Before and After Hoof Results Using the EasyShoe Flex

By Daisy Bicking of Daisy Haven Farm

Watching and reading about the latest innovations from EasyCare Inc. is always exciting and the release of the final product full of eager anticipation. Now that the EasyShoe Flex is here I find more options available to me as a hoof care provider than I know what to do with! The Flex comes in open heel or with frog support, with a metal plate or without, with quarter clips or toe clip, and can be glued, nailed, or both.  So how do you decide? The only way we knew how to figure it out was to try them and be creative with their use! 

My friend and colleague, farrier Dan Schroeder, direct nailed the Flex (on the right in photo collage below). He's had a lot of success improving soundness in horses with this type of application. I gravitate to glue of some kind, although my teammate Heather Colket did an application with glue and nails (on the left on the photo below) and found this was also beneficial to the horse.

I found most of my personal applications utilize the heart bar versions with glue, dental impression material, and hoof casting. We played with the Flex Light, which has no steel spring core.  For others when more stability was needed, we used the Flex Heart Bar, which has a spring steel metal plate from heel to heel. All were easy to apply and achieve the goals we were aiming for, and the horses maintained or improved their soundness.  

Here's an example of one of my favorite methods of application.

Mollie Rose is a 18-year-old thoroughbred mare with chronic arthritis.  

Both front fetlocks have arthritis however the right front is more significant for lameness than the left.  


When I met Mollie Rose in August this year I was asked if I could help her be more comfortable, if not sound. It was difficult to evaluate the previous farrier's work because she was due to be re-set and therefore her foot was long. One of the biggest challenges impacting the soundness of horses with this mare's problems is leverage on the arthritic joint and surrounding soft tissue. So assessment at the end of the trim/shoeing cycle should be evaluated with caution. The feedback from her owner was that she often galloped around the field but was not sound, and could not be ridden at her current comfort level even though she had been in the past. Despite the farrier's best efforts the horse's comfort level had declined and the owner wanted to try something different.  

Here is her right front foot when I met her, with the radiograph taken at the time of that shoeing.

This style of shoeing, a banana shoe, where the ground surface and the foot surface are both curved with no flat surface, can greatly benefit horses with a variety of problems.  Put simply, the idea is that the horse can select the balance and alignment that is most comfortable to them, especially when arthritic conditions leave us somewhat guessing as to what balance change would most benefit the horse.  You can see this mare, Mollie Rose, chose to rock up onto the front part of the shoe, thereby functionally giving herself a more upright alignment to her foot and distal limb.  

My hypothesis was that this horse would benefit from a shorter trim cycle thereby reducing leverage on her joints and length of her foot over time, easing the wear and tear on the joint and surrounding soft tissue.  (See my blog PHCP Conference 2016: Packed Full of Gold, where Dr. Hillary Clayton discusses leverage on joints and soft tissue). I also wondered if she would like additional caudal support with a heart bar shoe and impression material as well as a change of material to something softer - composites!  

After removing her shoes, I trimmed her and applied Easyboot Clouds for cushion, protection and the mechanical advantage of the internal foam pad being a heel wedge.  




I knew that even with the boots and wedged Cloud Pad, I could not create the maximum leverage reduction this horse needed for long term comfort. By adding the EasyShoe Flex Light, I was not only able to achieve the additional heel support I felt would help her, but also allow her to wear the shoe and hoof casting into even more wedge and leverage reduction over time as she grew.  

I chose the EasyShoe Flex Light because I could really push the modifications she might need.  Here you can see where I really brought the circumference of the shoe in, and while I could make these modifications in the Flex Heartbar pictured on the left, I also thought she'd benefit from the lighter shoe without the metal plate.  I also modified the ground surface further with my cordless grinder before applying hoof casting.  

I prepared the foot by first applying a trim to get as close to my hoof guidelines as possible.



I also cleaned and dried the foot, applying antimicrobial topicals like Fungidye in the quarters, and Artimud around the frog and bars. Then I applied the shoe and packing, using soft dental impression material to cover the contracted heels and build a slight wedge to prevent further contracture. I followed up with acrylic glue, and by pressing down in the toe created a bit of heel wedge with the glue. This further addresses leverage issues and gets me closer to those hoof guidelines above. Finally I added additional impression material at the heels to protect them from the casting.



The entire shoeing package was finished with hoof casting:

It's very interesting to observe how Mollie Rose is adapting to her new shoes, only 2 weeks post-shoeing. She has worn the composite materials, hoof cast, Flex Light shoe, and acrylic glue at the toe, creating more wedge and wearing the break over even further back.  



