Role Models

My Mom and Dad tell me that I loved animals before anyone ever influenced me about them. I guess that must be true because animals are my main passion, and what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have so many ideas about building a business around horse and dog care. Maybe it is in making this love into a career that people have influenced me, and in a good way.


Learning all I can about all equines for my future career.

My parents encourage me to have mentors and role models besides them. I am lucky enough to have several.

I think Mom is my first role model where horses are concerned. I guess she is also a mentor, but I just call her Mom. I got my interest in horse hooves from her, though she says I was a natural in the saddle the first time she put me on a horse. I'm glad she goes the barefoot route with horses or I might like shoes. Instead, I get to know early that bare is better.

Mom doing what she loves.

My Mom has been a professional trimmer and EasyCare dealer for several years now. She knows a lot about boots, but her client, Lynn Brunetto, probably knows even more. Lynn has had her horses barefoot for 12 years now and has been booting them for 10. She has tried many different hoof boot styles, but Epics are still her favorite. She is really good at fitting and tightening it and it stays on really well.  Lynn goes on many benefit rides, private rides, ACTRA rides and AERC rides. She always uses hoof boots. I hope I will be as good with hoof boots as she is.

Lynn is riding her Morgan, Ivan, with Epics in front and Bare in back.

Liz Stout is a really cool riding partner. When she was my age, she had an older girl who helped support her love of riding. She wants to pass that along, and has decided to pass it along to me!  Liz is going to be my sponsor in the endurance ride in August because I am too young to ride it on my own. While Liz is a horse-person role model, she is especially a mentoring role model. I hope I will "pass it along" as she has.

Liz and me last fall. She is riding Bella and I am on a very dirty Nanny.

After Mom started trimming, she also learned more about equine teeth and body balancing. She hired Krystin Dennis of www.horsefloss.com to come and be our Balance Equine Dentist. Krystin is really good with teeth, and she is really good at teaching others about teeth. She taught me to do a pre-dental exam last summer and I got to help her with all of our horses. She also taught our whole 4H Club at an "All About Balance" Camp/Clinic last June. Krystin practices Balanced Dentistry and is a barefoot enthusiast. I hope I can become as good a dentist as she is!  (I want to do it all!).

Watching Krystin work her magic on Nanny last summer. Nanny loves Krystin.

Sonya Penson was our equine 4H leader until this year. She still stays active and helps us when she can. She is the only person on this list who is not 100% barefoot. Even so, she is a wonderful teacher and horse person and neighbor, and she does go at least partially barefoot. Her first pair of hoof boots were Epics. When Sonya got a new horse this spring, she remarked to my Mom, "I need to get his shoes pulled so I can ride him!" Sonya is a role model to me for always taking excellent care of horses on a daily basis, working hard, and always being a good leader/neighbor.

Sonya loves teaching kids how to take care of horses.

Erica Janes is a newer role model for me. She recently gave a clinic to my 4H Club on ground work with your horse based on her studies with Buck Brannaman. I learned from her that I need to soften my approach and listen more to Nanny, Bella and Phoenix. She also taught us that people sometimes bully horses, which we should not do of course, and that everything with our horses is our responsibility. Erica has Glove Back Countries on backorder and can't wait to try them out.

Erica is in pink, demonstrating with one of our 4H horses.

The next to the last role model I will list is also the most important, the most imporant mentor as well. She has influenced my horsemanship the most. She is my long-time riding instructor, Carol Burdick. Carol is a certified Centered Riding Instructor. Carol has taught me how to use my whole body to ride, not just my hands or heels. She has taught me to feel. She has also taught me to "just do it" without getting frustrated. Learning not to get frustrated has not always been easy, but I am getting better at it. Carol also hosted the first barefoot trimming clinic in North Central West Virginia at her Terra Alta Lake Farm. All of her horses are barefoot and she has a variety of EasyCare hoof boots. Carol is a role model and mentor for me in so many different ways, especially as a wonderful, all around horse woman.

Carol (with Nanny) sharing her love of horses with the youngest 4H members, the Cloverbuds.

Finally, I want to list my Dad as a role model. He is kind of a funny one for this blog because he does not really like having so many horses and animals around. But he loves us, so he tries to be good-natured about it. And he helps out in a pinch when we need it, especially with late night hay runs in winter. He has come to appreciate at least one thing about our horse craziness: They give him "black gold" (composted manure) for his garden! He is a role model because sometimes we have to support what our loved ones enjoy, even when we do not.

My Dad and me at the 1st Annual Equine Wellness Clinic at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Waynesburg, PA.

Thanks for reading! Who are your role models and mentors?

Do I Boot? You Bet I Do

My Arab gelding, Faris, came to me already shod. Thinking I needed to keep him shod, I spent lots of money on trimmings and new shoes. And for what? So that he was like everyone else in the show ring? So that he wouldn't hurt himself on rocks?

Boy, I knew nothing back then. Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to move my horse to a place that did not allow shoes. And not only that, I left the show ring and got involved in endurance riding. So now what do I do? I guess I boot.

After many Facebook questions and answers, I decided Easyboot Gloves were the best product for us. So I had a rep meet me at the stables to size up Faris and show me how to put on and remove them. A week later I received my boots and the rest is history. Now I only pay for routine hoof care and use the boots during my rides. I LOVE them. Thank you EasyCare, and Easyboot Gloves.

Name: Tracy Johnson
City: Cambridge, Wisconsin, USA
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove
 

Boa Boots: A Very Economical Choice in Healing and Treatment

Max is a ten year-old half Percheron who has had problems with redevelopment of an abscess. The use of the Boa Boots have made it possible for him to be out in the pasture instead of cooped up in the stall. Since his surgery, the boots have been great for being able to change the dressings daily, monitor healing, and to keep him moving around which is good for the circulation in the foot and promote healing.

I have saved a ton of money in not having to put special shoes on him through out all this. It has been over a year of dealing with his recurring abscess. His feet are growing quickly and he gets trimmed every four weeks. Can you imagine the cost in resetting a shoe every four weeks?

I am greatful for the Boa Boots which he wears 24/7. Believe it or not, they are still holding up. I have had to replace the cable and caps as he tends to over reach and step it off at times. I have painted them blaze orange so I can find them in the field. My only suggestion: blaze orange as an option.

Thank you EasyCare.

Julie

Name: Julie Heyrman-Compernolle
City: Richfield, Wisconsin, USA
Equine Discipline: Rehabilitation
Favorite Boot: Boa Horse Boot
 

July 2012: Arizona Feeds Country Stores

The original Arizona Feeds Country Stores are known for their own Arizona Feeds brand horse feed and have been in the Tucson area for decades. With a change in ownership in 2008, two stores remain in Tucson, which are now independently owned and operated. In the spirit of Arizona Feeds Country Stores tradition, they still carry everything you might need for your horse, but they have also added a full line of animal and pet products.  With such a large variety of products, they have a very knowledgeable staff that can assist you.  

