Team Easyboot 2012: Have You Submitted Your Application?

Would you like to be an industry insider? Would you like access to discounted product in exchange for helping EasyCare promote the brand? Who wouldn't?

Applications for Team Easyboot 2012 close tomorrow, Wednesday, February 8 at midnight MST. If you have not already submitted your application, you can do so now by going to the Team Easyboot page on our website.

Loading The Fury

Do you like to participate in various events in your community? Photo by Kevin Lange.

The team members in 2011 enjoyed sharing information among themselves, and then using it as a basis to disseminate information across their broader communities nationally and internationally.

I've listed below some of the things Team Easyboot 2011 members had to say about their experience.

"I have learned a lot this year, and have been able to help several horses and their riders as a result."

Team Easyboot 2012

"I have really enjoyed being in the team and I'm hoping I will be picked for 2012 also, I really want to stay on this train of knowledge!"

"Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to be involved with the team this year. I have been able to keep up to date with all the latest developments with Easyboot and try some of the hints and tips out with customers."

"I can't tell you how much I enjoyed being part of Team Easy Boot 2011! I have to say the thing I loved the most is that I was able to help out many new booters at home and at rides."

"I have been very impressed by how active the team was this year and enjoyed reading about all the tips and solutions."

Camp

Do you enjoy social interaction with others? Team Easyboot 2012 may be for you. Photo by Kevin Lange.

"I thought the conversation & blogs of TE11 were extremely helpful in teaching me how to overcome the complexities of boots. It is so important that customers have positive first time experiences booting their horses and I felt so much better equipped to make that happen."

"The knowledge exchange is just the best. Having a variety of experience levels and disciplines has really broadened my understanding of how the boots can be used. The best part is of course the team itself and the information exchanged but a very close second is being able to be a resource to others."

"Thank you for the opportunity to help others with their booting. I love the exchange of information among the group. We all learn from each other and together think up some great ideas and solutions."

We're looking for a broad range of representatives from various disciplines from across the globe, so please send in your application.

Want to read more? You get all the juicy details by reading last week's announcement.

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.

A New Normal

 normal

I got a new hip a few weeks ago and am so excited. Getting a new hip is easy - you just buy it, they pop it in and boom you are good to go. What isn't so easy is the follow-up. For the last few years I was gimpy and lame. Now my physical therapists have told me I have to find a "new normal" way of walking, a new gait you might say. Right about now, you are probably asking yourself, "What does this have to do with me and my horse?" Well, I think my experience is similar to finding a new normal when you pull the shoes off a horse. If your horse is shod, has he ever been gimpy? Does he lose shoes frequently because there is no hoof wall left to hold the nails? If so, your horse is probably wanting a "new normal" too.

I'll admit having the farrier come out and shoe every 6-8 weeks is easy with hardly any work involved. My surgeon told me no-one dies from having a bad hip and this was an elective surgery. That said, I was in a lot of pain and wanted a better quality of life so I decided to go for it. Horse's don't die from being shod either but I think some horses are more comfortable in boots than they currently are in metal shoes.

Deciding to take your horse barefoot and buying EasyCare boots is the easy part. Maintaing a barefoot horse takes commitment and work, just like the physical therapy required after a hip replacement. Even though it takes some effort, in the end it will be totally worth it.

PS - I am doing great on my fight against procrastination (see previous blog) this post is a day early!

Shari Murray

easycare-customer-service-shari-murray

Customer Service

If you call the customer service help desk, you’ll probably get me on the phone! I process repairs, returns, credits and exchanges that come into EasyCare.

Crossing the 2011 Tevis Winning Hoof Boot With The 2011 Preakness Winning Shoe

What do you get when you cross the hoof boot that was used to win the 2011 100 mile Tevis Cup with the polyurethane horse shoe that was used to win the 2011 136th running of the Preakness

A new tool for farriers and hoofcare professionals.  The new glue-on urethane shoe is a collaboration between EasyCare and No-Anvil.  The combined efforts have produced a new urethane hoof protection device that blur the lines between boots and shoes.  The urethane hybrid device absorbs concussion, is held securely in place for a shoeing cycle without nails, is lighter weight than most all nail on shoes and allows the hoof to expand and contract as nature intended. 