Her comfort level has greatly improved even though it's been a very short period of time.  

When we compare the radiographs for hoof balance from the banana shoe, to barefoot, to new EasyShoe Flex, there are interesting changes. Why is Mollie Rose so much more comfortable in her new shoes? Certainly the alignment and angles are very similar between the old shoe and new shoe.  

Could it be a subtle aspect of balance? Maybe a shorter trim/shoeing cycle?  Maybe the change of material?   Horses are such complex creatures, I'm just grateful I have the EasyShoe Flex as an option to create dynamic mechanics to help a horse like this one!  

For more information about Daisy and help with glueing composite shoes like the EasyShoe Flex, please see www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com for a schedule of upcoming hands-on workshops!  

 

EasyCare Products are Built on Show Me, Don't Tell Me Hoof Care

Several years ago I decided to focus on results and skip fluffy marketing.  I wanted EasyCare's focus to be on 100 mile races like the 100 Tevis Cup and the Virginia City 100.  Difficult, rocky, abrasive races where you can't fake success.   

In the last couple months EasyCare hoof protection products have once again shined at the 100 Mile Tevis Cup and the rocky Virginia City 100.  Yes, we have boots that are easy to apply for a leisurely trail ride. But our true focus is on hoof boots and EasyShoe designs for aggressive riding in extreme conditions. 

Christoph Schork (Left) and Carla Lakenbrink tackling the 2018 Virginia City 100

Last weekend was the 51th anniversary of the Virginia City 100.  The event was started in 1968 and the footing is often described as "Rocky", "Abrasive" and "Unforgiving."  This is the type of 100 miles that eats a set of iron shoes in one event.  

Best Condition.  Christoph Schork and VA Blizzard of Oz in Easyboot Glue-Ons.

1st Place.  Jacob Cukjati and Melika Kamaaj in Easyboot Glue-Ons.  

2nd Place.  Christoph Schork and VA Blizzard of Oz in Easyboot Glue-Ons.

3rd Place.  Suzanne Huff and SD Expressa In EasyShoe Flex

4th Place.  Carla Lakenbrink and GE Danex in Easyboot Glue-Ons

6th Place.  Samantha Ellis and CA Zanes Dragonflyte In Easyboot Glue-Ons.  Samantha and Dragon also won the NASTR Triple Crown.  

Jacob Cukjati and Melika Kamaaj win the 2018 Virginia City 100

"Show me, don't tell me" is a motto I learned from a great friend and one that we try to emulate at EasyCare.  Best Condition awards at the 2018 Tevis Cup and the Virginia City 100 go to riders in EasyShoes or Easyboots.  Both events have more than 5 riders in the top ten places.   

Greg Kimler of Echo Valley Ranch crews his horse Dragon ridden by Samantha Ellis

The 2018 Virginia City once again shows EasyCare results at a very difficult 100 mile event.  Congrats to all riders, horses and connections.  Thank you for believing in EasyCare hoof boots and EasyShoes.  

Garrett Ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof protection for the barefoot horse.

 

 

The Best Cleaner for Easyboots: Dawn or Simple Green?

By Regan Roman, EasyCare Product Specialist

Here at EasyCare, we get a lot of phone calls and emails from people asking us what we recommend for cleaning Easyboots. In this article, I'm sharing the results of a head-to-head test using our top 2 favorite cleaners - Dawn dish soap and Simple Green. And yes, both are safe to use around animals!

You can see we're attempting to clean a pair of very muddy, "well-loved" Cloud boots (the white stuff is baby powder used to keep the hoof dry).

 

Our cleaning procedure was simple. We wet the boot with warm water before applying the cleaner. Simple Green, being a spray-on, is the easiest. For Dawn, we put a generous amount of soap on the scrub brush. We reapplied cleaner and scrubbed a couple of times as needed before rinsing the cleaner off the boot. To clean the treads, we used a hoof pick while holding the boot under warm, running water.

Our Test Results

We washed the first boot with Dawn dish soap. It took about 10 minutes and a lot of elbow grease, but the boot turned out pretty clean. The base of the boot is shiny and new looking, however the inside didn’t get as clean as we had expected.

 

Next, we used Simple Green on the other dirty boot. We spent about 10 minutes scrubbing this boot, too. After the two boots dried, the Product Specialist Team agreed that Dawn did a better job of cleaning the urethane base, but we liked what Simple Green did to the inside of the boot. It turned out much cleaner.

