a stack of Glue-ons that need to be dremelled to remove the old glue, either to be re-used as Glue-Ons or turned into Gloves by attaching a gaiter, and plenty of other Epics and Gloves that need the old gaiters changed out for new ones.

Lysane Cree

Reflections On Booting Lessons Learned

Submitted by Leslie Spitzer, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

It's hard to believe that yet another ride season is wrapping up. It seems like it just started. Also along with the end of ride season another year of participating in Team Easyboot is coming to a close. It was a great year and for me, I feel like my knowledge of hoofcare and booting increased immensely. I feel like I've come to a point where I can truly help out others with confidence and share that knowledge all while realizing I am still a student and always will be. There is always something new to learn or something that can be made better.

This was my third year with barefoot/booted horses. I found myself coming into the season still struggling with booting challenges with my main horse, Eagle. I've always been fully open about the fact that I consider him to be the worlds most difficult horse to boot due to his extreme movement, power and his hoof shape. I fully believe in the choice I've made for him to be barefoot/booted so even though I've been tempted, I've stuck with the boots always trying to find solutions to make it work better for us.

Glue-Ons - our standard boot for endurance rides.

I'll always prefer Glue-Ons for 100's but I won't lie, I was tiring of having to use them for 50's. I was quite envious of those who could just slap boots on and go and fantasized about how lovely that would be. Stubborn streak in full operation, I decided I was going to work on that problem and try and solve it. First of all, I made sure I was working with a properly trimmed hoof. I then took Mueller Athletic Tape and wrapped it around the hoof 4 times in the front and 5 times in the rear. I applied Sikaflex to the sole of the hoof with a spatula. I then worked and got the boots on and seated correctly. I then took a hoofpick and pried the boot open at the quarters just enough to get a tip from the Adhere gun in there and I squeezed a bit in. I then did a top bead of Adhere around the boot.  So, it wasn't exactly as easy as slapping on a boot and going, but it was easier than gluing shells - kind of a happy medium. I was extremely happy with the result as my boots stayed on.

Easyboot Gloves on the evening before the ride. Unfortunately, there were no pics of the process.

At the next ride we went to I decided to go this route again, only I decided to use Glove Back Country Boots in the front and Gloves in the rear. I'd been having pretty good luck with the Back Country in training and I thought it would be fun to see how they did. I wasn't even sure if anybody else had actually done a 50 mile ride in them. The procedure I used for the fronts and Back Country was just Sika Flex in the sole and 4 wraps of Mueller Athletic Tape. I used Sika on the soles in the rear and 5 wraps of tape. I then quickly realized my half empty tube of Adhere was not mixing properly so I ditched it and just squeezed some Sika in the quarters and did a top bead around the boot. It worked fabulously - no lost boots.

I have to say I am quite impressed with the Glove Back Country boots. I think it is going to be more of an endurance boot than previously thought. It never budged and I am sized up half a size from our normal Glove size. We traveled at all gaits and at competitive speeds. I had not previously used the Back Country in deep footing or lots of sand (both of which there was a lot) so I did wrap some duct tape around the boot to make sure I would not have to worry about sand affecting the velcro. One thing to note, if riding in deep sand, check at the stops for any accumulation in the gaiters we did have some. At home we do not have really deep footing and I've never had anything accumulate in them. 

Cantering along in our Back Country/Glove combo (Baylor/Gore photo).

Eagle showing off his big trot in the Back Country/Glove combo. (Baylor/Gore photo)

Post ride. The duct tape is a nice touch, don't you think?

In reflecting back on the year in general, I am pleased to say I am noticing a real paradigm shift to boot usage in my local area. I have traveled to rides in different regions over the past few years and had been really surprised at how many boot users I saw compared to my own area. I don't know why this was the case, it just was. I can only assume it's shifting because people cannot ignore the statistics and the successes. It is a very valid option and becoming quite mainstream. I like to think maybe, possibly I have had a small influence in this shift on my local level. I am an advocate of barefoot/booted and I do believe it to be best. My most important lesson has been to approach softly, use few words, lead by example and success and be available to help and answer questions. Plant the seed, nurture it and wow - suddenly people are calling and asking for the help to transition to barefoot/booted. 

I'm really excited and proud to say there are quite a few horses transitioning local right now that I've had a hand in helping out. It's a huge responsibility but I credit being a member of Team Easyboot as an excellent resource. I've made the connections I need so I can get help or ask a question or opinion on my work.