Shackleford wins the 2011 Preakness in Burns Polyflex shoes

Shackleford at the 2011 Kentucky Derby in Burns Polyflex Polyurethane Horseshoes
.

Jeremy Reynolds wins the 2011 Tevis Cup in Easyboots

Jeremy Reynolds wins the 2011 Tevis and Haggin Cups in Easyboots.

Below you will find a couple photos showing the collaboration between No-Anvil and EasyCare.  The freshly filed patent includes some of the following features.

1.  Glue-on urethane hoof protection.
2.  The urethane shoe has an internal moldable skeleton for structure and shaping.
3.  The integrally molded cuff increases the gluing surface area.
4.  The urethane shoe and cuff allow the hoof to expand and contract.

EasyShoe.  Half Easyboot, half Burns Polyflex

The EasyShoe.  Half Burns Polyflex and half Easyboot Glue-On.

EasyShoe In Action

Initial EasyShoe prototypes getting some hard core testing.

Stay tuned for more updates and news on the collaboration. 

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.

Thoroughbred Feet are Just Fine: Meet Garwin

When you peruse 'Practical Horseman', 'Equus' or 'Horse Illustrated', you may find a professional saying, "Well barefeet might work for some horses, but never Thoroughbreds. They just don't have good feet." Or, "We've bred the feet off those Thoroughbreds." If your friend described her new horse's hooves as flat soled, long toed, with thin, shelly walls, don't you immediately think, "Thoroughbred!" I know I do.

With the natural trim, EasyCare boots, good turnout, some body work and a saddle that fits, my friend and former client, Lyndsay, an owner-trimmer brought Garwin back from the brink. This handsome and talented thoroughbred was a few strides short of becoming a lawn ornament.

If Garwin can make a come back, I think you will agree, almost any Thoroughbred can!

Garwin, October 2008

Garwin, 2008.

When he developed debilitating subsolar abscesses in both front hooves, the vet excised the soles. His owner followed the vet's directions for Garwin's daily bandaging. When I met him, Garwin had been on stall rest for 3+ months and remained lame.

Garwin
 
"I think the abscesses are the least of your troubles," I said, walking into the barn.

Still shod in back, Garwin had about an inch of good connection between the coffin bone and the hoof wall on the front hooves. You can easily see that steep growth right under the hairline. As the wall grows out, the angle will lessen.

The remaining, severely flared wall is disconnected hoof wall. It is the wall that "rotates" (to use traditional parlance) away from the coffin bone; not the other way around. Without knowing anything more, you could assume his feet are flat. Not congenitally flat as so many folks say but flat because the feet are a mess. The hoof capsule is disconnected and too high; the boney column of the leg too low. Nothing is where it should be. Nothing's working; there is no correct function. You could also assume that the bottom periphery of the coffin bone has become 'moth-eaten'. Coffin bones are not suppose to be on the ground!

If this is all Greek to you, check out Learning to Evaluate Your Horse's Feet (page down to the July 2011 post) for more information.

Why remove of the soles? The vet's concern was that the coffin bone could become infected. Wouldn't removing his soles also opens him to infection? And it appears that the primary cause of the problem, severely flared feet, aka chronic founder, was not being addressed. When I met Garwin in October, he was sore on any surface. And his owner was understandably frustrated.

Right front  Left sole

Right Front Hoof and Leg. Left Front Sole Growing Back, Slowly.

With flare like this, Easyboot Epics are hands-down my top pick. They are very forgiving to get on when dealing with deformed hoof capsules. And the Epics will take the half inch pad that Garwin needed. He walked and trotted off sound so we turned him out in the pasture. First time out in months, Garwin was delerious.



Lesson: Remove shoes before checking for lameness. (YouTube forces the other "related" videos. Not my choice.)

 
He was a happy guy for sure.

On a weekly basis his owner maintained the mustang roll. The well connected wall grew in, as expected. In my view, having the owner do weekly trims on a horse like this speeds rehabilitation and avoid the set backs of waiting too long between trims.

December

December, 2008: Looking a bit better.

