Thinking About Rocks

While riding with a friend last weekend, it came to mind how my outlook has changed in the past couple years about riding my horses over rocky ground. This thought jumped into my mind while I was watched her gelding travel across rocky roads and washes in his Easyboot Gloves, while Chief was going bare.

Chief was a pony horse at a Thoroughbred track in New Mexico before he came into my life. He had been kept shod all the way around his whole life, had been worked over soft surfaces and kept in a 10' x 10' stall when he wasn't working. Taking him to a sound, rock crushing barefoot horse has been quite an adventure. About a year after taking Chief bare I could tell within a few steps if a boot came off because he would immediately gimp down the trail. Mind you this was on a pretty nice surface with not many rocks. Obviously I did not have his boots fitted properly which is why he kept losing them, but that's another story.

About 2 years ago I started riding with an endurance rider that has 16,000 competition miles under her belt. She showed me the primitive ungroomed wildlife trails the Spring Mountain Range has to offer, rocks everywhere, but as Claire puts it, "it's soft rock", meaning it moves when your horse steps on it. I started booting Chief on all 4 feet and started learning to trim my horses myself because the various farriers I tried over the years weren't doing what my horses feet needed.

Plenty of turnout time on dry lot which isn't a problem in southern Nevada, 20-35 miles of riding a week getting those feet to work the way they should and I could see major changes taking place. After being barefoot for four years, I couldn't believe the difference a proper trim made in the way his feet progressed. There came a day when he could move comfortably with no hind boots and then the day came when we could hit those same rocky trails totally bare and comfortable. Now I boot when we're going to be on rocky hard pack for any period of time and go bare when possible. It's simply amazing to be able to "feel" your horse striding out happier down the trail!

I actually caught myself telling someone there wasn't much rock on the trails we were using, and the next time we hit that trail I said oops, I lied, there's plenty of rock, in fact the trail is covered with rock but I don't pay attention to it anymore because my horse is finally comfortable traveling over them. No stopping Chief now, no matter how much rock the trail has to offer.

Elaine McPherson

Keys to Selling Hoof Boots

As a retailer, there are a quite a few things a business must do to be successful. Below are some of the keys to success.

  • Have a clear vision and core customers.
  • Evolve your offering/product line.
  • Execute the value proposition (make your customers experience one they value).
  • Address a need.
  • Provide solutions.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the point. It is a lot of work that takes dedication and time. Selling hoof boots is no different.

One way you can make sure you're successful when selling EasyCare hoof boots is by having a boot in each category:

We have put our boots into three categories to help our retailers and consumers narrow the scope of which boots are needed. This helps ensure that both horse and owner get exactly what they need. So, if you're not currently stocking a boot in each category, you may be losing sales to other retail outlets. Give us a call today, we can help make sure you have a hoof boot solution for almost any situation.

Congratulations, by reading this blog you are eligible to receive $100 off your next order! The winner will be selected Friday, June 7th.

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.

 

June 2013: Hadley's

Congratulations to Hadley's, EasyCare's Dealer of the Month for June. Hadley's is located in Canon City, Colorado and they are very early in their EasyCare Dealership career. They just became an EasyCare Dealer on February 25, 2013, but they have taken EasyCare Hoof Boots to a whole new level.

When Shay-Lee Hadley first contacted us to become an EasyCare Dealer, we were somewhat concerned. How could our EasyCare products fit with a company that was now manufacturing banners, providing embroidery services and dealing with some equine products? But, they also manufacture Barrel Wraps, which are barrel covers that provide advertising for barrel racing events. This should have been a clue to us. After talking with Shay-Lee by phone, she was so enthusiastic, convincing and engaging, that we approved them.

When a dealer is approved by EasyCare, we encourage them to stock a few of each of our best selling boots. Shay-Lee would only order the Easyboot Rx and EasySoaker. Again, we were a little concerned. No need for concern - she and her husband, Jack, had it all under control.

We found out that they were bringing the EasySoaker and the Easyboot Rx to barrel racing events and were selling out of them at every event.

When they were on their way to BBR Finals in Oklahoma City, Shay-Lee called for an order of Rx boots and we were back ordered on size 3. We suggested bringing the Easyboot Trail. They enthusiastically brought the Trails with them and sold out of them the day before the event started. They called us and we did a direct ship of Trails right to the Oklahoma Fairgrounds. They had horses lined up at their booth waiting for fittings to buy the Easyboot Trail.