A horse we are helping transition with Navicular Syndrome. This was about 6 weeks ago the day these shoes were pulled.

Same foot six weeks later.  He's got a long way to go but we are seeing some changes.

It's exciting and fulfilling to me to be helping in change and progress. I don't know that I'd have the confidence, the knowledge or the feeling of challenging myself to learn more if it were not for my involvement with Team Easyboot and the resources and folks I've met through Easycare. I'm thankful for that and I can't wait to see what's in store for next year.

What I am looking forward to next year. This is four year old Finney, my first home-bred, never shod horse. 

Leslie Spitzer

Horse Sports, Why Participate If You Can't Influence The Results?

What we are all really looking for is an experience that lets us feel the rapture of being alive” - Joseph Campbell

Nouveau Rich getting ready for The Delaware Park Arabian ClassicWow, was I nervous!

In sport, there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get before, during and after your horse competes on the race track.  The adrenaline, the nervous energy and the sense of hope is like few feelings in life.  Flat track racing definitely makes you feel alive!

I got involved with the sport of racing flat track Arabians for several reasons.  First, many of the best endurance horses come from the track and I wanted to be able to select some of my future endurance horses early and personally be involved in their progress and early training at the track.  Second, I wanted to develop and shoe/boot option that would both conform to track traction rules and still allow the hoof to expand and contract as nature intended.  Having my own horses at the track would be the quickest way to test these new designs and make modifications.  Finally, I wanted to see the inside of a new industry and learn as a horseman. 

Pass Play in a new prototype design before heading to Lone Star to race. 

I've grown up with endurance horses and the sport of endurance gives riders and participants the opportunity to be involved with horse selection, conditioning, feeding, tack selection, hoof protection, hoof trimming, race pacing, race selection, etc.  If you are unhappy with your results in an endurance race, the person in the mirror is the only place to point blame.  If you are unhappy with your horse's feet or your horse's body condition, there is no one to fault but yourself. 

EasyCare horses definitely had some success at the track in our first year but I guess my biggest take away from the first year with horses on the track is the lack of control.  The biggest question I continue to ask myself is, as an out-of-state owner how can EasyCare participate and improve the chances of our personal horses and at the same time insure they have a life after racing?  I don't have all the answers but my thoughts as a new owner are listed below. 

1.  Start with the best racing stock you can afford.  In the Arabian track game there are many great breeders.  I personally hit it off early with Dianne Waldron and Leah Bates of Rosebrook Farm.  I purchased several horses from Rosebrook and I've been very happy with the quality and advice.

2.  Pick a trainer that you trust, a trainer that has the horses best interest at heart and communicates well with you.  In the first year I had the opportunity to learn from three trainers and see the differences in each. 

3.  Demand good hoof care and don't settle for hoof shape or length that your don't agree with. 

4.  Base training: do some of the base training at home.  Get them legged up so they can go to the track or your trainer with base.  This base will keep them more sound and cut your training bills.

After a year racing Arabians at Delaware Park, Arapahoe Park and Lone Star Park, EasyCare has learned a great deal and only scratched the surface.  We have followed the rules and raced at each track in the the new EasyCare shoe/boot.  If our new shoe/boot can be part of extending the careers and soundness of a handful of these horses the project and time at the races will be a success. 

What are your suggestions that would give an out of state owner the ability to participate more in the results?

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.

 

Win an iPad Mini in November 2012

We're celebrating November by giving away a free Apple iPad mini to one of our e-newsletter subscribers. All you have to do is sign up for the monthly EasyCare Newsletter and you're automatically entered to win a brand new iPad mini.

We'll make a random selection on November 30, 2012, from our complete newsletter subscriber list. If your subscriber number unlocks the iPad mini, you win!

We won't sell or trade your personal information. Read our full privacy policy. Exact prize is an iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi. Employees of EasyCare, Inc. and each of their immediate family members and/or people living in the same household are not eligible to participate.

If you're already a subscriber to our newsletter, you're already entered to win. If you're not a subscriber, sign up now and you're automatically entered to win.

So if you're not already a subscriber, sign up for our newsletter now.

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-kevin-myers

Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.

 

November 2012: Beth's Western Wear

Beth’s Western Wear, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, became an EasyCare dealer on April 4, 2012, placed their first order on April 10, 2012 and opened the doors to their new store in May of 2012.  Since that time, they have done so well and placed so many orders that they have achieved new pricing level status through EasyCare in six short months.