Garwin progressed nicely. By rolling the bottom of the wall, the mechanical forces ripping apart the wall from the coffin bone have been eliminated. This then allows the well connected hoof wall to grow down the foot. In one full growth cycle of about 9 months, a decent foot is grown. It will take another year or two to get adequate sole and wall thickness. The owner routinely soaked his front hooves in White Lightning as a way to deal with what must have been a large amount of necrotic tissue in these rehabbing feet.

Because Garwin was an extreme case, the owner consulted with a more experienced barefoot trimmer, my good friend Laura Florence. Laura gave her additional insights on rehabilitation: how long to use boots for turnout, when to begin riding, tweaking the trim. She also introduced Garwin and Lyndsay to Zarna Carter and her bodywork, Equine Positional Release.

Lyndsay began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There was still concern about Garwin ever competing in combined training events - dressage, stadium jumping and cross country jumping. Garwin's feet remained "freakishly flat". Laura invited her back to the Center to have radiographs. The vet was not hopeful. She pronounced Garwin laminitic and recommended shoes. Laura's concerns were allayed as there was nothing on x-ray that she didn't expect to see. It just took an incredibly long time for the bottom of his feet to recover. But he did recover, without shoes of course.

Over time, Garwin transitioned from padded Epics - a different size for each foot! - to Gloves. His sizing has since normalized although I must say they are pretty small feet for such a big guy. This is due to early shoeing of racehorses. The coffin bone on most horses develops until they are 4.

October 2011 at Burgundy Hollow Event

cross country

Cross Country Jumping Course in Gloves.

Stadium Jumping

Garwin Attacks the Stadium Jumping Course in his Gloves.

Dressage

Back Home, during a dressage lesson. Check out the spiffy transmitter!

The Hero

All he needed was barefoot care from his thoughtful, patient owner. And boots from EasyCare of course.

January, 2012
Lyndsay reports that Garwin has developed concavity all around. Like most Thoroughbreds his wall thickness is about 1/4". The outer horn is strong. Frogs are stellar. He has grown a nice wall to coffin bone connection. What more could you ask for?

Left Front RF

One On-Going Challenge
Rules in eventing do not permit the use of EasyCare boots in the dressage competition. If you are not familiar with this combined training, you might think Garwin should be able to go barefoot in a ring.

But unless you are competing at the highest levels, the surface of the rings are far from stellar. Some are made of stone dust which over time is like riding on cement. Alternatively the organizers might put up a fence somewhere in a field. Unfortunately Garwin does suck back on these surfaces. He needs his Gloves.

I hope an eventing competitor will step up to the challenge of having the rules changed. In the meantime, I am hopeful that Lyndsay can compete in the Glue On Glove. I have learned that in Australia, they are trimming down the outer portion of the Glue On Glove and just calling it a Glue On! (Better to ask forgiveness than permission?)

Better to change the rules!

If you would like to see more photos of this great team, go to Lyndsay Poole's Facebook.

In March, I will feature another story of the Thoroughbred racehorse, Chance and his friend, 2 year old Zola. Check them out at The Racehorse Experiement.

Happy Trails,
Dawn Willoughby
Proud Owner of a rehabbed OTTB

Customer Photo of the Month: Phyllis Mattox

Out riding in one of our favorite spots, Lake Melonies in the California foothills. I have been using boots for over 10 years now and have tried almost all of the boots in the Easycare line.

Phyllis Mattox & Easyboots

Phyllis and Remington.

We started out with the Old Mac's, then the Boa Hoof Boots. As soon as I saw the Easyboot Gloves, I new they would work better for my gaited horse. And they do.

She gates much better in them and I think they are the best boots on the market. I have been using the Easyboot Trails on the big paint horse Remington, with Gloves on the back if we go somewhere that has a lot of rocks. This combo has worked great for him.

I will never put shoes on my horses ever again. Thank you, Easycare, for giving all of us booters a wonderful product for our beloved equines.

Phyllis Mattox in Ceres,Ca

Starting From Scratch - Part 3

The Elusive Boot Fit

At last it was time to fit Roo's Gloves. Out came his boot bucket and the rubber mallet.

