Ten Weeks in the EasyShoe - An EasyShoe Update

Excitement for the EasyShoe has been overwhelming.  Testing is validating our theories that this flexible device moves with the hoof and allows the heel to flex both vertically and horizontally. The first horse to wear them in a 50-mile race not only won the race but also received the best condition award.  Another endurance/trail horse in Colorado spent ten weeks in the EasyShoe with no ill effects to the hoof.  Ernest Woodward of the So-Cal Equine Podiatry Center, and the May 2013 EasyCare Dealer of the Month, is seeing positive results on a dressage horse. 

Dressage in the EasyShoe

I was personally responsible for the ten-week test on my horse named TNT.   Yes, ten weeks.  And yes, I'm fully aware that ten weeks is way too long, but we need to see if there are any ill effects from extended use. Many times I ask my personal horses to go above and beyond in order to collect data for the horses that will follow.  I would much rather resolve issues with my personal horses and make corrections before offering products to the public. 

TNT immediately after removing the 10 week EasyShoes and getting a fresh trim. 

With the EasyShoe being new we are looking at many areas including:

  1. Will the horse be hoof sore when the shoes are removed? 
  2. Will extended use cause the adhesive bond to fail? 
  3. How will the EasyShoe work as a transition device to take a horse from steel shoes to barefoot? 
  4. Will the vertical and horizontal movement heel movement allowed in an EasyShoe strengthen and build the internal structures of the hoof?
  5. Will there be evidence of the heels contracting or expanding with time?
  6. How will the shoes wear over a ten-week period?
  7. What are the best methods for removal and how will the adhesive bond be after ten weeks? 
  8. Does the device fill a gap in the industry?  Are there reasons for an equine professional to use the EasyShoe? 

After ten weeks in the EasyShoe and a quick trip to the round pen.

After ten I didn't know how strong the bond would be.  Would there be much left holding the shoe in place?  The video below shows my first failed attempt to remove an EasyShoe.  I didn't expect the bond between the cuffs and the hoof wall to be so secure.

Removal with pulloffs.  Fail. 

As you can see from the video above the bond between the hoof wall and the cuff was still very secure.  In the video below, I try another method and try and break the bond between the cuff and hoof with a large flat screw driver. 

 

Removal with flat screwdriver.  Success but not ideal. 

Although the screwdriver technique worked, it's not the easy removal solution I'm looking for.  My next attempt and the video below shows how I removed the cuff with a rasp. 

Removal success. 

The EasyShoe is looking good and we are pushing all other size molds forward.  We expect to be able to offer product to the public in a variety of sizes by early August, 2013.  Updates and news will be posted in EasyCare Newsletters and the Easyboot Facebook page. 

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.

 

May 2013: Ernest Woodward

Movement: purely a moment in time, simple yet so complex.

Farrier and EasyCare dealer of the month, Ernest Woodward, knows movement is everything.

Ernest is passionate about movement and displays his talents for capturing it here.

You could say it was destiny. Growing up his stepfather was a veterinarian; his mother a dressage trainer. While in college, physics was his focus. As a farrier of 17 years, Ernest Woodward attributes his success to outside the box thinking and strives to push the envelope from the norm of farrier work and service. Ernest finds great interest in the challenge and detail needed in working with show horses and spends most of his time today dedicated to the needs of the dressage sport horse and therapeutic work.

Ernest joined the EasyCare dealer network in July of 2012, and says discovering the Easyboot Glove has changed everything. Previously, he felt there was not a boot on the market that could meet the demands of a competitive horse. Now he says he has that boot with the Easyboot Glove and can confidently recommend it to his sport horse clients. He also finds tremendous value in utilizing the Easyboot Rx and EasySoaker.

