Submitted by Sue Basham, Team Easyboot Member
Late winter in Wyoming teases us with temperate days and little snowfall. Just as we become accustomed to the nice days winter returns with a vengeance. Single digit & below zero temperatures, accompanied by wind driven snow, do little to encourage me to ride. Instead its time to clean tack, go through gear to see what needs to be replaced or replenished and make plans for the upcoming ride session.
In early 2012, my good mare Tayyara showed some lameness which was diagnosed as heel pain with navicular changes in her front hooves. Tayyara is a 1000+ mile horse with two Tevis completions so this news was devastating.
I immediately pulled her shoes and began researching navicular syndrome. My farrier and veterinarian both told me her feet did not look like typical navicular hooves and they were uncertain why it occurred. All my research pointed to giving her an easier break over and encouraging a heel first landing. I used Gloves to protect her soles as she transitioned back to barefoot on my gritty ground. Frequent trimming maintained her hoof angles so keeping her barefoot made sense. She spent most of 2012 turned out on pasture and has only been ridden lightly the past couple of years. Although her hooves have really toughened up on my decomposed granite ground, I use Easyboot Gloves with great success when the trails are rocky. I plan to bring her back into condition and competition this spring. Easyboot Gloves will be the mainstay of my hoof protection for her but I also plan on trying the EasyShoe. I'm hoping the EasyShoe will give her the most optimal break over, a more cushioned impact and help return her to her previous performance level.
My other mare, Kismet Cognac, came to me in shoes shortly after Tayyara's diagnosis. I took her to the Shamrock ride, a wonderful ride just north of my home in Cheyenne, with the intention of riding all three days. Shamrock is notoriously hard on steel shoes but I couldn't find a farrier on short notice to replace her shoes with new ones. At the end of the second day, with no farrier onsite, it was obvious we were done unless we pulled the shoes and went with boots.
Luckily, I had four Easyboot Gloves in her size from an early venture into boots with Tayyara. With help from knowledgeable friends we got KC trimmed and booted up that night and we went on to complete the 3rd day. Although I'd recommend training in boots so the horse gets used to them, in this case they performed flawlessly and KC was awarded Overall Champion & Best Condition. Since that day she has competed exclusively in Gloves or Glue-ons. The Gloves are great for our training miles and some of our 50s but I love the Glue-ons for 100 milers and multi-day rides.
Like I said earlier, this wintery weather is a good time to check through my gear and see what's needed. I've had such good success with my Gloves and Glue-on shells that its easy to get complacent and just go with what works, but there are lots of options to try with the EasyCare product lineup. I ordered new Gloves, shells, power straps, pads, packing material, etc. All kinds of cool stuff to try this summer. Now if spring will just hurry and get here, I'll get out on the trail and try my new stuff.