Sizing up the Season

Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

It's past spring now but I'm just getting back into riding after adding a new member to the family. Even though it's summer I'm just now getting through my spring time check list of to-do's and I was just recently able to check another item off my list; re-evaluating each of my horses to see how their boots are fitting.

Whether you're ordering for the first time, trying to solve a fit problem or just checking to check, the process is always the same. Proper sizing is so important in ensuring your horse is comfortable and moving correctly and helps mitigate any potential boot failure due to ill fit. 

So! Bring your horse into a clean dry area and clean out their feet in preparation for a trim. Right after their trim you're going to pick up each foot and take two measurement. The first measurement is to be across the widest part of the foot - from medial quarter to lateral quarter. The second measurement is to be taken from the point of the toe to the heel buttress where the heel contacts the ground (not to the back of the heel bulb - this is where I see most incorrect measurement mistakes). EasyCare has a great set of instructions you can find on their website and I've borrowed this picture to illustrate the proper anatomical area's to be measured. 

You will need to write it all down so your don't forget as you will have a total of eight measurements, two per hoof, to now compare to the size chart. Each style of boot has their own size chart and in many instances the sizing does not cross over. Unfortunately, you cannot assume since your horse takes a certain size in, say, the Easyboot Epic that they will take the same size boot in the Easyboot Glove. Use only the size chart of the boot you're wishing to purchase. 

So I did all the above things and put my mare in her red Easyboot Gloves that we used all of last year. You can see the boot on the left of the picture has a nice snug fit but the boot on the right is a little big for her hoof at this time. We've changed farriers and she's not working nearly as much as she should be so it makes sense that her feet may have changed a bit. 

With her measurements these size #1 Easyboot Gloves fit alright, but not 100% ideal. We're able to get out and condition on our gravel roads in them but the addition of Power Straps will make them perfect for riding this year in some more rugged conditions. Remember, it is up to us to get the proper size of boot to ensure booting success!
 

EasyCare offers a Fit Kit for certain styles of boot so you can try before you buy! If  ever you have questions or concerns about boot sizing you can always contact EasyCare directly to speak with a representative to help direct you which style and size might best suit your needs. Happy booting!

 

Tahlia Franke’s Countdown to Tevis

With the 2016 Tevis Cup now less than 30 days away, Tahlia Franke isn’t sitting around twiddling her thumbs, she is burning up the trails and the racetrack. On June 25, the 17-year-old from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, competed in her first track races—and won.

Franke, a senior in high school, has been riding and training both flat track racehorses and endurance horses for Jay Randle’s Splendacrest Arabians for several years. Arabian races are usually held in conjunction with Thoroughbred races, and Franke has “strapped” at a number of them.  (A strapper someone who holds a position looking after racehorses. The duties range from cleaning out the stables and yards, feeding, grooming and blanketing horses, plus saddling horses for track-work and races, hence the name.)

The first stand-alone Arabian race day in Australia was held this past weekend, with five races scheduled at the Clifton Racetrack, Franke explained. She finished fourth in her first race, which was also her mount’s first race.

“Then the champion mare Aloha Farina took me home for my first win in the 1,000-meter endurance horse sprint,” said Franke. Farina is Franke’s favorite horse as Splendacrest. “I have ridden her in FEI rides and she is qualified for the Young Rider’s World Championships.”

 

Franke’s mount for her third race was scratched. “At the end of the day we did a match race. We put two of our best sprinters against each other and I was lucky enough to win that one on Vok,” she said.

 As soon as the races concluded, Franke took off to compete in an 80-km endurance ride the next day.

“The endurance ride went well,” she said. “It was a very tough ride, but we finished 2nd lightweight, which I was very happy with, considering we weren't actually trying to race.”

Frank will compete in another 80-km race two weeks before Tevis and then a 160-km race two days before she boards her plane for California on July 18.

Franke was Australia’s top-ranked junior endurance rider in 2015, and was a finalist for the Equestrian Australia Sport Achievement Awards. She is one of 10 junior riders whose Tevis entry is sponsored by EasyCare.  

Franke will ride M Dash Stellar, a.k.a. “Stella.” The 12-year-old Arabian mare has an impressive ride record, with 35 completions in 36 starts and three Tevis completions with three different riders. She is owned by Jennifer Waitte of Napa, Ca.