Tips for Success
Hoof care is a highly service based industry and Ernest feels whether you are a trimmer or farrier, professionals need to increase their connection with their clients and make more time to individualize each horse and client. A significant part of his business strategy is staying very involved in his realm of the horse community, from managing horse shows to serving on a local non-profit board. He spends thousands of dollars each year on research, time and tools, and fully utilizes social networking. The bottom line is simple - do great things for your clients and horses and make sure people are aware of what you are doing.

Rewards
One of Ernest's most rewarding experiences was recently teaching one of his clients from Canada to trim, enabling her to care for her own horse and maintain it barefoot when home. Ernest says, "To watch her not only take her competition horse barefoot, but to have the dedication to learn what was necessary to perpetuate her success was tremendously inspiring." He adds that his most memorable hoof boot experience was taking a horse from a $500 shoeing to barefoot and quickly seeing the results of a sounder horse and happier client. He does preface that it doesn't happen every time but when it does it is tremendously satisfying.

When we talk about the future of the barefoot competitive horse, Ernest feels the door has been kicked wide open for the dressage sport horse industry. He believes there are a lot of people that will have the courage to break conventional thought and try something new for their horse. Sometimes it may not be the right fit, but sometimes they might find a whole new direction for the horse.

Ernest resides in Cardiff-by-the Sea, California, with his wife and four-year old daughter while maintaining a practice of about 250 horses. He is also currently working closely with EasyCare on the EasyShoe project. Life is full for Ernest Woodward and we could not be more pleased to have him on the team!

To learn more about Ernest visit his Facebook page at Ernest Woodward - Farrier.

Have You Seen EasyCare Lately?

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." - Thomas Jefferson

I have always enjoyed quotes and clichés. Why? Well, quotes provoke thought and clichés are usually true. Business is a lot like life - you can choose to lead or follow, swim upstream or follow the current. EasyCare chooses to swim upstream and has always been on the cutting edge.

Below are three ways we lead the market by thinking differently.

  1. Fulfill needs of the community
    As a company you have to make money but great companies choose how to make money. EasyCare has built products and invested in the future by continually being aware of community's needs. We manufacture hoof boots that provide solutions for people and their horses. We don't bring a product to market and then tell the public how much they need to buy it: we listen to our customers, take to heart what they express, and develop products that serve a need.
  2. Provoke thought
    Since 1970 when Dr. Neil Glass developed the first Easyboot, the masses had their opinions and judgments. EasyCare's focus has never been just about financial return. As a company, we are in the business of producing products that improve the lives of our users. Our products have sparked debate and discussion for over 40 years and have helped create movement within an institution that has changed historical beliefs and methods. 
  3. Invest in staff, branding and R&D
    We have invested a lot in our staff through empowerment, emotional engagement and values-based leadership. When you call EasyCare, you will notice our objectives may be different than those of other companies. We pride ourselves in having the strongest support team possible. Our brand is our lifeline, we spend more time researching and developing new products and or making improvements to exiting products than most companies could ever imagine.

Brian Mueller

easycare-sales-manager-brian-mueller

Director of Sales

As the director of sales, I am responsible for identifying new dealer opportunities and building on existing relationships to foster ideas and create additional growth.

 

Expensive But Worth It

My riding partner Jenni Smith and I completed our second CEI** (75mi/120km) at the Shine and Shine Only ride on April 20. This AERC ride, which I think is in its 25th year, is managed by Becky Hart. The FEI component is relatively new. It was a great day overall. We finished 1st and 2nd, and 45 minutes ahead of the 3rd place horse. We were the only two horses in the CEI ** in EasyCare hoof boots. I was pleased that my two mares finished so well, and I was ecstatic that I had no wardrobe malfunctions (my code name for losing an Easyboot Glue-On during a race). At the 20 Mule Team ride in February, I learned a frustrating yet valuable lesson about makings sure that the Adhere glue mixes out of the gun in equal quantities. After losing nine of the 12 boots I had glued on and analyzing the failure ad nauseam,  Kevin Myers told me that if the glue dispenses with a bluish tint, then it’s not mixing evenly. I remember seeing the “blue” but didn’t think much about it at the time, assuming it was just cold. I didn’t repeat this mistake, and all the boots I glued on two days before the SASO ride stayed on.

