Beautiful Biltmore with "Honor"

Beautiful Biltmore!  An event I will return to.

I had the opportunity to ride the Biltmore Challenge Endurace Ride over the May 5th weekend and what a beautiful experience it was.  I've never done an FEI event or an event east of the Mississippi, but an invitation from Heather and Jeremy Reynolds to take a young horse through his first FEI 50 mile event was all it took.  At first I thought of all the life and work excuses that would prevent me from going but decided to get out of my box and do an east coast event and an FEI event.

My flights were crazy and I ended up arriving into Asheville, NC at 3:30a.m.  Not much time for sleep because Jeremy Reynolds are I were planning on a run the next morning.  The run was great on my mountain lungs but the heat and humidity was very apparent.  Jeremy and I went straight from running to helping several riders apply Easyboot Glue-Ons.  I finally had the opportunity to meet Farzad Faryadi and his son Steven.  Farzad and I have been e-mail and Facebook buddies for several years and Farzad has done very well in Easyboots.  11 year-old Steven was getting ready for his first 100 mile event. 

The Reynolds had me paired with a very nice horse named Bound For Honor.  Honor is a tall and well put together grey off the track and has a bit of endurance experience.  Heather and Jeremy have many very nice horses but I was especially pleased with my mount.  Strong, forward but very manageable.  Beautiful trails are much more fun when doing it on a beautiful horse, I knew I was going to have fun.

Barbara Hershberger, Garrett Ford, Jeremy Reynolds, Heather Reynolds and Rachel ShacklefordAll riding Reynold horses.

Barbara Hershberger and I were going to ride together.  Barbara was on a very nice Kenlyn Arabian horse bred by Linda Fisher of Colorado and also owned by the Reynolds.  Barbara and I started toward the back of the nearly 85 entries in the 50 mile event. 

Barbara Hershberger on Kenlyn Baily, I'm on Bound For Honor.

We moved down the trail at an easy clip with a goal to get these two young horses their first FEI 50 mile event.  All was great until about 9 miles into the first loop when a loose horse came ripping down the pavement toward us. The photo sequence below caught by Genie Stewart Spears caught the whole thing.

Loose horse!  Watch out, loose horse!

I felt for the horse and wondered if the rider was OK.  Loose horses bring visions of terrible things and I cringed as the horse galloped out of site.  As we rounded the next bend the loose horse was on his way back toward us. 

Look at me.  I know exactly what is going through my head.  "Hey I can catch that horse".

I quickly jumped off Honor in an attempt to catch the horse.  He was getting close just as Honor pulled back and pulled the reigns out of my hands.  The only thing worse than a loose horse is two loose horses.  Some words that can't be repeated came out of my mouth and I was in full chase mode.  This fine young horse of the Reynolds was now loose and I was the ding dong responsible for his well being.  Crap!

Long run back to camp!  Thanks for catching the sequence Genie.

Two hours later Honor and I were reunited at base camp.  Honor looked perfect, no cuts, no grass stains from falls, tack was in place except for his reigns were missing, and his Easyboots were all perfect after his 9 mile gallop back to camp.  New set of reigns and off we went to start the ride all over again two hours later.

Honor doing was he does best, clicking down the trail.

I was very thankful that Honor was sound, safe and healthy.  The miles of beautiful trail on a beautiful horse gave me a chance to think and really take it in.  Honor and I, no other horses and riders and miles of incredible trail. The miles gave me a chance to think about the blessing we have to have horses in our lives.  They gave me a chance to think of Steven Faryadi (the 11 year-old boy that was riding his first 100 mile event) and the lessons Steven would learn during his first 100 mile event that would shape the rest of his life.  It made me think of my five year-old daughter at home and how I long to compete side by side with her in the future.  As the miles passed and the brain continued to wonder I was taken by the beauty of the trails and the incredible organization of the event.  Beautiful Biltmore continued to stick in my head and I will make sure I return. 