Jack doing fittings at the Oklahoma Fairgrounds.

A barrel horse sporting his Easyboot Trails.

And they sold out again! On their way home, Jack was driving and Shay-Lee called for seventy-two more Easyboot Trails that they had taken orders for on the last day of the finals.

It turns out that Hadley's have recognized a strong niche for hoof boots for barrel racers. Shay-Lee said that she had previously used a competitors boot on her horse and found that they were just too heavy and clunky. She did some investigation and liked the Easyboot Rx and then the Trails. These athletes are most often standing on cement floors in stalls for two or three days, waiting to go in for their 16 second run. What a better way to protect their legs and give them comfort than to have them wear EasyCare hoof boots with foam comfort pads. They also recognized that the Easyboot Trail gives these horses great traction when trailering.

Next the Hadley's are headed to NBHA (National Barrel Horse Association) in Mississippi and after that they are off to Las Vegas. Let's see who can keep up with the Hadleys!

Bear Dog is Haldey's best EasyCare hoof boot promoter.

Win a Free Ride Entry to Cooley Ranch Rides

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 Cooley Ranch AERC ride. Competitors can choose to ride either 25 or 50 miles on June 8, 2013 or 30 or 50 miles on June 9, 2013. Ride camp will have ample water for horses. There will be a "Happy Hour" and pot luck on Friday night, complete with a casserole contest. On Saturday and Sunday, dinner will be included with the ride entry. There will also be wine tasting of new vintages from Foppiano Vineyards. Additional dinner tickets can be purchased in advance.

Where?
Ride camp is located at Cooley Ranch, a beautiful 20,000 acre private ranch west of Geyserville, CA. The ride is challenging with over over 7000' in elevation changes each day. If your horse is less fit, please consider entering the 25 or 30 mile rides. The trails consist of jeep roads, with some riding through creek beds and challenging hills. Hoof protection is required. There is an abundance of water, mostly creeks, with some water troughs out on the trail.

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/m6kf5k before 12:00 pm PST on Friday, May 31, 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.

 

Do You Want Fries With That?

When you pull up to the McDonald's window, you expect to hear, "Do you want fries with that?" This is how McDonald's sells millions of fries every year. And people like fries - they are yummy, so it's a win/win situation.

Every penny counts these days and businesses are asking their front-line workers to step up efforts to encourage customers to take an extra or two that will benefit the customer and add to the sale.

Employees at Old Navy are now trained to put together and sell customers on an entire outfit, not just a top or jeans. The goal here is to have more direct contact with the customer while they shop, to help the customer, and to improve the bottom line.

If your employees are putting the needs of the customer first and being sensitive to what the customer really needs, it will help that customer and help your bottom line. Once again, a win/win situation. Caution: A customer can sense when someone is trying to "up-sell" them versus when the sales staff is truly concerned with what is best for them. Always have the customer's best interest at heart.

Let's look at EasyCare products. If you are selling Easyboot Gloves, your staff should be suggesting the customer also get Power Straps for challenging riding. The Power Straps give the Glove a snugger fit and thus, will help the boot to stay more secure. If your customer indicates that they are purchasing boots to make their horse more comfortable, your staff will want to suggest Comfort Pads.

If the customer is buying a saddle, your staff should be talking to your customer about installing EZ-Ride Stirrups that will provide comfort for their knees, back and help prevent overall fatigue.

Your staff should also be talking about Stowaway Packs. The EasyCare Stowaway is the most advanced innovation in the "no-bounce" saddle pack design. These packs work for every riding style, and once again, will be of benefit to your customer.

What else can you think of that will improve your customer's purchase as well as your bottom line?

Dee Reiter

easycare-customer-service-dee-reiter

Retail Account Rep

I am the Retail and New Dealer Account Rep for EasyCare. I will be happy to help you with ordering, selecting the most popular styles and sizes of EasyCare hoof boots to stock. Let me help you with suggestions on merchandising and provide training for you and your staff, at your convenience.

 

 

Washoe Valley and Loose Screws

A few weeks ago, I had the very great pleasure of attending the Washoe Valley two day ride in Reno, Nevada. This is truly one of my favorite rides and one that holds a lot of sentimental value. This marked the 9th year I have done this ride and the 8th year for Fancy and I. In 2000, this was the last ride I attended with my old friend Mac before he was retired. The following year, it was the first 50 mile ride that I attended with Fancy. This year marked the 10th year that Fancy and I have shared trail together. Interestingly, I have only done this ride in May one other time, as her second ride. This year was a particularly beautiful year for the Washoe Valley. We had some early rain that had the desert peach, bitterbrush, mule ears, paintbrush and lupine along with many more wildflowers that I don’t know the names of in full bloom. The desert was really alive.