In our quest to fulfill the necessary criteria so that we can nominate for an FEI national or world championship, Jenni and I have now completed the requisite one CEI* (50 mi/80km) and two CEI** (75mi / 120km). Regrettably, we are now stalled out until another CEI*** (100mi/160km) is scheduled somewhere on the West Coast—or at least west of the Rocky Mountains—so that we can get our Certificate of Capability at that distance. While CEI*** races are plentiful on the East Coast, they are a rarity on the West Coast. Only one was scheduled in 2013, and that was at 20 Mule Team. I persistently inquired as to why no other CEI*** events were being offered in 2013 when there are so many riders working their way up through the qualification process. I heard several dubious reasons (ride managers didn’t want to deal with it/too expensive/poor attitudes of the FEI officials and riders). Rob Lydon, DVM offered the most plausible explanation—that in order to hold a CEI*** a four-star-rated treatment vet must be present, and that vet must be licensed in the state in which the event is being held. According to Rob, the lack of a veterinarian with this qualification is the reason why  there are no CEI*** events on the calendar for West Coast riders. Regardless of the reason, there are a group of talented horses and riders on the West Coast who aspire to ride at the FEI level but cannot because fulfilling the qualification process is so difficult. I won't say "impossible" because I could haul my horse to the East Coast for a CEI*** but that is not a realistic or cost-effective solution for me. As it stands, the best we can hope for is that the CEI*** will again be offered at 20 Mule Team in 2014. If it is offered and if Jenni and I are successful in earning our COC, then it will have taken us three ride seasons to complete the qualification process.

In the meantime, we will continue to support the ride managers who offer FEI sanctioned events by entering their rides. It’s expensive, but worth it, if our entries help to maintain the momentum of interest in riding FEI that is building on the West Coast.

Jenni and me after our first CEI* ride and at the start of a long journey
to hopefully one day compete together in an international endurance ride.

Footnote: I am diligent about checking my Easyboot Gloves before and after every training ride. This time I found a rusty nail embedded in the bottom of a boot. How ironic that it was a shoeing nail.

Give Shoes the Boot - You're Still a Cowboy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda Peterson, Peterson Approach Equine Services

The Top Six Ways to Increase Your Chances of Losing Glue-On Boots

If you want to see the time and resources invested in gluing Easyboot Glue-Ons litter the trail behind you, there are a few key modifications to our recommended protocol you'll need to undertake. These modifications won't add time to your gluing process, but they will dramatically increase your chances of finishing your backcountry trip or endurance ride with fewer boots than you started with.

Vet Dealer and Hoof Care Practitioner Accounts Representative,
Debbie Schwiebert, rides the trail at Red Mountain, Colorado.

Here are the top six ways to increase your chances of losing Glue-Ons:

  1. Don't rough up the hoof wall with the edge of a new rasp. Roughing the hoof wall is a crucial step you should not miss.
  2. Don't use our recommended glues. We suggest the use of Sikaflex 227 and Vettec Adhere glues because testing has proven this combination to be the most reliable and the least likely to fail. If you try any other combination, the adhesive properties of the glues may not be as strong.
  3. Don't use as much glue as we suggest. Less glue = less adhesion. And with less adhesion, well, you know the rest.
  4. Glue in wet conditions and don't dry the hoof with a heat gun before applying the boots.
  5. Re-use your boot shells, or handle the inside of the boots before gluing.
  6. Leave the boots on for longer than ten days. The Adhere seal will break over time and allow more water to penetrate the boot shell. If you notice the seal around the top of the boot shell begin to break away, or if you see gapping at the back of the boot where you would normally expect to see Sikaflex, the process of separation of boot from hoof has already begun.