Trees and vines tricked the mind and made every mile memorable

Honor and I clicked off the miles and he finished looking perfect.  He picked up 18 extra miles of fitness and I learned some valuable lessons.  After Honor was vetted, washed and fed, I headed down to help crew for Jeremy, Heather and Rachel.  Lynn and Mark Ashby were performing perfect crew duties for all five horses but I knew they could use some help.  Heather and Rachel were cruising through the 75 and Jeremy was up front competing for a win in the FEI 100.

Jeremy went out on the last loop with two other horses and Stirgis looked great.  The 100 was shaping up for an exciting finish.  Two riders emerged from the trail and excelerated toward the finish.  Jeremy and Stirgis were in full gear racing a 16 hand anglo arab.  They didn't pull it off but they gave it 100%. 

Jeremy Reynolds and Eone Williams race to the finish.  Both horses were in hoof boots!

The day ended with Jeremy and Stirgis showing well for Best Condition.  Stirgis was indeed awarded BC the following morning.  Reynolds Racing had five horses finish the event in Easyboots.

Beautiful Biltmore is a race to put on your list.  Incredible trails, top notch organization and fun competitors. Put this one on your list to do, I'll see you there. 

 

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.

 

Boots and Wine - What Could Be Better?

Submitted by Leslie Spitzer, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

As an endurance rider I find myself being very goal oriented for the most part in my riding. I worry about the mileage I need to get in for training, the speed I need to go and if we will be properly prepared for upcoming rides. I worry about making sure my trim is current and that my boots fit just right. Will we be going up hills at speed? Should I tape or not? Should I touch up the toes just a bit first? It can be exhausting.

Sometimes it is nice to take a time out, slow down and smell the roses - or in this case, the bouquet. That would be the bouquet of fine California wines I would be speaking of. Two weeks ago I attended the Spring Stampede Winery Ride in Livermore, California. The ride is put on by CHSA Region 5 and is a fundraiser for their Trail Trials program. The ride is 6 miles long and basically you ride in staggered groups to three wineries in a guided group. The trail winds through the vineyards which are surrounded at the moment by green foothills. It is quite idyllic: horses are only allowed ever in the vineyards during this ride. At the wineries the horses all get tied in a specified area and are watched by volunteers and fed carrots. The riders all head into the winery and enjoy gourmet food and wine.

I brought Spider for a friend to ride. Spider is a big, strapping grey gelding and he went with the rugged, yet sophisticated look wearing the new Back Country boots for his hoof wear. I brought my horse Eagle for myself. He went the more elegant route wearing the equine equivalant of the little black dress: Gloves with black power straps, fronts only. Classic and understated. After all this was a high society event. My friend Pamela brought three of her horses all oufitted in Gloves as well.   

Spider and Eagle in their finest footwear.

The ride starts out from the Stampede Grounds which is in an urban area. Traffic is stopped on a busy street for the horses to cross and then it is on into the beautiful vineyards and our first stop.

Heading out to the vineyards

Heading out to the vineyards.

Beautiful future Vino!

The first winery stop was at Murrietta's Well. It is a beautiful winery. Here we enjoyed appetizers and some really good wines. A favorite always at this stop is an appetizer made with cream cheese, brown sugar and a touch of vanilla to dip apples in. Heavenly!

 Yummy!

Eagle patiently awaiting my return.

After Murrietta's Well we rode through the vineyards eventually arriving at a very large facility. This is a combined stop of Wente Vineyards and Tomas. The horses were all tied to large, flatbed trailers which doesn't sound so safe, but actually was.

Yum another carrot stop!

At Wente we enjoyed more really nice wine and light lunch. This included Pulled Pork Sliders, cheeses, veggies, fruits, and dips. Very good. After lunch Tomas provided yet even more delicious wine tasting incuding a to die for Barbera Port. I am not a port fan but oh wow. They also provided the dessert course which was cheesecake with a Zinfandel Chocolate Port sauce and Strawberries which you could dip into a warm chocolate mixture. 