Beth states, “Before we even opened our doors, EasyCare was on the top of our list as products that we wanted to sell in our retail store. We like to carry products that we have tried and believe in and the Easyboots are, by far, the best!” They have, personally, been using EasyCare boots for four years.

Beth’s Western Wear carries the Easyboot Glove, the Glove Back Country and, of course, accessories such as Power Straps and Gaiters. Beth says that her best seller is the Glove Back Country because it works best for customers that maintain a six week trim cycle. However, the Glove is always her first suggestion for those customers on a four week trim cycle. She says that she loves the sleek design and the “no nonsense” easiness of the Glove. Beth’s Western Wear maintains a Fit Kit in their store for fitting customer’s horses.

Beth’s husband, Steve, is a barefoot trimmer. After years of frustration with one of their horses hoof issues, they just knew there had to be other methods. They started searching for answers and came across one of Pete Ramey’s books, which started Steve on the path to becoming a trimmer. They found that within a couple trims, the same horse that was having the hoof issues, was back up and running. He was sound again and acting like a four year old, which is great because he was seventeen at that time! Steve has been trimming their own horses for four years now and they both say that they will never go back to putting shoes on for any reason. Beth says there is not a place that they have ridden in the United States, from the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming to the thick mud of the Shawnee National Forest, that the boots haven’t provided great protection for their horses. She said the first pair of Glove boots that they purchased for their TWH, Diamond, had approximately 2000 miles on them before the toe wore through. And, they only had to change the gaiters one time on that set.

Beth feels that their most successful marketing strategy is using their products. She said people see them out on the trail and they always ask about the hoof boots. People see that the boots work and that there is no reason for metal shoes. In fact, when packing for a trail ride, they always take their Fit Kit with them in case someone wants a fitting right away and they always carry brochures.

Steve and Beth own two Tennessee Walkers and two Missouri Fox Trotters. All of their horses are barefoot and they all have their own sets of boots. Beth’s personal favorite is the Glove.  Steve and Beth have been in the horse industry for over seventeen years and are avid trail riders, traveling all over the United States.

Beth states that she has watched the hoof care industry even more closely over the last four years and feels that huge steps have been taken to educate horse owners on hoof care and protective hoof boots. She feels that hoof boots have gone from “clunky” to very stream lined and very user friendly. She said that in the last couple of years, they have watched more and more people rethink putting shoes on their horses and letting them go barefoot with the help of boots.

Beth’s Western Wear’s On-Line Store is now open and you can visit them at bethswesternwear.com.
 

Boots, Beach and Barmy Crew: An Endurance Event in England

Submitted by Karen Corr, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Thinking back, I'm struggling to remember how it all started but I think I'll have to blame the other half - namely Bond (yes, it is his given name but that another story). 

We'd already arranged to take the two youngsters on a training ride at Formby Beach - a beautiful stretch of golden sand on the northwest coast of England - the ride incorporates a section through the dunes and some pinewoods which are famous for their red squirrel population, now extremely rare in the UK. Neither of us had been to this ride for six years: last time we'd taken another two youngsters.

Bond works part-time at our local horse charity, HAPPA, which stands for the Horse & Pony Protection Association. HAPPA are involved in rescuing cruelty cases, re-habilitation and re-homing horses and ponies. One of the grooms, Jo Anderson, had just been voted Employee of the Year by her fellow staff members. He suggested to her that she have a go at Endurance since none of the staff really know what it involves and if she broadened her knowledge of equestrian sports it might help when looking at potential new homes for the horses or ponies in the future. Jo was definitely up for it, so he asked her if she'd like to ride our pony Squiggle at Formby. Yes was the answer.

The idea then developed that she could also try and raise sponsorship for the charity. The office staff put up a poster display of Jo receiving her Employee of the Year award and a photo of Squiggle competing with me, explaining what Jo was attempting for the first time.

The next step was for Jo to ride Squiggle to get used to her and also get used to riding a pony in Easybohttp://easycareinc.comots. Jo hadn't any real experience of boots. Some of the ponies have had them for rehab purposes but she had never ridden a horse which wears them. Squiggle is a 13.3hh, six year-old coloured cob. She was green broke when we bought her last November. Luckily she'd never been shod so had great frogs and soles but her hooves did need some work since they had flare and were unbalanced. She took to endurance like a duck to water. She loves going to rides so much she now trots up to the trailer to get in first.

