Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2015 Member
I wanted to share what a typical year looks like for me and my horses' feet. We are competitive trail riders competing at the 25 mile distance this year and we start "spring training" as soon as the weather allows us to be outside without freezing (that date can vary greatly here in Alberta!).
This past year was exceptionally mild and as early as February we were out running down the gravel roads and across the bare crop fields. The ground is frozen this time of year and can be punishingly lumpy, rocky and uneven. If we're out for a slow ride we can get it done barefoot but of course my horses are more comfortable with something between them and the ground. Often times, at this time of year, it's our Easyboot Epics that fit the bill.
I have used these boots for over a decade now and just love them. They are easily adjusted and therefore easy to fit to your horse throughout their trim cycle. Two days post trim to six weeks out, these boots will insure a snug, secure fit and I don't ever worry about losing one thanks to the handy gaiter.
This past spring we had lots of chinook winds that would blow very warm air across the snow covered ground turning the top of the snow to wind whipped melting puddles that would freeze into sheets of ice overnight. We had ice everywhere. Lots of open, bare tracts which made it quite possible to condition if you could just make it to those spots.
Enter my Easyboot Gloves with Quick Studs. I wrote about how to apply the Quick Studs here. My oh my what a difference these little studs make to traction. Nary a slip on the dodgy sections, my horse strode out with confidence on our way to our training grounds. I love the Gloves for their ease of application, snug fit and no hardware to fiddle with. There are a bit trickier to ensure correct fit as my horse has to be trimmed more often to "get it right" but that just means her hooves are always in great shape.
Once the snow and ice cleared and we headed more into our true spring and early summer, I removed the Quick Studs (so I can use them again next year) and continued using the Easyboot Epics and Gloves to condition my horse up and down the gravel road, through the hills, across the rocky river beds and into the Alberta foothills (small mountains).
Then FINALLY, after what seemed like forever, competition season was upon us! I broke out my gluing gear and this rookie made a one woman show of gluing a set of four EasyShoe Performance on my mare. I had learned the how-to's from a local professional last year and set to work making it happen for myself (I wrote about my experience gluing in this previous blog). There was lots of trial and error, glue everywhere and some frustration but that first set I put on myself looked not too bad and definitely did the trick in landing us a first place at that CTR.
Several weeks of conditioning later I removed that set and applied a new set of four with greater ease and improved skills (see - trial and error at work!). For me I realized the best way for my slow self to apply the adhesive was to only put the Adhere around the bottom where it would contact the sole, hold it to the hoof until set then use a hoof pick to hold the wings open while I applied the Adhere to the quarters with enough quantity that it spilled out the holes. Wait for the appropriate set time again, clean it up with a rasp and voila.
We had a great competitive season and in total my mare spent 14 weeks in the EasyShoe Performance hoof protection. They definitely offer convenience over the boots as there is no applying/removing before and after each ride and my mare felt superb in them. I called them her little "Rocket shoes" because she was faster and more confident in our conditioning rides than ever before.
I just pulled them off last weekend and we are back to heading into the colder weather. I will shake the dust off my hoofboots that have been sitting in the corner of the tack shed all summer and we will continue on our merry way, booted and bundled up in the colder weather, waiting for springtime and warm summer days to return.