Flip Flop Forgiveness

Submitted by Mari Ural, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

Even if your horse doesn't have the perfect foot, give the Easyboot Flip Flops a chance.  Especially for those people who want to go barefoot, but feel they can't, Flip Flops are the perfect solution.

Heart's feet do not have the perfect shape for Glue-Ons or Gloves.  He does use them with help from a power strap, tape and extra glue because the shells tend to get a gap at the "v".  His foot just seems to be narrower towards the coronet band than at the base, although the trim looks great.

We decided to give the Flip Flops a whirl.  Knowing there would be some gapping we simply stuffed more glue into the gap.  It has worked out great.  He's been out in sand, rocks, gravel and even some nice footing!  He's quite happy in his Flip Flops.  He strides out and the Flip Flops are totally secure.  The best part is that nothing collects in them.  After the ride, there is no debris stuck inside the Flip Flops, they are clean as a whistle.  When we were in mud, some did squish into the boot.  However, when it dried it came right out again.

For those folks who wish to leave them on for a full trim cycle they are perfect.  All the fresh air any hoof could want. Thank you, EasyCare.

 

 

EasyCare Goes Cavalry at the Old Dominion

Submitted by Karen Neuenschwander, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

The Old Dominion 100 is a bucket list ride for many. Rocks, big climbs, heat, humidity, and more rocks make “the Beast of the East” a fitting nickname for this ride. To add to the challenge, there is an option to ride “Cavalry.” The rider must carry with them everything for the horse and rider (except for water) for the entire ride. I’ve been fascinated with the idea of attempting this challenge since I learned about it several years ago. When it came time to take my mare, Brooke, on her first 100 miler, I knew she’d be a good candidate to give it a try. She’s strong on mountain trails, tolerates heat and humidity well, and takes great care of herself without being too high maintenance.

Hoof protection was a big consideration since any gear for lost shoes or boots had to be carried. Easyboot Glue-Ons were the obvious choice for us. The key to Glue-On success is proper application to DRY hooves. In our damp, swampy Southeast Virginia climate, getting those hooves dry can take a little extra effort. Brooke and her buddy, Legalas, had a sleepover in my barn’s stalls the night before we applied the boots for some extra drying time. “Legs” will be doing Tevis next month in Glue-Ons applied by the EasyCare gluing team, so he did the 50 miler at Old Dominion to try them out. The next morning, I glued everyone’s boots (with lots of extra hands to help things go smoothly), and we headed to the ride.

A night in the stalls keeps everyone's hooves nice and dry before gluing.

Although I tried to minimize the amount of stuff that I carried, some necessities needed to be packed along. I used the EasyCare Deluxe Stowaway Pack to carry some grain, two spare Easyboot Gloves, and electrolytes. I had planned to use the Deluxe Pommel Pack for more storage in front, but upon trying it out, discovered that I actually preferred something a little smaller. One quick call to EasyCare, and the standard size pack arrived a couple of days later. It carried my drink bottles and Brooke’s all-important carrots! I carried my food in a small backpack designed for ultra-runners, and we were all set to tackle the ride!

Sporting our Glue-Ons and all of our gear.  Photo by Becky Pearman Photography
 
Our goal was simply to get a completion. We made time where the footing was good, trusting that the Glue-Ons would absorb concussion on the miles of forest service roads. Brooke was able to do her awesome power walk over the crazy rocks and up and down the steepest climbs, her boots providing great traction and protection on the uneven footing. In the end, we completed the ride in fifth place, making us eligible to compete not only for the Cavalry Trophy, but also the Old Dominion Trophy, which is judged similarly to Best Conditioned.
 

During the judging the next morning, Brooke trotted out sound and looked great for the vet exam. I was shocked and honored at the awards ceremony to learn we had won both the Cavalry and Old Dominion Trophies! I am so grateful to EasyCare for offering products that helped make our ride such a success!

 

Meet Tahlia Franke: Australia’s Top-Ranked Junior Rider Sets Her Sights on the 2016 Tevis Cup

Tahlia Franke is counting the days until the 2016 Western States Trail Ride, more popularly known as the Tevis Cup. The 17-year-old from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, is one of ten junior riders whose entry into the prestigious endurance race is being sponsored by EasyCare. The race will be held July 23rd.