 

If we had to pick a winner, we would go with Simple Green because we think it's more important for the inside of the boot to be clean. After all that's where your horse’s bare hoof is going. But if you want a pony-club finish than use Dawn. Or better yet, use a combination of Simple Green on the inside and Dawn on the outside.

It's always a good idea to keep the inside of the boot clean, but you don't need to wash it like this every day. Just use a hard, scrubby brush and do a deeper cleaning once a week or as needed. To maintain the longevity of the boot, we recommend that you keep the boot out of direct sunlight until it's thoroughly dry.

SNEAK PEAK: Options and adjustability are the theme of EasyCare's next line of hoof boots

By Garrett Ford, President of EasyCare Inc.

I had a friend reach out and ask if we have anything in the works for new hoof boots. He was impressed with the new EasyShoe Flex line but is a barefoot hoof boot guy at heart.  With the EasyShoe Flex complete, I let him know that we are now focusing on new hoof boot concepts and our goal is to bring two very competitive designs to our dealers and horse owners by early 2019. Building on EasyCare's longevity and experience in the horse boot business - over 47 years! - we have two boot prototypes undergoing strenuous endurance tests.

Performance Boot Sneak Peak

The first boot will be part of our performance line. It will be ideal for 50- and 100- mile endurance riders who ride fast, over long distances and through difficult terrain. And it will also be a great trail and recreational boot. The prototype has already placed first in two very rugged 50-mile endurance tests.

A Saturday prototype test. 32 miles to 12,700 feet elevation in 4 hours. The peaks in the background are over 14,000 feet tall.  

Tie for 1st and Best Condition at the SoCo Endurance event. The new design was flawless.  

You can look forward to options, adjustability and heel pivot from this new performance product line. The boot will be sold in 5 different configuration options and all parts will be interchangeable.

Some of the design features:

1. Hoof length and heel height will be adjustable. 

2. Heat fitting can be performed on all parts for exaggerated fit applications.

3. Several of the designs will pivot in the heel area.  

4.  One of the 5 configuration options will be a Glue-On shell. You can not only adjust the length, but also the density of heel cushioning, making this a very unique model.

The Glue-On Shell will have a rubber insert to help cushion the heel.  Shell is molded long and can be adjusted in length.  

5.  Add a gaiter and it's very similar to the Easyboot Glove with one exciting exception - it's a pivoting gaiter.

6. Take a look at the blue heel insert below. You'll be able to fully adjust the heel density with different inserts.

A gaiter that pivots with the heel.  Different density heel inserts.

7.  Easily adjust hoof length and heel height through a Heel Sling and Heel Counter. The two work in tandem to achieve a better fit on more hoof shapes. They're protected by a slip-on EVA cover, which can be replaced as needed.

The "Heel Counter" slides in the sole of the boot to accommodate different hoof lengths. The "Heel Sling" adjusts up and down to accommodate different heel heights. No velcro or cables.

8.  One of the new EasyCare boots will have a rear arching heel bulb to adjust both heel length and heel height. The Australian company Scoot Boot has a similar style and it has some nice features, but lacks the adjustment option.

 

Pleasure Boot Sneak Peak

In addition to the new performance line we are also close to launching a new boot in our pleasure category. It will be a great trail riding boot that's soft, flexible and adjustable. Here's a recent photo just before taking it out on a test ride.

 

We recognize that horses feet come in many shapes and sizes, so our new designs are focused on options and adjustability. Watch for more test results in 2018 and the full line to be available in early 2019. I think we're making great advances in our product innovations and both of these designs offer groundbreaking improvements to the hoof care and protection marketplace.

 

Garrett Ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof protection for the barefoot horse.

 

 

 

Game Changing Glue-On Tips

By Sossity Gargiulo of Wild Hearts Hoof Care

There’s no question the process of gluing can be daunting. There are a lot of steps and important skills to master. While I think there’s no better way to learn and build confidence than at a hands-on clinic like the “Glue On Hoof Protection” clinic that I, along with my husband Mario organized and presented at Cañada Larga Stables in Ventura, CA for the Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners, I understand that it’s not always convenient or affordable. That’s why I’m sharing some of the glue-on tips taught at the clinic. One of the participants called them “game changers!”

During the clinic we practiced with EasyCare’s Easyboot Glue-On and the EasyShoe NG. We chose these two products because of their versatility, which increases your chances for success. If you learn how to glue the Easyboot Glue-On and EasyShoe NG, you’ll have the skills necessary to apply almost any glue-on hoof product. 