Dessert at Tomas Winery.

After this leisurely stop it was time to heave our full and relaxed selves back onto our horses and make our way back a couple miles or so to the Stampede Grounds where we could pick up our purchases before heading home. Our group was a mixture of all types of people and horses, from ponies on up to a Clydesdale. There were pleasure horses all the way up to high end eventer horses. The question of the day for our booted gang of Arabs was "Are you guys endurance riders?" 

Groups arriving and leaving a winery. Horses everywhere.

Spider heading back wearing his Back Country Boots. He was pretty good for his (new to horses) rider, despite being convinced this must be an endurance ride.

It was a fabulous, warm California spring day and everybody had a great time. The best thing for me was just slowing down and having fun. It was really nice to just know we were going out for a trail ride, nice and relaxed and nothing technical. It took me all of two minutes to slap both horses boots on. No need for tape or touch ups. I knew I wouldn't have to give them a second thought and I didn't. I encourage all you goal-oriented and driven types to take days like these with the only goal being to relax and have a good time. Excellent brain-training for our goal oriented equines as well. If any of you live in the Northern California area I encourage you to check out this event. This was my third time attending and I will definitely be back next year.

Leslie Spitzer

Four Years and Counting

The peoples of The Steppes have been riding bare and without hoof protection for thousands of years, we know them from the history books and heard about their amazing horses: the Parthians, Scythians, Cimmerians, Huns and Mongols created some of the largest empires the world has ever seen. They scared and defeated the Greeks, Romans and other western powers with their incredible riding and warfare skills. Their skill were  always far superior to the western powers and they always rode barefoot.

Mongols honing their archery skills.

Natural hoof care was and still is the norm with the Peoples of the Steppes.

Mongol horses are being trimmed. Notice the strong healthy frog and tough sole. These horses are being ridden over rocks, grass and sand.

This Natural Hoof Trimming contrasts starkly to our western civilizations Hoof Care. Only very recently did we start to embrace barefoot trimming. Until about 4 years ago, 80% of all Hoof Care procedures at the  Global Endurance Training Center were applications of steel, polyurethane or aluminum shoes. Today, maybe 5% of all Hoof Care services involve application of steel shoes, more than 80% are bare hoof trims. What a huge change. What have we noticed during these 4 years in regards to the health of the hooves?

  • - a thicker and tougher sole
  • - a huge reduction to total absence of white line separation
  • - a bigger and healthier frog
  • - a naturally developed break over

An example of a mostly bare hoof in rocky to sandy terrain.

Naturally worn break over.

Another example of a healthy bare hoof.

For 4 years now, Global Endurance Training Center and EasyCare have been conducting and sponsoring hoof care clinics all over North America and Europe. I have been traveling at least twice a year to Europe to conduct clinics in Natural Hoof Trimming and Protective Horse Boots application. We are constantly educating and learning all at the same time.

Here is a schedule of Hoof Care Clinics and workshops: I will be spending three weeks in Germany and France in the month of May.

1. May 12 -13, 2012 in Dresden Germany

For info and sign up, contact Veit Koppe at Koppe@heine-bau.de

2. May 25 -26, 2012 in Baiersdorf, Germany

For info and sign up, contact Gunnar Schillig at info@pferdmensch.de

3. May 29 - 30 in western France

For info and sign up, contact: info@globalendurance.com

June 3 - 9, 2012 is Natural Horse Care week at Global Endurance Training Center. We will be  conducting Hoof Care Workshops at the Global Endurance Center in Moab, Utah. These workshops are free, we are going to share and discuss the latest findings in the area of Natural Hoof Trimming and demonstrating the newest horse hoof boots, glue on techniques, sole protection and therapeutic measures. RSVP required. We can help you with lodging.