Squiggle had already completed nine endurance rides in Easyboot Gloves before Formby, so she knew her job and was raring to go. The first time Jo rode her she was actually barefoot. We went on a slow ride to let her get used to the pony. Jo loved her and all I could hear behind me was Jo giggling. Squiggle has a way about her that just makes everyone smile: don't ask me what it is, it's just special. Two days later, Bond took her out on Squiggle - this time she had her set of Easyboot Gloves on and they flew round the tracks and woods on a six mile ride. Jo was amazed at the speed we actually ride and that the horses rarely want to walk, she also soon forgot that she was trotting on tarmac roads downhill: something she would never have done on a shod horse for fear of slipping. Squiggle is such a gem, so Jo reckoned she didn't need to ride her again before the big day. Sponsorship was coming in and she reckoned she wouldn't be able to sleep the night before, she'd be so excited.

Other people had become involved along the way: Jo's partner James (who actually doesn't "do" horses) and John, a volunteer at HAPPA. They both wanted to come along, so it was agreed that Jo and Bond would ride and James, John and I would crew. We'd also arranged to help two other girls who are new to endurance get round their first ride, so we were going to be busy.

Ride day dawned: we'd been praying for nice weather since just about every ride we've gone to this year we've ended up soaked right through. The weather was glorious. The gang arrived at our place just before 7am. There wasn't much room in my car once we'd got all the horsey stuff in, so Jo took her car with John & James, they set off first in order to get breakfast en route and meet us a couple of miles from the venue. We met up with Carolyn and Joanne, the other two newbies just before the motorway and they followed us in convoy to Formby.

We were some of the first to arrive, so set up a little display about Jo and Squiggle and their fund-raising at the secretary's trailer, got the number bibs, checked for any route changes and then unloaded the horses. I had put their Easyboot Gloves on in the morning to travel in, making sure to wrap each hoof in athletic tape. This ensures no twisting of the boots. Squiggle "dishes" slightly in front, but the athletic tape does the trick and they stay put. So all they had to do was tack up and go.

Carolyn and Joanne were going to ride with Bond and Jo until they got to the beach and then they would take the shorter route since we weren't sure how fit their horses were, so best err on the side of caution and not over-tire them on their first ride.

James, John and I watched them go, then jumped in the car and headed off to Checkpoint 1 which was in the pine woods just before they went through the dunes and onto the beach. At this point, I have to tell you a little bit about John. Born and bred in Liverpool, he could talk the hind leg off a donkey! He seems to have this knack of knowing something about everything and is very entertaining. As we drove up through the pinewoods, we came across the two ladies manning the check point, sat in deck chairs having their breakfast. Very civilised! I drove past and turned round to park up just below them. As we drove by John said "Oh my God, that's Sheila Brown!" OK, so Formby isn't far from Liverpool but who would've thought that John would've bumped into someone he hadn't since the 1960's - to cut a very long story short, John used to get the train from Liverpool to some stables in Formby as a kid to ride the ponies. Sheila was a local kid who did the same but they hadn't seen each other for years. We couldn't get them away from each other! Our four riders came through, James and I crewed them by giving them water to pour over their horses and offering humans and horses a drink.

Bond & Jo coming in to CP 1

Carolyn & Joanne coming into CP1

Meanwhile, John and Sheila kept talking and talking and talking. We watched as the horses and riders disappeared into the woods.

Eventually we managed to tear them apart, I was sure that by the time we'd get to the next Checkpoint, which was on the beach, that we'd miss them. Off I hurtled, and we got to the beach. Next hurdle: can we get on without paying a parking fee of £5 for what literally could be a couple of minutes? We left John, who has a way with words, to try and charm his way on. The story he came up with was pretty amazing, involving top endurance horses being trained for 100 mile races (jeez don't tell Bond's mare that!). I'm sure there was some name dropping of famous race horse owners from Dubai, but to be honest the parking attendant was the wrong sex and there was no way he was letting us onto the beach in the car for free.

We retrieved John, who was very disappointed: I've never seen him fail yet. We dragged him over the dunes onto the beach on foot carrying containers full of water to slosh the horses. Unfortunately, where we ended up was quite a distance from the Checkpoint. We could see it in the distance and could see riders approaching it and turning round to go back down the beach - this was not good since our guys were almost the first out and I knew they wouldn't be walking all the way along the beach. We had missed them by about 20 minutes and the boys were slightly traumatised.