Arizona Feeds Country Store has been carrying EasyCare products for several years, with a definite emphasis on EasyCare boots in the last two years, thus experiencing a steady, solid growth. Josh Brown, Store Manager, feels that as customers have become more educated about the advantages of barefoot over shod, boots have become more accepted and mainstream. Josh also feels that a very educated staff providing product knowledge and excellent customer service has contributed greatly to their success. Josh said that as boots become more accepted, he believes that we will see them more and more in rodeo and racing.

Arizona Feeds Country Store is currently carrying the Easyboot Trail, Glove Back Country, Glove, Epic, Old Mac G2, the Easyboot Rx and EasySoaker boots. Their best seller is the Easyboot Trail primarily due to their customer demographic. The Trail is the easiest boot to put on and take off, and they fit most hooves very well. He feels that this works well for the new booters and pleasure riders, who make up most of his customer base.  

Tiffany Lidington, the Marketing Director for Arizona Feeds Country Store, shared some of their more successful marketing strategies. Reaching out to the community by attending local events has helped Arizona Feeds Country Stores tremendously. These events have given them the opportunity to let the community know about the great improvements that they have made to the store, products that they carry and has set them apart as an operator-owned store.

Tiffany feels that employee training has been instrumental in their sales of EasyCare products. Educating their employees about EasyCare products has lead to store employees being able to confidently recommend EasyCare boots to their customers. Advertising in local community horse publications has also helped to let customers know that Arizona Feeds Country Stores carry EasyCare products.

Arizona Feeds Country Store hosted an event in the Fall called the Bits and Boots Seminar, where EasyCare employees educated attendees on the benefits of EasyCare boots. They were able to answer specific questions that horse owners had and they even did boot fittings for customer’s horses on the spot! Attendees stayed for hours soaking in all of the knowledge that was given.

Arizona Feeds Country Stores' favorite event is called the Ag Expo & Spring Fling, which they host every Spring. They want the community to see the improvements that they have made and the great variety of products that they now carry. More 500 people attended the event this year and took advantage of the product specials, raffle prizes and seminars.

Arizona Feeds Country Stores has a strong sense of community, and dedication to their employees providing excellent training so they can offer outstanding customer service and an eagerness to see their customers educated and happy with EasyCare products. You can visit their website at afcountrystore.com.

Personal Boot Fitting at EasyCare

Here at our Tucson, Arizona location, we encourage horse owners to bring their horses to get a personal hoof boot fitting. It is fun to meet riders and their horses and get to know them in person and there is always a dialogue on application tips or riding experiences, booting or shoeing tales to pass along to one another.  We get to see different breeds of horses and try the boots on which gives us first-hand fitting experiences to share with other customers that we may speak to on the phone or in person outside of work.

We had a recent visit from Pamela Barrett and Robbie Shindel who came from Queen Creek, Arizona for a fitting. The Easyboot Trails were their choice for the easy application, great tread pattern, great fit and very attractive price. This style for the buckskin horse was best because he had received an injury several years ago to his outside left hoof that left some scarring and mis-shapen bulging at the coronary band area. It was a concern and the Trail was the better pick because there was nothing to cause any pressure or rubbing in that sensitive area. Both horses moved out great in the boots.

The plan was to get a boot selection and then before driving home, they would go for a short ride in the nearby Catalina State Park in their new boots. They contacted us afterwards and the boots worked out great for them. Another boot success.

Side pose, looking good in new boots.

 

Nancy Fredrick

Easycare President-ceo-garrett-ford

EasyCare Office Manager

As the office manager, I make sure the general operations of the organization run smoothly and seamlessly from A to Z. I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001 and have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot and booted.

 

Never Give Up: A Tale of Lessons Learned at the Fandango 100

Submitted by Leslie Spitzer, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

It's been more than three weeks now since I had the fortune of attending the Owyhee Fandango Ride at Steph and John Teeter's beautiful ranch south of Boise, Idaho.  My experience had many challenges along the way and many lessons learned!  I will try to not dwell about the ride too much since good pals and fellow Team Easyboot members Tami and Amanda have covered that beautifully, but I may not be able to help myself completely!  I will try to focus on what I gleaned personally from the whole experience.

I am pretty open about the fact that my long time and extremely talented horse JAC Eagle Cap has developed some changes in his hock and stifle joints as he has aged.  He is 15 this year and he still has much desire to go and we have some goals we are trying to meet.  As long as he is willing and happy I will do what he needs to keep him that way.  He has always been an extreme mover with much action, cavorting and, unfortunately, pounding.  He has not done himself any favors in the way he chooses to proclaim his absolute joy and desire to head down a trail as fast as possible.  He can display his displeasure equally at being held back with even more action and pounding.  He certainly has not done my aging body any favors either!  That being said, he is the most exciting and the most powerful horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. 

The week before leaving for Idaho, Eagle had an appointment in Nevada at his vet to check him out.  It had been a long while and I felt it was prudent and part of my management program in keeping an aging horse going happily down the trail.  He received a report of "He looks super and keep riding him!  Best thing for him!"  He also received some really nice complements on his feet and his trim job.  I was super proud.  It was nice to hear that from an vet - a very well known lameness vet at that. 

Eagle enjoys the view at his vet visit in Gardnerville, NV.

Since Eagle was already in Nevada and we would be traveling to Idaho with friend and fellow TE2012 member, Tami Rougeau, it was decided that he would spend the rest of the week at Tami's.  Tami lives there and it didn't make sense to haul him back and forth. 

Early Wednesday I headed back up to Tami's from my place in California and we got the trailer packed and loaded.  It's amazing the sheer amount of stuff two girls and three horses could need over the next six days.  We finally got on the road.  We pulled into the Teeter Ranch pretty late.  After a quick hello at the house with Steph and John, we were shown to our parking spot and greeted by the rest of the EasyCare gang: Garrett Ford, Gene Limlaw, Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth.  Before we knew it we were parked, our horses had been whisked into pens, fed and watered and we were seated with libations in front of us.  This is a full service team.  It was wonderful to see everybody and catch up. 

"Hi old friend." Horses also enjoy visiting and seeing old friends.

Well, the theme of the next few days would be rain, rain and more rain.  I was confused as I had been under the impression that these Teeter rides were usually hot.  Thursday dawned drizzly and dreary a bit, with hints of better weather here and there.  Good pal and another Team Easybooter, Amanda Washington arrived to round out our group.  It was great to see her.

We all attended the EasyCare trimming and gluing demo put on by Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth.  They did a fantastic job of explaining things in an understandable manner.  These guys really work in synergy together and have their system down to a science.  My horse Eagle got to be the demo horse.  The clinic for me personally turned out to be quite a lesson and eye opener.  Eagle wears a 0.5 all the way around - or so I thought.  

I have had some issues with Eagle turning up a bit sore in his left front in the heel bulb area, especially if we were in wintery, wet conditions.  Being that Eagle is rough on his boots, I have always gone with the thought that the more I had to cram his boots on, the better they'd fit.  Rusty pre-sized him before gluing and yes, 0.5 were his closest fit, except on his left front.  His heel was not setting in correctly and was likely why he was becoming tender on occasion.  I'd only ever done fit checks with Gloves, so had completely missed that.  A bit of humble pie for me, but that's how lessons are learned and we move on.  He really needed a size 1 on that hoof and the fit looked great.   The rest of Eagle's boots were glued on beautifully and the clinic was enjoyed by all.  I think everybody came away from it with at least one piece of new information or a gift.  A fun drawing was held and some great EasyCare products were given as prizes.