July 10th, the day before the City Of Rocks Pioneer ride in Almo, Idaho will see a Hoof Care Extravaganza. GETC, EasyCare, Equiflex and Vettec are all sponsoring a 3 hour free clinic at the ride site. The clinic starts at 3 pm. You will be able to observe trimming techniques, tool maintenance protective horse hoof boot applications, gluing techniques, various Vettec sole protection methods, Easyshoe and Equiflex shoe gluing methods and more. The Vettec Company is sponsoring the wine and cheese party directly following the clinic. And the following day is the start of the new 4 day ride through the incredible beautiful City of the Rocks wilderness at the Utah/Idaho State line. An event not to be missed. The sponsoring companies are giving away various prizes for the clinic participants and ride participants: Glues, EasyCare Hoof Boots, Equiflex shoes and Free Hoof trims. You may want to mark this event on your calendar.

For more information on all the above outlined events, you can contact the Bootmeister directly at info@globalendurance.com. For the City of the Rocks Hoof Care Clinic you can also contact Steph Teeter at steph@endurance.net.

It is a given: none of us will  ever be as good a horseman, rider  or archer as the People of the Steppes. But I know for certain that our horses can have hooves as tough as the hooves of the  horses of the legendary Sarmation and Mongol people.

Mongols with their horses.

See you at some of our clinics.

Your Bootmeister

My First Gluing: A Two Person Job

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn how to glue on boots courtesy of Rusty Toth. This was an amazing learning experience and although I was familiar with the gluing protocol, there really is nothing like hands on learning. Lesson number one is gluing can be a messy ordeal. Wearing old clothes and using plenty of non-powdered latex gloves are absolute musts. Preparation is also important. In addition to the Easyboot Glue-On boots you will need: a rasp, a wire brush, a rubber mallet, Sikaflex and a caulk gun (one tube will glue approximately 6 boots), Adhere, a Vettec Gun and Mixing Tips (one tube will glue approximately 4-6 boots), and a heat gun. There are three main components to gluing on boots: 1) preparing the hoof, 2) preparing the boots, and 3) applying the boots. Although gluing can be done solo, in my opinion it is really a two person job. If you are new to gluing I highly recommend working with an experienced mentor.

 
Gluing Supplies
 
Ready to Glue!
 
Preparing the Hoof
  • Thoroughly pick out the hoof.
  • Use the side of the rasp at an angle to rough the bottom 2/3 of the hoof. Don't be tentative – this is crucial and if you are not breaking a sweat you aren't doing it right. This part was much more labor intensive than I imagined.
  • Wire brush all hoof surfaces.
  • Use a heat gun to dry the hoof. This is very important in moist climates to ensure there is no excess moisture in the hoof, however we didn't use one in the oven that is Tucson.

Rusty Toth roughing the hoof.

Rusty Toth roughing the outer hoof wall.

Roughed hoof.

Ready to Glue.
 
Preparing the Boots
  • Don't touch the inside of the boot without gloves - the oils from fingers can compromise the glue bond.
  • Apply Sikaflex around the bottom edge of boot and in the frog area.
  • Keep Adhere out of the sun. Adhere is a fast setting adhesive and the warmer it is, the faster it will set. Be ready to put the boot on right after Adhere is applied.
  • To apply Adhere, hold the boot with the toe facing your fingertips - in this position it is easier to tilt  the boot which prevents the Adhere from running.
  • Hold the mixing tip parallel (not perpendicular) to the boot. This allows for an appropriate amount of Adhere to be distributed evenly.
  • Apply Adhere along the top edge of the boot from approximately the 8 O'clock position to the 4 O'clock position. Do not use Adhere at the rear of the boot. 

Applying sikaflex.

Sikaflex is applied along the bottom edge and in the frog area.

 

Applying the Boots
  • Hold pastern joint between knees so that you can really work the boot into place.
  • Seat the toe with a rubber mallet (don't be shy with your whacks).
  • Hold up the opposite leg for approximatly one minute while Adhere sets so the glued hoof is fully weight bearing.
  • Seal the top edge with Adhere.

Easyboot Glue On.

