4 EasyShoes, 3 Weeks, 2 CTRs

Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2015 Member
 

In the middle of July I took on the task of applying EasyShoe Performance to my Competitive Trail mare for our upcoming CTR's. 

Last year I had an experienced gluer apply the Performance to her front hooves for CTRs and it was a great learning experience being able to watch the process in person. I'm a very visual learner and even though I can read about it all day and watch the videos provided by Easycare, being able to see it all first hand made all the difference to me. 

This time I was on my own but I was confident we could get it done. I started with her back hooves with the theory that if I was struggling with my Adhere and technique, hopefully by the time I get to the front hooves I would know better what I was doing and at least the front ones will stay on. I needn't have worried. Everything went as planned and I followed the directions provided by Easycare and remembering everything I had watched in the online videos and what Lane had shown me, I successfully applied 4 EasyShoes to my freshly trimmed mare. True, I had glue everywhere, including her rump where I gave her an appreciative "good girl" pat (oops) and being that we don't have a barn there was grass in my adhesive. It all cleaned up well with a quick rasp of her hooves (no more grass!) and proper grooming to remove adhesive from all furry areas of my equine. 
 
Still nervous of my novice skills I was thrilled to see all 4 EasyShoes still firmly adhered to her hooves after a day of rowdy turnout. She was ready to hit the CTR trail.
We headed south in a cold, wet storm toward the Montana border to Milk River for the Hills of Home CTR. It rained hard all day Friday and we didn't even get to vet in until Saturday morning before the ride because of the weather. The trails through the coulees were very slick due to all the moisture but we were still able to complete our first loop of 17 miles in 2 hours (a blazing time for us). Cleared through the vet check we completed the final 8 miles of our 25 total at the required pace and finished with a sound, energetic, happy horse. At the awards ceremony that night it was announced that we had won our Intermediate Lightweight Division by quite a few points. Woohoo red ribbon for us.

We headed home on the Sunday and Marina enjoyed 2 weeks pasture time interspersed with moderate workouts. 
I was really impressed how the EasyShoes made her feel as we conditioned those few weeks between CTRs on our regular gravel roads. My mare moved freely and with confidence and once we were home there wasn't even a single rock to be picked out of her shoes. 

August 1st had us a little up north at the Wild Timber Ranch competitive trail ride. It was hot and dry and the trail had many miles of the familiar gravel roads we knew we could rocket along on. We climbed grassy hills and splashed through many (MANY) mud puddles as well, all the time feeling great about our choice of hoof protection. At this ride my mare was feeling so good she willingly took the lead about 2/3 of the time in our little group powering down the trail - this was a huge personal accomplishment for us as she would regularly prefer to be tucked in behind and has earned herself the nickname "Little Chicken". We finished this ride with a horse feeling great, 4 EasyShoes in place right where we left them and a 4th place ribbon against tough competition. 

Another week in the pasture and I finally had time to reassess her footwear and decided to pull the shoes and give her a little barefoot break. It was really interesting to look at my handy work all these miles and weeks later - you could certainly tell which order the shoes went on by how well adhered they still were (or in spots weren't) after these few weeks. The ease in which the shoes came off was also in accordance to the order in which they were applied. Shoe #1 came off "rather easy" compared to shoe #4 which had me sweating and swearing. Practice certainly makes perfect when it comes to gluing the EasyShoes on and I expect my next attempt to have me blue in the face trying to remove shoes #5-8.

We'll be conditioning the next few weeks barefoot and in our Easyboot Gloves in preparation for our planned back to back Intermediate 25 mile CTR's at the Battle River CTR the weekend of September 4th which we'll compete in the EasyShoes once more.  

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