Franke has long dreamed of someday riding the Tevis. “Competing in the Tevis has always been a dream of mine since I first heard of it and something I never dreamt of being able to do as a junior rider,” says Franke, who will turn 18 a week after the ride. “The difficulty of the ride has attracted me to it even more. I have always loved the more difficult rides, though I'm certain nothing I have done will come close to the Tevis and that is something I am very excited about.”

Franke was Australia’s top-ranked junior rider in 2014 and 2015. Her record includes 38 50- to 75-mile competitions, with eight wins plus 11 top-10 finishes. She has completed three 100-mile races, including first-place junior and best condition at the New South Wales (NSW) State Championships in 2014. She has ridden on the Queensland junior team competing in the Southern Cross Challenge three times.

Despite her record and experience, the Tevis will be an entirely new and different experience for her.

“I have never done a ride that doesn't finish where it starts, so this aspect in particular will be one of many completely new experiences that have me nervous but of course excited to see how everything works,” she says.     

    

Franke will ride M Dash Stellar, aka “Stella.” The 12-year-old Arabian mare (Sam Tiki+ x ES Dakota) has an impressive ride record, with 35 completions in 36 starts and three Tevis completions with three different riders. Her most notable finish was 3rd place in 2013 with Jenni Smith of Moraga, Ca.

Stella is owned by Jennifer Waitte of Napa, Ca., who is serving as Franke’s sponsor. Rules governing the ride require riders under age 18 to be accompanied by an adult. Waitte invited Franke to travel to the U.S. and compete in the ride after hearing about Franke’s accomplishments through a mutual friend.

“My original intention was to lease one of my two mares for Tevis,” explains Waitte. “They have been training and competing together for many years, and, as a result, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’. The two mares would each perform better at Tevis if they competed together.

“I broached the idea with Cris Jones, who is Australian and well-connected with the Australian endurance community. She put the word out and Tahlia’s name came up. This interested me because she is just 17 yet very accomplished in Australia. Under the circumstances, I didn’t think it was appropriate to lease a horse to her. Instead, I invited her to come to California and I would sponsor her by providing a horse, accommodations and crew … everything she would need to compete.”

Waitte says that sponsoring Franke has completely changed her focus on the rider. “This is a great opportunity for Tahlia, but also for me,” Waitte says.  “I’ve never sponsored a junior rider before and I am determined to get her to the finish line.”

Franke will arrive in the U.S. on Monday, July 18. She will attend the international riders’ dinner in Auburn on July 19th. On July 20th, the EasyCare Elite Team will apply Stella’s Glue-On boots for the race.

“Stella has been competing in Easyboot Gloves and Glue-Ons for five years now,” says Waitte. “I typically apply Glue-Ons for races myself, however, I want Tahlia to meet the EasyCare team in Auburn before the race, and so I’m having them apply the boots.”

Waitte has been keeping Tahlia apprised of Stella’s training and racing progress. “Even though she’s half way around the world, she is still part of the team,” says Waitte. I’ve been sending her regular updates, pictures and videos.”

 

Thunder's 5000th Mile in Repurposed Gloves

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2016 Member
 
My plan was simple: Order some comfort pads to put in Thunder's Gloves and go ride three days at Oregon Outback's beautiful Hallelujah Trail, put on by Dennis and Linda Tribby. Only I messed up and ordered 12mm pads and not the 6mm, which I have since returned and now have 6mm pads for the next time. But I needed something for this time. Never fear, I have a tube of Sikaflex to goop some boots on with. Hmmmm, I scrounge through my collection of used Gloves and come up with two that have some mileage on them that are still plenty good. Plan B, Sikaflex the Gloves on and take the gaiters off and voila - good as Glue-Ons.
 
 
One thing I love about Sikaflex is that it doesn't set up real quick. I can take my time and not hurry, I like that. So my first step is to loosen the screws on the gaiter because I will take it off eventually. Then I take the Glove and fill it with a generous amount of Sikaflex, smearing some up on the sides inside the boot too. I set the boot aside and do the last minute touches of being sure the hoof is clean and ready. With Sikaflex I don't have to buff the hoofwall and such like you do with Adhere, I like that too. Then I just put the Glove on as I always would, tapping it into place with the mallet and hooking up the gator. I have him ties eating hay which keeps him quiet for awhile as the Sikaflex sets up. After an hour or so I put him back out with his buds. The next day I remove the gator and head for the ride.
 
 
Thunder chowing down at the vet check on day one. Our Sikaflexed Gloves are performing well.
 