Sossity heat fitting a modified Easyboot Glue-On

 

Glue-On Game Changers

  • With the Easyboot Glue-On we recommend heat fitting every shell. Getting the foot forward in the shell helps breakover and full contact with the shell on all parts of the hoof increases your glue adhesion success. When the heated shell is on the foot, hold the heated material against the hoof wall as it cools. This helps you feel for any gaps and press them tight.
  • Add slits to the top of a glue-on shell to get better contact and to conform to the hoof shape.
  • Put pressure against the shell when you heat fit and also when you are gluing.
  • For extra hard use or endurance horses, dremel in “glue grommets” around the dorsal wall of the Easyboot Glue-On shell. The glue will seep through the grommet holes and act like a nail, increasing your adhesion success. 

Glue "grommets"

  • Topdressing with a hoof buffy is not just about esthetics; it also eliminates that little trough above the glue bead that can catch moisture. Don’t skip this step!
  • When gluing on a composite shoe like the EasyShoe NG, surface prep is vital. The hoof and shoe both need to be clean, dry and ‘roughed up.’  Before starting the prep process, make sure your work area is clean, dry and dust free. Don’t use fly spray in your work area. 
  • Use a small roll of cellophane to wrap the hoof and shoe in. This helps you hold the shoe in place as the glue cures, speeding and strengthening the glue bond.
  • During the hoof prep, establish a point of “no touching the hoof” and actually announce it! This helps to remind you and anyone helping you not to contaminate the surface. From this point forward you should only hold the hoof by the pastern or leg.
  • Double or triple glove, peeling a layer as you move to the next step. This saves time and frustration! Have you ever tried to put a glove on a sweaty hand, especially when you are literally “under the gun?”
  • Do you know which glue product to use? It’s important to know the difference. For example, an epoxy like Vettec Adhere cures gradually but quickly, and an acrylic glue like EasyShoe Bond cures in one specific moment when the glue suddenly gets really hot. Then it starts to cool down immediately.
  • Add hoof packing after gluing to prevent possible hoof wall contamination.

I hope you’re able to use some of these tips with your own horse and in your trimming business. If you’re interested in learning more about heat fitting, or modifying and applying glue-ons, look for us at a future Pacific Hoof Care clinic.

- Sossity Gargiulo
Wild Hearts Hoof Care

 

What Happens When an Abscess Goes Untreated

By Nancy Frishkorn BA, CHCP (reposted from
 
If you own horses, chances are good that at some point either you or someone you know spent many hours tending to an abscess. An abscess is collection of pus in an area of the body (in this case the hoof capsule) that causes severe pain and swelling due to the body’s immune system’s attempt to fight off the infection. This pus is actually excess white blood cells and tissue (living and dead), fluid, bacteria and other foreign substances. The white cells are the body’s natural defense to infection that release destructive components after identifying and binding with bacteria. Their purpose is to “kill” the harmful bacteria, but in the process healthy tissues are also damaged. In the hoof, this damage most often occurs in the laminae and bony structure within; in other words, if not treated, the coffin bone itself begins to degenerate and weaken, causing small pieces to break away. As part of the inflammation response, more white cells are sent to the site to remove the damaged tissue (the clean-up crew) which actually creates even more inflammation and subsequently more pain. The pieces of broken and damaged tissue are not distinguished by the body and the natural immune system subsequently treats them as foreign objects; hence, the system treats the bone pieces as “foreign objects” - these are what are known as sequestrum.
 
This is the story of Colt, a beautiful gelding purchased by Carla (Pittsburgh Pet Connections CEO) who had poor hoof care before she found him. There are some individuals who believe the hooves can go months without trimming, and others who feel they can trim themselves despite the fact that they have had no training or poor training at best. Colt was one such victim of circumstance, and he came into Carla’s love and devotion in need of immediate attention. His hooves were long and imbalanced, and after two trims he was still experiencing intermittent lameness. Local vets were called and his abscessing was opened, but they continued to fester despite many hours of soaking, draining and treatments with drawing salve. After seeing no improvement, it was decided he needed to seek clinical attention for a second opinion and x-rays. 
 
Colt was sent to Fox Run Equine Center where Dr. Brian Burks DVM diagnosed a lateral sequestrum on Colt’s left front hoof. This first picture shows Colt’s tract on film; you can see some lines coming from the side of the hoof draining down by the back of the heel. 
 