My first Glue On! (In all honesty it's my fourth...Adhere ended up on the fetlock on the first three).

Appling the Adhere seal.

Applying the Adhere seal.

The gluing protocol is not difficult but there is a technique to it and practice makes perfect. Rusty had a few additional tips to ensure that every gluing is a success:

  • Have extra equipment available (boots, glue, tips, etc).
  • Use nippers to cut the Adhere tip evenly - this allows for even mixing.
  • Don't be frantic. Although Adhere sets fast, don't stress too much about the setup time (unless it's 100 degrees). I was rushing to get the Adhere out and the boot on and this can result in an inconsistent Adhere dispensing. 
  • Set the hoof down slowly.
  • Remove the latex glove before picking up the opposite leg. This minimizes the chance of glue on the horse's leg.
  • When gluing hinds, pick up the front on the same side.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

Many thanks to Rusty for showing me the ins and outs of gluing boots! 

 

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.

 

Hoof Boot Inventions - Can the Past Help Us Invent the Future?

On July 31, 1790 Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent was signed by President George Washington. Hopkins was born in Vermont, but was living in Philadelphia, PA when the patent was granted.

The first patent, as well as the more than 6 million patents issued since then, can be seen on the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov. The original document is in the collections of the Chicago Historical Society.

Hoof boots and hoof protection have been a popular subject with inventors from the United States and around the world since the early 1800's.  In these early years horses were used for transportion, farm work and hauling heavy loads.  People depended on their horses and protecting their horses feet was a necesity.  The US Patent Office database is clouded with artwork and ideas from these early years.  Clever strap on horse boots and shoes of all different types are found by the hundreds.  These early inventors had some ingenious ideas for hoof protection and many of the sketches found in the database still have merit today.

An example of  an 1869 horse shoe, hoof boot patent by Henry Headrich

I have a fascination with these inventors and the hoof boot designs that were developed hundreds of years ago.  I find it interesting to think back to the 1800's and think about their lives, the materials that were available to create these devices and the stacks of prototypes that littered their workbenches.  I have spent many a late night printing these original patent documents and often look through these files to see what has been done in the past.  Over the past several months I've been working on recreating many of my favorite boot and shoe designs for this printed collection. Many of these replicas work quite well and with some material changes may end up as a production product.

 

An 1800 hoof protection device held in place with a heel bulb strap.  Envision some small tweaks and material changes to this design.

 

Another design from the 1800's.  This one reminds me of a fine women's shoe. Another that could work today with some small adjustments. 

The early design has a cool pastern strap and heel retention cup.

 

Many of the early designs had good intentions but would be barbaric if put to use.  This would stay in place but pummel the hoof in the process. 

 

 

 

Fast forward to the early 1970's and you start to see some of Dr Neel Glass' first hoof boot prototypes found in the US Patent records.  Neel's designs were pretty unique and marked the real first production hoof boot.  Neel's original Easyboot design is still in production 40 years later and is the backbone of EasyCare.

Neel's first glue-on hoof boot drawings are shown above.  Glass used glue and screws to hold the boot in place.  EasyCare's current glue-on hoof boot is very similar to Neel's 1970 design.  Screws wouldn't fly today, adhesives now accomplich the job.


The examples above are just a couple of the hundreds of hoof boot and horse shoe patents that can be found in the US Patent database.  When you take the time to look at the past designs the possibilities for improving what we have today get fun and interesting.  EasyCare may need to do a fun Throwback Collection and use the original inventor's names "Easyboot Headrich"  In the least we will recreate some of these designs for our EasyCare hoof boot museum. 

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.

 

4th Gear: A New E-Book on Training The Endurance Horse by Dennis Summers

Are you interested in taking your endurance riding strategies to new heights? Dennis Summers has just released a new book called 4th Gear - Power Up Your Endurance Horse.

Dennis and his wife, Sue, have a 93% completion rate over their combined 32,000+ AERC competition miles. Their focus has consistently been long distance races, boasting more than 213 starts in 75-100-mile races with a 92% completion rate in that category including 43 wins and 39 Best Condition awards.