The Easyboot Glue-On is now available in blue and red, as well as black.

In all seriousness, the EasyCare staff are here to help guide you through every step of the gluing process. We've glued literally thousands of boots onto thousands of hooves: we know the protocol that will reduce your chances of losing boots to practically zero.

Hoof preparation & boot application.

We've just updated our gluing protocol video and our written Glue-On application instructions and PDF Glue-On brochure so they are in step with current best practices. If you're not following the protocols in these tools, you're not doing justice to the information available to you.

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.

 

Free With Every Horse: New Zealand Trek Part II

One man, two horses, 3,000 km.

On November 1, 2012 Pete Langford embarked on a 3,000 km (1,800 mile) trek across the length of New Zealand. What inspired Pete to undertake such a challenging journey? His love of horses and nature were the main catalysts, along with a desire to raise money for Air Rescue Services in New Zealand. EasyCare and our New Zealand distributor, the Institute for Barefoot Equine Management (IBEM), are proud to sponsor Pete on this journey. Pete's horses, Two-Shoes and Cloud, are barefoot off the track standardbreds and they are traveling over the varied New Zealand terrain wearing Easyboot Gloves. The trip started at the bottom of the South Island in Bluff and will end at Cape Reinga on the North Island (you can follow their progress on this SPOT Adventure page). Pete and his horses reached the North Island on April 2, 2013 and are currently near Martinborough.

How are the Easyboot Gloves holding up to such a demanding journey? A few weeks ago, Pete described his initial experiences using hoof boots in the blog Free With Every Horse: New Zealand Trek Part I. Below, Pete discusses application and performance of the Easyboot Gloves on his trek:

Putting these boots on is straightforward and the ease with which they go on should serve as a guide to how good a fit you have - if they just slide on with no effort at all then, in my experience, you are putting on a boot that is too large. They should go on with a bit of effort, twisting them on seems to work best and then a couple of taps to seat the hoof into the front of the boot should see all is well. I have taught team Two-Shoes and Cloud to allow me to tap their hooves on the ground to drive their hoof into the toe of the boot. This method works for me and means no need to carry a rubber mallet.

Performance wise these boots excel, great traction in the rough stuff. Loose gravel, rocks, muddy hills? No problem. I really like that when on rough stony ground, there is little or no risk of stone bruising...brilliant! Grassy slopes? The same story, although I have a feeling that wet grassy hills would be better tackled barefoot. Then again, if I had any extended periods on grass I wouldn't have the boots on in the first place. Thus far, my long ride has consisted of terrain that is mostly stone, gravel and shale and some dirt tracks with only short periods on grassland.

Pete, Two-Shoes and Cloud. Photo by Cliff Smith.

One of my first questions about these boots was how much mileage would I get out of them. After all, I will have covered over 2,500 km's when I complete my ride in May/June this year and being in the right place to have replacements mailed would be tricky (there aren't so many mailbox's around these parts). So far, I have traveled over 1,200 km and one set of boots has covered over 1,000 km of constant use. So there it is, a great boot that performs superbly in even the most demanding of situations...remember the quicksand? Get out there and ride, wherever you live there is a big wide world waiting for you and it's right outside your back door!

Worn tread (left) next to new tread (right).

If you want to know more about what myself, Two-Shoes and Cloud are up to, visit us at www.freewitheveryhorse.com, on facebook (Free With Every Horse) and twitter (@3witheveryhorse).

Pete Langford

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...Your Boots

Several people have approached me about reusing Easyboot Glue-Ons, asking if it's possible, safe, effective, etc. Although EasyCare does not recommend it, the short answer is yes, you can reuse them. When I do it, I take them off the horse and toss them straight into a bucket filled with soapy water, submerge them and leave them overnight. The next day I scrub them out, pull out any remaining glue (use pliers if necessary) rinse them off and set them out to dry. The Adhere tends to crack out pretty easily, the Sikaflex can be a bit more challenging but it usually comes out in the frog.  