Roo's boot bucket

Roo's boot bucket, containing all his boots

When I first converted Roo to barefoot nearly three years ago, he wore an #0.5 on one front foot (the low heel side), an #0 on the other (the high heel side), and #00.5s on the back. More recently, after languishing in the paddock doing nothing for the last couple of years, his feet were now closer to both being #0.5 in the front, and #0s in back.

Before going further, I held the bottom of an #0.5 boot against the underside of his foot. I position the back of the boot level with his heels and then peer all around. By doing this "eyeball fit", you can see if there is any flaring that's likely to cause problems, if the toes are too long to get the hoof snugly into the front of the boot, and generally if you're even close to having the boot fit.

Eye-balling the fit of the boot before putting it on

Side-to-side fit looks pretty good - very snug.

Eye-balling the fit of the boot before putting it on

But looking further forward, I can see I'm going to have to work to get this boot on. It could be that if I re-evaluate his trim, I may find that his toe could be shorter.

In Roo's case I could tell that it was "sorta" going to work, but it was going to be tight - and even tighter given that this pair of #0.5 Gloves had Powerstraps attached to them.

Because I wanted my friend to get the idea of how to put the boots on, and because I knew this one was going to be a real struggle, I opted to put on a #1 Glove first, just to ease her into the whole enterprise.

Gaiter Flipping
First I showed her how to flip down the gaiter as far as it would go. New gaiters, being stiff, tend to not flip down quite as far as they can, resulting in a "poofy area" closest to the boot. If you're not careful this bulge gets pushed down into the boot as you're trying to fit it and stops the boot going on properly. However, as the boot gets worn in, the gaiter will flip down much more easily and this will be less of a problem.

Newer gaiters misbehave

A new boot gaiter is "poofier", so doesn't fold back as flat as the gaiter on the older boot shown behind. This "poofiness" tends to get rolled down into the back of the boot when you're trying to push it on the foot. Eventually the gaiter will behave itself and make boot application much easier.

To begin with, even the #1 boot wouldn't go on. Part of the problem was the aforementioned bulge which immediately disappeared down the back of the boot, necessitating its removal, re-stretching down of the gaiter, and starting again. It's worth mentioning that if we had been fitting the #0.5 boot, this would have been less of a problem because there wouldn't have been extra room in the rear of the boot for the bulge to fit down where it didn't belong.

Grungy Hoofwall
After some wiggling and puffing, I realised another problem was that Roo's hoof had a little dried lumpy mud glued to it which I cleaned off using the edge of the rasp. Our area is blessed with clay soil that sets like concrete. This may work fine as hoof-expander when dry, but as soon as we cross a creek, it'll turn into slime and have the effect of greasing the hoof. Not great.

Rubber Mallet Usage
The boot (especially a new, unflexible boot like the one we were using) tends to get jammed on the quarters, so you have to wiggle it side to side to ease it over this wide part of the foot. Once you're close to getting it on but it still isn't quite going on all the way, I had my friend give it a couple of whacks to the toe and then a couple to the heels to seat the boot.

To get best results when you hit the toe, angle your rubber mallet so that you're pushing the boot towards the toe, not towards the underside of the foot.

Correct rubber mallet technique


Fast-Fingered Gaiter Flipping
As you let the foot down, it's best to flip the gaiter up before it gets to the ground. If you don't, the horse will always stand on the gaiter and the back of the gaiter will always fill up with small rocks/mud/twigs, even when the horse is standing on a completely clean surface. It is written. 

Feeling the Toe
Once the boot is on (or you think it is), you can push on the bottom-front of the boot to see if there's any space behind it. If there is, your boot is not on all the way and usually a couple of whacks with the mallet, or a few steps trotting the horse will seat it properly.

Evaluating the Fit
As this point you evaluate the fit again. Is the V at the front stretched slightly, or is it loose? In a perfect world, that V should be stretched slightly, showing that the whole of the boot wall is tightly hugging the hoof wall. In reality, if you have a horse with flared walls (common when you don't trim them as often as you should... <inspect fingernails>) or more particularly, a flared toe, you may find that the lower part of the boot is fitting very tightly, but the upper part is gapping somewhat (this is a problem I fight constantly with Uno's over-enthusiastic toes if I don't stay on top of them). Sometimes the addition of a powerstrap can help this problem. And sometimes it'll make it so that it's impossible to get the stupid boot on, especially if you're using a brand new one, so you might need to wait a few uses before fitting the powerstrap.