 
This is the site that had been opened from the outside bar (hoof wall beside the frog) but never drained out completely. Inside, there is a piece of broken bone that was damaged due the accumulation of pus for a long period of time. Dr. Burks used a dremel tool to drill a small hole into the quarter (side of the hoof wall) to remove this sequestrum. The second picture shows the piece of bone being removed and just how small the piece of bone was; its removal was imperative for Colt’s recovery.
 
 
The third picture is a shot of this same area after surgery, the quarter area grew out within three months with daily packing with betadine and Sliver Sulfadiazine.  
 
 
Before the surgery, Dr. Burks scraped out all the hard laminae from the bottom of the hoof to ensure there would be no residual bacteria’s invading the capsule that could potentially cause reinfection of the hoof. His intuitions served him well when it was discovered that the very tip of P3 (coffin bone) was extremely brittle. He concluded that this was damaged a long time ago from old abscessing that had caused this area to weaken and nearly break away. By making another “window” in the hoof wall, Dr. Burks was able to preserve most of the wall structure and remove this weakened area as well. He commented to me that the tip “fell away” when he merely touched it with his forceps, so it too was removed and needed packing until it grew out. This fourth picture shows the actual procedure during surgery when the forceps were inserted into the toe wall to remove the sequestrum. 
 
 
I’ve worked with many vets over the years, but I’ve never met one quite as thorough and open minded as Dr. Burks. The traditional protocol for any respective procedure is hospital plates (wide aluminum shoes) that stay on for many months to support the hoof during healing. Because Burks took such care to make minimally invasive openings for removal, Colt was left with adequate hoof wall for support. Carla was adamant in keeping Colt as natural as possible, meaning she wanted him to remain barefoot, and he respected her wishes. I was called to meet with Burks about follow up hoof care and we mutually agreed he could remain in a hoof boot that would not only support his hoof, but also provide better coverage for the opened areas that needed daily treatments. This last picture shows Colt’s open toe area five days after surgery when he was taken out of wraps and placed in a hoof boot. 
 
 
Treating a hoof injury is difficult on the owner as well as the horse. Carla was going to need a boot that would not only cover the entire hoof wall, but also one that could be easily removed and strong enough to withstand several months of continuous wear. Colt was rather stubborn about lifting the hoof for his daily treatment, so ease of application was an absolute necessity. I am familiar with several boots, but the best choice for this situation called for durability, full support and easy removal as well so that no further damage would occur. I could think of only one boot that would serve her purpose, and one that she would be able to keep for years to come in case she ever needed them again - the Easyboot Rx
 
From March to mid-May Colt wore his boots day and night. He was sound at a walk almost immediately after the surgery and because he had a boot he was able to get turnout in the arena and a small paddock every day. We actually booted both front hooves to make sure he wasn’t off balance on the front and this kept him sound while simultaneously avoiding any shoulder pressure or further injury. Carla made sure that his hooves were kept as dry as possible to avoid any rubbing due to excess moisture or sweat by removing them daily for treatments and drying the back of the hoof before replacing it. This movement helped facilitate the healing process and by the end of May the entire wall had grown out completely with no further problems. Within a month Colt was even able to do short rides wearing hoof boots and today he is doing very well. He has not had an abscess in nearly a year and his soles are tough because he has relocated to a facility that enables full turnout and natural wear. Carla has since purchased a pair of Easyboot Trail boots for long rides, and we are grateful to not only EasyCare for their supreme products, but also to Dr. Burks for his open-minded approach to natural horse keeping. Thanks to Carla, Colt has a wonderful life and his hoof issues are no longer…he is happy, healthy, and sound. 
 
- Nancy Frishkorn BA, CHCP

 

Easyboots Battle White Line Disease with DE Hoof Taps. To Tap or not to Tap?

By Rachel Braverman of Polyflex Horseshoes

Shod, glued, booted or barefoot it’s no wonder that our horses end up with some form of compromised hooves when we consider the elements they’re exposed to. Climate extremes, bacteria, abrasive surfaces and athletic demands all influence the health of our horses’ feet - and for many of us the frustration of addressing hoof wall separations, excessive wear and the challenges that stem from them can seem never ending. Just as one problem seems to disappear - another arrives unannounced.

The good news? The answer may be as simple as tapping your feet.

Named after its inventor and longtime farrier Doug Ehrmann, DE Hoof Taps are a product that offers an entirely new approach to hoof care.