We rode the first day with our good trail buddies Renee and The Bite. Fancy and Bite make a bit of an odd couple to look at (he a tad lacking in stature but big on personality and go; she of the legs that go on and on with a personality that can at times be lacking). The morning was perfect and crisp. We climbed up the first big hill letting the horses move out calmly. About five miles past the first water stop, we saw the telltale sign of a rider with a situation – rider bent down holding up her horse’s right front foot. As we approached, we asked if she was OK, she said “Yes and no. The gaiter came off my boot and I can’t get it to stay on”. She had not packed a spare because she had never lost a hoof boot. This is where you get to use your imagination and insert the hero theme song. Renee and I are both Team Easyboot members and never leave home without spares. So Team Easyboot to the rescue, good boot on in a jiffy and all three of us riding off, discussing the need to remember to tighten your loose screws before heading out on an endurance ride. Literally and figuratively!

I always tighten the screws when I take new boots out of the box the first time. Sometimes I even remember to dab a bit of loctite on them but after that I tend to never think about them again – at least until Dave Rabe is at my trailer and starts inspecting my boots and invariably tightens things up. Another great thing this year – Dave is back! He was helping out all day and looked great. I'm so glad he will be back with us on the trails again very soon.

The rest of the day was uneventful. A very well paced and enjoyable day on the trail with good riding buddies. The finish awards were handmade pottery made by another local friend Debbie Anderson; very nice awards, unique, beautiful and very useful.

So now the story begins to change as around 1:30 AM Sunday, I awoke to the very distinct sound of rain on the roof. I jumped up out of bed to get rain sheets on the girls and check the weather – EGADS, possible rain all day. I have done this ride in torrential downpour previously with Fancy and we slid down one steep area on our sides (only her amazing athleticism kept her from sliding down on top of me, scary). To say I was a bit worried about going out in the rain is an understatement but this is endurance. We were a few minutes late starting but we trotted by Gina Hall at the start with smiles. Fancy set out like she was on a mission. Before long we were at the photographers and I could feel her building up - she broke into her dreamy canter right on cue. Talk about a horse having a good time. She passed by a few more intrepid true endurance riders on her way to her most favorite of all ride photographers, Bill Gore. I swear she poses for him.

After about seven miles it seemed that Fancy was more inclined to treat this as a “trot between bites of wet green grass” ride so I took out her bit and that is how we spent the next 43 miles – bitless, eating, drinking, trotting and cantering. We spent the day in our own bubble it seems, never really seeing those in front or those behind except from a distance. It was like riding in a dream. It drizzled rain off and on all day but it never seemed to matter. It was one of those days where you are riding as one and everything clicks.

Fretting over the mud and slipping was not anything we had to worry about. We never slipped once and in all the slipping, sliding hoof marks we saw, none of them were bare or booted prints. Fancy was in Easyboot Glue On’s all around. They all stayed on and we had no issues. This is a really tough rocky ride and a true test for boots. Besides being just plain rocky, there are also steep up/downs and on day two – wet, muddy trail.

 

Like all good dreams the ride did come to an end and at the finish we were told that we were top ten. Wow! That does not happen very often for us. In fact, it was only our 8th top ten in ten years.  We headed into camp, stripped off tack and headed to the final vet check. Fancy finished all A’s and the best CRI of the weekend. As it was starting to rain again I elected not to show for BC but in hind sight it would have been nice to see how she scored. After all, this was her second day; she is now 17 years old, has nearly 3,000 competitive miles and has been my dream partner for ten years. All of this accomplished barefoot and wearing Easyboots.

Tami Rougeau

Ol' Reliable

Sometimes we just need to stop and smell the flowers. 

Time goes by quickly and it is easy to forget our "older" things. I have a crate full of these dusty old EasyCare hoof boots sitting out in my barn. Remember these?

With all the upgrades and new hoof boots that EasyCare has come out with to make our lives easier, why would we still need and or use these?  