 

Size 1 - a pretty good fit.  Cramming is not always better.

Eagle being an excellent, patient demo horse (I really like this pic too).

As I mentioned before, Eagle is tough on his boots.  Despite constantly working on keeping the toe back and a short, tight trim I have been unable to completely remedy the issue. Proper maintenance definitely helps though. This has been a real source of frustration for me, but I simply refused to give up. Garrett took a good look at his feet and made the observation that his feet are too oval shaped to be an ideal fit for Gloves, especially in the rear.  I knew his feet were more on the oval side and I've had others observe that as well.  I see plenty of horses with oddly shaped feet slap on Gloves and head off with nary a problem.  In Eagle's case, combining the oval shape along with his extreme movement and torque is an issue.  Hearing this conclusion from Garrett himself somehow gave me a bit of relief - that it wasn't me being totally inept and also I know there will be a product (I assume!) heading down the line someday that will be perfect for Eagle.  I have to say, I am really looking forward to the EasyShoe.  I think this will be a fantastic option for a horse like mine without having to go back to traditional shoeing.  In the meantime, we glue boots for actual endurance rides and train bare in the rear quite often.  There is no need to give up the barefoot/booted lifestyle I have chosen for my horse or any other for that matter with the options that are available to us today.

Since I was scheduled to ride the 100 on Sunday, but had traveled with a real tough girl who decided to ride all 3 days (two 50's and a 100, wow), I had a couple of days to hang around camp and stew a bit.  This was probably not the best scenario as I had invented all sorts of reasons maybe I shouldn't ride.  Many "what ifs".  Luckily I was able to keep fairly busy watching my friends come and go in the rain and in various states of wet and in some cases approaching hypothermia possibly.  A tough gang, everybody did excellently.  On day one we went to the out check and gave some crew help to Garrett, Gene Limlaw and Tami.  They all had a great ride and Garrett and Gene tied for first.  I was particularly intrigued by The Fury who was wearing EasyShoes on his rear feet and they looked great.  Have I mentioned I am super excited by the EasyShoe?  On day two Kevin, Rusty, Tami and Amanda all rode and braved some really wet conditions and nasty, slippery trail.  Amanda rode her new War Horse, Breve on his first 50 and he looked like he hadn't done a thing. She is going to have tons of fun with him.

Day 3 and our 100 mile adventure was now upon us.  The weather was a constant concern - would it rain or would it be ok?  Weather forecasts changed constantly and kept us all on our toes until the last minute.  Turns out all was fine and the weather was great with just a few micro-bursts.  One of those involved some pelting hail.

I've gotten ahead of myself here and should probably back-track just a bit.  A week before leaving at the Tevis Fun Ride, Eagle had come up back-sore.  Huh?  Eagle is never back sore.  He'd been traveling a bit crooked too.  A had a big "duh!" moment as it was pointed out to me that my saddle was badly in need of re-stuffing and it read like a map to the points he was sore on his back and to how he'd been going crooked and to how I'd suddenly been riding crooked as well.  There was no way he could do 100 miles in this saddle and I have no other saddles at home that work for him.  No problem.  Two friends offered up their saddles for me to take.  One was a treeless saddle I'd ridden in plenty before and another was an english/dressage type that was similar to mine, but a different brand.  The saddle had been put on him and deemed a good fit.  I did not get to try either on him until Friday, two days before our ride.  We went out for a stretch out with Amanda and the beautiful Nero.  Eagle was a complete spaz and it was difficult to know if anything would work.  I felt like the treeless was tipping me forward and the stirrups did not feel the same to me.  Since it was somebody else's saddle I was not comfortable taking it apart to re-adjust everything.  I hopped in the other saddle for a moment, gave a quick trot and canter and decided it would work.  It felt more like my regular saddle.  Great, problem solved.

Eagle "going for it" on our stretch out. (Photo by Amanda Washington).

We had a nice ride start the next morning and were able to stay together with Amanda and Tami.  Pretty quickly it became clear that Eagle and Nero were cut from a similar cloth and were going to compete all day long and Amanda and I were going to have our arms ripped from our bodies.  To top that off, May decided she liked Nero (Since May's sis had already claimed Eagle) and if Eagle came anywhere near she was going to let him know all about it.  Trying to go in back resulted in him flinging his head and jumping to the side of the trail every time May flicked her tail at him.  It was quite dramatic.  So, I decided to head off ahead just a bit.  That seemed to go better.

Now back to the saddle thing for a moment.  Remember that old saying about not trying anything new on an endurance ride, especially a 100?  Turns out there is some good truth to that.  I was not used to the saddle and it put me in a slightly different position which was making posting and riding in the balanced manner I like  quite difficult.  Eagle's shenanigans were not helping.  We weren't more than 3 or 4 miles out when Eagle had a giant spook.  I nearly came off and in the process lost both my stirrups.  Eagle is the kind of horse that must be ridden with hands, seat and legs.  All I had left was hands.  He bolted and started leaping in and out of sage brush.  I was desperate to stay on because Eagle leaves me when I come off.  I know this for a fact. Every time I'd feel like I'd got him under a bit of control he'd duck out another direction and I'd nearly come off again.  Finally, after what was probably only a very short time but seemed like an eternity, I got him stopped.  Phew!  But, my legs were toast.  They were shaky and appeared to be totally useless.  I hoped I'd work out of it but I was not in a very positive state of mind along with dealing with the saddle, so I announced I'd probably pull at the first check.  Amanda and Tami encouraged me "no, you're not" and I fell in behind them.  After awhile my legs started to work better, but I couldn't even touch my calves...ouch.

I perked up a bit at the first check and decided the least I could do was ride out to the second check and see the river trail and this bridge everybody talked about.  We all headed out together and stayed together for the most part with me going off ahead at times.  The joke was I rode 100 yards ahead all day.  At this point we rode along the Oregon Trail.  The wheel ruts from the wagons are still there.  How cool is that? I have to say riding along the Snake River was breathtaking and I had no idea how beautiful it would be!  I am so happy to have experienced that and I'm deeply saddened to hear the area has since completely burned.  What a tragedy. 

Starting the descent down the long road leading to the Snake River.

It was absolutely stunning.  I really enjoyed seeing the petroglyphs.  That was really neat.  The rock fields and the trail through it was also great.  I love a good technical trail and this really fit the bill! It was nice to slow down a bit (remember the whole new saddle thing and toast legs?).  This was a ride that begged to keep moving and do lots of cantering which we did.

Tami and May with a stunning back-drop.

Very cool Petroglyphs.

 

See in the upper left corner?  This is a Bird of Prey habitat.

Our next hold was at Celebration Park.  To get there we had to cross a really cool bridge over the Snake River.  Eagle is a trooper about this kind of stuff and he even trotted over parts of it.  My legs were still feeling pretty bad but I got some meds going in me and felt encouraged that this was the turn around point.  Just ride that beautiful river trail again, through the desert a bit and back to our original first out stop at the ranch?  Fine!  I can do this! 