DE Hoof Taps in hoof

DE Hoof Taps were inserted to assist this horse with wall separations.

Created because of his need for a real solution, Doug explains “Up where I shoe, inclement weather and abrasive surfaces like stone dust arenas are commonplace. So many horses were having chronic issues with excessive wear, wall separations and overall loss of hoof integrity. I remember thinking to myself - I have to find a better way to help.”

So after years of research, field trials and evolutionary stages Ehrmann formally introduced DE Hoof Taps to the market in 2018 and since then has produced noticeable and exciting results for the future of farriery.

A zinc coated steel tap measuring approximately 1.25 inches in length, DE Hoof Taps are inserted into the foot just outside of the white line. Left in for the duration of the shoeing cycle, DE Hoof Taps are most commonly used under traditional shoes. However, great success has also been seen utilizing the taps under glue on synthetics, in booted horses and the barefoot horse. “I designed them to be versatile,” Ehrmann clarifies, “horses of all disciplines and shoeing methods can at some point face the challenges these taps are meant to combat. That’s why it was so important for me to create a product that could be used as an accessory for any horse.”

DE Hoof Taps with Easyboot Epic

DE Hoof Taps can be a great option for booted or barefoot horses suffering from brittle hooves and wall separations. This horse is shown prepped to ride in an Easyboot Epic. 

This versatility is just one feature that’s made DE Hoof Taps a popular choice among industry professionals. Farriers are reporting significantly tighter white lines, healed wall separations and a marked decrease in excessive wear. Simply visit the DE Hoof Taps Facebook page and a plethora of before and after case studies illuminates the screen. While Doug is no newcomer to product innovation, his ultimate standard remains the same. “If I’m going to bring an idea of mine to fruition - it needs to be a product that I reach for and that I use on a daily basis without having to think about because it works. The DE Hoof Tap has become exactly that product for me.” Based on growing product demands, it’s obvious these taps are quickly becoming a go to product for farriers across the U.S.

While the positive feedback and documentation has been consistent - the inevitable question comes up.

How exactly do DE Hoof Taps work?

The answer, is that the answer is still evolving. What we do know for certain is that the zinc coating plays a major role. On a chemical level, zinc is said to attract existing bacteria and repel new bacteria. Ehrmann’s hypothesis is that if the tap is inserted into a compromised foot, then the zinc coating will draw the bacteria towards itself. In turn, it’s believed that the zinc aids in rerouting the bacteria from traveling up the tubules of the hoof wall. As a bonus the steel makeup of the tap aids in reduction of wear on the hoof.

“We’re continually discovering more about how they work,” Ehrmann admits, “but the exciting part is that we’ve seen over and over again the positive impact they make on horses feet. They produce results too good to ignore.”

Mechanically speaking, Ehrmann designed the taps to mimic the natural curvature of the white line and to remain within the foot at a shallow depth. While the taps are not intended to be shaped, they can be easily modified to match the needs of the foot.

Some examples include shortening the taps to be placed in smaller, more specific locations, inserting the taps at the toe and in the heels. “In some cases you may only choose to use part of a tap, while in others you may decide to use multiple. The decision is ultimately up to the discretion and knowledge of the farrier using them,” Ehrmann explains. He continues “The more skilled you are as a farrier the more you’ll be able to utilize the potential of these taps to their full extent.”

To remove, easily pull or trim the taps out at the end of the horses shoeing cycle. The uncomplicated process just makes taps that much more appealing. However, it’s important to understand that the DE Hoof Tap is not a DIY product.

While the simplicity of the DE Hoof Tap makes it a natural addition to any farrier’s shoeing box, Ehrmann cautions that taps should only be inserted by a hoof care professional. “This product is simple to use, and that’s one of the best parts about it - but it still needs to be respected as a tool. If you think your horse could be a good candidate, have the discussion with your farrier. He or she will be able to place the tap where and how it will benefit your horse the most.”

Designed with the good of the horse in mind, it’s exciting to consider what the future holds for the DE Hoof Tap. Many believe this product could be the representative product of a new generation of hoof care technology to come. It certainly defines out of the box thinking - and offers a new platform from which to approach hoof care. Not to mention it offers a creative addition to any farrier’s toolbox.

But if there is one thing we can count on, it’s for Doug Ehrmann to keep innovating.  So long as there is a horse in need, whether shod, glued, booted or barefoot they will now have the opportunity to tap their feet.

