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 

My Boot Buddies (in which I grow attached to a pair of boots)

During November, Uno and I were on the final 30-day period of his suspensory rehab, at the end of which--provided all went well--he would be pronounced "healed".

November's instructions were to "add terrain" so I was to gradually introduce hills, uneven footing, etc, instead of having to find creative ways to "trot for six continuous minutes on the flat" (no mean feat when you live in the foothills of the Sierra). It finally started to get fun.

Throughout his rehabilitation I have been riding him booted in front and barefoot in back. This was mostly because we have to negotiate my long large-rock-gravel driveway, followed by a mile or so of gravel road every morning. The few times I tried him un-booted, he'd invariably get a rock lodged up the side of his frog, causing funky-lameness and a small melt-down on my part until I discovered the culprit. Wearing boots is easier on both of us.

The most interesting thing is that during this time he has been wearing exactly the same pair of Gloves on exactly the same feet (right/left). And from that I've been able to see the wear pattern from how he travels. Although he's wearing down the medial (inner) part of the toe quicker than the distal area, I was pleased to see that the wear is even on both feet. He's no longer travelling like a banana which was a problem last year.

This pair of boots are like old friends.

The underside of Uno's 600-mile Gloves


I did the math and if you add in the two 50 milers at the Washoe Valley endurance ride in May, some Tevis Trail pre-riding, the 25 miles of NASTR 75 that we managed to complete before he injured himself, followed by the 450 miles of "little and often" over the last 120 days, these boots now have approximately 600 miles on them - nearly all of the last four months on abrasive gravel roads and pavement. And they are looking pretty good.

(In the same time period, if he'd been shod in steel shoes, we would have gone through four sets of shoes. Hmm.)


The topside of Uno's 600 mile Gloves


His left Glove (on the right in the above photo) still has the remains of the yellow duct tape we plastered on it way back in May during the the Washoe Valley ride when Uno's flared toe was causing gapping at the top of the boot and he was scooping in sand, which in turn was filling up the front of the boot and causing it to come off. Unfortunately at that point his foot was too big to squish on a brand new boot with a PowerStrap so we added the duct tape assuming that it might stay on for the next 20 mile loop. In reality, it took about 500 miles for the tape to fall off - not bad for a "quick fix".

However, after six months it's definitely time to add a PowerStrap as I can now push this boot on with one finger. It's a good fit, but not a tight one and I anticipate the upcoming varied terrain will put more stresses on the boots than trotting on the flat has*.

(* note it didn't - final month of rehab now completed -- and I still haven't gotten around to putting on the PowerStrap).

Uno, post-morning ride


Now we are into January, Uno is at the "healed stage" I can finally turn him out with his buddies, which in turn means I get to take a break from daily riding. Whilst I loved it when I was out there every morning, it really didn't balance well with my 60-hour work weeks. Time for me to take a month of vacation before gearing up again for the 2012 endurance season.

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

Team Easyboot 2012: Now Accepting Applications

We're excited to announce applications for Team Easyboot 2012 are now open. Team members will be selected based on their knowledge of the EasyCare product line; their diversity of riding activity, and their influence in their community. Team Easyboot 2012 membership will be limited to a total of 75 people.

Team Easyboot 2012


Expectations of Team Easyboot Members

If accepted onto Team Easyboot 2012, members are requested to participate in at least 7 of the following 12 items:
  1. Represent EasyCare in a professional and positive manner.
  2. Be fully knowledgeable about all EasyCare products and help others in the field.
  3. Keep information available and on hand to help answer people’s questions.
  4. Be available to assist in boot fitting and advice in person and on line.
  5. Provide feedback on product as needed.
  6. Actively promote the EasyCare brand in person.
  7. Submit bio, photo and monthly schedule of activities and availability to help others.
  8. Blog once a month on the EasyCare corporate blog.
  9. Actively participate with positive interaction and product advice on the Easyboot Facebook page.
  10. Wear Team Easyboot attire at events.
  11. Display Team Easyboot logo on tack, trailers and vehicles.
  12. Consider hosting boot fitting clinics in conjunction with hoof care practitioners.
Summary of Benefits
  1. Access to discounted EasyCare product for personal use.
  2. Access to EasyCare management team for help and guidance.
  3. Access to broader team members for general booting education and problem-solving.
  4. Advance access to product information and new products.
Note: Product purchased through the Team Easyboot discount program cannot be resold.

How To Qualify

In order to submit your name for consideration, all you have to do is answer a few basic questions in an online application form. Applications will be accepted until 12 midnight Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, February 8, 2012.

The Selection Process

75 Team Easyboot 2012 Members will be selected by a panel of EasyCare staff. The new team members will be announced on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

Over to You

If you would like to be considered for membership in Team Easyboot 2012, please click here and then click on the Application Form button. Remember to submit the form before Wednesday, February 8, 2012 to be considered.

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.