Recently, I attended a multi-day endurance ride in Skull Valley, Arizona. I saw a couple riding together, and on their horses' front hooves, were plain Original Easyboots. I did a double take, looking for gaiters, tape, foam but they were just on those hooves, plain as day.  I did not get a chance to talk to them, but wondered why they would use these boots as opposed to all the other tested and tried endurance boots. After thinking a while, my conclusion was that these boots worked for them.  

I still have my Original Easyboots in that crate in the barn. If one of my horses has a hoof issue, I dig them out. They are perfect for protecting a graveled hole, putting/keeping Ichthamol on a healing abscess or just protection for tender soles while in turnout.  I particularly appreciate the bonus of the boots' easy design feature of cleanly coming off if the horse gets silly.  Old reliable indeed!

Sabrina Liska

Boots for the Carriage Horse

Lencho Griego, owner of G and F Carriages in Pueblo, Colorado, has been using the EasyCare hoof boots on his Percherons with success. His business provides carriage rides for various events such as weddings, birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries, quinceresas, funerals etc. He has two Percherons that are his pride and joy and really draw a crowd because of their beauty and awesome stature. When all decked out with the harnesses and carriage, they are a sight to behold!

Big Ben is ready to go to work.

Big Ben's hooves fit nicely in size 5 Easyboots and he gets along great in them on pavement. No slipping while transporting clients to and from their destinations. The installation is a breeze for Lencho and Big Ben's hooves are protected from the concussion of the hard pavement he has to travel on. The striking presentation of the carriage, provides an exquisite way to travel to your wedding or anniversary party. It reminds me of a scene from a Cinderella movie.

Big Ben posing for the camera.

Easyboot Epics and Orginal Easyboots work really well for the larger sized hooves out there. Ease of installation and increased durability make these boots the boot of choice for the large, draft/draft cross type breeds. Whether the horse is working, used for trail riding or just being transported, our Easyboot line will give your horse the needed comfort and hoof coverage needed.   

We even have several of the larger sizes still in our Bargain Bin location on our website at a substantial savings. The Bargain Bin has various sizes that are new, discontinued models at 50% off regular pricing. Check it out to see if we have the size(s) you need. For great assistance with your booting needs, just give us a call 800-447-8836 and we will get you taken care of.

Nancy Fredrick

Easycare President-ceo-garrett-ford

EasyCare Customer Care

I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001 and have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot, booted and I do the trimming. I can assist you with all of your booting needs. .

 

 

Whiskeytown Chaser Ride Report

Submitted by Willi Hoffmann

The 2013 Whiskeytown Chaser AERC ride was an emotional roller coaster. There was concern that the ride would not take place but thankfully Ride Manager Bonnie Sterling, jumped in to rescue the event. Audra Homicz, from the regional CSHA Endurance program, assisted Bonnie with promoting the ride by utilizing Facebook pages to encourage riders to sign up and volunteer. I did not want to see this ride canceled so I immediately volunteered. The Chaser is one of our local rides, and was advertised in 2013 for the first time as a two day ride with new trails and ride camp. It is the first ride of the year in Northern California and many riders look forward to it.

I started to prepare my gear on the Wednesday before the event and decided to take my Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, Little. Two weeks prior to the Chaser, we had participated in the Nevada Derby, where we finished the 50 mile ride on Saturday in Easyboot Glue-Ons. Unfortunately I did not have time to remove these and decided that 2 weeks in dry weather shouldn't cause any harm. My coastal riding buddies Terri and Natalie arrived at the Whiskeytown Chaser ride camp on Thursday around lunch time. They informed me that ride camp was filling up fast and there were only a few spots left. It was amazing how this ride went from near canceled status to a great turnout. I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from EasyCare that afternoon; I had won a free ride entry from the Win/Win program. How exciting - if all the ride volunteers showed up, it would be possible for me to ride one day.

At the rider meeting on Friday, Bonnie told us that more than 100 riders would leave camp on Saturday morning! Bonnie told me that I only had to work on Saturday; she had enough volunteers on Sunday so I would get to have my fun. I left early Saturday morning for my job site at the Horse Camp to do P&R's. I like to do this job and volunteered on some other rides before so it looked like it would be a nice day at work. All the riders were very friendly. There were a lot of "thank you’s" given to the volunteers. A big thank you to all the riders for remembering that rides only happen because people spend their weekend volunteering with the only payment being your "Thank you." The temperature on Saturday was a very hot spring day of 90 degrees. Some of the horses got in trouble with this early hot weather combined with the whopping elevation changes. Other horses went lame. Whiskeytown is well known for some very rocky trails and it was said that there were some flatter trails where you could make up time after the long climbs.