- Rachel Braverman
PolyFlex Horseshoes

Looking Beyond Frequent Hoof Trimming as the Magic Fix for Hoof Rehab

By Hoof Care Practitioner David Landreville of Landreville Hoof Care

If you’re struggling with hoof issues, don't fool yourself into thinking that merely trimming more frequently is going to be a magic fix. There’s always a learning curve and there are often kinks in that curve.   

The key to lameness prevention, rehabilitation, and continued development is keeping the outer wall off of the ground.

To accomplish this, I believe that optimum weight bearing is when the inner wall is loaded at the Four Pillars. I don’t try to make it happen in one trim. It’s built over years of frequent trims. After trimming to the inside of the inner wall, it takes three weeks for the inside of the outer wall to make it to the ground (with this kind of trim), which is why I try to keep them on no more than a 3-week trim schedule. The second and third weeks are the optimum comfort weeks for the horse. The inner wall, through its attachment to the sole, is set up to support the weight of the horse. The strength of the outer wall is not in its ability to support the weight of the horse, but in its ability to contort while simultaneously resisting the forces of contortion. 

Frequency is only part of the equation.

The trim has to unload the outer wall and put the majority of the horse's weight bearing comfortably on the back of the feet. Correct weight bearing and movement is what heals feet. The trim just sets the horse up for healing.  1/16" of vertical error at the ground equates to 2 inches of horizontal displacement at the wither on an average size horse. 

Too much weight bearing on the forehand causes excessive toe loading.

When the lateral heel on a left front foot is continually being left 1/8" longer than the medial heel it causes the horse to shift their weight 4" to the right. This places the right front 4" closer to the midline of the horse. This results in the majority of the horse's forehand weight being supported by the right front.  Most horses are already too much on their forehand due to the lack of knowledge about the relationship between proper heel shape and caudal soft tissue development.  A horse that has natural downhill conformation and who is also naturally right forelimb dominant can be a disaster in the making. The right front becomes the crutch for the horse, resulting in mechanical founder in the right front. The symptom may be wall separation and/or sole penetration but the cause is 1/8" margin of error in the trim. This is not a disease; it’s a breakdown in the mechanical bond from excessive force. Keeping the horse properly squared up over their heels is how you fix them. 

Example of improper trimming for founder.

When you're rehabbing founder, you're essentially taking the horse back in time through all the phases of their foundering. Helping a horse get comfortable is only the beginning of restoring them to a point where continual development is sustainable. 

This is the right front foot of a right hand dominant horse that foundered due to improper trimming.  These photos show 7 months of progress to reverse the damage.

Photo of improper trimming for founder

This is a caudal view of the same horse. 

Don’t rely on frequent trimming as the magic fix.

Trimming more often may just create a disaster – faster. I’ve found that a good trimmer/owner team is central to the horse’s successful rehab. Choose a trimmer who not only knows how to fix a hoof problem, but who does meticulously correct work and who also knows how to prevent it in the first place. How do you find out? Ask lots of questions! (Tip: Do they have horses of their own with structurally sound bare feet that they’ve been riding for years?)

And finally, be upfront how an issue will be handled. The trimmer should have a couple back up plans and the owner should be clear about how willing they are to go the distance if plan A doesn't work out.

 

- David Landreville

www.landrevillehoofcare.com

Here's an Easy Way to Install an EasyCare Comfort Pad

By EasyCare Product Specialist, Jean Welch

An EasyCare Comfort Pad is a great way to provide added comfort, support and protection for your horse. It comes in a one size fits all, and is a quick trace and trim in most cases. But if you don't have a template, try this handy tip that I picked up from Chris Mason at a Hoof Care Conference in the beautiful state of Washington. Not only does it make it simple to custom fit your Comfort Pad, but it also prevents any waste. There's a very good chance you'll be able to squeeze more than one pad out of just one Comfort Pad!

Comfort Pad Installation

1. Get some tin foil that's about two times the size of the outer sole. In this example, I'm using a Size 1 Easyboot Glove.

2. Fold it in half to make it stronger.

3. Insert it into the boot, and scrunch the edges of the foil up against the inside of the boot.

4. Carefully remove the foil from boot, and voilà, you have a perfect template of the boot's inside foot bed.

5. Lay out your pad and trace your foil template.

6. Use heavy duty shears to cut the pads out. Remember to keep your cut to the INSIDE of the line.

If you have Easyboot Mini's, just think of all the pads you can get out of one Comfort Pad.  I tried this tip on a Size 2 Mini and got 11 pads!

Save the scraps and you can even make your own frog supports as well.