Fit On The Fly: The Top 4 Most Common Mistakes When Using Easyboot Gloves

I’ve had the good fortune to attend four endurance events since the end of November. It is always fascinating to meet people out in the field and to see what the current practices are – for better or for worse. Listed below are the four most common mistakes I've seen in the last two months.

Mistake # 1
One of the most consistent things I see at events and on the trail is people using the wrong size Easyboot Gloves on their horse. I often see Gloves that are one or even two sizes larger than the foot requires.

This boot is too big! This boot fits very nicely.

A boot too big. A boot just right.

The oversized boots obviously work for people - to a certain extent. But I think the addition of water uphill or speed added to the equation would probably cause a boot loss. When I ask people about the sizing choice, they often say they go up a size to allow for changes throughout the growth cycle. My experience is that you do not need to allow for the growth cycle. It is important for the boots to be snug – very snug – not loose. A simple rasp of the toe area every week or two will keep the boot fitting nice and snugly. Any barefoot trimmer would be delighted for their customers to do a little hoof maintenance between visits because it would also help maintain a healthy hoof.

Mistake #2
People often make the mistake of thinking that adding a Power Strap will offset any size deficiencies. Or perhaps that it will offset any issues around flare, long toes or high heels. Whilst a Power Strap helps keep the top of the boot snug, it will not solve all fit issues. And if you are new to boots, the Power Strap will often mask what is going on inside the boot.

Power Strap fitting nicely.

This boot fits well. Even with the Power Strap, you can see that the V is still spread.

Mistake #3

People are going up a size because they can’t easily apply the boot to the hoof, or they are not putting completely putting the boot on the hoof. When I ask if they use a mallet, some people cringe at the thought of banging a boot on. As a point of fact, the forces exerted when a horse trots or canters on hard ground are going to be significantly greater than the amount of force you can exert by a few bangs of a rubber mallet.

This boot is not quite on yet.

This Glove is not quite on yet. Note the gapping at the base of the V suggesting the toe is not fully inserted into the boot. Note also the gaiter appears to be too short.

Easyboot Glove and Mallet.

A good few taps of the mallet at the toe cannot hurt your horse.

Mistake #4

People often tell me they have trouble getting tight-fitting boots off. The trick is to pull from the side/rear of the boot, rather than from the heel bulb area. Pulling from the rear of the boot actually causes the top of the boot shell to contract, hugging the hoof capsule even tighter, and making boot removal more challenging. Pull instead from one side or the other, and you will find it much easier to remove the boot.

Not like this! More like this.

Not like this. More like this.

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.

Test Ride: Easyboot Trail

I have used Easyboot Gloves since they were released and absolutely love their lightweight and sleek design. I’ll admit when I saw the Easyboot Trail, I was skeptical and couldn’t help but compare them to my beloved Glove. Even though they are light, they aren’t as light as a Glove. Although they are sleek for a boot, to me they looked downright clunky next to the Glove. After becoming a customer service representative at EasyCare, I knew I needed to ride in the Trails since they were our most popular boot in 2011. So for the past three months I have been using the Trails on Cal, my Tennessee Walking Horse cross. Cal has always been a sensitive horse, the type that would gimp over rocks even when he had shoes on. The Trails were a breeze to put on and I was absolutely amazed at how comfortable he was in them, even more so than when I rode him with Gloves on the front. Now I see what all the fuss is about; the Easyboot Trail really is amazing!

Cal wearing Easyboot Trails and Gloves

Cal wearing Easyboot Trails on fronts and Easyboot Gloves on hinds.

The top concern I hear from prospective customers is if the Trail will cause rubs. The Trail needs to be broken in, just as you would break in a new pair of hiking boots. Your first few rides should be thirty minutes to an hour of walking and light trotting/gaiting; this is to ensure the fit is correct and there is no chafing. I decided to go against recommendations to see how they would perform if they weren’t broken in.  My first two rides were 5 and 7 miles over the course of a weekend. On the first day, I checked for rubs every 30 minutes and found none. The second day, I checked at 4 miles and saw a rub the size of a pencil eraser. When I checked again at 6 miles the area had not changed. After the ride, Cal was not at all sensitive at the site of the rub and the area was so small that it would not show up when I tried to take a picture of it. Since that first weekend I have ridden over 50 miles in the Trail averaging 5-10 miles per ride. The only time I observed a rub was on that second ride and it was because I had not properly broken the boots in. If you are concerned about rubs, you can purchase Gaiters to protect the pastern area. But if the boots are a good fit and properly broken in, Gaiters generally aren’t necessary.

Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park, the perfect testing grounds.

One of the things that really amazed me about the Trails was how well Cal gaited in them. Being a gaited cross, he is capable of doing a running walk and a trot but he usually prefers to trot. With the Trails however, he gets into a real nice rhythm and I can honestly say it is some of the most consistent gaiting I have felt from him. The aggressive tread pattern performed wonderfully when riding in and out of the technical rocky washes. For anyone who thinks the Trail is “too good to be true”, it isn’t. The Trail is THE boot for casual riders because it is easy to put on and performs well.

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.