In his book, Dennis discusses advanced conditioning methods to progressively build the long-distance horse to levels that have never before been seen. He reviews recommendations in feed and supplements, as well as new choices in hoof protection, tack and riding approaches that will enable the mid-pack rider to move up to the front of the line.

There are hundreds of books available for the athlete who wants to improve their running or biking skills, but most books and trade show seminars for the endurance rider are geared for the beginner. Dennis touches on the subjects that can most help riders prepare themselves and their horses reach their desired goals. "If that goal is to select a super horse and prepare him to someday run with the big dogs, great." says Dennis of his first book. "If you have a seasoned horse that will never set the world on fire but wants to try and get 50 milers done before happy hour, that’s great too. I will try to give you ammunition toward that end."

Dennis' intent is for the reader to begin thinking in new directions by discussing subjects the reader may have previously given little thought to. The end result: a high-performing horse and rider team. "The rest is up to you to make the correct move in the thousands of little situations and challenges you encounter," says Dennis. 

Like the human athlete, the equine varies greatly in athletic ability and potential performance. With that in mind, Dennis proposes that the reader chooses the strategies based on the horse's specific assets, liabilities and current level of fitness.

If you are open to new ideas, this book will help you get outside your comfort zone and experiment "The end result," says Dennis, "will be great, but the whole journey with your horse is an experience to cherish. Let’s get started with this thing."

You can buy the e-book through Amazon or through Lulu. To read more about the book and the author, go to 4thgearendurance.com.

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.

 

Rides of March: Practically Perfect in Every Way

Submitted by Renee Robinson, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Reno, NV rides are absolutely the best. Especially when they’re managed by people like Tami Rougeau. If you haven’t done this ride, next year RUN, don’t walk to Rides of March.

In case you couldn't tell by its name, this ride is held during the middle of March. That means if you live on the west side of the Sierra Nevada mountains like I do, you spend the week before the ride watching Weather.com for hourly updates. Last year we had to cancel our trip to the ride because of a little storm over the pass (“little storm = blizzard like conditions, road closures and car accidents). This year, I was lucky enough to get to go. Accompanied by my husband and our trusty dog, Jefe, we made the 9 hour haul to the ride.

Ride morning

Getting to the ride was easy. Once we got there, the weather took a turn for the worse and I spent the entire day Friday inside my trailer only coming out briefly enough to vet in. That night the wind blew and blew. We woke up ride morning to snow and ice but the weather was supposed to be in our favor for the day so off we went. As it turned out, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.

The first ride of the season is always interesting and this ride was no different. After an involuntary dismount at the start of the ride, Bite and I were on our way. Bite is a 16 hand horse stuffed inside a 14 hand body, so sometimes he gets a bit explosive. But after his brief lapse in judgment, our ride went off without a hitch. He ate, he drank, and he had marvelous recoveries. We also rode entirely by ourselves (not hard to do when you ride at the back of the pack) which is a very big accomplishment for this particular horse. He made me very proud.

If you like rides with perfect footing, go to Rides of March. If you like rides with water placed exactly where you need it, go to Rides of March. If you like nice vets and awesome ride management, go to Rides of March. And as if we weren’t spoiled enough already, after the ride, Tami took us to her house where we enjoyed real showers and real beds.

This is Bite’s second season in Easyboot Gloves, so we‘re still relatively new to boots. He transitioned easily to a barefoot lifestyle and rarely loses a boot (knock on wood). Rides of March was his 5th 50 mile ride with the same pair of 00.5 Gloves on the front. He also did many conditioning miles in the same pair and now my mare is using them as spares for her hind feet. I love the Glove!

Bite's gloves have done five 50 mile rides and they're not done yet.

Thank you Tami Rougeau for putting on such a fabulous ride. Weather permitting, we’ll be back every year!