If you'd like more product tips, we have a lot of helpful articles on our Hoof Care Blog and videos on our YouTube channel.

100-Mile Tevis Cup: One of the Top Ten Endurance Competitions in the World!

The 2018 Tevis Cup is in the books. Of the 149 horses who started the event, there were only 64 finishers. That 42% finish rate tells us how grueling this 100-mile trail is and why the Tevis Cup ranks as the most difficult horse race in the world.  

Time Magazine compiled a list of the Top Ten Endurance Competitions in the World.  The list contains the 24 Hours of Le Mans, The Tour De France, Dakar Rally, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Cannon Ball Run, Four Deserts, The Tevis Cup, Marathon des Sables, La Ruta de los Conquistadores and the Vendee Globe.  

The Lead Pack at the 2012 Tevis Cup.

As you look through the list of ten competitions there are several that stick out and peak my interest.  The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has always fascinated me because of the difficulty and the bond that the humans have with their dogs.  To travel 1,150 remote miles through difficult winter conditions as a team is hard to fathom.  The Tour De France is another mind bender.  Over 2,000 miles on a bike lasting roughly 20 days.  And on the Marathon des Sables six-day, 150-mile run across the blazing hot southern Moroccan Sahara, runners must carry they own food and water for the entire run. 

The 100-Mile Tevis Cup is the only equine event on the list and is the start of endurance events around the world.  Have you ever wondered why you receive a belt buckle for finishing a 100-mile run or a 100-mile mountain bike race?  The belt buckle awarded at the Tevis Cup has been adopted by events like the Western States 100 Mile Run and the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race.   The Tevis Cup helped kick-start many of the events the endurance junkies dream to one day conquer.

My inner legs after the Tevis Cup.

Here's what Time Magazine had to say about the Tevis Cup:

A 24-hour, 100-mile horse ride from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California, the Tevis Cup was first held in 1955. The important thing to know about this race is found on the Tevis Cup FAQ: "The weather conditions from year to year are mostly the same: HOT and DUSTY." One of the major difficulties here is not just getting your horse to the finish line, but making sure your horse is still "fit to continue" when it reaches the finish line. If you do so, no matter what place you come in, you get a silver belt buckle. That's right: 100 miles in 24 hours. For a belt buckle.

 

Lisa Ford climbs Cougar Rock.  Note the difficult footing.

For EasyCare the Tevis Cup has a special place.  The Tevis Cup is where we go to test our products.  The rocks, dust, distance, climbs and descents put extreme demands on the equine hoof and the hoof protection used.  It's just a matter of time before your horse steps on the perfect sharp rock and your ride is over.  Over the past 63 years roughly 50% of the riders that have started the race have finished.  The majority of the non finishes are because of lameness and the challenges caused by the rough trail.  

EasyCare started placing emphasis on the event in 2009 and used the event to test our urethane hoof protection.  My goal was to have our products excel at the toughest equine competition in the world. It's an event where you can't fake results, and where results trump marketing - it really tells you if something works. 

Easyboot Tread after the difficult 100-mile Tevis Trail.

EasyCare has found that not only have our unique urethane hoof protection products worked, but they have helped horses excel. Since we started recording the stats at the Tevis Cup on horses wearing Easyboots back in the 2009 we have found the following:

1. From 2009 to 2017, horses wearing Easyboots finished 63.64% of the time. Horses not wearing Easyboots finished 50.77% of the time. (We're still finalizing 2018 stats)

2. 6 out of the last 9 Tevis winning horses wore Easyboots.

3. 8 of the last 9 Haggin Cup winning horses used Easyboots.  The Haggin Cup is the horse that is deemed the most fit to continue and able to do the 100 miles again. 

4.  Although we don't have full stats, 2018 was no different. Six of the top 10 horses to cross the finish line were in EasyCare products. Four were in Easyboot Glue-Ons and another 2 were in EasyShoe Performance N/G urethane shoes. And this year's Haggin Cup winner, owned by Mark Montgomery, was in EasyShoe Performance shoes. The Haggin Cup winners in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were all outfitted in EasyCare products. Not a bad run!

 

The 2018 Haggin Cup winner in EasyShoes, owned by Mark Montgomery.
Congratulations to MM Cody ridden by Mykaela Corgnell.

 

EasyCare is very proud to have our products tested and trusted by the Tevis competitors in the US and around the world. Thank you for believing in our urethane hoof protection products.   

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof protection for the barefoot horse.