Either way, rest assured that the more you do this, the easier it'll get. Not only will the boots become more flexible with use, your boot-applying technique will also improve and you'll struggle less. The use of the rubber mallet may become a thing of the past as your boots stretch to fit your horse's feet better, and you get a better shape to his foot as his transition continues.

With a #1 boot on Roo's foot, my friend was quite pleased with her handiwork. She felt that the boot was a good fit. On the other hand, I wasn't quite so sure. Knowing that in the past Roo wore a #0.5 on this foot, I couldn't tell if the #1 Glove seemed to be working because because I'd allowed his feet to grow too long or if his feet had actually expanded in stature. My gut feeling was that although the #1 boot would probably stay on for most riding, if we got into an extreme situation (foot twisting, rough terrain, steep hills), the boot would probably come off.

Pulling out the #0.5 Glove (with powerstrap), I worked hard and managed to smoosh it onto his foot. As anticipated, it was a very tight fit and would have been much easier without the powerstrap's "help". So my choice for him would be to keep him in an 0.5 (and remove the powerstraps).

And this is where a fit kit is worth its weight. You may find that you put a #1 boot on your horse's foot and are very satisfied with the results and think that you have the best fit possible. But if you then put on a size smaller, an #0.5, you may realise that that is the perfect fit.

Similarly, by holding each size of shell against the bottom of the foot, you can readily see how the boot is going to fit.

If you really fight to get a boot on, yet the fit isn't great, could it be that the horse's toes are too long? This is something I struggled with for many weeks with Roo's back feet in the early days. With what I felt were 'reasonable-length' toes, his rear boots constantly came off on steep hills. By holding the next size smaller boot against the bottom of his foot, I was able to see how much toe needed to come off to get a really good fit - and also able to see that the amount of toe that needed to come off wasn't much. I shortened his toes and the boot losses stopped.

Listening to people talk about their boot losses despite "a good fit", I often wonder how good their fit really is and if by trying a smaller boot and/or with a small adjustment to their trimming, they'd be able to get a "perfect fit".

(...or alternatively it could be that they have horses who move like gumby and deliberately twist off their boots just to annoy them.)

--
Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

Alternative Application of the Easyboot Glove

“I don’t want to use a rubber mallet to put a boot on.”

If this reflects how you feel then I have good news, you don’t have to. Last week, Kevin Myers discussed the use of a rubber mallet and how it can aid in the application of the Easyboot Glove. Even though this method is effective, several people I talk to either don’t feel comfortable using a rubber mallet or don’t want to have to bother with keeping track of one. I myself fall into the second category; I have enough tack as it is, a rubber mallet is just one more piece of equipment for me to misplace. When I had difficulty locating a mallet a few weeks ago, I made the mistake of trying to use a rasp to tap on the boots…see the results below.
 

Uh Oh

Note to self: rasp not a good substitute for rubber mallet.

A rubber mallet is one way of ensuring your Easyboot Glove is seated correctly on the foot but there is another option. When you apply a Glove, it shouldn’t slip right on but it also shouldn’t be like trying to put on your skinny jeans after the holidays either. Applying a Glove is all about technique, not brute force. After folding the gaiter back, you will need to put the boot on and twist it back and forth slightly to get it over the quarters, this is demonstrated in the beginning of Kevin’s video. Then put the hoof down and secure the gaiter. You may notice that you are not able to tighten the gaiter very much at this point - that's ok.
 

Initial Application

This is what the Gloves look like when I first put them on. They are not fully
seated on the foot and I am not able to tighten the gaiter very much.

Once I have the boots on, I simply lunge my horse at a trot two circles both ways. Prior to using Gloves, I was already doing this exercise anyway. I like to think of it as my "pre-flight check" and it’s a good way to make sure your horse is moving properly before you ride. Now that I use the Gloves, this lunge gives me the added bonus of fully seating the boots on the hoof. If your horse isn’t accustomed to lunging, you can also trot them out in hand. Once you have moved your horse around, you will notice that the boots look nice and snug and you will be able to tighten the gaiters. I hope this method provides an alternative for those of you who don't want to use a rubber mallet for boot application.
 