I knew that at this point Jo & Bond would probably reach the venue before us, so we legged it back over the dunes into the car and tried not to break the speed limit back to the farm. Just as well I'd left some water containers at the trailer since they had already untacked and started to wash the horses off by the time we got back. The crew got an earful, so it was all hands on deck to help them get the horses washed off and settled after their ride. Even James was seen holding onto Hamra, who took serious advantage of him being non-horsey by dragging him round, swishing her tail in his face and rubbing up against him - poor lad.

Jo had a fantastic ride on Squiggle. Her little fat hairy legs kept up stride for stride with the leggy Hamra on the beach and Bond said her stride length was amazing. Here's what Jo had to say about riding a pony in Easyboots:  "The boots were surprisingly easy to fit, even though they are such a snug fit around the hoof. As a first timer, I could put them on and take them off without difficulty. My first experience of riding any distance in them was at Formby beach, and it was awesome. Instead of being constantly worried about greasy surfaces, downhill corners, beaches full of sharp shells etc., I could relax and enjoy riding more instead of worrying about falling, injuries and the general slipping about that goes on with metal shoes. We rode over a variety of surfaces - tarmac, mud, gravel, deep sand and wet sand. I am pretty confident that having boots on protected the sensitive areas of the hoof and the rest of the hoof in general, to the maximum. It's just like a person going barefoot, certain surfaces can cause shoots of pain and are uncomfortable, whereas if you've got trainers on, you are a lot more comfortable. For anyone wondering "should I?" then yes! I would definitely have Easyboots if I had a pony of my own. As a rider you feel more solid, especially on slippery roads and more importantly, your pony's feet have the maximum protection possible, which has to be the priority!"

Wow, what a testimonial for Easyboot. Jo also managed to raise over £200 for HAPPA, which they were extremely grateful for since, during the recession, they have really struggled to raise funds to keep the charity afloat.

And what happened Carolyn and Joanne? They arrived back with the most enormous grins on their faces. Joanne confessed to having something in her eye (might have been a tear of joy) as she cantered along the beach on her five year-old old warmblood. They were glad they didn't do the longer route but a week later rang me and asked me to take them out on a longer ride round home to help them judge the speed they should be aiming for. They have also entered the last two rides of the year and are going to become members of our regional group in 2013.

I got as much enjoyment out of helping these guys as I did riding, although I have to confess I was very jealous of Jo cantering my pony all the way along that beautiful beach. The grins in the picture above pretty much sums up the whole day.

Karen Corr

Our First NATRC Ride

Submitted by by Carol Warren, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

We competed in our first NATRC ride May 5 and 6 at the Wimberley, Texas Wayfarer Ride. We rode in the Novice Horsemanship Division. I am proud to say we were classified as Lightweights. It was a great experience and pushed our horsemanship, training and conditioning skills to a new level. It also really pushed my mental preparation to a level I had never been before. Figuring out the pacing was a whole new game to me. I am used to riding competitive trail challenges, but never one where we had a time frame to complete the ride in.

Standing in the only shade waiting to complete the vet check.

Newt sported his Easyboot Gloves. We had many positive comments from other riders and the ride veterinarian. I was surprised at how few of the NATRC riders had boots of any kind on their horse.  Most wore traditional horseshoes, a few were barefoot, and only a handful had hoof boots of various kinds. On the competitive trail rides that I usually compete in, it seems like about half of the horses are barefoot or have boots of some kind. The ride vet was very impressed with how well the Gloves fit the hoof.

Newt and me at the Wimberly Wayfarer NATRC ride. Photo by Jim Edmondson.

Newt scored very well in the post ride checks, and I attribute a good portion of that to his Gloves and all of our conditioning. The ride was very rocky with lots of steep hills. Due to the high temperatures Saturday, the ride was started about two hours early so we could be off the trail before the heat of the day. A thunderstorm blew in early Sunday morning and delayed the ride start for about two hours. We had a variety of trail conditions - day one was dry and hard, the second day was muddy. We only slipped a boot one time as we were trotting up a rocky hill and a large rock rolled out from under Newt's hind foot. I saw several lost horse shoes along the trail. Overall we finished 2nd Place in the Novice Lightweight. I was very pleased for our first NATRC ride. Just wait until next year! 