Off we went.  Eagle and I headed out a few minutes ahead.  Tami and Amanda caught me as I was heading up the long climb from the river.  Eagle and I were glad for the company now as we were tiring and the temperature had really warmed up, slowing us a bit.  The horses all were much more agreeable together at this point as well. Soon, we were back at the ranch for a welcome rest.  Despite how I felt I realized I'd come this far and it would sure be silly not to make the hop, skip and jump back across the desert to the Teeter Ranch for the 80 mile hold and then get through the last loop.  It was time to dig deep and suck it up!  I won't lie, it was quite difficult.  By this point my attempts at posting were quite inconsistent and I'd resorted to a hovering, half-point position while holding onto handfuls of mane for stabilization.  I welcomed the blessed long stretches of cantering!  At this point I was very thankful I have incorporated a lot of cantering into my training.  It was paying off in spades.

Finally we were back at the Teeter Ranch!  I would be fibbing if I didn't say I was extremely jealous that Amanda was done.  She and Nero had a fantastic ride!  We would miss them on our last loop.  We had some time to regroup and I was in my other brain now - dead determined that I would not quit after coming this far!  We had plenty of time and knew even if we took it easy we'd finish before dark.  I was not concerned about the speed we go at, but my my other persona, who can be a bit competitive, really wanted to maintain our placings.

Heading out for our last 20 miles (Photo by Tami Rougeau).

Maintain we did.z  It was just Tami, myself and our horses the whole loop.  We still moved out, but took it a bit easy adding in a few walking breaks here and there.  It was actually quite pleasant and a special time as the sun began to set and the air cooled.  There was no better feeling in the world than flying along the last few miles of our ride, hovering away, handfuls of mane in my hands and my horse actually pulling on me to go faster, feeling strong and sound.  How lucky am I to have been given the gift of owning such an amazing horse and beloved friend?  We finished 5th and 6th and our horses looked great.  In my case much better than the rider.  It was very comforting to be met at the finish by Kevin, Rusty, Amanda and vet-extraordinaire and all around much appreciated helping hand, Dr. Robert Washington.   

Official ride photo (Steve Bradley Photography).

The next day was a nice breakfast and awards ceremony in the morning and then it was time to pack and bid farewell to all our friends - old and new. That is always bittersweet. I couldn't quite believe how sore my legs were.  I know my near fiasco at the start of the ride didn't help things, but I was sorer than when I did Tevis.  Luckily it was short lived and I made a quick recovery.  Eagle looked fantastic.  His boots worked beautifully and he was quite sound and his legs were cool and tight.  I am convinced that the barefoot/booted lifestyle for him has been a career extender. 

What a feeling of accomplishment a 100 miler always is.  It had been a year and a half since I'd done one and it does kind of become this huge, intimidating thing the longer time passes between 100 milers for me personally.  Thank you to Amanda and Tami for being encouraging and helping to keep me going. I always try to come away from rides with a new lesson learned.  I came away from this ride with several.  I learned some valuable information and received some good feedback on Eagle's feet, and I learned I'd been potentially causing him some tenderness by cramming too small a boot on one of his feet. 

As far as the saddle I'd never ridden in and the old adage of "never try anything" new - I have mixed emotions on that.  Had I followed that advice I wouldn't have ridden, which would have robbed me of the opportunity to complete the ride.  I think sometimes you just have to go for it and never, never give up.  Whether it is completing a 100 mile ride by riding vet check to vet check (mile by mile?) or dealing with a difficult to boot horse, keep chipping away at it.  Eventually you will get there, or a solution will be found and the pain or frustration suffered will make the victory all the sweeter.

Leslie Spitzer and JAC Eagle Cap

Part 2 of Triple Crown (In Which Fergus Gets Boots Glued to His Feet)

In late May it was time for Part 2 of our Triple Crown attempt - NASTR 75 endurance ride. Typically, I don't bother gluing on boots for 50 mile rides, but when the distance gets up to 75 I start to lean towards using Glue-Ons. In Fergus' case, he'd probably do fine in Gloves - he's never had any rubbing from the gaiters - but it seems to be better safe than sorry.

Glue-Ons Offering Support

Months ago during the winter, Fergus had either scalped the back of his foot or blown an abscess, because he had a big slice in heel. I'd been watching this hole grow out steadily over the months and knew—without a shadow of doubt—that it would reach the bottom of his foot at the worst possible moment. And sure enough by the time NASTR arrived it had reached the ground and half the hoof wall at the heel on that side was collapsed due to not being attached, leaving him a tiny 3/4" square heel buttress to stand on. Not ideal when you weight 1,100 lbs. 
 
 
Fergus' scalped heel - perfect timing meant that it had grown down so his weight-bearing heel buttress was effectively 3/4" square by the time the NASTR 75 endurance ride rolled around. <sigh>
 
I poked around this area for a while, trying to figure out how best to deal with it - trim, or leave it alone? In the end, I mostly left it alone and rasped what remained of the rest of the heel very conservatively. It seems, however, that gluing on a boot protected the area beautifully, offering extra support and safeguard from further damage. We had absolutely no issues from his manky heel whatsoever.
 
 
The same foot a week later, after being freshly trimmed following the 75 miles at NASTR. The manky heel should grow out fine now, even if it doesn't look great at the moment. 
 
So, on to applying Glue-Ons to the horse's foot. The same system applies for putting them on, as taking them off - install horse in front of hay bag and get to work. Lay out your tools within easy reach ahead of time and mentally go through the motions of what you're about to do. 
 
Hoof Preparation
 
Clean all mud and debris off the hoof wall and out from the sole. You want that foot to be as clean and dirt free as you can manage. Some people use a wire brush to scrabble the dirt off.
 
In the early days of gluing, when told "rough up the hoof wall" I thought this mean to rough up the surface by taking some large gauge sandpaper and cleaning the surface of the hoof off with it. 
 
Not exactly. 
 
What you need to do to the hoof is similar, but somewhat more aggressive. With the edge of the rasp, ideally you want to scrape cross-hatching into the hoof wall to give the glue something really good to grip onto:
 
 
This cross-hatching on the hoof-wall is all but invisible within a day or so of taking the glue-ons off.
 
I also wipe the foot with denatured alcohol "just in case". 
 
Gluing
 
Because Goober glue (now Sikaflex) takes a while to set up, at this point you have the luxury of adding some extra spiffy touches before getting to the actual gluing-to-the-foot part.
 
The first thing is to squeeze out a bead of goober glue around the inside bottom edge of the shell to prevent any hard Adhere from being forced down the sides of the boot and getting under the sole as you push the boot on. I've had Adhere get down there a couple of times and it has been one of my biggest worries - the last thing you want is a hard lump in the bottom of the boot. As it turned out, this bead works beautifully - forming a squishy anti-Adhere barrier.
 
 
You can sort of see here how this GG bead works: this is Fergus' foot post glue-on removal. The glue you see on the hoof-wall is all hard Adhere, while the glue that I'm pulling forwards with my gloved fingers is a rubbery skirt around the bottom edge of the hoof wall which prevented any Adhere from being pushed down into the sole as you put the boot on. 
 