My riding buddy Chris on the rocky trail.

On Sunday, I knew pretty much what to expect and made my plan, as the weather forecast promised even higher temperatures. My pony was more than ready to go in the morning, so I had to hand walk her for the first 15 minutes after the start. Then we started flying down the trails with the goal to make as many miles as possible in the colder morning hours. Little was flying and shifting through her gaits like a six speed Corvette. It didn't take long and we passed the first rider on the Swassy Loop which was a premier on this year’s ride. It is a great single track loop with awesome views down to the valley. We did our 15 minute stop and steamed further up the hill to the first 30 minute check in horse camp. I knew we had made great time and could now enjoy the rest of the day and take it easy. The second loop takes you up the "Hill of Pain". First there were some flat and rocky trails, followed by a long, steep climb and then steep trails drop down back to horse camp for the last one hour hold. Little came in excited as our two trail buddies left us shortly before this hold when I slowed her down. I took it easy before the vet checks because Little is a 16 hand dark bay horse and she needs her time to get settled in the 90+ degree heat. After a couple of minutes, Little met the criteria at our last check and the vet gave us the okay to continue. Little enjoyed her break and after this hold we had eleven mostly downhill miles left to the finish. We walked most of the remaining trail. There was no sense to risk anything after making it so far on a tough ride. We turtled into camp and finished a half hour before the cut off time. I had another great day with my multi-use pony Little, who just rolled over her 19th birthday a couple of days after the ride.

Little at the one hour hold.

Little has worn Easyboots for over three years and I am very happy with them. There was a learning curve with the boots as well for me with some hard times in the beginning, however now I use them for all our daily duties like cattle work, trail cleaning, and endurance riding.

Willi Hoffmann

An Average Horse and Her Gal

I don't ride endurance, and I don't go on pack trips in the desert, although it would be nice to experience those things someday. I don't ride my horse every day, or every other day, either. I am an average horsewoman, sitting in an office daydreaming about the weekend when I get to saddle up and hit the trails. My horse is an average AQHA mare, not the most perfect conformation, but to me she is more beautiful than any other.  

What worries me about her is that cutting style breeding - big chest and butt, little bitty feet. I was told by many that she would always need front shoes "to keep from getting sore," and that shoes all around were mandatory for some of the rides we may go on in and around Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. I am here to say, "Not so, grasshopper!" 
 
After close to a year of keeping her front shoes on and having no other choice but to do a lot of road riding for the season, we did a 17 mile wagon train in gorgeous Greene County, TN near our home. Sophie only had front shoes, I knew her hind hooves were hard as nails with great frog. Every other rider was on a gaited horse, so we did quite a bit of jogging intermixed with some slow loping to keep pace in the middle of the rather large group. When we headed down hills though, we had to keep it at an easy walk - those shoes will slip right out from under a horse! 
 
 
 
Needless to say, her shoes were pulled, and our next road ride we booted up with Easyboot Epics. What fantastic grip! But her pasterns were too short for the Epic gaiters and we had a little rub from a short jaunt. So, off with the gaiters and into the woods we went with four Original Easyboots. We only came out with three. Whoops.   
 
In the meantime, we borrowed some secondhand Original Easyboots to get around in. We ended up still coming out on top financially by not having metal shoes applied, and I was able to seek out a local EasyCare dealer and barefoot trimmer, Kathy Baker of Kindred Spirit Whole Horse Care. She fitted every different boot on my girl that was available, and we decided on a pair of Easyboot Glove Back Country
 
Whoo hoo, I love them! The first week after I bought them, we traveled to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in southwest Virginia. We trekked through some rough rock, schlepped in fetlock deep mud, waded through multiple knee deep bodies of water, loped off from a walk, and loved every single second. I was worried about the water we went through and if the boots would be full of mud and rocks... Not one pebble, no mud inside the bottom of the hoof, amazing. I did have to wait until the mud dried on the outside of the boots and brush them off with a stiff bristle brush before I could hose them though.
 
 
I can't wait to hit the trails again this season with my girl. Thanks to the Back Country, there's no limit to which trails I ride, no asking about terrain if we are headed somewhere new. EasyCare's got us covered. 
 
Grace Pelous