Carol Warren

Expanding on a Growing Theme

November can be grey and dark, but never when working with hooves. For part of the month, I will be traveling to Europe to continue the program of conducting clinics on Natural Hoof Care, Barefoot trimming, application of  Easyboot Glue-Ons and Easyboot Gloves.

Glue on Easyboot  (This boot will be covering 155 miles during the Moab Canyon Endurance Race).

For the last few years, I have been traveling 2 to 3 times a year to Europe to hold these workshops. Now, one might reckon that Europeans had horses for thousands of years and long before Americans even worked with horses. And one might conclude that it would not take a hoof care professional from the USA to teach Europeans how to shoe a horse or how to handle horse hoof problems.

All true. But Europeans are also more traditionalists and conservative in their approach. For the most part, they had been content with their various metal shoes. After all, they served them well for thousands of years. It was mainly here in the USA where the hoof boot revolution started. German and Austrian companies have been paving the way somewhat with their research and development of polyurethane shoes. Cera and Equiflex stand out and were more progressive in their approach of inventing and using alternate hoof protection methods. Hildrud Strasser started a bare foot trim program in Germany. Yet, most horse owners stayed with metal shoes.

Medieval horse rider in Europe.

It was not till forwar- thinking people like Pete Ramey brought Natural Horse Care into the awareness of the general equestrian community and EasyCare developed an encompassing Protective Horse Boot program that horse communities outside the Northamerican continent took notice.

What makes this trip even more worth mentioning is the fact  that it will lead me to France (Brest) and Switzerland (Zurich). Both countries have mostly been using steel shoes in their equestrian disciplines and pursuits. Even at the highest FEI level, French riders preferred steel shoes on their horses. Now we see that French and Swiss endurance riders want to expand their horizons and learn and study more about protective horse boots.

All the combined efforts by the EasyCare staff and the professional trimmers as well as the Team Easyboot members in educating about the benefits of the EasyCare boots bear fruit worldwide and this expansion is ever continuing.

These boots were applied at the GETC facility in Moab. GETC (Global Endurance Training Center) is also providing funding for this trip.

While Easyboot Gloves, Easyboot Glove Back Country and Trail as well as Epic, Easyboot Bare and Grip and Easyboot have been more popular overseas, the work with hoof glue is not as common yet. My intentions are to make the clinic participants more comfortable with using Vettec Glues and Easyboot Glue-Ons. The demand is there and jointly we will make it happen.

Vettec Glues have proven to work very well with gluing not only Easyboot Glue-Ons, but also to protect bare footed horses with the Soleguard and shaping hoof shoes with the Vettec Superfast. All these glues are going to be used and demonstrated during these clinics.

How will these clinics turn out? How will they get accepted? Watch for the follow up report after my return.

Your Bootmeister,

Christoph Schork

Easyboot Gloves Rock the Canyonlands

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

With a successful four days of City of Rocks (COR) behind us, the rest of the summer flew by. Thunder's cousin, Z Blue Lightening was supposed to do some rides too but he had come home from COR with a cough. While Blue was recovering, Thunder was happily trotting two days of mountain creeks and trails at both Pink Flamingo and Old Selam 50-mile endurance events. He bounced down the trail like Tigger in his Easyboot Gloves. Yes he's a happy camper and entertains himself escaping from his corral. But that's another story.

All four of these riders were using Gloves on their horses Day 1 - Trish Frahm, Judy Bishop, Merri Melde and Linda Kluge. Photo by Karen Bumgarner.

Our second multi-day attempt for 2012 was the Owyhee Canyonlands 5 day. 250 miles of rocks, sand, creeks, rocks, hills and more rocks. Thunder had completed this five day in both 2010 and 2011 so I figured he could do it again. But we hadn't ever tried two multi-days in one year and I thought that made the task more challenging.

Beth Skaggs using original style easyboots photo by Karen Bumgarner.

There is always so much to pack and plan for on a multi-day. I wasn't gluing this time as we had been doing fine with the Gloves and no rubs. My plan was to use my Gloves and do the knee high nylons for protection. I had two boxes of the nylons, I had sorted through the Gloves and had them all matched up and hooked together.  As I gathered up all our stuff I recalled Steph saying something about a day with rocks. Now when Steph says a trail is rocky you had better listen, because it will indeed be rocky! So I ordered some comfort pads for Thunder's Gloves to give him a bit more rock and concussion protection. Only problem with this plan was that there was a mixup or misunderstanding and the comfort pads didn't get shipped. However I had some 1/8" memory foam and I cut out my own pads. Now I felt like we had everything. Thunder was ready, I was ready and we were going to do this.