Renee Robinson

If You Don't Try Organizational Euphoria You'll Hate Yourself

Gee, thanks, Title Wizard! If it weren't for you my blog post this week would be titled something totally, pathetically lame like "Organizational Euphoria."

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I like stuff. I'm not a hoarder or anything crazy like that but I do like having the things I need, and having those things readily available. When I very first began using Easyboot Gloves, I had one horse going and one semi-retired. Having eight hoof boots laying around was really a non-issue. However, my herd began growing, changing and evolving, and so did my Glove collection. OMG. They exploded like bunnies. Over the last two years, I have coped with a bag housing boots that were pretty interchangeable between horses. Again, eight or twelve boots weren't the end of the world. 

And then... along came The Moose. And the Moose's white counterpart, The Unicorn. The more the merrier, right? Right. Except when FOUR horses wear EIGHT different size boots. Eight pairs of boots = 16 boots. Did I mention SIX of these boots are over size 2?? Size matters. This is starting to sound like some horrific math problem from the eighth grade. 

After a winter of boots scattered about the trailer, tack room, living quarters and back seat of the truck, I decided there *had* to be a better way. Now remember I am a shopper by heart. I loooooove going to the mall. I love buying clothes, make-up, decorations for the house and, my favorite, stuff for my horses. I HATE office stores, hardware stores and tire stores. Ewww. But with some convincing, I relented and accompanied my husband to the local Home Depot. After sulking through row after row of "man stuff," I walked into the next aisle and there it was- The Solution. 

Enter Husky Secure Lock Track Wall and Vertical Mesh Organizer. I swear to God angels sang. I snatched up the necessary stuff to go along with it and excitedly awaited for organizational bliss. Because my horse trailer serves as a tack room, it is important I stay organized so I don't kill anyone. After scoping out several options to install my new organizer I decided on hanging the track in the horse compartment where my boot storage thingy will hang while we're not driving. Before going somewhere, I'll simply unlock and remove said storage thingy and put it in the tack room. Arrive at ride, hang back up and voila, instant organization! 

Peek-A-Boo!

So far, so good!

Because I have only the three horses at home right now, the three-compartments were perfect. One compartment for each horse, spares and odd sizes in my old boot bag tucked out of the way and I am one happy girl!! 

How do you organize your stuff? 

~ Amanda

Fitting Zahara's Spare Part

Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Last summer my Competitive Trail Riding prospect, Zahara, broke my heart when she suffered a pretty bad heel bulb laceration - twice. Instead of spending the summer getting broke she spent the majority of ride season in a hoof cast standing in a small pen healing.


 

Now that the soft tissue has healed the defect in her cornet band is very evident. She is growing a hang nail of sorts on her affected quarter. About 4 months ago the hang nail grew down and seemed solidly attached. I was thrilled. It wasn't pretty but it was trying its best!

The day of the final trim that put the defect in passive contact with the ground seemed like a good day, we had grown her hoof out and I was ready to get riding. The very next day the whole quarter had been torn away and we were back at square one. The attachment wasn't strong enough and the hang nail was indeed hanging out there!

I trimmed it back as far as possible and since then it hasn't tried to grown down again: it just hangs around, attached to nothing in particular only to get trimmed back as needed to keep snags to a minimum.


I can see the light at the end of this tunnel though. She grows a surpising amount of heel on the affected side though there is still a deficit of hoof wall. Looking at her hoof from the sole there is enough heel there for her to use it properly, and use it properly she does! Throughout this process she has always been relatively sound and there is no evidence of flare, underslung weak heels or the opposite, contracted high heels, which would indicate abnormal weight bearing in this hoof.

Since all signs pointed to go I started riding her again about 6 weeks ago. We've been conditioning slowly on the shoulders of the gravel road, lots of long slow miles, hoping to get her muscles strengthened and her bare feet toughened up. We've been patiently awaiting the arrival of our new boots before adding the speed required to get her cardiovascular system conditioned as well. We haven't even been on a real trail yet as I'm scared the hang nail might get caught and torn in any sort of rough terrain.