They don't have to be surgically clean, and don't worry about the outsides, it's just the inside that matters. The boots above were on Shazam for two weeks, he did an FEI 75 miler in them, they're in great shape so I'm going to use them again for an up coming 5-day ride.

Allow them to dry and voila! These shells are ready to be re-glued and hit the trail.

The Easyboot Glove below has seen a LOT of hard miles, training and racing in the Rocky Mountains. Other than the wear on the toe, the boot is still in great shape, I'll probably use it until the gaiter gives out but even so, it's an excellent candidate for the "Goober-booting process."  When I want to retire a pair of old boots that are looking weary, I throw them in a box for this future purpose.

Every time I do finally blow a boot out, I take it apart and keep all the usable parts. Sometimes the gaiter will get shredded or the screws will pull through and tear the shell, or just a power strap will get mangled, but if you've got a pile of spare parts it's very easy to switch them out.  The only tool you ever need is a little screwdriver.


For example, below is a brand new Easyboot Glove that blew out on it's maiden voyage. It happens, especially when your 16.1h palomino feels fresh and decides to throw a few bucks in while cantering up a rocky mountainside. The boot came off and was still attached to his ankle at a canter, but his back foot reached up and landed on it, so the gaiter ripped when he moved out. It's a bummer but no problem because I have a bag of extra screws/backs/washers and an old, perfectly functional gaiter in the correct size to replace it.

Of course, new Easyboots are awesome, but when necessary, you can save a buck and really stretch out the life of these products. You will be surprised how many miles you can get out of your favorite pair of Easyboots! Looking forward to another great season with Team Easyboot 2013!

Tennessee Mahoney

PS: Join us May 11th & 12th at Remuda Run for a clinic on the Performance Barefoot Hoof with the Bootmeister.

 

Win a Free Ride Entry to Whiskeytown Chaser

What?
EasyCare has an ongoing partnership with various endurance and CTR events across the country. As part of this Win/Win program, EasyCare is proud to give away two complimentary ride entries to the Whiskeytown Chaser AERC ride. Competitors can choose to ride either 25 or 50 miles on April 20 or 21. This year, a new ridecamp, new trails and tons of singletrack will make for a wonderful ride. There will be a potluck dinner before the ride meeting on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, dinner will be included with the ride entry (additional tickets available for purchase).

Where?
Ridecamp is located at the BLM Swasey Recreation Area approximately five miles west of Redding, CA. There are beautiful new sections of trail consisting primarily of singletrack with limited dirt roads, numerous stream crossings and some rocky sections. There will likely be plenty of water and grazing on the trail (depending on winter rainfall).

How?
If you would like to attend this ride, EasyCare would like to offer you one of two complimentary ride entries. Enter HERE: http://woobox.com/97sgvb before 12:00 pm MST on Tuesday, April 16 2013. All competitors will have the opportunity to win EasyCare product awards at the ride. Out of respect for ride management, this offer is not open to anyone who has already registered for the event.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, EasyCare CSR

Marketing and Sales

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

 

April 2013 Newsletter: Garrett Ford puts out a call for a unique intern opportunity.

Dear EasyCare Customer,

EasyCare Article Image

- Garrett Ford puts out a call for a unique intern opportunity.

- Pete Langford shares his initial experiences using Easyboot Gloves on a journey across New Zealand.

- We announce the April Read to Win Contest results (that means a free pair of boots to three winners).

- Jennifer Waitte reviews horse heaven on Earth, aka The Bay Area near San Francisco.

- We celebrate Green's Feed, our April Dealer of the Month.

Do you need support in making boot choices or troubleshooting? You can contact us at the EasyCare offices for free advice, no matter where you purchased your boots.

Please keep in touch: our goal is to help you succeed with EasyCare products and your booting needs.

 

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