Once you've got your "anti-Adhere" bead in place, you can squeeze out a triangle of GG/Sikaflex into the bottom of the boot - basically mirror the shape of the frog. This will act to cushion the sole once it spreads out when you put the boot on.
 
And at this point, you're ready for the actual gluing. It's helpful (although not critical) to have an assistant to hold up the freshly cleaned foot, especially if you don't have a spotless area as your gluing venue.
 
If the weather is warm, you might try keeping your materials in a cool place while you're getting ready and prepping the feet. Some people resort to putting their Adhere in the refrigerator beforehand - certainly helpful to avoid the glue setting up quicker than you can get the boot on the foot. One tip Kevin Myers recently gave me is to make sure you don't leave the glue-on shells sitting in the sun, as warm boots will accelerate the glue setting up as much as warm glue will.
 
Using a new tip and a new pair of disposable hand-gloves for every boot, work your way around the shell, smearing the Adhere onto the inside wall with the tip. Do not get any in the sole (= hard blob under the foot).
 
Once you've applied glue all the way around the inside wall of the shell, push it onto the foot, and if your fit is tight give it a couple of seating-whacks with the mallet before putting the foot down. Pick up the opposite foot for a minute or so, to allow the glue to set up without the horse twisting out of the boot or wandering off. 
 
Et voila - le boot est glued.
 
 
Fergus stylin' in his back Glue-Ons.
 
I use any extra GG that comes out the back of the boot to seal around the top edge. However, this has the downside of staying tacky for a longer time than if you use Adhere to do this, potentially resulting in a coating of hay and bits of fluff (or the horse accidentally brushing one foot against the opposite leg, anointing himself with black goo).
 
 
 
The morning after I glued Fergus' boots on, I woke up to the sound of thundering hooves. Poking my head out, I could see a big cloud of dust with a small black shape hurtling past, followed by a large golden shape hurtling after it - Fergus and Small Thing doing laps of the paddock. It was a good work-out to make sure the glue-ons were going to stay on for the endurance ride.
 
And stay on they did. 
 
Very proud of my, uh, Patrick's boy, completing his first 75 in such good shape. We finished with a ride time of slightly less than 15 and half hours in our customary third-from-last position - and Fergus didn't really look like he'd done anything, which was my goal. 
 
Looking back, I can see some holes in his training (uphill trotting to keep up with those Nevada horses; learning how to eat your own food at vet checks and not stand around gawping/coveting the food of others), but overall he did spectacularly well. Phase 2 of NASTR Triple Crown accomplished - only Virginia City 100 left to go.
 
 
Fergus moseying along at about 25 miles into the ride, having done the worst rocks in El Dorado and Illinois Canyons. Photo: Rene Baylor.
 
 

--
Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

 

Epic Evolution (Brandy does Cooley Ranch 50)

Submitted by Renee Robinson, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Nothing ever goes as planned. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. My main man, Bite, was scheduled to do two days at Cooley Ranch on June 9th/10th. Unfortunately a couple of weeks prior to the ride he presented with puzzling symptoms which ended up being Scratches Gone Wild in his left front leg. He developed cellulitis in that leg and spent 10 days on antibiotics. His course of treatment was completed just days before Cooley Ranch but I didn’t feel comfortable asking his stressed system to tackle such a difficult ride.

Insert Backup Horse.

Brandy really doesn’t deserve to be called a backup horse, but lately that’s what she’s been. I felt she was fit, but wasn’t sure about asking her to do Cooley as her first ride of the season, given it’s degree of difficulty. But I tried to look on the bright side and was very excited to have an excuse to test out her new style Epics.

Improved tread, improved breakover, improved buckle system. Perfect.

At one point last year I made a wish that Easycare would make the perfect boot. For Brandy, this would be an Epic with it’s ability to accommodate a 12mm comfort pad, but with the more beefy tread of the Glove. Someone at Easycare was listening and this month they released that very boot. Not only do the boots have improved tread, they also offer better break over and an improved buckle system. Genius.

Cooley Ranch is known for it’s endless, steep climbs. We all know how steep climbs will test your boot fit. And if steep climbs aren’t enough of a test, adding multiple water crossings before each steep climb can provide an even better test. The footing offered a little bit of everything. Very little gravel roads, some creek beds with deep sand, and a ton of really beautiful dirt roads with loose rock here and there. I did quite a bit of footwork on the downhills (more like sliding downhill) and let’s just say Brandy’s Epics had much better traction than my running shoes.

One of the many endless hills. Photo by Katie Azevedo

We spent most of the day riding with my absolute most favorite friend in the world, Katie, and her beautiful mare, Nona. Nona wears Gloves and for this ride Katie chose to use Sikaflex and athletic tape for added security. Nona’s gloves performed beautifully and stayed on over the challenging terrain. Brandy also wore Gloves on her hind feet with the same tape/Sikaflex combination. As I was applying her rear boots on Friday I made a mental note that the LH could have used more athletic tape. As I predicted, we lost that boot about a mile from the finish on the last bit uphill (moral of the story: when you think you’ve used enough athletic tape, use more).

Brandy and me puffing our way to the top of a hill. It's steeper than it looks. Photo by Katie Azevedo

I was worried about Brandy’s Epics collecting the course sand/small rocks from the creeks. Many of the water crossings had areas of deep sandy footing with small rocks that swallowed the entire hoof. A couple of times I dismounted and removed small amounts of sand/rocks from the heel area of all four gaiters. At the 35 mile vet check, just to ease my paranoid mind, I removed Brandy’s Epics and was pleasantly surprised to find very little debris had accumulated. I love how easy the Epics are to adjust and remove/reapply. Have I mentioned how perfect these boots are?

Brandy has been known to have very sensitive feet but with the combination of the new Epics and her cushy Comfort Pads, she was solid all day. I love Easycare for continuing to make improvements to their already successful, proven boots. I can’t imagine how the Easycare product line could get any better but I’m thankful they continue to evolve to serve a wider range of horses with different needs! Brandy thanks you for making her the perfect boot!

Happy horse and happy rider at the end of a tough, successful 50 thanks to our new boots. Photo by Katie Azevedo

And thank you to Cynthia Ariosta and Forrest Tancer for hosting this beautiful ride. We felt privileged to ride through such beautiful country and we’ll definitely be back.

Renee Robinson

Sometimes It Just Works - and Other Understatements of the Season.

Submitted by Tami Rougeau, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

It's been two weeks since I was last in the lovely state of Idaho.  As I sit here at the Boise airport looking out over the mountains I can't believe it was just two weeks since the most amazing of rides.  Since I have not written much this year for various reasons this one might be a bit long.  I only hope I can do the ride justice.  The trail to Fandango was a long one.  This ride has held a prominent spot on my bucket list for the last several years.  Every year I would plan and then a deployment, hurt horse or EHV would come along and smash my well laid plans.  Perseverance paid off and boy was it worth it.

 

May and me showing off our hoof boots at 20 Mule Team.  Photo by Lucy Trumbull.