Ready to ride.

Now the Gloves are fully seated. You can see the V expands
and I am able to make the gaiters snug.



Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, EasyCare CSR

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I have plenty of hands on experience since my horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

 

A Reply to New Tracks - What Will They Think

Submitted by Joanne Pavlis, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Back in the December 2011 Newsletter, Garrett Ford wrote to us about the concept of “New Tracks”, and asked us the question “Have you ever thought about what tracks you leave”?

New tracks

As a licensed race track trainer, riding instructor, endurance competitor, and equine wellness foundation founder, I think about this all the time. Whenever I contemplate the vision of “New Tracks”, I recall the remarkable journey I embarked upon with this new EasyCare concept and product. MileMakers has played, and continues to play, a small part in the overall EasyCare evolution of change, as we all move ahead with our new found knowledge and product development. When I think of what Milemakers does on a daily basis, it seems relevant as an answer to the proposed question.

MileMakers began seriously promoting EasyCare products and educating our local horse community about the benefits of equine hoof boot protection in 2011. It has been the best transformation we could have made for our horses health, while giving us the added benefit of exposure to the latest science and technology to better educate those owners who had been sitting on the fence between old school & new school thinking.  EasyCare is constantly improving their product to better the wellness of horses, and they do it by using sound research while listening to the horse’s response.

Time and again, I lay witness to the fact that people will not change unless they fully understand the reasons behind the need for change. That is why, at MileMakers, we believe in promoting the education behind the EasyCare concept as we develop one knowledgeable customer at a time. Each newly educated owner/equestrian represents a “new track”. And each “new track” represents a seed of knowledge that has been planted and will continue to grow.

When the new EasyBoot Racing Shoe concept came onto the horizon, there was a lot of head scratching, questions, and a whole lot of “what if” scenarios. Some race track officials and commissioners didn’t know how to react to this new product because it was a divergence from their zone of comfortable knowledge. Other racing officials embraced the new concept, and were able to easily see the benefits for the future of horse racing, and overall equine foot health. No evolutionary journey is without its setbacks. The key is to remain confident with your concept despite those who want to drag you back down to “what has always been” and “we’ve been doing it this way for the last 200 years”.

In 2012, MileMakers will walk our talk. We plan to take our 3 year old colt, Defying Magic, (a.k.a. Indy) to the race track.

Defying Magic


He has been barefoot his entire life, and will only wear the new EasyBoot Race Glue-Ons, while running races, due to a Colorado Racing Commission ruling which calls for all race horses to wear hoof protection. He is the first foal we ever bred, and we will not trust his feet to any other type of hoof care product or ideology.  

The journey one must take when laying down “new tracks” will never be an easy one. But by using education and proven results we can progress one step at a time. That’s why at MileMakers our motto is “Not just a destination, but a journey taken one hoofbeat at a time.”  With “New Tracks” I am excited about what I do as a Team Easyboot member, and we plan to leave a lot of “New Tracks” in 2012.

“Sometimes you’ve got to run away and see if they follow” - Manfield Park.


Tracks


EasyCare will accept applications for Team Easyboot 2012 until midnight on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Visit the Team Easyboot section of the EasyCare website for more details and to complete the application form.

Procrastination

procrastination


Pro - cras - ti - na - tion
(proh-kras-tuh-ney-shuhn) - the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.  

I'm sure nobody really needs the definition of the word procrastination spelled out, I know I don't - this blog was due two weeks ago! Everyone procrastinates sometimes, over 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. Did you know that procratination and perfectionism go hand in hand? Here are some reasons for procrastination:
  • Fear of Failure
  • Because we are too busy
  • Over-or under-estimating the degree of difficulty the task involves

Does any of this sound familiar on reasons why you have not tried to take your horse barefoot? There is so much information available today regarding natural horse care, using hoof boots and barefoot trimming, it can get overwhelming. EasyCare has a whole section of our website devoted to articles to help educate you and get you on your way.