Thunder after the first 50, looking happy and ready for another day. (Photo by Trish Frahm)

Mid-day trotting down the great trails and enjoying life! The footing was awesome and we wouldn't have needed those comfort pads on this ride anyway. But it was sure nice to not have to worry about any rubs or irritation from three days of gaiters and Gloves. Thunder completed his AERC 5,000 miles with day two. And we finished up the weekend riding the third day and being a Pioneer.
 
 
Now here we are six days after "sikking" them on and I have the chore of removing the boots. They are still nice and tight.
 
 
The best way I know to get them off is find a spot to insert a flat sided screw driver and just start working it around the hoof and pull the boot and such away from the hoof wall.
 
 
It takes a few minutes of working the screw driver around the hoof but soon the boot is coming free of the hoof.
 
 
After loosening the sides all around, I insert the screw driver blade under the boot, working through the heel area, and it pops right off pretty easily.
 
 
​Another great thing with using Sikaflex is all the material is in or on the boot and your hoof is clean and has no debris stuck on it. We'll be ready to trim and Glove for the next ride, and go for more miles.
 

Editor’s note: the opinions expressed in this blog do not represent EasyCare’s official recommended gluing protocol for hoof boots. To learn more about the recommended gluing protocol, please see http://www.easycareinc.com/Our_Boots/Easyboot_glue-on/glue-on_fitting.aspx. Following the steps outlined by EasyCare will increase the success rate of any glue-on product.

 

Stories of the Heart

Submitted by Mari Ural, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

Today I thought I'd share stories of the heart, Heart the horse that is, who is a 17 year old Arab.  He was found in a Colorado pasture that had no grass, so as you can imagine, he was pretty emaciated.  His shoes had been left on him so long that some had simply fallen off.  This was back in 2009.  Poor Mr. Heart vowed he would never go hungry again!  Eating is now his MOST favorite thing to do.

At first, he was trimmed and shod.  In 2010 he moved on to barefoot and booted.  The trick was lowering those heels so his Easyboot Gloves were comfortable.  He is not a heel first landing type of fellow.  He lands quite flat.  I'm guessing that is why it took awhile to get away from the heel contraction even after going barefoot.  Six years later, the frogs are better but not the full frog we like to see.

He is always turned out, though the ground is fairly soft, and he has always stayed sound, though trotting on a gravelly hard pack road is not comfortable for him even when in boots.  He lets you know by shortening his stride until he hits nicer footing.  This winter his front feet started to really flare.

My pictures of the "before" unfortunately didn't turn out, but believe me, the front feet were paddles.  St George trimmer, J.B. Rex, worked on them, bringing them back to the point that they looked like horse feet.  He removed a good deal of old sole that had built up.  The plan is to keep the toe rolled enough that we'll get away from the slight flare that still exists and maybe it will grow out.  He's always had a slight flare on his front feet, so boots aren't as flush at the top as desired.  Power Straps and Mueller's tape have handled that problem for Gloves and a little extra time holding down the "V" with Adhere has worked for the Glue-Ons.  It would be really nice to be able to get rid of the flare and see a better frog, so any other ideas would be great.

The pictures attached are of his current trim.

 

My First Easyboot Blog: You Gotta Start Somewhere

Submitted by Lesley Dewar, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

Since being selected to join Team Easyboot over a month ago, procrastination set in.  Procrastination about writing this blog.  Not because I don't love the product, and not because I'm not an extroverted person, but procrastination because I'm officially declaring to the world that yes, I don't nail metal shoes on my horse and yes, I'm risking getting labeled with the label of “one of those barefoot weirdos”.  I've booted for many years, just secretly.  I've never told any of my farriers over the years that I secretly boot my horses and rarely ride in an arena, hence the reason for no metal shoes.  The reason being that very little people in my area boot their horses. In fact, very little people in our local horse community know what a horse boot is, let alone that it can literally make sore horses ride-able.  
I decided that it was the time to take action, if I was going to do this, be labeled as a weird person who puts boots on her horses, then I had best recruit support. One of my good friends had been curious about the boots for quite some time, so I decided to ask her if this was something she would be interested in trying.  To my relief, she was very excited about the endeavor and gladly brought her horse over to have me measure and look at different options for her.  I decided to pull out some boots in my collection, it is quite easy to see what my favorites are from the picture!  