Going up through the rocks on Knife Ridge photo by Karen Bumgarner.

The morning of the ride at the crack of dawn I had my hoof pick, gloves, nylons and mallet all lined up in Thunder's pen. One hoof at a time I put the nylon's over the hoof and up the leg, then applied the pads in the front hoof, then the boot, whack whack with the mallet, and set the foot down. Hook the gaiter, pull the nylons down over the gaiter and voila! This would be our daily routine each morning. And I wasn't alone as I heard the familiar "whack whack" of others putting on the gloves for the day. I don't know how many riders used Gloves but I saw a lot of booted horses. I'd guess half of the horses were wearing Easyboots, and most of them were Gloves and some Glue-Ons

 
If you worry about rubs try a knee high nylon over the hoof then put the Glove on the hoof, photo by Karen Bumgarner.
 
Just as Steph promised, day 1 was incredibly rocky. We had new trail through one of Idaho's oldest ranches, the Spivey Ranch. I was so thankful for the superior protection the Gloves offer as well as the added padding from my McGyvered insert pads. We took almost 8 hours but Thunder finished sound and looking good. The canyons and trails were really beautiful even though we did have rocks. I rode with Trish Frahm who normally shoes in front and is bare in the hinds but this day I had outfitted her mare with the combination of Gloves and nylons on the hind hooves and she did wonderfully. Always fun helping others with boots and having them say, Wow that was easier than I thought it would be." 
 
 
Steve Bradley always gets the great shots when he calls Thunders name
 
Each day after finishing the boots came off, I cleaned up the hooves, tossed the boots in a bucket of water and cleaned them up too. I believe that removing the salt and debris is not only important for the skin of my horse but it makes the boot gaiters last longer too. And yes if I would have glued my boots I wouldn't have this chore. But I really didn't mind as it only takes a few minutes and I like checking the hooves. 
 
 
Merri Melde got a shot of our post ride check at the end of Day 2.
 
The second day didn't have much rock, the footing was said to be good so I skipped my homemade "pads". I knew days 3 and 5 would be rocky and I was saving my last two pair for those days. I rode with Leonard Liesens on a new horse, Bodie, and he was wishing that he had my Easyboots. But it was too close to the ride when the bay arrived at Teeter's to make any sudden changes. This day we had two 25 mile loops from camp and it went very well.
 
 
Amanda Washington and Layne Simmons at the beginning of Sinker Canyon. Photo by Karen Bumgarner.
 
Yeah buddy! Day 3 we went through the historic Joyce Ranch and along the reservoir to a short section of Sinker Canyon. Complete with a beaver pond, numerous water crossings, large rocks that move about under the hoof, great scenery and great riding companions too! Thanks Amanda Washington and Layne Simmons. All that and my Gloves never budged but I did see a lost shoe.
 
 
Amanda Washington and Topper splashing through the beaver pond. Photo by Karen Bumgarner.
 
On day 4 we had lots of sand washes, two track roads and some great footing around the Wild Horse Butte loop. I took a Junior, Torri Church, who also uses Gloves on her little mare, Precious Little Gem. Torri's mare did lose a boot but we discovered that she was wearing the wrong size boots and fortunately Torri had more boots waiting at the vet check. Once we got the right size boots on her we had no more problems at all. Again, a proper fitting boot is a must!  It was a really good day for the both of us. 
 
 
My view for five days, loved it!
 
The last day is always a nail-biter. The multi-day horses had really dwindled down after day 4 and I thought there were 4 of us left. The final day offered several miles of Sinker Canyon, more sand, rocks, water and another trip through the beaver pond which was pretty fun! Those wonderful Gloves stayed on through it all! In the vet check though Thunder was a smidge off and my stomach turned at the thought of it. But when I pulled the boot I found some sand and small rocks along the heel. We had traveled through a great deal of debris and deep footing in a few miles. I cleaned it all up, let it dry, took him back for another trot and he was good to go! Whew! After the vet check we went up into the high country and it was wonderful! I love the smell of Juniper.
 
 
Thunder cruising in his Gloves on day 4. Photo by Steve Bradley.
 
Thunder had completed all 5 days. Woohoo! With the fastest time by a couple of hours and he was awarded the 5-day Best Condition also! Only two horse rider teams finished all five days and I think Steph usually has around 6 horse/rider teams finish.
 