Ways to overcome procrastition:
  • Get a buddy to do the barefoot transition with you.
  • Challenge your myths regarding shoeing and do some research.
  • Get a new attitude.

So, take a deep breath and dive in. Remember the worst form of procrastition is reading an article about it, feeling the guilt and not doing anything about it. (I will have to remember this when my next blog is due.)

Shari Murray

easycare-customer-service-shari-murray

Customer Service

If you call the customer service help desk, you’ll probably get me on the phone! I process repairs, returns, credits and exchanges that come into EasyCare.

Transition Tuesday: Wait That's the Wrong Guy!

Everybody know that transitioning a horse from shoes to barefoot is supposed to be hard, and taking one that's already barefoot should make for a seamless transition. NOT. If you've been around horses for any length of time, you will know that there are never any "givens" when it comes to horses! 

Back in November, I brought two new horses into our herd. The first was Breve, a big old moose of a 7yr. old Shagya, who had been barefoot for years. A few weeks later, we introduced Nero, a 10yr. old Arab who has been in shoes for the "on" season since he was a youngster. Naturally, he was going to be the difficult to transition where Breve would seamlessly continue in his work with no issue. 

ponies

Can you really call taking a barefoot pasture horse to a barefoot performance horse a transition? I think you can. There are major differences in a "pasture trim" and a good barefoot trim, and unfortunately many people don't understand these differences. Does your trimmer understand it? Breve had been recently trimmed prior to coming to Idaho, but came with too long of wall, too long of toe and some serious imbalances in all four feet, it was obvious some major adjustments were necessary. Because I knew his feet would be making some serious changes, I waited a while to order boots for him, planning on trimming conservatively and letting him do some natural wear during our frequent rides through November and December. I backed his toe up some and balanced him, but was not aggressive in his trim. Even so, after about a month of riding twice a week, he started to hesitate over the rougher, harder and rocky ground. I wrote a few weeks ago about fitting him for boots. Since we've gotten his boots, I've alternated riding barefoot and booted in the last month. About a week ago, I attacked his feet and am very pleased with how they look at this time. Look at these changes! 

From this...

brev

... and this

feet

To this...
this
feet      feet

... and THIS! 

B

We're well on our way! 

Now for Nero. Nero, Nero, Nero. Wouldn't you know it he hasn't taken a bobble? I don't even have anything to write! After pulling his shoes, I rounded the walls and left him for a week. Truthfully, I was afraid to do too much and have the ground freeze, leaving me with a sore footed pony. He just has his shoes pulled for gosh sakes! Of course until now, we've had perpetual fall, so no frozen ground to battle with. That is all changing tonight. But I digress. Nero looked great, and when I started to ride him the first part of December I was shocked! This guy doesn't miss a step! After almost a 600 mile endurance season in shoes, he hasn't skipped a beat. I really appreciate this guys toughness and inherently beautiful feet. While I am not foolish enough to expect a completely seamless transition to competing in boots, I am pleased with how things are going. I have also come to fully respect a good farrier, because I am certain our transition wouldn't be where it is today had Nero been shod poorly. Barefoot or shod, a good trim is imperative, and we should appreciate it when we see it. 

Poor Nero's transition has been so unremarkable the only pictures I have are of his ridiculously perfect little face. I guess that's the difference in getting a horse from someone who cares for them as you yourself do! No crazy physique changes, no dramatic before and afters, just an easy pony to love. I have been enjoying our weekly gallops to keep me sane and Nero legged up without pounding out too many miles. 

He is spoiled with us! Never a dirty bed, dinner on a silver platter, and a mint on his pillow at bed time. Oh wait. He really hates mints. 

Nero

Here shortly, I will be fitting Nero for his own Easyboot Gloves. I anticipate needing a very good fit in the front as I have watched him carefully and he appears to twist a bit in both fronts as he places his foot down. Luckily, he has beautiful wall quality, absolutely no flaring and appropriate heel height. If we have problems (and stating this as public record guarantees we will), they will be my fault. I plan to be prepared! 

Nero

That face! 
How are your transitions going? 

~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho