Submitted by Kicki Westman, Team Easyboot 2011 Member
The reason why I started to use Easyboots was simply that I didnt see a good reason to shoe my Icelandic horse Vinur anymore. He was now an old boy, retired from competions and hard training and should be able to go barefoot. I definitely didnt see a point in paying for expensive shoeing, I was too lazy to do it myself, but he didnt like it very much to be ridden barefoot even after some years without shoes. So I started to investigate different boottypes and my first choice was a pair of Easyboot Epics for his front hoofs.
My dear old friend, Vinur, in his boots, at age 26 and still going strong. Vinur means friend in Icelandic, he could not have a better name. He has been my best companion for 16 years!
Here in Sweden it is not so common with boots and barefoot-trimming (yet) and overall most people are so stuck on steelshoes that anything else is out of the question. And I was no exeption during our years of competing. But here and there I had come across some "natural believers" and now I believe more and more horseowners are beginning to see that horses in fact can be fully functioning without steel shoes.
When I first tried out our new boots and they fitted so good I was totally sold. My horse was immediately comfortable in them and soon I bought a pair of Easyboot Bares for his hind hoofs. My first choice was the Easyboot Glove, but his measurements didnt compare to the Glove sizing chart: he was way too wide.
To avoid a clamp on hind hoofs I therefore chose the Bare. But those Bares gave me a lot of opportunities to use some very bad language. Every time putting them on where a big struggle. They fitted absolutely perfect but I soon got tired of the battle and ordered a pair of Epic-buckles for them instead. That made things much easier.
Somewhere along the road I also became seriously curious of what all the fuss about barefoot trimming was as well. I have classic trimming and shoeing abilities in my backpack so after a lot of investigation, hours and hours of reading on the internet and some mentoring by a barefoot trimmer, I started to trim my own horses the natural barefoot way. It was the next natural step to take.
I have to admit, I also saw the economical benefits of trimming my own horses myself – No more lazy horseowner. I dont regret it for a moment. Maybe my back would prefer me to be lazy but I keep telling it to shut up and get used to it!
The benefits of natural trimming showed up real soon. My Shetland Pony almost always chipped her walls right after an ordinary trim. Now, with the Mustang Roll, no more. Her hoofs are now so tight and nice and she is much more comfortable walking on gravel. And Vinur soon fitted in a pair of Gloves. I can now ride him barefoot, depending on wich trail I choose but I prefer to have a full set of boots on.
I beleive it is good insurance for his comfort.
My Shetland Pony Betty Boop
I still have much to learn about the natural way of trimming but I’m only looking forward to it. It is a true pleasure to get to know and care for my horses hoofs.
Studs are necessary here in winter time.
Another aspect I really appreciate is the fact that barefoot eliminates the injuries that shoed horses can inflict to themselves and other horses, especially in the winter. Here in Sweden during the winter season we have snow and alot of ice. With shoes its always a hazard to turn out horses without studs and I think every horseowner knows what different kinds of risks shoes and studs means if several horses are turnout together. Barefoot horses can manage the ice so much better than shod horses without studs. A barefoot horse also doesnt get snow clamped in their hoofs causing them to slide or stumble. So with studded boots we are always on the safe side. I would not dare to ride without them but afterwards, my horse can play in the snowy pasture safe and sound barefeet.
For me there’s no longer no doubt, booted barefoot is the way to go. This journey will never end!
Kicki Westman, Sweden