Well guess what? The Easyboot Epics have arrived and I was worried they might not fit well on her damaged hoof due to her extra parts. Here's how they looked:

The abnormal part of her hoof sits above the shell of the Easyboot Epic so there is no pressure on the hang nail at all. If it ever does decide to try to grow attached and down with the rest of the hoof it should still fit in the boot no problem.


 

So far we've put about 25 miles on these boots since their arrival mid-week last week and I've seen no rubs or discomfort across her scar tissue on her heel. I couldn't be happier.

My hope is that with the Easyboot Epics we can continue to eat up the miles with the intention of being competitive one day soon. My gal who was once a "wait an see but I don't think that hoof will stand up to any sort of heavy work", according to the treatment vet, now has hope.

We will keep everyone updated on our progress as time goes on but I have big plans for this girl.

Stacey Maloney

Our First Natural Trim in a Year

We had a very interesting weekend. We competed in the Texas Trail Challenge CTR in Whitney, Texas. It has turned out to be a such beautiful spring in Texas, and what a difference from last spring and summer. We finally received some rain over the winter and spring, and the wild flowers are in full bloom. Friend and Natural Hoof Care Practitioner Trista Lutz was at the ride with her beautiful 7 year old daughter, Dani. Trista and I have been talking about her doing Newt's feet, but unfortunately she lives about 5 hours away.  

We know of no natural hoof practitioners close to where I live. I have been studying up on natural hoof care, but have never really seen a trim, and frankly, I am afraid of trimming Newt's feet. The Natural Hoof Care Practitioner I used for about 2 years has moved. I rarely saw him work, as I would drop Newt off for his trim at the farm where he was working. My current farrier does a good job, but is of the old school. Newt's toe cracks were worsening and now he is getting quarter cracks, which he has never had before. Of course, my current farrier wants to put shoes on to correct the cracks. Help! 

Trista took a look at Newt and said no problem. She pointed out that his heels were a little long, and his soles were flat and a little thin. She explained the cracks were from all of the peripheral loading. He has decent hoof walls, just too many of the wrong kind of forces working to cause the cracks. Things I kind of knew, but was not sure of how to handle. Trista trimmed him, explaining all the while what she was doing and why. I took pictures, and really tried to eel the wall and waterline relationship. One of the most interesting things I noticed after Trista trimmed Newt's feet was the sound of his feet hitting the ground. Instead of the usual clip-clop, I now heard pad-pad. I was thinking, "Now I know why the Indians always snuck up on the settlers - their horses must have had much more natural feet. No long hoof wall to make clip-clop sounds!" I know his feet are not perfect, but I feel like we are improving.

Left front after trimming.  You can see the right front without the trim.

Right front trimmed, left front still untrimmed.

Hind foot before finishing the trim.

Working on the hind. Notice the miracle rasp.

My job now is to try to keep Newt where he is through weekly rasping of his hooves. I rasped some yesterday. Don't think I did any harm, but unsure if I did enough. We are at the beginning of a huge learning curve.  

Trista also gave me one of her old rasps. What a difference! My old rasp was difficult to use, hard to cut with and very grabby. Trista's  worn out Vallorbe Swiss rasp is amazing. It cuts so easily and smoothly. Who knew there was such a difference in rasps?

I also re-measured Newt's feet for the new Glove Back Country boots and Easyboot Trails. We have been wearing the Easyboot Gloves for over 2 years. I wish I had saved my measurements from the first time, but I do remember his measurements did not really correspond to the size that actually fit best. The measurements I took yesterday indicate he needs different sizes. Guess I'll try another fit kit and see if his feet have really changed over the last few years. The Gloves seem to fit well now, even the new ones I ordered about 4 months ago. Trista also suggested adding pads to help his soles out. Hopefully, Trista and I can get together at future TTC rides and keep Newt's feet healthy.  I am so looking forward to this journey in natural hoof trimming.

Carol Warren