 
Our Easyboot Gloves had gotten us through another multi-day. It's such an awesome feeling to ride day after day and not worry about my horse's hooves and rocks bruising him. It's pretty hard to beat the reliability of booting. The Gloves rock. And so does my horse.
 
Karen Bumgarner

 

Three Reasons Tahoe Rim Ride Should Be On Your Radar

Submitted by Natalie Herman, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

This ride really should be on everyone's radar. The three reasons? Fun. Beautiful. Challenging.

This ride has all three and it is on my top five rides of all time list. The entries are limited for now, unless they can find a larger camp area. So get your pre-entries in now. I sent mine out almost as soon as I got back home. The ride was at the end of August, and located outside of Carson City, Nv near Lake Tahoe. Parts of the trail would go on the Tahoe Rim Trail, which circles above and around Lake Tahoe. The views of Tahoe and other neighboring lakes are stunning, and there are mountains all around. This is the beautiful part.

And it is almost all on trail - real trail - not just forest service roads. That is where the fun part comes in. I am a sucker for rides with single track trail: the more, and the more technical they are, the happier I am. My horse and I both are bored to death on rides that are a lot of road riding. I think we had all of five miles of road out of 25. I had planned on the 50, but Eowyn got kicked in the pasture a few nights before the ride, and still had a little fill in one leg so I decided the 25 would be enough for her. The 50's didn't have a whole lot more road either.

Add to the fun of the course that the management was awesome and made the ride run smoothly. I didn't hear one complaint all weekend from any riders, except that we wanted more days to ride! First time rides often have a lot of bumps to smooth out. I know, I am an ride manager as well, but this one seemed to run almost as if it had been going the last ten years. Great job!

And challenging? Well, we are in the Sierras after all. What wasn't up, was down. Though there were often gradual grades you could move on out down or up, there were plenty of tough climbs in the 50 I heard. And for horses and riders that don't like technical single track, this ride could get challenging. The finishing times also reflected the toughness of the ride. But it was all worth it! My friends and I are coming back for sure next year. Oh, and the footing was awesome.! A hardfooted horse could likely do the whole ride totally bare, though I always prefer to boot, as it only takes one rock to end the day.

Ride Camp. Can you see why entries are limited? I think we got almost 20 rigs in here by the end of the day.

And our camp. We had a 4WD and a small trailer, so were able to drive down into the treed area. Big bonus was the shade.

This was the footing for most of the day. How can you ask for anything better?

Oh look: steps and such - so technical. I love this kind of stuff, and compared to the wilderness trip that followed this ride (in the next blog I post), the Rim Trail was nothing.

My friend Tara, and her wonderful, barefoot/booted TWH stallion Den. Despite my mare's attempts to flatter him, he spent all day behind her, playing the part of the most perfect gentleman. This was Den's first AERC ride.

First views of Lake Tahoe. We saw a lot of it. What a beautiful view.

Some of the trail above the lake. This is what was described as the 'technical trails with some areas of exposure' in the ride description. But we were going down it with no hands on the reins, busy taking snapshots, letting the horses pick their own way.

Lake Tahoe in the back, Marlett Lake in the fore. The vet check would be down near the shore of Marlett.

This was the so-called worst part of the trail on the ride: some gravel road. It was about a mile in to the vet check. I wish we could have seen  this huge meadow in bloom.

The vet check down by Marlett. After vetting through, we got to hang out in the trees and have a relaxed lunch.

Lunch for Eowyn and her MFT friend, Roheryn.

And lunch for meIt was nice to ride an LD again short to lunch, and then time back in camp when all is done, to hang out and relax.

Back on the trail after lunch. This was the way home, and a fun trail. Slight downgrade, and the horses knew it was homeward bound, and were flying down it.

What do you do when you need to finish your ride and a stirrup leather/fender rips? Make a new one. I always carry baling twine, duct tape, baling wire, and other such useful things on my saddle. And though I rarely need them, when I do, it sure helps. I couldn't get it under the saddle's bars like the fender was, while tacked up, so I just hung my stirrup from the saddle's rigging instead. Not as comfortable, but it got me home.

There was plenty of good grass along the way for the ponies to snack on, as well. Much to Eowyn's delight, as she lives to eat.

Though the LDs did not get to see all of the historical spots, the trail was full of them. This is an old cabin, that belonged to the caretaker of the flues that supplied Virginia City's silver mines with water.

Natalie Herman