The story actually begins back in February at the 20 Mule Team 100.  Although I wrote a story about this adventure I never got around to posting it.  Suffice it to say it was a great 65 mile training ride and I learned a great deal.  The hole in my plan for the year became apparent and I knew I had to work on it.  What I really wanted was to get another 100 mile ride on May before August but with the schedule the way it laid out I was not sure how this was going to happen.  We went to the Nevada Derby ride and each of the mares got a lovely 50 mile ride.  Well, that might be a stretch as far as May goes anyway.  My day on her was anything but lovely as she pulled on me and acted snotty all day.  It was not fun and I was hurting at the end of the first day.  Fancy gave me a lovely day two and that sort of made up for it.  But there was an ever growing doubt about whether or not I had set a realistic goal for May this year.

 Lucy Trumbull and me at Nevada Derby.  Gloves all around!  Photo Bill Gore.

Fast forward to May (the month not the horse, although there is a bit of poetic reality in this comment) and we set off for a weekend of fun riding at Forest Hill and the Tevis Fun Ride.  Fun it was!  The week prior I decided to glue boots on May.  We had been fighting a strange case of scratches since three days after Derby (April 25).  We were three plus weeks into topical treatment and she was responding well but considering her history I was taking no chances.  The only problem with this plan was that Fandango was the following weekend and I really did not have time to remove the boots, clean them and reapply them before leaving for Idaho.  Having left boots on for a couple of weeks before I was not terribly worried but my good friends from Easycare reminded me that it really was not recommended.  Oh well, I am just about as stubborn as my mares so on went the boots.

May got a good trim on Monday, 14 May and I glued on her boots on Wednesday 16 May.  To say that the gluing was non standard would be another understatement.  We had the most bizarre weather that day.  I had pretty much decided to put off the gluing and come up with a different plan when the weather seemed to break up.  The wind died down a bit and the rain stopped so I went for it.  All my supplies were already layed out and prepped from the day before and May's feet were clean.  This would be my first experience with using Sikaflex (the new Goober Glue).  It is indeed exactly the same as GG.  I put the Sika in the boots first as it takes such a long time to set up and the Adhere is so fast.  The temps were cooler which was a good thing and I was able to get two boots on without changing tips on the Adhere.  I am not that fast, it just was not setting up quickly.  Before going to the back feet I let the front set up.  It seemed to take forever and it got really hot, way hotter than I have ever experienced but not so hot that it bothered May.  Then the temps leaped up by at least 10 degrees while I got the back ones on, waiting for the Adhere to set up again.  While I was waiting the weather shifted again.  Not exactly perfect gluing conditions.  The wind intermittently picked up and although I was sheltered at the side of the trailer small bits of sand did get on the glue.  To top it off, in my hurry I had not cross hatched the hooves.  By this time I am thinking that I have just wasted my time and products as there is no way these boots are going to stay on.  Oh well, too late to cry about it now, will just have to hope it works out and deal with what happens when it happens.  Did I mention that I was washing May's legs twice a day, treating scratches on one leg and praying that none popped up on the other three?  Good thing I had plenty of gloves I would probably need them, drat.

Tevis Fun Ride. No shortage of creek crossings to test my glue job. With Renee Robinson. Photo by Lucy Trumbull.

Friday morning came along and off May and I headed over to Forest Hill to the Fun Ride (understatement).  I met up with Lucy Trumbull and Renee Robinson.  After shuttling up to Devil's Thumb in the trailer we then proceeded to ride back to Forest Hill.  I just love this trail, its beauty is just indescribable.  We had a lovely ride complete with loads of water crossing.  When we arrived back to Forrest Hill our friends Connie Creech and Gina Hall had arrived and had a lovely ride themselves.  To top it all off Leslie Spitzer and her mom Lynda Taxera brought in the best pizza in the world for dinner!  After a nice evening of socializing (and washing legs don't forget) I went out to check my little brown mare and assess the likelihood of the boots staying on the next day.  Amazingly enough all four boots were solidly in place.  Wow!  We all had a perfectly perfect boot day.

On Saturday we headed out to ride from Forest Hill to Drivers Flat after shuttling trailers.  Leslie was running a bit behind but wanted to ride faster so we knew she would catch us.  What a great day!  Gina, Connie, Lucy, Renee and I enjoyed a great day trundling steadily along what can be a scary bit of trail for some folks.  At one point I think Lucy asked me to take photos and I told her that I could not think about anything except forward (yes, I am not a fan of heights and there are a lot of them here) but maybe when we got in the trees.  I think she may have been a tad disappointed but she was a great friend and did not chastise me too much.  Lots of water crossing and dipping on this day as well.  Leslie caught up with us in the last few miles and we got to ride in together.  Another fantastic day with great friends, great trail, great views and great horses.  May really stepped up and acted like a big horse all day, I was so proud.  Another day down with all four boots firmly attached to the feet.  The Tevis group hosted a wonderful meal complete with live music.  They also had a raffle and Renee even won the coveted Tevis Entry!  Now she has to ride!

So we get through the weekend with boots attached, Monday dawns and my plans to get a tune up ride on Fancy in preparation for doing the 100 mile day at Fandango quickly fade away in the business of life.  That afternoon Leslie brought down her most excellent of all (gelding) horses, Eagle, to stay at my place till we left for Idaho.  I love this horse! Yet another understatement.  It was at some point this day it occurred to me that I should change my plans and ride Fancy on the first 50, see how she did and play day 2 by ear and then plan on putting May in the 100.  Leslie gave the consummate experienced endurance rider advice "go with your gut".  Thanks.  May's boots were still firmly attached even after 35 tough miles and 5 days of leg washing.  Fancy just wants to go somewhere and do something.  She fell in love (understatement) with Eagle in a way I have never witnessed in all my years of mare horse ownership.  Rockett was also very interested in this wonderful visitor who played bitey face expertly.

Leslie came back on Wednesday and we made our trek to Idaho.  It took about an hour longer than we had planned probably due to stopping for supplies and to let the horses out but it was all good.  The only sad thing was arriving at the Teeter Ranch in the dark.  I was so bummed to not be able to see it all and orient myself.  Oh well, nothing to do about that but walk up to the house and say hello.  Steph and John were up to welcome us and show us up the road to where we were to park.  Kevin had said that we needed to be careful on the road as there was turn that needed to be taken wide in order to make it (in my mind this meant that we would fall to certain death down a bottomless crevasse).  Steph showed us up the road and around the death curve (in reality....yeah do the math, we all survived and my nails were intact) where we were met by Kevin Myers, Rusty Toth, Garrett Ford and Gene Limlaw.  Talk about a welcome party!  Steph let us put the ponies in pens since no one else was in yet - are  you getting the idea of the hospitality you get up here in Idaho?  Kevin took Garrett's dare and requested to park my rig - he did a good job and only killed it a couple of times.  Just kidding, it was very nice to have someone with night vision and a knowledge of the field to help out after nine hours of driving.  Ponies settled in and we had a nice social hour (or two).

 

Ridecamp from one of the inbound trails.  Very spacious and accomodating.