We tied her horse, Romeo, up and got to work measuring. Now I'm no expert, but I like to save a little money here and there, especially when one of my horses just goes out on trails the odd time. Thankfully Romeo was just about to be trimmed, so we were able to measure him with his feet at his biggest.  The next day the farrier trimmed his feet and I stopped in to remeasure.  With both measurements, we were able to pick a boot that would fit him through his trim cycle, without having to buy two sets.  We ordered some pads to go with his new boots for use when he is just newly trimmed to make it a little comfier for him and if his hooves grow too much before the next trim they can be removed from the boot for a little extra room. Lastly, I taught Romeo how to help me pull off the boots.  I teach all my horses to pull against my pressure when removing the boots as it makes it easier for me to get off when they help.  I also find it makes them more comfortable with the booting process.  

 

So there you have it, I've broken my silence, and feel a lot happier for it.  You never know who is looking at your boots with questions but for whatever reason never asks about them.  I hope you too can help me break the taboo around these boots and get more people enjoying their horses!  
I look forward to my next blog installment next month, where I'm taking my super fun highland pony with giant feet (size #9) on a big overnight camping trail ride.  I'm hoping that her new snazzy New Macs will be here in time and I'll give them the swimming test as she loves to swim.  Keep your fingers crossed for Canada Post! 

Baby's First Boots

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

It was a case of love at first sight. He was just two days old when I picked him out. Rearing, running and showing off. I dubbed him Peanut because he was such a little guy.

Now four years later, the Peanut is closing in on 15 hands and getting some light miles.

Peanut and I on our first trail ride. It's a bit rocky. So I fitted him for boots. The size #0 Easyboot Glove that I thought would fit wouldn't even go on. The #0.5 was pooched out on the sides so his hoof was too wide and it is very round. The size #1 slid on too easy so it was too big. But the #0W was a nice fit. It needed more "V" in the front but that gives him a bit of growing room. I decided with Power Straps they'd be just fine. I called Debbie Schwiebert at EasyCare and placed my order.

Just a couple days later, here is my "boot kit". One pair of #0W Gloves and a set of Power Straps.

Installing Power Straps is a breeze and they come with great directions. The only thing I do different is I use a small drill to make the holes. It's easier than a hole punch - sorry but the drill shots were blurry.

The circle shows how the Power Strap brings the gap together to make the boot fit tighter.

The Power Strap is a little stretchy so once in place, it'll give just a bit to create a nice snug fit for the hoof.

Same boot but without the Power Strap installed. The "V" should be stretched out but it isn't so that is why I used the power straps. You can also see how it is a bit loose around the top,  the Power Strap can really be beneficial in improving fit.

Voila! We are ready to travel the rocky trails!

EasyCare Boots Bring Us Together

Submitted by Leah Cain, Team Easyboot 2016 Member

Have you ever thought about how boots have brought us all closer together?  I am talking about the human and the equine kind. Getting hands on with your horses hooves and the protection of them can make for a whole other level of intimacy.  From their exercise programs to their diet, to their trims and watching them move every time you are with them.  It is so exciting to see horses change for the better and see their owners take great pride in being a part of the positive change.  I have had the pleasure of helping many navigate the world of booting but the most recent boot inductees have been especially exciting.  

The most recent was a gelding whom had been neglected for quite some time.  The horse rescue never thought he would be able to be put to any real work.  He had hooves that didn't grow much, with thin hoof walls and every kind of distortion you could think of.  He was very short-strided and looked ouchy just about everywhere.  With a good trim, good fitting boots and an exercise program in place, he was making progress.  I was able to get a real, normal trim done on him today and his hooves are growing and coming back to what they should be.  His owner has high hopes of getting out to do some endurance and I am positive she will get them there!  They did the Intro Ride at the Antelope Island Endurance ride and with just a little more conditioning time, they will be out there!

The next new booter came with trepidation about being able to do boots on her own and if she was protecting them enough.  She has learned how to apply the boots in no time flat and has got down the taping technique too.  She has been able to get out in all types of terrain and conditions and learn as we go.  She too has taken charge of her horses whole body health which includes hooves.  She did the Intro ride as well and then went on to do the LD at Antelope Island.   Next we play with glue-on boots, glue-on hybrids and shoes!

Oh yeah, and they want me to mention that they are old and could be my Mother, so no excuses!  Get out there and make a difference in your horses life for the better!