Thursday we woke up and set to settling in for the long weekend.  We met new friends Katrin Levermann from Canada (but she is really German) and her daughter Katya.  What great ladies, we would spend a lot of time with them over the next few days.  Pens rearranged, trailer reparked and properly nested, ponies cleaned up and greetings made to friends old and new.  What a nice day.  We were joined in our little circle by Amanda and Robert Washington.  Amanda arrived along with the rain and assured us that this was just a passing storm and that we would have a lovely weekend.  She was planning to ride the next day on her might steed Breve.  Kevin and Rusty put on a most excellent barefoot and booting clinic that afternoon.  It was soooooo cool (understatement of all understatements) to see these guys in action, up close and get to ask questions.  I learned a ton.  Rusty handed out a sketch of proper foot trimming which should probably be posted to the world.  It is by far the easiest to understand that I have seen and really put a lot together for me.  Thanks Dudes!  Garrett also debuted the new boot/shoe that he would compete in this weekend.  Can't wait to see these things in action!

A lovely reception followed in the gathering area (thank you Easycare!) along with dinner served by a local business Blue Canoe.  Steph gave the briefing for the next days 50 mile ride along with a weather report that was cheerfully optimistic.  Another bit of socializing after yet another bit of leg washing and getting Fancy's Gloves on and we were in bed.  At the last minute I decided to just put Gloves on and not use Sika.  Please don't let me regret this plan.....

Friday morning we were aroused by the sound of rain on the trailer roof.  Really????  Tacking up in the rain is not my favorite part of endurance.  It is also not Fancy's favorite and she was quick to relay her displeasure to me.  But she is one tough mare, seriously the toughest horse I have ever owned, she is tough and focused.  We were very happy to be starting out the ride with my friend from Sunriver and fellow Team Easybooter, Karen Bumgarner who was also in Gloves.  The sun broke out soon after we started and we had a lovely day.  Into the first vet check and big surprise! we were met by crew!  Woohoo!  There was Leslie, Kevin, Rusty and Amanda (who had decided not to ride in the wet that day)!  What a treat!  They had even set up a space apart from the rest which was nice since Fancy is not exactly a social mare.  This was such a huge, special treat.  Thanks guys!  Off with the rain pants for what looked to be a lovely day.  Fancy was really feeling her oats and we had to depart our friends shortly after the vet check.  We proceeded to have probably the best day together on this magical trail.  I dropped her bit and put her in the side pull and she just moved out with the biggest mare horse smile ever.

  Crazy Woman Mine

Along the hills, down to Crazy Lady Mine and back up to the vet check.  This place is amazing!  Yes, it did rain off and on all day but more off than on and the footing was great.

  Day one Gloves on Fancy

              During a break in the weather on day one.

Fancy was strong and forward all day and we ended up finishing 11th in 7 hours and 22 minutes.  Not bad for all the sightseeing we did.  What a great day!  Fancy's boots all stayed on nicely.  I took them off to make sure there was nothing in them and that her feet looked good then reapplied tape and boots.  I was so happy with her.  The only downer was that my knee locked up and I had a bit of a hitch in my giddyup.  At one point Kevin asked me why I was lame...cuz I am broken, drat!  But a bit of walking around and socializing and it was OK.  We would go out again tomorrow.

Once again we awoke to the sound of rain.  Fancy and I discussed it and decided that we really were tough enough to take this on so off we went along with our new friend Katarin riding John's horse Mac also in Gloves.  It was a soggy wet mess all day.  Fancy is such a professional she just took each step as it came, moved when she could  and took good care all day.  She is the most amazing horse I have ever owned and I have tremendous respect for her.  The trail was a slippery mess and there were so many times that I wished I had my Grips on instead of Gloves.  In the end the Gloves really did well and we did not do nearly the slipping that we could have.

 

Katrin on Day 2, smiling through the wet. Thanks for a fun day.

Not as many photos on day 2 but still a fun and lovely day.  Katarin and I shared a few laughs and it was good to have someone to share the trail with.  The sun would peek out for short periods and that really helped keep the mood up.  Then it would start raining again but we were on our way home so it was just a matter of moving forward.  At some point I realized that I was really shivering pretty violently and it was bothering Fancy.  She wanted to move out so bad but the footing would not let her, any opportunity she would trot and make me post but it would only last a few steps.  Then the shivering stopped and I started to feel very peaceful and warm - DRAT! Keen awareness that I was not OK.  Checked the GPS just as the batteries died and we had about 5 miles left.  I had to move about and Fancy knew it too.  She was very tolerant of me moving my arms and legs as she walked as fast as she could in the muck.  Shortly before the finish we hit the actual road and Fancy moved, made me post and got me home in much better shape than I had been just shortly before.  Leslie was at the finish, glory! and really helped me to get vetted quickly and take care of Fancy.  Hot water and a hot shower was the ticket.  Once again, Fancy  took care of me and we got through in 16th place in 7 hours and 35 minutes.

 

Soggy boots for all of us!  Notice all the Bare prints?

We took care of the ponies and attended the ride meeting for the next days 100 mile ride.  May vetted in well but that evening lost her first boot while at the trailer spinning around and having a fit because I had taken Fancy to vet.  Great!  is this a sign of things to come?  So after dinner and a great fundraiser drawing I decided to replace that missing boot.  It had been raining pretty much steady for two days and May had been standing in it the whole time.  Her foot was wet and the likelihood of anything drying out was slim.  After talking to Kevin and Rusty I decided to just go for putting on a Glove.  They very kindly loaned me their heat gun to dry out the foot and I took May over to the driest area I could find.  Of course she proceeded to have a total melt down being separated from Fancy and would not stand.  To say I was frustrated is yet another in a long line of understatements.  Support and understanding came in the way only endurance riders can provide.  Despite my desire to "win" Kevin went to get Fancy, May settled down and we got the foot taped. Of course her boot that had fit perfectly was....too big????really????WT????  Get a smaller boot and I can't get it, at my wits end Kevin again steps in and takes the boot and mallet...it fit just fine.  Loads of reassurance from Kevin and Rusty and the realization that I needed to be done and we headed back to the trailer and I settled in the mares once again.  Thanks to all!

So I had this idea that May needed to get into a nice 8 mph pace and she would do just fine.  Remember back to my earlier comment about "speed ahead to May"?  Well this is where that epiphany comes back.  Come morning it is was drizzling a bit once again.  Really?  can I do this again?  Yes, and this naughty little brown mare needed to go.   So still a bit miffed from her antics the evening prior I decide that I am going to ride away from the trailer and that she would behave like I know she can.  May decides at this point to put on another show of bad attitude, great.  Thankfully Robert was still at their trailer and came over to hold her for me.  So I get on and she begins to dance in place, great.  Robert just takes her halter and leads her away from the trailer to the start.  Great, I am being lead like some sort of pony club neophyte on a silly little brown mare that I think can go 100 miles.  Of course I have to finally admit that this psychotic brown mare is 12 years old, has 1,100 miles and this would possibly be her third 100.  I am going to just have to figure out how to manage her in these difficult situations. 

Thank you Robert for getting us to the start.  So horses start leaving and miraculously May decides it is time to get down to business.  Leslie and Amanda are at the start and we all head out together at a nice steady pace.  Figuring that May will drop back soon I just keep tagging along in the rear.  Eagle decides that he needs to roll a bit faster and Leslie goes ahead (did I mention that Leslie is one tough chic?  Riding a hundred in a borrowed saddle that she had never ridden in before, yes she is that tough).  It was short-lived as Eagle showed that he was indeed ready to go and Leslie demonstrated some seriously great riding skill and we were soon a trio again.  May decided that Amanda's horse Nero (aka the Unicorn) was the love of her life and the pace for the day was set.  We came into the first check with me thinking that May would begin to slow and hold back.  Nope, pulsed in immediately and Robert even had a nice word for my naughty mare.  Amanda had a very good laugh at my desire to set an 8 mph pace as May seemed to be really happy at 10 - her desired "sweet spot" as Amanda put it - with long bursts at 12.  So all you hot shoes at this point are amazed that this is considered "fast" but for some of us who live in the 5-6 range it really is. 

 

Unicorn feet flyin'!  Amanda's Nero setting the pace for the day in fine form.

Next leg includes several miles of Oregon trail complete with wagon wheel tracks.  Amanda is a great guide and points out everything, even taking the camera for a bit so I have some evidence that I actually did this ride.  Then down to the Snake river and the famous petroglyphs.  It was a great day then we come up to the boulders that I had somehow forgotten about.  How on earth is the horse who has spent the last two days trying to kill me going to get me through this?  Like a pro, thats how.  Suddenly her brain settled down between her ears and she showed some serious athletic ability, navigating the treacherous boulders like they were nothing.  Proud and amazed does not begin to describe the feeling.  Across the trestle bridge and into the vet check still with all boots intact.  Really!  We all vet through quick and fine and set to resting and enjoying the scenery.  Celebration Park is a nice little park on the Snake River.  Turns out it was built by Eagle Scouts.  Pretty cool.

Nero reading the petroglyphs for us.  With Amanda and Leslie.

On this ride you basically go 40 miles out and then back to camp.  Some folks might think that this would be boring.  It was not!  Seeing it all from a different angle it all looked different and it gave me a second chance to get photos that I had missed the first time through.  Going through the boulders was no less scary the second time - especially where it looked like you were going right off into the river if you did not make that hidden right turn.  We left a bit of shin on a couple of those rocks.  At this point I was also wondering when those boots would start coming off but they were on there good!

Into the next vet check all is well and the temperature is heading up.  All the layers we wore all day needed to stay behind but there were still some dark clouds out there on the horizon.  We made our way back to camp for the last vet check.  For Amanda this was the end as she was doing the 80 mile ride.  Third place for her, way to go to another Team Easybooter!  Leslie and I would be heading out on the last loop together now that our ponies had settled down and were happy to go along together.  This is usually the point in a 100 when I am adding glow bars and head lamp but on this day it was still plenty early and we only had 20 miles to go so Leslie and I set off to see the last 20 miles of the 2012 Fandango.

Cantering along as the sun sets.  Perfect!

The miles passed quickly even though the horses were happy to take in the scenery and munch the trail grass.  At 9:45 that evening our ride came to an end.  Leslie (yes, yet another Teameasybooter), riding in her borrowed saddle, oh so tough finished 5th and May and I in 6th.  How exciting to finish as the sun set.  That has never happened to me before and I have to say I pretty well liked it.  To top it off those boots that had been on for 11 days were still firmly attached and the one glove that we put on the night before was on tight as well. 

I still can't believe it all worked out so well.  A total of two hundred wonderful miles in this beautiful place.  Two days of riding  and another hundred miles on Fancy in Gloves and a successful hundred on May in three Glue-Ons that had been on for 11 days and one glove.  The first two days of wet icky muck and the last day on some of the best footing ever.  May once again proved herself and most of my doubts were erased.  It was sure all worth the wait to get to this great ride.  The boots did great all weekend and there were loads of successes.  Congratulations to all.  But I think the best part of this adventure was all the friends who were there to share it .  Thanks to Steph and all her gang for putting on such a first class beautiful ride.

Me, Rusty, Leslie, Kevin and Amanda just before we all hit the road.  Great friends are what make this sport so much fun.

Tami Rougeau and the Fabulous Mares Fancy and May

Learning From Teaching the Team Easyboot Way

By Kandace French and Sabrina Liska

One of the greatest aspects of being members of Team Easyboot 2012 means great and abundant questions about boot fit, types of boots and how to use them. To cover more topics and address a wider audience, fellow Team Easyboot 2012 team-mates and buds decided to jump in with both feet and offer a Easyboot Fitting Clinic in Desert Hills, Arizona on June 3, 2012. Due to the warm temperatures, we started early in the morning. But neither the weather nor the early hour deterred people. Unlimited auditors and a ten-horse limit maxed out the crowd. Attendees were encouraged to bring their questions and their current boots if they were using them.

Approximately 20 people and eight horses attended the clinic that included information on Why Bare and Why Boot?. There was a presentation on the types of boots available for every fit and need. There were great questions by the participants about boots in each category of trail riding, endurance and therapy.

What to Use and When to Use It



Hands on view of various boot styles, hints and equipment.

There was a hands-on demonstration and presentation of the Epic, Bare, Trail, Back Country, Glove and Glue-On and a presentation of which boot works best for individual horse's needs and applications. There was also a discussion regarding when to use Glue-On boots. Participants were surprised to know the actual length the Glue-Ons could be left on the horse safely.

Sabrina addressed the importance of a proper trim and we were able to show more than one attendee that their boot fitting problems were actually the result of long toes or improper sizing.



Measuring how-to for fit and accuracy.

The clinic also included the importance of measure in metric for best fit and discussion stressing that different types of boots use different measurements for a proper fit.


 

Detailed information, explanation and demonstrations were provided on how to measure the hoof and the importance of understanding the buttress line. Hand-outs, using information found on the Easy Care, Inc. website and brochures provided the additional information attendees needed to appreciate proper measurements.



Fitting an Epic.
 

Demonstrating the proper taping technique using Mueller Athletic Tape.

Great fun was made of the demonstration of proper boot fitting and removal and guests’ horses gave an excellent live demonstration of what a proper (or improper) fit looked like.

One of the Special Needs hooves. There will be a separate blog about this girl.

Horses were presented with a club hoof, a damaged hoof, shod, unshod and odd shaped.

Information and education was well received regarding Helpful Hints such as Power Straps, Athletic Tape, the use of knee-high panty hose, removing and reusing Glue-Ons, replacing parts, checking screws in new boots and great interest in the use of Loktite threadlocker. Kandace gave all the attendees a view of the emergency kit she keeps in her own pack consisting of extra screws, a short screwdriver and a tube of Loktite.

The clinic concluded with helping attendees with individual measurement and booting fitting/checking.

The greatest impact to the presenters was that a majority of the horses were wearing boots that were too big. Without the clinic and hands-on presentation, users simply don’t realize how to fit a boot or how snug it should be. Even more were happy to learn how to get a boot off without ripping the gator. “Work smart. Not hard.”


 

The clinic was well received and there are already requests for another clinic in the Fall. The audience left with a much better understanding of the product and three horses that were previously shod are going to be taken barefoot.

Thank you EasyCare Staff for all of your support! Your answers and encouragement help to make this little clinic of ours a success!